Amnesty International has suggested the collapse of Newcastle United's Saudi-backed takeover will be seen as a "sign" that human rights defenders have not been completely disregarded.

A proposed £300million purchase of the Premier League club, backed by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), whose chairman is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had been ongoing for several months.

But the prospective new owners pulled out of a deal on Thursday, owing largely to the protracted nature of negotiations, which combined with the coronavirus pandemic, had made the investment "no longer commercially viable".

There had been strong opposition to the deal from human rights campaigners concerned about Saudi Arabia's welfare practices, while matters were complicated further when the World Trade Organization (WTO) published a report that found representatives of the Kingdom facilitated the breach of piracy laws through broadcasting network beoutQ, who were accused of illegally showing Premier League football and other sport.

Amnesty International, the world's leading human rights organisation, was among the most vocal critics when the deal first came to light, telling Stats Perform News in April that the takeover was an attempt to "sportswash" – using sports or a club as a PR tool to divert attention from areas of concern, or improve a country's image.

Following Thursday's collapse, the organisation is hoping human rights defenders take heart.

"This deal was always a blatant attempt by the government of Saudi Arabia to try to sportswash its abysmal human rights record by buying into the passion, prestige and pride of Tyneside football," Peter Frankental, Amnesty International UK's economics affairs programme director, said.

"The fact that this sportswashing bid has failed will be seen by human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia as a sign that their suffering has not been entirely overlooked.

"Numerous peaceful Saudi human rights activists are currently behind bars, and of course a Saudi journalist was grotesquely murdered by agents of the Saudi state less than two years ago.

"Looking ahead, there needs to be a rule change to ensure the Premier League's Owners' and Directors' test provides proper scrutiny of the human rights records of those trying to buy into English football, not least when the buyers are governments or government representatives.

"We'll be watching developments at St James' Park with interest and meanwhile we wish Newcastle United and its fans well."

A consortium led by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund has pulled out of a bid to buy Newcastle United.

A proposed £300m purchase of the Premier League club, backed by the PIF, whose chairman is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has been withdrawn largely due to the protracted nature of negotiations.

A statement initially carried by Sky Sports News on behalf of the PIF, PCP Capital Partners and Reuben Brothers, confirmed: "With a deep appreciation for the Newcastle community and the significance of its football club, we have come to the decision to withdraw our interest in acquiring Newcastle United Football Club.

"We do so with regret, as we were excited and fully committed to invest in the great city of Newcastle and believe we could have returned the club to the position of its history, tradition and fans' merit.

"Unfortunately, the prolonged process under the current circumstances coupled with global uncertainty has rendered the potential investment no longer commercially viable.

"To that end, we feel a responsibility to the fans to explain the lack of alternatives from an investment perspective.

"As an autonomous and purely commercial investor, our focus was on building long-term value for the club, its fans and the community as we remained committed to collaboration, practicality and proactivity through a difficult period of global uncertainty and significant challenges for the fans and the club.

"Ultimately, during the unforeseeably prolonged process, the commercial agreement between the Investment Group and the club's owners expired and our investment thesis could not be sustained, particularly with no clarity as to the circumstances under which the next season will start and the new norms that will arise for matches, training and other activities.

"As often occurs with proposed investments in uncertain periods, time itself became an enemy of the transaction, particularly during this difficult phase marked by the many real challenges facing us all from COVID-19.

"We feel great compassion for the Newcastle United fans, with whom we shared a great commitment to help Newcastle United harness its tremendous potential and build upon its impressive and historic legacy while working closely with the local community.

"We would like to say that we truly appreciated your incredible expressions of support and your patience throughout this process. We are sorry it is not to be.

"We wish the team and everyone associated with it much good luck and success."

Talk of the takeover has rumbled on for some months but the process has been far from smooth.

There has been opposition to the deal from human rights campaigners concerned about Saudi Arabia's welfare practices, while matters were complicated further when the World Trade Organization published a report that found representatives of the Kingdom had facilitated the breach of piracy laws through broadcasting network beoutQ.

BeoutQ has been accused of illegally showing live sport, including Premier League games, with broadcast rights in the Middle East belonging to Qatar-based beIN SPORTS.

According to the BBC, Saudi Arabia appealed against the WTO's decision.

The Premier League's longest season yet concluded on Sunday with Liverpool champions for the first time.

The Reds were comfortable in ending a 30-year wait for a top-flight title, but there was drama until the closing minutes of the final day.

Manchester United and Chelsea can celebrate Champions League qualification as the division's strugglers reflect on their contrasting fortunes.

Meanwhile, with the help of Opta data, we look at some of the quirkiest numbers from the 2019-20 campaign.


5 - David Luiz conceded five penalties in the Premier League this season, the most a player has ever given away in a single season in the competition.

167 - Jack Grealish was fouled 167 times in the 2019-20 Premier League, the most fouls won by a player in a single campaign on record (since 1998-99).

24 - Scott McTominay now has the fastest Premier League yellow card on record. He was booked just 24 seconds into Manchester United's December home win against Newcastle United.

2000 - It was a season of milestones for McTominay, who scored Manchester United's 2000th Premier League goal against Norwich City in October. They became the first club to the landmark.

27 - The Norwich class of 2019-20 became the only side not to record a single point from a losing position in Premier League history. They lost all 27 matches in which they fell behind.

4 - Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard's fourth-placed finish is the highest finish for an English manager in their debut Premier League season since Frank Clark's Nottingham Forest came third in 1994-95.

2 - Lampard's season ended well, but September's 2-1 defeat to Liverpool made him just the second Chelsea boss - after Bobby Campbell in 1988 - to lose his first four home matches in all competitions.

33 - At the age of 33, Jamie Vardy became the oldest player to win the Premier League Golden Boot, scoring 23 goals in 2019-20.

5 - Virgil van Dijk became just the fifth outfield player to play every minute for a Premier League title-winning side, following Gary Pallister (1992-93), John Terry (2014-15), Wes Morgan (2015-16) and Cesar Azpilicueta (2016-17).

2013 - Anthony Martial's June hat-trick against Sheffield United was Manchester United's first in the Premier League since Robin van Persie scored three against Aston Villa in April 2013.

7 - Martial and Marcus Rashford assisted one another a combined seven times in this season's Premier League, the most of any pairing in a single edition of the competition for Manchester United.

49 - All 49 clubs to have played in the Premier League have conceded at least one hat-trick after Raheem Sterling's three-goal haul against Brighton and Hove Albion in July.

14 - Manchester United won 14 penalties in the 2019-20 season, the most a team has ever won in a single Premier League campaign.

29 - Harry Kane is the only player to face more than one club in the Premier League and score against them all, with Sheffield United the 29th he netted against.

15 - Kevin De Bruyne ended the season with a joint-record 20 assists - tied with Thierry Henry - but he became the first player to set up 15 goals in three separate Premier League campaigns.

93 - Tottenham went a record 93 games without a goalless draw before they were held 0-0 by Watford in January.

Jurgen Klopp insisted Virgil van Dijk needed no further praise after completing an ever-present season for Liverpool, although he acknowledged the defender had surpassed expectations.

Van Dijk played every minute for Liverpool in the Premier League this term as they ended as champions, finishing 18 points clear of previous title-holders Manchester City.

The Netherlands international had similarly started each match of the 2018-19 season as City pipped the Reds on the final day.

Van Dijk has been recognised as one of the league's most accomplished, consistent centre-backs since signing for Liverpool from Southampton, yet Klopp has been just as impressed by his mindset and manner.

"I'm not sure if he needs another hour of praise," Klopp told reporters after Van Dijk scored against Newcastle United in a 3-1 win. "He's good, pretty good. He's a good centre-half.

"No, he's special, his combination of skills is special, his mindset – on top of that – is special.

"This makes him a pretty good centre-half and a good guy as well, which I like a lot. I would work with him as well if he was a little more difficult to be with, but he's really low maintenance.

"He's really nice to have. We knew when we signed him we'd get a really good player, but the package is so special, and we had no idea about that. That makes him really, really exciting."

Of Van Dijk's ever-present record, the manager added with a smile: "He takes his breaks in the games from time to time, which drives me crazy.

"But I get it, I get it. It was his big target, I think, that he could do that again. Hopefully that will be possible for the rest of his career. That would be absolutely special.

"We've tried to rest him but it's difficult. So far, it's went well, and we hope it stays like this, but now he has two weeks off as well, so he doesn't need more, I'm sure."

Klopp was asked how he might describe Liverpool's season and settled on "absolutely exceptional".

"It was exceptional, absolutely exceptional, [a club-record] 99 points," he said.

"Really, how we think about it, it starts on June 1, 2019, because, yes, it was the last game of the last season [the Champions League final win over Tottenham], but for us it was the first game of a pretty special time.

"So, after that, the European Super Cup, the Club World Cup and now the Premier League is absolutely exceptional. Getting 99 points after having 97 last year is absolutely exceptional."

With the Premier League set to restart on September 12, he added: "We have two weeks off and then we still have to write a couple more chapters of the book of this team."

Virgil van Dijk is looking forward to the "new challenge" of the 2020-21 Premier League season after Liverpool concluded their title-winning campaign with a win.

The Reds coasted to the title and ended with a club-record 99 points thanks to a 3-1 victory at Newcastle United on the final day.

Champions Liverpool trailed to Dwight Gayle's 25th-second opener, yet Van Dijk, Divock Origi and Sadio Mane made sure Jurgen Klopp's side ended the season in style.

The next campaign is just weeks away, with the Premier League returning on September 12, and Van Dijk was already turning his attention towards a title defence.

"It's been a big dream of mine coming true," the defender told BT Sport. "For all of us, for this beautiful club, it's outstanding.

"It should spur us on to try even harder to retain the title. It's going to be very tough. Teams are going to improve, going to want to beat us even more, but we'll focus on each game at a time. That's what we did this season.

"Hopefully we can be as consistent as we were this season. It's going to be a new challenge, but we shall look forward to that as well.

"If I'm talking personally, I don't think I need any more motivation. I want to go out there every opportunity there is, trying to get results together with the boys and enjoying the game.

"The second half I really enjoyed, how we played, how we pressed the ball when we lost it. That's the key for next season as well.

"We want to improve on the way we play and be as consistent as we have been this year. It's going to be hard, because I think consistency is the hardest thing in football. But it's going to be a nice challenge."

Despite Liverpool's sloppy start, conceding the fastest goal in their Premier League history, Van Dijk was delighted with the response at St James' Park.

"It was an outstanding game, I think," he said. "In the second half especially, we played amazing football, we created chances and it's a well deserved win.

"It's a good feeling to go into a little break. Hopefully we'll be all fresh and ready to go for the new season in a couple of weeks."

Klopp concurred with his star centre-back, saying: "I liked the game really. You call it in this country a dead rubber, so you don't know what to expect.

"I didn't like the goal we conceded obviously, but it helped. It made it immediately clear, 'Okay, we have to go', and the boys did."

He added: "I saw that we really worked in the game and tried to find a way and got better and better and better. It was better before the changes, but then the changes really helped massively.

"I really liked the game. It was far away from being perfect, but it's a good example for what the boys did over the whole season.

"They didn't only win football games when the sun was shining, the pitch was perfect and everything was perfect. They won a lot of difficult games as well.

"Today was a difficult game and we won it, well deserved, and stayed 95 minutes in the game after the season the boys played. Incredibly, really."

Manchester United and Chelsea claimed the final two Champions League qualification spots on the Premier League's final day, while Watford and Bournemouth were relegated to the Championship. 

Frank Lampard's side beat Wolves 2-0 while United grabbed the other Champions League berth thanks to a 2-0 victory over Leicester City, who missed out on a top-four finish despite spending most of the campaign in the table's upper reaches.

A 1-1 draw at West Ham saw Aston Villa retain their top-flight status, with Bournemouth's 3-1 victory over Everton not enough to prevent them and Watford - beaten 3-2 by Arsenal - joining Norwich City in being demoted.

 

FOXES MISS OUT ON CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RETURN

Brendan Rodgers' men were 14 points clear of United as recently as January but Bruno Fernandes' 71st-minute penalty and substitute Jesse Lingard's stoppage-time strike meant Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side finished above Leicester after 38 games.

A draw would have been enough for Leicester to finish fourth had Chelsea been beaten by Wolves, but first-half goals from Mason Mount and Olivier Giroud ruled out that possibility early on.

Jamie Vardy, who won the golden boot with 23 goals, headed against the crossbar in the second period before Fernandes converted United's record 14th penalty of the campaign and Lingard added another to ensure a return to Europe's premier club competition, with Leicester's misery compounded by Jonny Evans' late dismissal.

 

VILLA SURVIVE DESPITE LATE DRAMA

Villa captain Jack Grealish's 84th-minute strike looked to have been enough to preserve their Premier League status - and, though Andriy Yarmolenko's deflected effort brought West Ham back level moments later - Dean Smith's team held on to avoid going straight back down at the first attempt.

Instead it was Bournemouth - a Premier League club since 2015 - who went down despite their win at Goodison Park.

Watford, who were promoted five years ago too, were also relegated having fallen 3-0 down to Arsenal inside 33 minutes, with goals from Troy Deeney and Danny Welbeck not enough to save them.

 

SPURS SEAL EUROPA LEAGUE SPOT

A 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace ensured Tottenham sealed a top-six finish and the final qualification place for next season's Europa League, as Wolves dropped down to seventh on goal difference.

As well as scoring twice, Kevin De Bruyne also equalled Thierry Henry's Premier League assist record with his 20th of the season as Manchester City thrashed Norwich 5-0 to reach 102 goals for the season.

Champions Liverpool came from behind to beat Newcastle United 3-1, Brighton and Hove Albion won 2-1 at Burnley and Southampton defeated Sheffield United 3-1.

Liverpool came from behind to conclude their successful 2019-20 Premier League campaign with a 3-1 win at Newcastle United on the final day, securing a club-record points tally.

The Reds have cruised to the title - their first in 30 years - but showed signs of a hangover from Wednesday's trophy celebrations as they trailed to Dwight Gayle's first-minute opener.

Although Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino all started from the bench, Jurgen Klopp's men recovered to turn the game on its head either side of half-time.

Virgil van Dijk equalised and Divock Origi then grabbed his first goal since December before Sadio Mane added late gloss to the scoreline as Liverpool finished the campaign with 99 points, their best ever top-flight haul and only one shy of Manchester City's 2017-18 record.

The surprise Gayle goal had seen Newcastle lead Liverpool early for the second time this season, with this 25-second effort the fastest the Reds have ever conceded in the Premier League.

Allan Saint-Maximin quickly won a foul on halfway and Jonjo Shelvey's free-kick sent Gayle clear to stab past Alisson, prompting a lengthy VAR review for a potential offside before the goal was given.

Liverpool's subsequent dominance initially spawned only a speculative Takumi Minamino effort, which Martin Dubravka saved well, before Alisson had to be alert to field an unorthodox Federico Fernandez drive at the other end.

But with the Reds' usual attacking stars watching on, Van Dijk stepped up and looped a towering header over Dubravka from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's right-wing cross.

Klopp readied Salah, Mane and Firmino as Liverpool made a slow start to the second half, yet the imminent changes provoked Origi to blast in the visitors' second, his shot passing through a crowd of bodies to deceive Dubravka and pick out the bottom-right corner.

The triple substitution followed regardless and Salah's first involvement saw a powerful strike bounce off the post, but it was Mane who provided the final flourish.

Cutting inside from the left in trademark fashion, the winger curled beyond Dubravka to end Liverpool's season in style.


What does it mean? Record-breaking campaign ends in fitting fashion

There has been plenty of attention given to the landmarks Liverpool have not matched this season, losing their unbeaten record to Watford and then slowing after the restart to miss out on the opportunity to earn 100 points.

But few Reds fans will be complaining as they reflect on the campaign and this‏ latest record - besting their 97 points last season and 98 in 1978-79 (when adjusted to three for a win) - provided an apt finale.

Back-up Origi ends goal drought

For close to an hour, Klopp's makeshift XI displayed the few shortcomings in this Liverpool squad. Without their star attacking trio, the champions rarely tested Dubravka.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was industrious, while Minamino is still finding his feet, but it fell to Origi - scoring just his sixth goal of the season - to really make a mark.

Early error provides scare

There have been a few too many defensive Liverpool mistakes since the title was wrapped up - including in the midweek 5-3 win over Chelsea. The latest saw Joe Gomez caught out of position as Gayle ran through.

Klopp will hope such lapses do not linger into next season.

What's next?

Neither side have FA Cup or European duties still to fulfil, meaning they can instead now look towards next season, with the Premier League returning on September 12.

Dwight Gayle scored after just 25 seconds for Newcastle United against Liverpool on Sunday, making Premier League history.

A much-changed Liverpool side were caught dozing as Gayle ran onto Jonjo Shelvey's quick free-kick and squeezed a finish past Alisson for a goal that was awarded following a lengthy VAR review.

The swift strike was the earliest Liverpool have ever conceded in the Premier League.

And Gayle's effort - his fifth league goal against the Reds - also marked the fastest goal on the final day of any Premier League season.

Champions Liverpool started with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino all on the bench, making this only the second time since the former's 2017 arrival they have all been missing from a Jurgen Klopp league XI.

Borussia Dortmund are reportedly ready to let Jadon Sancho leave this close season, while Barcelona are eager to re-sign Ansu Fati.

Sancho, 20, has continually been linked with a move away from the Bundesliga club amid reported interest from several European giants.

And Dortmund may be prepared to let the attacker go.

 

TOP STORY – DORTMUND WILLING TO SELL SANCHO

Borussia Dortmund are prepared to sell Sancho to Manchester United for the right price, according to The Independent.

However, the report says United's qualification for the Champions League remains a huge factor.

Ahead of a trip to Leicester City on Sunday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men are third in the table, a point clear of their fifth-placed hosts.

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are eager to re-sign Fati, according to the cover of Sport. The report says the LaLiga giants are keen to extend the teenager's deal amid interest from United, lifting the forward's release clause to €300million.

- Sport also reports that Inter are pressing to re-sign Lautaro Martinez, who has been linked to Barcelona. Martinez is coming out of contract in 2023.

- Manchester City are said to be getting close to agreeing a deal for Valencia star Ferran Torres. Cadena SER claims City want to include Yangel Herrera, who is on loan at Granada, in the deal to lower the cost.

- After struggling in his first season at Real Madrid, Luka Jovic has been linked with a move. The Shields Gazette reports Newcastle United are planning a £60m (€65.9m) loan move for the forward.

- Linked with more moves after signing Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, Chelsea could strengthen their defence. The Telegraph says the Premier League club have scouted Atletico Madrid defender Jose Gimenez.

- Arsenal have received a boost in their apparent pursuit of Joelson Fernandes. TSF reports the 17-year-old is further away from re-signing with Sporting CP and Arsenal will move forward with a £41m (€45m) offer for the forward.

Sergio Ramos has been the face of Real Madrid, especially since Cristiano Ronaldo's departure in 2018.

Ramos highlighted his importance as Madrid dethroned Barcelona in LaLiga this season.

As the 34-year-old's current deal winds down, talks are reportedly underway to prolong his stay.

 

TOP STORY – RAMOS REVEALS RENEWAL PLANS

Real Madrid captain Ramos wants €17million to renew his contract with the LaLiga champions, according to Diario Sport.

Ramos is out of contract in 2021 and there have been question marks as to whether the Spain skipper will sign a new deal at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The defender has called Madrid home since arriving from Sevilla in 2005.

ROUND-UP

- The front page of Thursday's Diario Sport claims Barcelona are determined to sign Manchester City defender Eric Garcia. The 19-year-old left Barca for City in 2017. It comes as Premier League outfit City push for a swap deal involving full-back Joao Cancelo and Barca's Nelson Semedo.

- Could Real Madrid forward Luka Jovic reunite with former Eintracht Frankfurt team-mate Ante Rebic at Milan? According to reports, Fali Ramadani – agent to both Jovic and Rebic – met with Milan directors Paolo Maldini and Ricky Massara on Wednesday. Jovic has struggled since leaving Eintracht for Madrid at the start of the season, with the Serbia international linked to Milan, Napoli, Leicester City and Chelsea among others. Rebic, meanwhile, is on a two-season loan from Eintracht.

Manchester United are interested in signing Adrien Rabiot from Juventus, claims Calciomercato. Fellow Premier League teams Everton and Newcastle United are also reportedly interested.

- Sky Sport Italia and Sportitalia report Victor Osimhen is set to be presented as a Napoli player on Friday. The Lille forward had previously been the subject of reported interest from the likes of Liverpool and United. Sky journalist Fabrizio Romano also says talks are ongoing for Napoli to sign Jeremie Boga from Sassuolo.

- According to RAC1 journalist Gerard Romero, Barca are eyeing Villarreal defender Pau Torres. The 23-year-old – also linked to City – reportedly has a €50m release clause.

City have offered Yangel Herrera to Valencia in an attempt to lure winger Ferran Torres to Manchester, says Gols Media. City are looking to replace Leroy Sane following his Bayern Munich switch.

Milan have contacted the agent of Brescia star Sandro Tonali, claims Sportmediaset. While Inter remain the frontrunners, their city rivals are not giving up on the Italy midfielder.

- Mundo Deportivo says Chelsea are dreaming of signing Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen amid doubts over current number one Kepa Arrizabalaga. Chelsea have also been linked to Atletico Madrid star Jan Oblak.

Brighton and Hove Albion are certain to be in the Premier League next season after a draw on Monday, while Everton put a serious dent in Sheffield United’s hopes of playing in Europe. 

A 0-0 stalemate with Newcastle United on the south coast means Graham Potter's Brighton are mathematically safe with a game to spare. 

The teams combined to produce just four shots on target in a tepid clash that certainly had an end-of-season feel about it, meaning the six Premier League meetings between them have now produced just four goals. 

"We are there now, the target is done," Lewis Dunk told Sky Sports. 

"It's disappointing we didn't create much, but they didn't create much either. It was not the best game - I think both sides cancelled each other out."

At Bramall Lane, Richarlison scored the only goal less than a minute after the break as Everton recorded their first victory in five outings. 

The Brazilian headed in Gylfi Sigurdsson's inviting free-kick and United were unable to respond, the narrow loss meaning they remain eighth in the table ahead of Sunday's final round of fixtures. 

Chris Wilder's Blades could have risen above Wolves into seventh with a home win, but now are relying on other results to help them out in their quest to qualify for the Europa League. 

Harry Kane has warned his Tottenham team-mates that anything less than six points from their remaining two matches will likely result in them missing out on European football next term.

Spurs claimed a 3-1 win at Newcastle United on Wednesday to move them up to seventh, which would be high enough to secure a spot in next season's Europa League, assuming the FA Cup is won by a team already certain of European qualification.

Sheffield United could move back above Spurs when they play their game in hand on Thursday, though their opponents – Leicester City – are also in the mix, meaning at least one European hopeful will drop points.

With the Premier League then heading into its final two rounds of matchdays, Jose Mourinho will hope Spurs are primed to take full advantage of any slip-ups – particularly given Champions League qualification is still a remote possibility.

And Kane has told his colleagues they must assume anything other than two wins against Leicester and Crystal Palace will see them fail.

"[Beating Newcastle] was a massive win," he told the Spurs website. "We said before, 'Three games, it has to be three wins if we want to be in with a shout of reaching the Europa League.'

"Arsenal was a big win for us and that gave us momentum coming into these final three games. Every game is tough, and it's been an up-and-down season for us, especially our away form, so we knew it was important to get the three points and thankfully we did.

"Now, some of the teams around us have to play each other, so we'd imagine two more wins and we should be in the Europa League places, but we can only take care of ourselves and see what happens. It's a massive game on Sunday [against Leicester] now."

Kane scored twice in the win at Newcastle to reach 201 career goals at club level and, while he insisted it is not something he will dwell on, he did acknowledge it felt good to receive recognition for remaining consistent despite having some injury issues in recent seasons.

"It's a nice milestone to hit but as always when I'm told about these milestones, it's always on to the next 100 or 200," he added. "It's gone quickly – I've been a professional now for eight or nine years and it just flies by.

"In the last couple of years I've had a few injuries as well, and they've kept me out of quite a lot of games. [Scoring 20 goals per season] is a nice, consistent level I'd like to keep at and I'm happy to do it again this season. Two more games to go, let's see how many more we can get."

Jose Mourinho appeared to take aim at Pep Guardiola and Manchester City over their Financial Fair Play (FFP) dispute as he bristled at a question regarding his Tottenham team selection.

Mourinho oversaw Spurs' 3-1 win at Newcastle United on Wednesday, with Harry Kane on the scoresheet twice – passing 200 club career goals – as the London outfit boosted their hopes of European qualification.

But even after victory – Mourinho's first in the Premier League at St James' Park – the head coach's focus did not seem to stray far from the result of City's appeal this week.

Guardiola's side were initially banned from European competition for two years by UEFA but successfully appealed against that punishment at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Mourinho called the outcome "a disgraceful decision" and again made reference to FFP following the game on Tyneside, going slightly off piste as he discussed his line-up.

Asked about Steven Bergwijn's role as a substitute, Mourinho replied: "You do this question to me but not to [Frank] Lampard, to [Jurgen] Klopp, to Pep.

"Lampard plays [Christian] Pulisic, you don't ask him why he doesn't start [Callum] Hudson-Odoi. Pep leaves Bernardo on bench, you don't ask why he doesn't start Bernardo Silva.

"I'm the only guy who doesn't have the right to play certain players. If Bergwijn started, you'd be asking me why Lucas [Moura] didn't start.

"You don't ask [Wolves boss] Nuno [Espirito Santo] why he leaves [Adama] Traore on the bench. [Bergwijn] is a team player, he plays for Tottenham."

It was put to Mourinho that he would be pleased by Bergwijn's impact from the bench, prompting his reply: "It is credibility for the players and for the group.

"We need good players and more than 11. We need a good group of players. And if we can do that without breaking FFP, we'll do even better."

Mourinho was cheerier as he discussed the end of his St James' Park hoodoo, halting a run of seven games as a visiting manager in the league without victory.

"It's special for us as we needed these three points," he said. "For me, it's a good feeling.

"I'm very happy for the team and finally I can leave the stadium and look at the statue of [former mentor] Bobby Robson and smile at him."

Jose Mourinho hailed Serge Aurier's character and lavished praise on Harry Kane after Tottenham's 3-1 win at Newcastle United.

Kane scored the 200th and 201st club goals of his career in the second half to give Mourinho his first Premier League victory at St James' Park on Wednesday.

Son Heung-min put the visitors in front in the first half, but Matt Ritchie deservedly equalised with a stunning second-half strike.

Kane made wasteful Newcastle pay for a lack of ruthlessness to move his side up to seventh in the table with two games to play in the battle for European qualification.

Mourinho lauded his captain and full-back Aurier, who played the entire game just two days after the death of his brother.

"We had resilience and a great desire to win the match and to fight until the last for our objective which is the Europa League," the Spurs boss told Match of the Day.

"Since I started we are fourth in the table. If we cannot get the Champions League than the Europa League is important."

The Portuguese added: "Harry Kane knows how important he is, he is incredible.

"After such a difficult recovery [from injury] he is playing every minute of every game, this is the fourth game with two days in between, we are the only team to have this, and Harry gave everything.

"I am proud of them and happy with the points. Serge Aurier is a very strong character, every person is different and in his case he wanted to play."

Harry Kane scored the 200th and 201st club goals of his career as Tottenham boosted their bid for European qualification with a 3-1 win at Newcastle United.

Kane had gone three games without a goal, but the England captain headed home twice as Jose Mourinho celebrated his first Premier League victory at St James' Park.

Son Heung-min opened the scoring for Tottenham in the first half with his 18th goal of the season, but Matt Ritchie deservedly levelled after the break with a thunderous drive.

Kane restored the London club's advantage four minutes later, though, and struck again late on as Spurs followed up their derby win over Arsenal with another three points to move up to seventh with two games to play.

Tottenham were not at their best but ground out another victory, Serge Aurier showing great character to play just two days after the death of his brother.

Newcastle did not start like a team that had lost their last two games and Jonjo Shelvey spurned a great chance to put them in front, heading Ritchie's inviting cross over the crossbar from close range unchallenged after Miguel Almiron had an early shot deflected wide.

Son made the Magpies pay for their profligacy, DeAndre Yedlin allowing him too much room inside the penalty area to find bottom-left corner of the net after Fabian Schar had given the ball away after 27 minutes.

Martin Dubravka produced an acrobatic save to deny Son from long range soon after and Newcastle were almost level when Dwight Gayle headed Shelvey's inviting cross against the post.

Steve Bruce's side were level 11 minutes into the second half, though, Aurier's attempted clearance only finding the onrushing Ritchie, who smashed a stunning strike into the far corner.

Kane ensured Newcastle were not level for long, however, nodding in substitute Steven Bergwijn's cross to reach another landmark.

Valentino Lazaro found the side-netting as Newcastle strived for an equaliser, but Kane sealed it when he nodded in with time running out after Erik Lamela's shot was palmed into his path by Dubravka.

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