EPL

Alli 'lucky' to be in Spurs contention after Sterling tackle – Mourinho

By Sports Desk February 04, 2020

Dele Alli is "lucky" to be in contention to face Southampton in the FA Cup after escaping serious injury when caught by Raheem Sterling in Sunday's 2-0 win over Manchester City, according to Jose Mourinho.

Sterling made firm contact with Alli's ankle in the first half and appeared fortunate to avoid a red card for the mistimed tackle, with Mourinho's frustration evident after the match.

It was one of several refereeing decisions to grate on Mourinho during the gripping encounter, with the use of VAR once again at the centre of post-match discussions.

Alli eventually came off 20 minutes from time and there were worries that the effects of Sterling's challenge might rule the attacking midfielder out of action.

But Mourinho confirmed Alli could face Southampton on Wednesday, convinced the England international is fortunate to have not suffered serious damage.

"No, it's not as bad [as we first thought]," Mourinho told reporters. "So, there is a chance of him playing tomorrow [Wednesday], let's wait and see.

"It's just a question of being a little bit lucky, or unlucky. You need a little bit of luck. Dele Alli was very lucky.

"Did Sterling want to injure him? I don't think so, I don't believe that he wanted [to hurt Alli]. So, respect to Sterling, I have no problem at all.

"But the intention does not count. What counts is the action. It is a red card."

Mourinho was particularly animated on the touchline against City, with footage of one action going viral on social media – the clip showing him sprinting to the fourth official to complain about a decision in the aftermath of Hugo Lloris' penalty save.

The Portuguese coach accepts he may have gone too far with his reaction, but explained his frustration stemmed from what he feels is a misuse of VAR.

"[I went viral] in a funny way, but not in a good way, but I say in a funny way," he said.

"I think the fact that now it is allowed to have the screen in front of us... I think it's not good for the emotions, for our emotions, because we watch and we watch exactly the same as the VAR [official] is watching, decisions the referees don't see as well as we do.

"That's because the referees, they are on the pitch and, as I was saying the other day, it is 200 miles per hour and very difficult for them, and sometimes they don't see things the same way we do.

"In 2004-05, I remember I tried to go with a screen to the bench and I was forbidden by the rules, and in this moment now you are allowed.

"So, I don't think it's good for the emotions. My reaction was just based on being able to watch everything on the screen, so I watched the Dele Alli situation, I watched the penalty, the pretend penalty – I watched everything, so that creates emotions, but okay, I went viral for the wrong reasons."

Related items

  • Fernandes benched by Man Utd as Salah returns for Liverpool Fernandes benched by Man Utd as Salah returns for Liverpool

    Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left Bruno Fernandes out of his starting line-up for Sunday's FA Cup clash with Liverpool.

    Fernandes, who has been United's shining light since arriving from Sporting CP almost 12 months ago, was only a substitute for the fourth-round game.

    This season he has scored 15 goals and supplied nine assists in 28 games across all competitions from his advanced midfield role, but there have been questions asked about his form in recent weeks.

    He has just one goal and no assists in four Premier League appearances since the turn of the year.

    Into the United team went former Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek as Solskjaer decided the game presented a chance to rotate his squad, making five changes to the side that won 2-1 at Fulham on Wednesday.

    Solskjaer explained why Fernandes did not start, saying on BBC One: "It's rotation in the squad.

    "Donny needs to be playing games as well and it's a big game for Donny to come into.

    "He's done nothing wrong when he's been around the club so I'm looking forward to seeing him in there."

    Premier League leaders United also brought in goalkeeper Dean Henderson, centre-back Victor Lindelof, midfielder Scott McTominay and forward Marcus Rashford, as David De Gea, Eric Bailly, Fred and Anthony Martial dropped out.

    Liverpool also showed five changes as Jurgen Klopp looked for a response to Thursday's shock 1-0 home defeat to Burnley, which ended a 68-game unbeaten run at Anfield in the Premier League.

    Teenage centre-back Rhys Williams came in for the absent Joel Matip, while James Milner and Curtis Jones were selected as Xherdan Shaqiri and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain dropped to the bench.

    Sadio Mane and Divock Origi were also substitutes as Klopp gave starts to Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, with the Old Trafford clash coming a week on from these two sides battling out a dreary goalless draw at Anfield in the league.

  • Ozil completes Fenerbahce move after Arsenal exit Ozil completes Fenerbahce move after Arsenal exit

    Mesut Ozil has completed a move to Fenerbahce after negotiating his departure from Arsenal.

    World Cup winner Ozil, once Arsenal's record signing, had been excluded from Mikel Arteta's first-team plans this season and departs after seven and a half years with the Premier League club.

    The former Germany midfielder was under contract until the end of the current campaign but reached an agreement for an early termination, clearing him to sign elsewhere.

    Fener have now confirmed the arrival of Ozil, with Arsenal announcing the playmaker's departure on their official website.

    In a statement in the Gunners' announcement, Ozil said: "I'd like to thank the club for this amazing journey over the past seven-and-a-half years.

    "The support I have felt from the team and fans during my time here has been truly incredible and something I will always be grateful for.

    "Together we won trophies for the first time in years and created memories that will last a lifetime.

    "The Arsenal fans will forever remain in my heart. I'd like to thank Edu Gaspar for helping bring about a professional and dignified solution in the past few days, and I wish everyone at the club the best in their attempt to continue to bring Arsenal back to the top, where we belong."

    Having joined from Real Madrid in September 2013, Ozil made 184 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, scoring 33 goals and contributing 54 assists.

    He was a key part of Arsene Wenger's squad that finished second in the 2015-16 Premier League season, while he also started in the FA Cup final triumphs in 2014, 2015 and 2017.

    However, the 32-year-old had increasingly become a peripheral figure in recent years, initially under former Gunners boss Unai Emery before being left out entirely by Arteta. 

    His final Arsenal appearance came on March 3, 2020, when he played 89 minutes in a 1-0 win over West Ham at Emirates Stadium.

    Although he was twice named on the bench when the 2019-20 season resumed after the coronavirus-enforced break, the 32-year-old was an unused substitute against both Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton in June.

    "Mesut's achievements at Arsenal are undisputed," Arteta said. "It was a privilege to play alongside him and, more recently, coach him.

    "His creativity and vision led to many goals during his time in the Arsenal shirt. Mesut was at the heart of many great moments for this club over the years, including those three FA Cup final wins.

    "These successes will always be part of our history. We thank Mesut and wish him all the best with Fenerbahce."

  • Lampard defends Kepa and Werner after FA Cup mistakes Lampard defends Kepa and Werner after FA Cup mistakes

    Frank Lampard spared Kepa Arrizabalaga from criticism and said he has no doubt Timo Werner will come good after Chelsea's unconvincing FA Cup win over Luton Town.

    Tammy Abraham's hat-trick was ultimately enough for Chelsea to overcome Championship side Luton 3-1 on Sunday and take their place in the fifth round.

    A mistake at 2-0 up from goalkeeper Kepa – who has been demoted to second choice following Edouard Mendy's arrival at Stamford Bridge – enabled Jordan Clark to pull one back for Luton.

    However, Kepa made amends with a fine save from Harry Cornick early in the second half, with Abraham's tap-in then rounding off the win.

    Werner, who has scored just once in 16 games across all competitions, missed a late penalty as his frustrating run in front of goal continued.

    Since he last scored in the league – on November 7 – Werner has attempted 21 shots, with just seven hitting the target, while the Germany international has missed seven big chances.

    Lampard, however, stood by both Kepa and Werner, insisting the goalkeeper was not solely to blame for Luton's goal, while reiterating his confidence in Chelsea's misfiring striker.

    "Kepa makes a really top save in the second half to make sure it doesn't go to 2-2," Lampard told a news conference.

    "It is very easy for people to sort of hone in on that but Kepa is not playing so regularly. He comes in after training well and he is a good goalkeeper and I will certainly give him that one in the first half.

    "I am as annoyed that we let someone stand in our box in space and get a shot away when we shouldn't have done. I think it was a general team moment of complacency with how we were at 2-0 which is not good enough.

    "So, we got back to it very quickly and dominated the game and it made us slightly nervous to not have the two-goal lead that makes it comfortable. Once we got that back again, which we should have got a lot earlier, then the game was comfortable.

    "With Timo, I'm disappointed for him. He gave a lot to the performance today. He was a threat, his link-up with Tammy, with people around him, it's just one of those things.

    "When it's not going for you, it can happen. I missed penalties, I know the feeling. I know he will feel despondent, maybe now and the last few minutes of the game, but he shouldn't be.

    "It's my job and his team-mates' job to lift him and he will be fine. It was almost a sign of what's going on for Timo at the minute, it's not quite dropping for him.

    "But there will be a time when he takes penalties and hits the back of the net without thinking about it. At the moment that's not quite the time for Timo, but it will come and hopefully soon."

    Chelsea lost 2-0 to Leicester City in the league on Tuesday, but have now won 52 of their last 54 FA Cup ties against sides from a lower division, with Barnsley up next in the competition.

    "I always need the results," said Lampard, who has been under mounting scrutiny. "People expect a lot from our league position.

    "People will look at it and look very closely at the moment but I look at the bigger picture. Of course, I wanted the result today. It is a nice air of positivity around the club to get to the next round. We are in two cup competitions with the Champions League, FA Cup, and we want to win more points in the league.

    "That's a good three wins in four games, I'm happy to quote that one because in the modern day people will very much look at the short-term stats that can be flipped in different directions.

    "It's nice for us in the short term that we have done that. The scrutiny on a club like Chelsea is normal. The job for us is not to get too caught up in how many games we won recently or where we are in the table."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.