Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola refused to be drawn on speculation linking the Premier League champions with Tottenham star Harry Kane.

Kane has reportedly told Tottenham he wants to leave, sparking apparent interest from City, neighbours Manchester United and Chelsea.

Speaking after City's 3-2 Premier League defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday, Guardiola declined to fuel the rumours.

"Next question," Guardiola said during his post-match news conference. "He's a Tottenham Hotspurs player. Please."

Kane's future is unclear given his ambition to win trophies which has been unfulfilled at boyhood club Spurs.

City are in the market for a new forward with free agent Sergio Aguero exiting this off-season, although the club have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

Meanwhile, Guardiola insisted he was not concerned by City's recent form ahead of the Champions League final against Premier League rivals Chelsea on May 29.

Guardiola's City have lost two of their past three matches, conceding eight goals in the process.

City have lost six Premier League games having led by two or more goals – only Tottenham (eight) have suffered more such defeats in the competition's history.

Against Brighton, City's possession figure was just 37 per cent, the lowest recorded by a side managed by Guardiola in a single top-flight match.

"On Sunday, with our people, we are going to lift the trophy," Guardiola said. "And after we are going to go for the final of the Champions League.

"I am concerned because this is the final of the Champions League, because the opponent is so tough. I saw incredible things today in the pitch with 11 against 10 for 80 minutes in the Premier League.

"We are fortunate to lift the [Premier League] trophy and we did it ourselves. Nobody gave us absolutely anything; nothing.

"That's why I am so proud of the team; it means how difficult is the Premier League again, and now we're going to prepare as best as possible for the final of the Champions League."

Chelsea edged towards Champions League football for next season, but Leicester City's fate is now out of their hands.

The Blues gained swift vengeance for their FA Cup final defeat, running out 2-1 winners over Leicester at Stamford Bridge, meaning the Foxes are now reliant on results elsewhere as Liverpool have a game in hand to play.

Champions Manchester City surrendered a two-goal lead against Brighton and Hove Albion, meanwhile, and Edinson Cavani's stunning goal was not enough for Manchester United. Elsewhere, Leeds United defeated Southampton.

We take a look at the best facts, courtesy of Opta, from across Tuesday's Premier League games.

Manchester United 1-1 Fulham: Cavani delights Old Trafford crowd, but Cottagers hit back

United have now dropped 10 points from winning positions at Old Trafford this season – their highest ever such total at home in a Premier League season – after Joe Bryan cancelled out Cavani's sensational opener.

Cavani became only the third United player over the age of 33 to reach 10 goals in a single Premier League season, after Teddy Sheringham in 2000-01 and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2016-17, with a sublime 36.4-yard effort in the first half.

The Uruguay forward is the 25th different United player to reach double figures in a Premier League campaign, but it was not enough for the Red Devils as relegated Fulham gained a point from a losing position at Old Trafford for only the second time in their history in the competition, previously doing so in February 2014.

United have conceded 28 home goals in the Premier League this season – they last conceded more at Old Trafford in a single league campaign back in 1962-63 (38) – with Bryan's first top-flight goal, in his 43rd such appearance, snatching a share of the spoils.

Southampton 0-2 Leeds United: Bielsa's charge continues

There could feasibly still be a European place for Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds, who are just three points behind seventh-placed West Ham heading into the final game of the season after a 2-0 win over Southampton.

It was Leeds' 10th league win on the road this season, their best effort in a top-flight campaign since 1973-74, when they won 12 on the way to winning the title.

Southampton are without a clean sheet in their past 10 home league games (15 goals conceded) after keeping shutouts in six of the eight before that.

Patrick Bamford netted his 16th goal of the season, which is the most by a player from a promoted side since Charlie Austin scored 18 for Queens Park Rangers in 2014-15, with Tyler Roberts' maiden Premier League goal rounding off the success.

Leeds are only the second team in Premier League history to finish a campaign without a single away draw (W10 L9), after Tottenham in 2018-19.

Brighton and Hove Albion 3-2 Manchester City: Seagulls seal famous comeback

Brighton picked up their first ever Premier League victory over City, and their first in the league since 1989, as they came from two goals down to win 3-2 at the Amex Stadium.

Graham Potter's side fell behind to Ilkay Gundogan's early goal – the 10th City have scored in the opening two minutes under Pep Guardiola in the Premier League – but were buoyed by Joao Cancelo's red card.

Timed at 09:03, Cancelo's dismissal was City's second-earliest from the start of a Premier League game, after Dedryck Boyata was sent off after 04:28 against Arsenal in October 2010.

This was just the second time in Premier League history a team starting the day top of the table has led by two goals and lost, after City themselves did so against Man Utd in April 2018.

Their possession figure in this match was just 37 per cent – the lowest recorded by a side managed by Guardiola in a single top-flight match.

Phil Foden has scored 15 goals in all competitions this season. Among players in the top five European leagues currently aged under 21, only Erling Haaland (39) has scored more, but his stunning effort was not enough.

Leandro Trossard and Adam Webster pegged City back, before Dan Burn's first Brighton goal, and his first in the league for any team since April 2018, completed the turnaround.

Chelsea 2-1 Leicester City: Tuchel's team clinch Champions League qualification

After their FA Cup disappointment, Chelsea took a step towards Champions League football, getting revenge in the process.

Jorginho's penalty sealed the win, with Kelechi Iheanacho's goal ultimately proving a consolation, though the Leicester striker is the first player in Premier League history to score a goal on all seven weekdays within a single season. 

No player has scored more Premier League goals in a single campaign with 100 per cent of them coming from the penalty spot than Jorginho's seven this season (level with James Milner in 2016-17). 

Leicester have won just two of their past 30 away league games against Chelsea (D11 L17), winning 1-0 in December 2018 and 2-0 in September 2000.

And the win for Thomas Tuchel's men means that City, United and Leicester, the top three teams starting the day, all failed to win. It is the first time it has happened since January 2017 (Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea).

Pep Guardiola revealed Manchester City's medical staff are "optimistic" on Ilkay Gundogan's fitness, after the midfielder sustained a knee injury in the defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Gundogan trudged off 56 minutes into Tuesday's contest, with City leading 2-1 at the time – the Germany international having opened the scoring early on, before Phil Foden netted a sensational second and Leandro Trossard replied for Brighton.

The 30-year-old, who has scored 17 goals across all competitions this season, was the recipient of a reckless challenge from Alireza Jahanbakhsh in the first half, and Guardiola cited this as the reason for his eventual departure.

Gundogan had an ice pack strapped to his left knee as he watched on from the sidelines, with City going on to capitulate to goals from Adam Webster and Dan Burn, whose winner sealed Brighton's first top-flight victory over the Citizens since 1981.

With the Champions League final against Chelsea coming up on May 29, Guardiola said Gundogan will be assessed on Wednesday, though the initial prognosis was positive.

"Tomorrow we are going to check it. The doctor is quite optimistic," Guardiola told a news conference.

"The problem is he had a kick and he was running in the second half with a disturbance. I didn't want to take a risk, that's why we did the substitution."

Gundogan may not be the only star midfielder facing a race against time to be fit for the showdown in Porto next week, with Chelsea's N'Golo Kante going off with a problem in their match against Leicester City.

With 32 minutes played at Stamford Bridge, Kante left the field to be replaced Mateo Kovacic.

Kante – who was named in France's squad for Euro 2020 on Tuesday – showed no obvious signs of discomfort but was seen discussing his presumed fitness problem with an animated Thomas Tuchel on the touchline.

Manchester City surrendered a two-goal lead as Dan Burn's first Premier League goal secured a thrilling 3-2 comeback win for Brighton and Hove Albion.

The Premier League champions led early through Ilkay Gundogan but had to play for over 80 minutes without Joao Cancelo, who was sent off for a foul on Danny Welbeck. Buoyed by an 8,000-strong crowd, Brighton eventually made their numerical advantage count.

Phil Foden's sensational solo goal seemed to have dampened the spirits, but Leandro Trossard's strike ignited the charge which was rounded off by two unlikely scorers.

With Gundogan trudging off with a worrying knee injury, City found their lead wiped out when Adam Webster powered home, before Burn scooped in at the second attempt four minutes later to cap a famous triumph for the Seagulls.

Pep Guardiola became the fourth Premier League manager to see his team score 10 times in the first two minutes of a top-flight game as they went ahead 107 seconds into proceedings – Gundogan deftly heading home from Riyad Mahrez's pinpoint delivery.

But any assumptions of an easy ride were dispelled in the 10th minute, Cancelo receiving a straight red card for the denial of a goalscoring opportunity when he tangled with Welbeck.

Brighton recorded more shots and registered more possession in the first half but for all their efforts, they were 2-0 down to a piece of supreme individual skill moments after the restart.

Having skipped away from Ben White, Foden capped off a run which started in his own half with a clinical, toe-poked finish across Robert Sanchez.

Brighton hit back within three minutes, though, as substitute Trossard – on for the injured Welbeck – kept his composure to round a glut of City defenders and lash the ball high into the net.

Having continued following a robust first-half challenge from Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Gundogan was forced off with a knee injury soon after, and City's resolve crumbled in the 72nd minute.

Webster towered over City's defence to head in Pascal Gross' cross, setting the stage for fellow defender Burn, who was initially denied by Ederson, to drill in a winner.

After Adam Lallana survived a VAR check for a tackle on Gabriel Jesus, Webster nearly went from hero to zero for Brighton when he cleared straight to Fernandinho.

Jesus' resulting effort drew a fine save out of Sanchez and Eric Garcia could only hammer over the rebound, meaning City lost their final away game of the season for the first time since 2008-09.

Manchester City have announced they will pay travel costs for supporters attending the Champions League final against Chelsea in Porto.

The final will take place in the Portuguese city on May 29, having been moved from Istanbul last week after Turkey was placed on the UK's travel 'red list', due to an increase in coronavirus cases.

Discussions over staging the match between two Premier League sides in the UK fell down after UEFA were unable to secure quarantine exemptions for staff members.

Portugal emerged as a viable alternative, given it is on the UK's 'green list', with non-essential travel permitted without quarantine requirements upon return, meaning 6,000 supporters from each club are able to buy tickets at the reduced capacity Estadio do Dragao.

However, fans wishing to attend the game still face prohibitive costs concerning flights and required PCR COVID-19 tests.

In a scheme funded by owner Sheikh Mansour, those able to buy tickets to see whether Pep Guardiola's side can add a first Champions League crown to their Premier League and EFL Cup successes will now have a chunk of that cost offset.

"Pep and the team have had such a remarkable season and their reaching the Champions League final after a very challenging year represents a truly historic moment for the club," Mansour said in a club statement. 

"It is therefore incredibly important that as many fans as possible have the opportunity to attend this special game. Especially those who have supported Manchester City through good and bad times for so many years."

Fights and transfers for match-going fans will be covered under the initiative, with the process for buying tickets set to be announced later on Tuesday.

Ryan Mason insists his only conversations with Tottenham star Harry Kane have related to Wednesday's Premier League match against Aston Villa.

Reports this week suggested Spurs were left reeling by England captain Kane expressing a desire to leave his boyhood club at the end of the season.

Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United have all been linked with a move for the prolific striker, who has 22 goals and 13 assists in 33 top-flight games this season.

Mason insists Kane is feeling good and is excited about the home match with Villa, though he could not provide clarity on his close friend's transfer decision.

Asked if Kane had indeed asked to leave, Mason said: "No, not that I'm aware of.

"All this speculation - I'm not sure. All of my conversations I've had with H have been about the game the other day [against Wolves] and also preparing for the game tomorrow. So no - I don't know."

 

Spurs are sixth in the table and Mason does not think there is any awkwardness regarding Kane, instead focusing on the return of supporters to the ground.

Interim Spurs boss Mason added: "I speak to Harry pretty much every day - before I got this job it was the same.

"I have asked him how he is feeling. He feels fine. Looking forward to tomorrow. He's going to be 100 per cent committed. I'm looking forward to seeing him play, in our beautiful stadium, in front of our fans. So we're excited.

"He's excited along with me about the game. Our only discussions have been about that, we are looking forward to it.

"No, I don't think anything is awkward. There's always speculation around the best players.

"There's been speculation in the last three or four weeks about the new manager coming in, all these question marks which is normal when you're at a big club.

"Our focus – and I've said it all along – is on the next game. My mind hasn't deviated from that, I'm sure Harry's hasn't.

"I'm sure in the rest of the group, every individual, their minds haven't deviated from that."

Mason did not agree with a question suggesting the Villa game could be a send-off for Kane.

He replied: "A send-off? No, we've got a game at the weekend as well [against Leicester City] so Harry is definitely going to be involved in them.

"Like I've said all along, I can't speak about next season, whether that's a manager or a player.

"What I do know is that the fans will get behind us. They're excited about the game, along with the players.

"I think [Kane] starts as he is our best striker and one of the best in the world.

"I've said all along, I am here for the next two games and that's my main focus. Hopefully we can win with Harry up front.

"No, there's no sadness [about the Kane situation]. I'm happy because we have our fans back in our stadium. I'm looking forward to it. The fans will make a big difference. The focus is: can we get three points tomorrow? We have to respect Villa."

Kane was impressive in the 2-0 weekend win over Wolves and will now set his sights on another team from the midlands.

"I think what we've seen with Harry this season, and all players, is that they're committed," Mason said. "The weekend was an exceptional performance – best he's been in the last five games. So I'm sure this will be no different.

"The fans will love seeing him play. He's been at the club since a young age. Fans are excited to be there."

Harry Kane will cost a premium for any club wanting to prise him away from Tottenham, according to former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp.

England captain Kane is reportedly keen to end a career-long association with the north London club in order to pursue major honours.

Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea have all been linked to the 27-year-old, along with Paris Saint-Germain and his ex-manager Mauricio Pochettino.

However, Redknapp knows first half what a tough negotiator Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is and he expects his old boss to extract top dollar.

"It will not be easy. You are dealing with Daniel Levy and he's not easy to deal with," Redknapp told talkSPORT.

"He is not going to go, 'Okay, Harry, I understand, off you go mate, we will sell you for cheap'.

"He is going to cost a king's ransom, believe you me."

Redknapp expressed surprise at Kane apparently agitating for a move, given his exulted status at Spurs.

"I thought he would stay," he said. "His life is fantastic, he is the leader of the club, his family is here.

"But I suppose he has got to the stage now where he has won all the individual accolades and now wants to get some trophies on the board."

As such, Redknapp feels the Tottenham faithful should be understanding towards their talisman, who he thinks would be a transformative singing if he ends up at Old Trafford.

"If they are sensible, they [the fans] will look at and think he deserves the opportunity to go and win a few trophies," he said.

"I would be surprised if he went to Chelsea. If the fans have any sense, they would understand his situation.

"If you want a guarantee to win trophies you go to Man City or Liverpool, but he could turn Man United into title winners. He is that good.

"With his goals and everything he brings, they would be very close. Whoever gets him, he will improve them massively. He will be a great signing for somebody."

Redknapp added: "He is a great lad, a great professional and an absolute gent to work with. He would be amazing to have at your football club."

Where will Harry Kane play in 2021-22?

The Tottenham star Kane reportedly wants out of his boyhood club.

Premier League rivals Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea are ready to pounce…

 

TOP STORY – KANE SEEKING SPURS DEPARTURE

Harry Kane has told Tottenham he wants to leave the club in the off-season, according to widespread reports in England.

Frustrated at a lack of silverware in London, Spurs star Kane would reportedly prefer to remain in the Premier League amid links to champions Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Kane is believed to be open to a LaLiga switch, with Barcelona among his admirers.

 

ROUND-UP

- The front page of Diario AS claims former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri is the favourite to replace Zinedine Zidane if the Frenchman leaves Real Madrid. Club great Raul, who is currently in charge of the Castilla team, is another option. It comes as Madrid push to bring in a franchise player in the form of Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, while Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Bayern Munich's David Alaba are also wanted amid links to Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga and United midfielder Paul Pogba.

- The Sun says City are considering a mega move for Barca superstar Lionel Messi, who is out of contract at the end of the season. Messi is reportedly open to reuniting with Pep Guardiola in Manchester on a one-year deal.

Barca are weighing up the futures of Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Antoine Griezmann and Sergi Roberto, reports Mundo Deportivo. Due to their financial situation, the players could be asked to take a pay cut as Lyon captain Memphis Depay prepares to arrive on a free transfer. City forward Sergio Aguero and defender Eric Garcia, Haaland and Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum have also been linked.

- Lille's Jonathan Ikone is Dortmund's top priority as the Bundesliga club prepare for life without Jadon Sancho, according to France Football. Sancho has been tipped to join United or Liverpool, while Dortmund are also eyeing PSV sensation Donyell Malen, Ajax forward David Neres and Pedro Goncalves of Sporting CP.

Pep Guardiola will be "cold" with his Manchester City players as they jockey for selection ahead of the Champions League final.

City travel to Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday for the penultimate game of their triumphant Premier League campaign, before lifting the trophy in front of their fans against Everton on Sunday.

Sergio Aguero will hope to bid farewell to the Etihad Stadium faithful at the weekend in his last home game before departing in the close season, although the injury woes that have ruined the Argentina striker's final campaign in Manchester have returned and he will not travel to the Amex Stadium.

"He has niggles. He's a little bit disturbed in his leg, his adductor," Guardiola said.

"He felt something before the Newcastle game. He's still not fit. Hopefully he’ll be ready to play against Everton."

Sentiment might enter Guardiola's thinking on the final weekend of the domestic season, but he will be all business in Porto on May 29, when City take on Chelsea in a bid for their first European trophy for 51 years.

"I would say I would be cold. I have to take a decision which is the best to win that game," he said.

"If Sergio is fit, he is going to help us, that is for sure. If he is going to help us score goals, he is going to play, but it's the final of the Champions League.

"I have to take the decision that gives us the best chance of winning that game."

For forwards like Aguero or Ferran Torres – who staked his claim with an excellent hat-trick in the 4-3 win at Newcastle United – any hopes of selection at Estadio do Dragao might be forlorn, given City's progress through the knockout rounds relied largely upon deploying the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan in a striker-less formation.

However, after the victory at St James' Park, Guardiola intriguingly said he has "two options" for the final and on Monday he stated selection was more up in the air than in his 2009 and 2011 Champions League triumphs with Barcelona.

"Always it was difficult but always I remember the first XI of Barcelona was clear," he said.

"Here we rotate a lot and everybody can play, so still right now I am not clear the way we are going to play and with who we are going to play, so that’s why I have to take a look these 10, 11 days. After, we have to take the decision.

"This is the toughest moment. That is why the relationship between the players and the manager has to have a little bit of distance.

"You cannot have that close a relationship because you have to take decisions that take part in their careers and sometimes I am unfair to them, but it is what it is. I don't have another solution."

Nevertheless, none of this has stopped plenty of training ground pleasantries over recent days, with Guardiola knowing this is not simply as a result of spirits riding high after being crowned champions last week.

"They listen a little bit more. It's a serious point, they’re not stupid," he chuckled. "They want to play, so they are nicer to me.

"Then I will make a selection and they will be who they are normally: grumpy, upset with me. That's normal."

Tottenham have urged "everyone" to focus on finishing the 2020-21 season as well as possible amid reports Harry Kane has informed the club he wishes to leave.

Kane is a product of Spurs' academy and has developed into one of the world's best strikers, but over the past two years the club have seemingly struggled to match his ambitions.

The England captain has regularly been linked with moves away from Tottenham over the years, though those reports have rarely appeared to carry much substance – until now.

Sky Sports News claimed on Monday that Kane has told the club he wants to leave at the end of the season, with trophies on his agenda.

Spurs have not won silverware since the 2007-08 EFL Cup, with Kane a part of the sides that lost the finals of the 2018-19 Champions League and this season's EFL Cup.

He reiterated his need to challenge for major trophies after that EFL Cup defeat to Manchester City last month when he was named Premier League Player of the Year at the London Football Awards.

He said: "Individual awards are great, they are fantastic achievements. Probably when I look back at the end of my career, I will go over and take in a little bit more.

"The goal right now as a player is to win team trophies. As much as this is great, I want to be winning the biggest prizes that there is to offer as a team, and we are not quite doing that.

"It is bittersweet. I would rather be winning team trophies than this one. It is what it is. I am proud to win it. It means it has been a good season on the pitch, so I have just got to try to continue what I am doing."

Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea are all thought to be keen on Kane given their respective desires for reinforcements at the top end of the pitch.

Spurs responded to the rumours with a statement that will likely do little to ease the worries of supporters dreading Kane's exit.

The widely reported statement read: "Our focus is on finishing the season as strongly as possible. That's what everyone should be focused on."

Kane has been in excellent form again this season, his 35 goal involvements (22 goals, 13 assists) in the Premier League being the third-most among Europe's top five leagues – only Robert Lewandowski (47 – 40 goals, seven assists) and Lionel Messi (39 – 30 goals, nine assists) boast a better record in 2020-21.

His overall Premier League tally stands at 165, meaning he has a very real chance of breaking Alan Shearer's all-time record of 260, an achievement that would clearly be aided by him staying in England should he leave Spurs.

Kane's 22 goals this season have him level with Mohamed Salah in the race for the Golden Boot, though he has played two matches fewer than the Egypt forward, who has also netted six penalties to his rival's four.

Should he beat Salah and the rest, Kane would become only the third player after Shearer and Thierry Henry to win the Golden Boot three times, having also claimed it in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Despite Kane's brilliance, Spurs look unlikely to secure a return to the Champions League for 2021-22, as they head into their final two matches of the season five points adrift of Chelsea in fourth.

Ferran Torres is reaping the benefits of relocating a positive outlook at Manchester City, with Pep Guardiola stating the Spain forward was "upset with the world, with many situations".

Torres netted a fine hat-trick, which began with a spectacular improvised volley, when the Premier League champions won 4-3 at Newcastle United last Friday.

Those goals moved Torres onto 19 for club and country this season, although his form tailed off considerably during the middle of the campaign – a situation that was compromised by a bout of coronavirus.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's match at Brighton and Hove Albion, Guardiola reiterated the value he places upon players remaining upbeat when form and selection are not going their way, suggesting Torres has fallen short in this regard at times since joining from Valencia for £21.2million last August.

"The players, like teams, are not a stable situation. There is up and down with all players," Guardiola said.

"Ferran was in an incredible mood when he arrived, [then] in one period sad, upset with the world, with many situations and that's why he didn't play good. When he changed his mind and he was open and he started to smile again, always he played good.

"And the football depends on the mood, the confidence of the players. We try to help them but it depends on them. You can complain or you can move forward all the time. And the guys who move forward and they are positive, always football rewards you.

"When you start to complain all the time, then the train comes over you and other guys will take your position.

"Football doesn’t wait. If you're not in the right moment, there will be another guy who will take your position. When you are positive, the guys are always playing good."

Torres has scored 13 times for City in all competitions this season, putting him level with Gabriel Jesus. Only Ilkay Gundogan (16), Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling (all 14) have scored more.

The 21-year-old's minutes-per-goal rate of 159.85 is comfortably the best in Guardiola's squad, with no other player who has scored five or more times below 200 minutes.

Nevertheless, his season can be split into three fairly clear sections.

From the start of the campaign up to and including a goalscoring contribution to a home win over Newcastle on Boxing Day, Torres scored seven times for his club and also hit a hat-trick in Spain's 6-0 Nations League thrashing of Germany.

For City, he averaged 0.56 goals per 90 minutes and boasted a shot conversion rate of 20 per cent, out-performing an expected goals (xG) figure of 5.75 and vindicating Guardiola's decision to frequently deploy a natural winger at the centre of his attack.

"We used him in that position because for quite a long period of the season Gabriel and Sergio [Aguero] were injured," he said.

"We have players that can play in different positions and Ferran is one of them."

Then, COVID-19 struck and Torres became a more marginal figure, featuring 10 times between the turn of the year and the March international break and netting a solitary goal against League Two Cheltenham in the FA Cup.

That paltry return came from 15 shots over this period, amounting to a conversion rate of 6.67 per cent and an xG under-performance (2.24).

It means the stint of low mood that Guardiola mentioned is not too hard to pick out, although back-to-back goals in Spain's World Cup qualifiers against Georgia and Kosovo appear to sparkTorres once more.

In six appearances and five starts for City since, he has five goals at a rate of one every 83.2 minutes, far exceeding his 1.77 xG.

Torres' conversion rate during this most recent spell is up at 41.67 per cent and the poaching instincts that were to the fore in his second and third goals against Newcastle are borne out in the fact he has scored three of his past four "big chances", according to Opta.

His opener does not fall into that category, but such an ingenious move coming off is perhaps indicative of a player back in form and giving his manager a useful problem ahead of this month's Champions League final.

"The goal was so nice, difficult execution. An absolutely talented action," Guardiola added.

"In training sessions he always has the ability in front of goal. He is a good finisher. He has pace, quality and good decision-making."

As City continue to be linked with mega-money moves for a new striker and Aguero prepares to leave the Etihad Stadium after a record-breaking decade, maybe they have a very useful solution in-house.

Europe's top five leagues all conclude this week and there are still plenty of matters to be resolved – not least who will be crowned champions in Spain and France.

Every division has something riding on the final days of the season, whether it be top spot, European qualification, or relegation.

Ahead of what is set to be a dramatic conclusion to the Premier League, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Serie A and the Bundesliga campaigns, we look at the state of play in each league.

 

PREMIER LEAGUE

Manchester City wrapped up the Premier League title with three games to spare, making them the first team in the competition's history to win the title despite being as low as eighth on Christmas Day.

All three relegation places were also decided with three games remaining – a Premier League record – with Fulham joining Sheffield United and West Brom in dropping down a division.

That leaves just the European spots to fight for, and it is shaping up to be an entertaining end to the English top-flight season in that regard. Manchester United are guaranteed a top-four finish, but five other teams – Leicester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham – are in the mix for the two other Champions League berths with two rounds of games to go.

There is also the small matter of the Europa League places for the teams finishing in fifth and sixth, as well as a spot in the inaugural Europa Conference League, which goes to the team in seventh, meaning everyone from 10th-placed Leeds United to Leicester in third have something to play for. That includes Arsenal, who have not missed out on European football of some sort in 25 years.

LALIGA 

The Spanish title race appeared to take a dramatic twist on Sunday as Real Madrid leapfrogged Atletico Madrid at the summit for around 20 minutes. However, Atleti scored two late goals to beat Osasuna, meaning they are two points ahead of their city rivals heading into the final round of games.

Atleti, who have led the way at the top for 29 matchdays, now need to match Madrid's result against Villarreal when they travel to relegation-threatened Real Valladolid on the final day of the season. It is worth noting that Los Blancos have the superior head-to-head record, so a draw would not be enough for Atleti if Madrid win.

Barcelona are officially out of the title race, meanwhile, but they are assured of a top-four finish along with Sevilla. Real Sociedad and Real Betis occupy the Europa League spots, while Villarreal are in a Europa Conference League berth, though just one point separates the three teams so that could all yet change.

To complicate matters, Villarreal could still qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League final against Manchester United.

At the bottom end of the division, Eibar are already relegated and they will be joined by two of Valladolid, Elche or Huesca. Valladolid must beat Atletico in their final game to have a chance of staying up, while the onus is on Elche to better Huesca's result as they are level on points but have an inferior head-to-head record.

LIGUE 1

The Ligue 1 title battle is also going right down to the wire in a three-way dogfight. After a thrilling race that has lasted the course of the season, underdogs Lille lead heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain by one point with one matchday left.

Monaco have won seven of their previous eight games and are three points off leaders Lille, though they require both Les Dogues and PSG to slip up on the final day, as well as beating Lens. Should it come down to goal difference, PSG hold a big lead over their two title rivals.

Incredibly, PSG are still not yet technically assured of a Champions League place as Lyon in fourth are only three points worse off, although it would take a defeat for the reigning champions and victory for Lyon, plus a goal swing of 16, for them to miss out.

Monaco's opponents Lens, incidentally, also have plenty to play for at the weekend as they are sixth – enough for Europa Conference League qualification – but can still be caught by Rennes in seventh, while they could yet overtake Marseille in fifth if results go their way.

At the opposite end of the table, there may only be one spot left to be settled in the bottom three – Dijon and Nimes are both already down – but six teams are still very much in danger of the drop. Nantes occupy the relegation play-off spot, with Lorient, Brest and Strasbourg just a point better off, and Bordeaux and Reims only two points clear.

SERIE A

With Inter being crowned Scudetto winners for the first time in 11 years at the start of the month, the biggest storyline in Serie A regards Juventus' top-four fate. The dethroned champions, who had finished top nine years running before this season, are currently down in fifth.

Juve are one point behind Napoli and Milan in the two spots directly above them, while Atalanta are three points better off in second and have the better head-to-head record against the Bianconeri.

Andrea Pirlo's side are therefore in need of favours on the final day in what is poised to be a nail-biting finale in terms of those Champions League places. Lazio will finish sixth, so they are assured of Europa League football next term, while Roma hold a two-point advantage over Sassuolo in the Europa Conference League position.

Parma and Crotone are both down already and one of Benevento or Torino will join them, the latter currently three points outside of the relegation zone and with a game in hand to play on Benevento.

BUNDESLIGA

RB Leipzig provided Bayern Munich with some stern competition for a while, but the Bavarian giants' quality eventually told and they are Bundesliga champions for a ninth year running.

It's not only the title race that's done and dusted in Germany, in fact, as RB Leipzig are certain of second place, and both Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg will join them in the Champions League next season.

Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, will finish in fifth and sixth respectively regardless of events later this week.

However, Union Berlin have work to do if they are to finish seventh for a place in the Europa Conference League play-offs as Borussia Monchengladbach are a point further back, while Stuttgart and Freiburg are two behind with a game to go.

Seven-time German champions Schalke will be competing in the second tier of German football next season, but Cologne and Werder Bremen are hanging on in there, sitting two and one point behind Arminia Bielefeld respectively in 15th place.

Kevin De Bruyne will travel with Manchester City for their game at Brighton and Hove Albion, as Pep Guardiola insisted focus is not a problem for his team with the Champions League final looming.

De Bruyne has not featured since his starring role in City's 4-1 aggregate Champions League semi-final triumph over Paris Saint-Germain due to a muscular complaint.

But the Belgium playmaker is set to return to action for the recently crowned Premier League champions when they face Brighton at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday.

City round off their domestic campaign at home to Everton on Sunday, before attention turns to the Champions League final against Chelsea in Porto.

“Yeah, he’s been training for the last two days, he feels good,” Guardiola told a pre-match news conference of De Bruyne.

"Kevin is important like everyone is important. When we are able to stick together and push each other, it is possible to win.

"Everyone knows it but everyone is at the same level, we will see his level and see if he is fit to play the next games."

Guardiola handed a belated City debut to 35-year-old goalkeeper Scott Carson in last Friday's 4-3 victory over Newcastle United, where his side twice came from behind and Ferran Torres' hat-trick secured an English league record 12th consecutive away win, although Ederson will return for the season conclusion.

A two-time winner in the Champions League going back to his time with Barcelona, Guardiola insisted focus would not be a problem for his side over the coming week.

"We will have six days to focus on the final after the Everton game. Now it is the Brighton game," he said.

"If you are working to prepare for Brighton, you are working the best way as possible to prepare for the final.

"I'm pretty sure we cannot prepare the final of the Champions League if we are not ready for Brighton or Everton. We did not speak one second about Chelsea.

"Tomorrow we'll play to win again and this is the best way to arrive to the final. In the six days, we'll be more focused on Chelsea."

Chelsea's 1-0 defeat to Arsenal last week and Liverpool's dramatic win over West Brom on Sunday means the Blues' top-four qualification hopes are in the balance.

Thomas Tuchel's side face the prospect of high-pressure encounters against Leicester City, their weekend conquerors in the FA Cup final, and Aston Villa.

"I don't know," Guardiola replied when asked whether the contrasting workload for his team would be an advantage or a disadvantage.  

"I won't be in the locker room for Chelsea. I'm only concerned about what we have to do in these two games.

"In these 10 or 12 days we will prepare these two games and the final as best as possible. I don't know if that is better or not."

Where will Pau Torres play next season?

The Villarreal defender is reportedly wanted by Premier League giants Manchester United, who are set to face the LaLiga outfit in the Europa League final.

But Napoli are also eyeing the Spain international.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED FACE FIGHT FOR VILLARREAL DEFENDER

Manchester United could face a battle from Napoli to sign Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

United are looking to bolster their defence amid links to Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane, as well as Sevilla's Jules Kounde.

Torres has emerged as a serious option, though Napoli are also reportedly interested, with star Kalidou Koulibaly's future uncertain.

 

ROUND-UP

- Lautaro Martinez and Inter have opened dialogue over a contract renewal, says the front page of Monday's Gazzetta dello Sport. Martinez has previously been tipped to join Barcelona, while Madrid have reportedly emerged as suitors.

- L'Equipe claims Lyon captain Memphis Depay will complete his move to Barca in June. It comes as Barca look to seal other free-transfer details for Manchester City defender Eric Garcia and Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum. Barca have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and City's soon-to-be free agent Sergio Aguero.

Roma have no interest in signing Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. The Italy great will leave Turin at the end of the season, but it will not be for the Italian capital, reports Calciomercato.

- According to Calciomercato, Mauro Icardi has been tipped to swap Paris Saint-Germain for Juventus. With Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala linked with Juve exits, former Inter captain Icardi could return to Italy.

Atalanta are set to trigger their option to sign Cristian Romero from Juve, claims Fabrizio Romano. The defender has been scouted by United.

Erling Haaland will remain a Borussia Dortmund player next season, the German club's sporting director Michael Zorc has claimed.

The likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Champions League finalists Manchester City have been strongly linked with a move for the 20-year-old Norwegian striker.

Haaland joined Dortmund from Salzburg midway through the 2019-20 season and has scored a flood of goals for the Bundesliga side.

His double helped Dortmund beat RB Leipzig 4-1 in the DFB-Pokal final in Berlin on Thursday, and BVB chief Zorc has stressed he will be going nowhere in the near future.

Haaland is reported to have a clause allowing him to leave for a set price in the region of €75million at the end of next season, while his contract runs until 2024.

"We are still planning with him. He will play for us next season," Zorc told Sky Sport in Germany before Saturday's Bundesliga match at Mainz.

Haaland was not among the goals in a 3-1 Dortmund win, but did tee up Julian Brandt for BVB's final goal.

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