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.

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.

Thomas Tuchel claimed Chelsea were unlucky in their 1-0 FA Cup final defeat to Leicester City at Wembley.

Youri Tielemans' stunning 25-yard strike just after the hour proved the difference in a tight contest.

A VAR intervention denied Chelsea a late equaliser, with Ben Chilwell shown to be fractionally offside before his shot ricocheted into the net off Wes Morgan.

Tuchel felt some of Chelsea's play was too "hectic" during a scrappy first half, but he did not have many words of pointed criticism for a team who will get another shot at silverware in the Champions League final against Manchester City in two weeks' time.

"Of course we're disappointed, but we're not angry with our performance or our boys," Tuchel said at a post-match news conference.

"I think this performance is enough to win the game. We were simply unlucky.

"We've never hidden the fact that you need luck in this game to win at this level. In some moments you need little details, some decisions, referee's decision-making, sometimes a shot like today.

"I think we defended very, very well. We were very aggressive in counter-pressing, we defended very high up the pitch. We did not allow any counter chances for one of the most dangerous counter-attacking teams in Europe.

"We did not allow any half-chances, any chances. I was absolutely happy with the work rate and intensity."

Chelsea have been on a sharp upwards trajectory since Tuchel succeeded Frank Lampard in January, but this was their second dispiriting 1-0 defeat in a week after going down to Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.

That loss left their top-four hopes in the balance and a rematch with Leicester on home turf on Tuesday in the Premier League means there is no time to dwell on Wembley disappointment.

"We will talk about what we did good and what we can do better to be ready for Tuesday," Tuchel said.

"This is it in sports. There is no team that never loses, no player or no single sports guy. It is about bouncing back, showing mentality and belief again.

"We missed out on a trophy and are very sad about it. But we have another competition with two finals against Leicester and Aston Villa [in the Premier League], then another final [in the Champions League].

"We have enough to do. We cannot regret too long."

Reece James' wayward pass that led to Tielemans' winner struck Leicester's Ayoze Perez on the thigh and bounced up to hit his arm, but Chelsea cries for handball were waved away by referee Michael Oliver – in line with the present guidance.

"I didn't see it, the players said straight away that it was handball," Tuchel added.

"But I'm not an expert on handball anymore. I don't know when it's hands or when it's not.

"You need a bit of luck in these decisions. I cannot comment and give my opinion, but my opinion is not relevant anyway because I don't know anymore when they need to punish it or when they can play with the hand."

Brendan Rodgers hailed Youri Tielemans' instant FA Cup classic after the midfielder spectacularly gave Leicester glory with a 1-0 final win over Chelsea at Wembley.

The Belgium international took aim from 25 yards in the 63rd minute to spark bedlam among the Leicester supporters in a 21,000 crowd at England's national stadium – the largest attendance for a sporting event in the UK since the coronavirus lockdown last March.

Leicester needed heroics from goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and VAR spared another of the favourites from their Premier League success five years ago.

Substitute Wes Morgan turned a ricocheted shot from Ben Chilwell into his own net to apparently herald extra time, but replays showed the ex-Leicester left-back was offside.

Delirious celebrations, with fans and players as one, greeted the full-time whistle and Tielemens was deservedly named man of the match

"Youri's goal was like an old school FA Cup-winning goal but also Kasper Schmeichel's save, those are the special moments you need in games," Rodgers told BBC Sport.

"Overall I thought we were the better team, we pressed the game really well, super-aggressive tactically. We were always a threat with the ball.

"Chelsea are an amazing team, that's why they're in a Champions League final but I thought we deserved it."

As was the case when Schmeichel, Morgan, Jamie Vardy and Marc Albrighton starred in Leicester's 2015-16 Premier League title win, this was a maiden triumph in the FA Cup.

"It's an amazing feeling, I wasn't aware before I came to Leicester that they'd never won the FA Cup, they'd lost in four finals previously," said the former Liverpool boss.

"So, to be able to give that to the supporters and the owners, so special.

"I'm so proud. It's a real collective effort at Leicester City - the board, the players, staff, supporters, an amazing day for the city. I'm just so proud for everyone."

Rodgers added: "I've been lucky enough to be in six finals [with Celtic] before and lucky enough to win them. Today being the seventh was truly special.

"It's the FA Cup and as a British coach it means so much to us. I'm so proud, but happier for everyone else."

Kasper Schmeichel lauded Leicester City's "undescribable" FA Cup final triumph as a 1-0 win over Chelsea gave them the trophy for the first time.

Youri Tielemans hit the only goal in the rain at Wembley on Saturday, allowing the Foxes to celebrate with their returning fans under the arch.

That was Leicester's only shot on target, though, and the rest of the drama was reserved for the opposite end of the pitch in the closing stages.

A Wes Morgan own goal was ruled out by the VAR as Ben Chilwell strayed offside, but Schmeichel had twice brilliantly denied Chelsea before that incident.

The Leicester goalkeeper made only three saves yet crucially lunged after a downward Chilwell header and then denied Mason Mount.

Schmeichel became the first keeper since Arsenal's David Seaman in 2003 to captain a side to an FA Cup win, Leicester's first at the fifth time of asking.

"Amazing, undescribable," he told BBC Sport of the victory. "It's what dreams are made of. I've dreamt of this since I was a child.

"We've talked about wanting to win trophies, and the performance today... the determination. I'm so, so proud of everybody.

"Everybody's contributed. To get to the final, everybody's played, everybody's been sensational, all the team behind the team, the medical staff, everybody, all amazing.

"That's why when you work together, you do things properly, you have an eternal belief, that's what you can achieve."

Schmeichel dedicated the win to late Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who died in a helicopter crash following a match in 2018.

"It's exactly that. None of you will be able to see – on the inside of our shirts, we have a picture of him, so he's always with us, Khun Vichai," he said.

"And obviously, for Top [Vichai's son Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha], this is what we dreamt of, this is what we talked about for so many years.

"Today, for the fans, look at it, it's amazing."

This was Leicester's first FA Cup win over Chelsea in 10 attempts, but they must now quickly rally and defeat the same opposition again in the Premier League on Tuesday.

A win in that match would secure Leicester's place in the Champions League for next season, potentially at Chelsea's expense.

"Today is a great day and we'll enjoy it thoroughly, but we play them again on Tuesday in a massive game again," Schmeichel added.

"Today we enjoy it, tomorrow we have to dust ourselves down and can't really think about it again. They're a top class side, they're going to want revenge."

Schmeichel was part of the Foxes team that remarkably won the Premier League in 2015-16, but fellow final hero Tielemans, who created two chances and supplied two tackles as well as scoring, was a subsequent signing.

The Belgium international said: "I think the start was when they won the league. That was when something special started.

"We are just building that up. Hopefully we can continue. We have a very important game on Tuesday. If we win, we are hopefully in the Champions League.

"We just have to go again. Now we will enjoy and celebrate, but we will think about Tuesday later on."

The most notable element of a disjointed goalless first half in Saturday's FA Cup final was the organic soundtrack.

At the Leicester end of the 21,000-strong crowd, there was a throaty collective roar when Kasper Schmeichel completed a routine catch from a right-wing corner. Referee Michael Oliver had plenty of unflattering appraisals of his work and a wildly off-target drive from Chelsea forward Timo Werner drew hearty guffaws.

There aren't really buttons on a fake crowd noise soundboard for any of that stuff.

The most significant crowd any of these footballers had played in front of for 14 months also seemed to have an impact on some adrenaline levels and resulting performances.

Leicester great Gary Lineker, so poignantly emotional after his boyhood club closed out an unforgettable 1-0 win, has enjoyed an enduring post-career link up with Walkers. The Foxes' current main goal threat, Kelechi Iheanacho, played like a punter who'd collected 10 crisp packets and won the chance to try playing at Wembley.

Iheanacho entered the game as the joint top scorer in this season's FA Cup and with 13 goals in his past 12 outings across all competitions. It counted for nothing, the Nigeria international's touch as heavy as his legs, while muddled decision making did nothing to lengthen the short leash Antonio Rudiger kept him on.

Werner draws another blank

Werner would give plenty for some of Iheanacho's prolific form, the type he enjoyed only last season at RB Leipzig. Here, we again witnessed the Chelsea version – tireless probing running to push the opposition defence deep and prescribe Jonny Evans a swift return to the treatment table.

But Werner snatched at his shots, inadvertently touched a goalscoring chance away from captain Cesar Azpilicueta and then saw Wesley Fofana hurl himself into back-to-back blocks. When the ball broke clear, Werner threw himself at Luke Thomas with the same gusto but none of the expertise to be booked.

The occasion was encouraging commitment, anxiety and a dearth of quality, with the notable exception of Mason Mount.

Chelsea's playmaker pirouetting under a high ball to stun a volleyed pass into Azpilicueta's path was easily the most beautiful piece of play before the interval. His shot from the return ball was deflected wide by Fofana, who seemed to take any attempt to test Schmeichel as a personal affront.

 

Azpilicueta found himself forward so often because he featured at wing-back, with the more naturally attacking Reece James on the right of Chelsea's back three.

The Blues began their run to the final with a victory over Morecambe and, to paraphrase the Lancashire town's favourite son, it felt like Thomas Tuchel had selected all the correct right-sided defenders but not necessarily in the right order.

In reality, however, the move came to look inspired, at least defensively as James effectively shackled Jamie Vardy's livewire running.

Youri's glory

The opening stages of the second half, Leicester finally managed to peg their opponents back. James still dealt with everything in immaculate fashion until, well, he didn't.

The 21-year-old botched a routine pass, hitting it at Ayoze Perez. Thomas snaffled the loose ball and Youri Tielemans straightened his run towards the Chelsea box.

Like Evans earlier, Thiago Silva's combination of old head and old legs persuaded him to let his opponent advance towards goal. Unlike Werner, though, Tielemans is a supreme technician at the top of his game.

The Belgium midfielder unleashed an unerring 25-yard firecracker into the top corner. Some thunder to go with the Wembley rain. Behind the goal, bedlam. Limbs. A cup final goal for the ages.

Tuchel decided to act and a pair of double substitutions followed, including former Leicester full-back Ben Chilwell's introduction. His every touch was booed, until he got his head to a cross from N'Golo Kante – the Foxes' 2015-16 title-winning hero, who endured no barracking.

That moment was one for a sharp intake of breath but Schmeichel plunged to his right for a stunning save. His later stop from Mount was even better.

 

Captain Morgan's VAR cocktail

The dying minutes meant time for another of Claudio Ranieri's old stagers as Wes Morgan came on for his first action since December, immediately barking instructions. The band, or what remains of it, were back together.

When he hoisted the Premier League trophy aloft five years ago, Morgan or none of the rest of us lived in the altered reality of VAR. But it saved him here after Chilwell tore off in villainous celebration, his attempt having cannoned in off his old captain after Caglar Soyuncu had tried to hack it clear. The replays showed a tight but obvious offside.

Morgan, Schmeichel and Vardy have a first FA Cup to go with their club's first league title. They are sporting immortals of the east midlands.

The Leicester faithful also have a new trophy-winning hero in Tielemans after his majestic man-of-the-match showing. Following Eden Hazard in 2018 and Kevin De Bruyne in 2019, another Belgium playmaker scored in an FA Cup final victory. A niche and far more palatable new normal.

And that was the best thing about the rash tackles, the blocks, the screamer, the bedlam, the shredded nerves, the drama, the villains and the heroes. The wonderful atmosphere in which it unfolded was all so instantly and beautifully normal.

A sensational Youri Tielemans strike and an agonising VAR call saw Leicester City lift the FA Cup for the first time after Saturday's 1-0 final win over Chelsea.

The Foxes had failed four times previously at this stage, most recently in 1969, but belatedly added to a burgeoning trophy haul that includes the 2015-16 Premier League title.

Tielemans' long-range, second-half strike proved enough, albeit only after late drama as a marginal offside decision rule out Wes Morgan's own goal and send Thomas Tuchel away empty-handed from the first of two Chelsea finals this month.

Before the Blues can turn their focus to the Champions League, though, they must qualify for next season's competition, which likely means on Tuesday defeating a buoyant Leicester side, who themselves need a result at Stamford Bridge.

Yet Leicester surely would not trade victory in that vital match for this precious triumph, which played out in teeming Wembley rain to the soundtrack of 21,000 returning fans.

Thomas Tuchel has told Chelsea's players there will be no time to celebrate if they beat Leicester City in the FA Cup final… because they must immediately begin preparations for another crunch clash with the same opponents.

The Blues have the opportunity to garnish their impressive recovery under Tuchel with some silverware at Wembley on Saturday.

However, a lacklustre 1-0 loss to Arsenal in midweek leaves their top-four hopes in the balance.

They slipped behind Leicester and are now fourth in the standings, knowing Liverpool could be just a point behind them by the time they host Brendan Rodgers' side on Tuesday.

"There are no celebrations, no celebrations planned. These are special times," Tuchel told reporters.

"If we win there's nothing planned. It's a bit too close that we play on Tuesday again.

"The situation in the league does not allow us to celebrate. We have two finals coming up and want to win both of them.

"Tomorrow will have a huge physical impact and we need to be ready on Sunday to do a good recovery session and on Monday to prepare for the next games.

"If there are celebrations, we need to delay them to a little bit later."

Tuchel has a mixed record in finals, winning the DFB-Pokal with Borussia Dortmund in 2016-17, having lost on penalties to Bayern Munich in the domestic showpiece 12 months earlier.

He won the 2019-20 Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue, having lost – again on penalties to Rennes – in the final of the former a year earlier. However, a 1-0 defeat to Bayern in last August's Champions League final prevented a clean sweep.

"It's very hard to learn from one final to the next final, because you never know how many years or months in between. Your opponent is different, your team is maybe different," said the 47-year-old, who will lead Chelsea in the Champions League final against Manchester City later this month.

"A general rule is that the more tension, the more decisive character that a game has, the less new information you give. You have short, clear sessions.

"It's not the moment to learn new stuff and implement new tactical tricks. It's the moment to be confident and to be well aware what is our style of play, what are our strengths and encourage the players to be on their top level."

At Dortmund, Tuchel explained his attempts to lighten the mood for such occasions extended to him playing as a goalkeeper in training.

"I gave a lot of confidence to my players," he chuckled, having confirmed the far more able Kepa Arrizabalaga will be between the posts for Chelsea in the final.

"Laughter is always very, very welcome, but if you try hard to make the group smile it will not happen. It has to come naturally. If you don't feel it, don't do it

"The tension will grow once you arrive at Wembley. There will be a certain energy that maybe you cannot prepare for. Adapt to it, go for it and embrace the challenge.

"It's normal to be excited and nervous."

In terms of his own preparations when it comes to dealing with those nerves, Tuchel revealed he practices meditation.

"Just 20 minutes, breathe in, breathe out and try hard to do nothing," he added.

"Some years ago I came into this. It helped me, it was a nice experience when I was between coaching Mainz and Dortmund.

"Sometimes I'm very disciplined and do it twice and day, sometimes I am not so disciplined for weeks."

Discipline will be a watchword for Chelsea this weekend – especially immediately after full-time if they manage to secure the club's ninth FA Cup.

Thomas Tuchel believes Chelsea face "two finals" against Leicester City over the course of four days that could do much to define their revival under his leadership.

The Blues have been a team reborn since Tuchel succeeded Frank Lampard as head coach in January and Saturday's FA Cup final at Wembley is their first of two shots they have at silverware – the other coming in the Champions League final against Manchester City in Porto at the end of this month.

Chelsea and Leicester will reconvene on Tuesday with qualification for next season's Champions League still on the line, especially after contrasting fortunes in their most recent fixtures.

Leicester won 2-1 at Manchester United to move ahead of Chelsea in fourth, who went down to a lacklustre 1-0 derby loss at home to Arsenal.

Liverpool, who also beat United in their match at Old Trafford on Thursday, could be one point behind Chelsea by the time Tuchel's men are back in league action and he lamented his team's failure to be "decisive" in the Arsenal game.

"Obviously I cannot judge it," he said when asked which game was more important. "These are two finals and we do not think about anything else but the two finals.

"It's a final for the cup, it's a final for the top four. We missed a chance against Arsenal to be decisive and now we have to cope with it – first of all to show a reaction at Wembley and have the upper hand when it comes to Tuesday."

Tuchel took his share of the blame immediately after Emile Smith Rowe was gifted the only goal by a dire Jorginho backpass at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, and he conceded his irritation at the result had not quite subsided.

"'I still have a hangover from the last defeat, it's always like this. I'm a bit more in angry mode, not at myself or the players but because of the result and the opportunity we missed," he explained.

"I will hopefully transform that to a good preparation and push the team to the edge to play sharp. We have to show a reaction, it's the FA Cup final at Wembley.

"I am fully focused to prepare my team better than two days ago."

On Thursday, the Champions League final was relocated from Istanbul to Porto due to Turkey being on the UK government's "red list" for travel in relation to COVID-19 restrictions.

Tuchel insists his squad should not be paying any attention to an eagerly anticipated fixture still two weeks away.

"I'm happy to go to Porto, I'm happy to go to a final. That's the easy answer - I would go anywhere to play a final," he said.

"But right now the bigger challenge is to forget the Champions League final and to be fully focused on our two finals that are ahead of us.

"We cannot lose one percentage of concentration and focus. We did this the last game against Arsenal and we got punished for it. Lesson learned and well accepted."

Kepa Arrizabalaga will keep his place at Wembley as Chelsea's cup goalkeeper and Tuchel confirmed Mateo Kovacic was fit to feature again after a month on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

"It's huge because Mateo has everything we need in the midfield," he added. 'Experience, power, he can beat players, he has physical ability and has played big games in the Premier League. 

"When we missed N'Golo [Kante] and Mateo, we lacked a lot of quality, energy and experience.

"Billy [Gilmour] did a huge job in huge games but it's not fair to compare him to these players because they have more experience and are a step ahead in their development. 

"It's big news that [Kovacic] is back because he's a big guy in the dressing room around important matches."

Porto will host the Champions League final on May 29, with UEFA confirming the clash between Premier League sides Manchester City and Chelsea has been moved from Istanbul.

The Turkish city had been slated to host the 2020 final, before the coronavirus pandemic led to the closing stages of the tournament being moved to Lisbon and played as one-off matches last August.

Rising COVID-19 cases in Istanbul mean UEFA has again looked to Portugal, with Estadio do Dragao now the host venue for the meeting between newly-crowned English champions City and FA Cup finalists Chelsea, who are in the European showpiece for a third time.

Turkey was placed on the UK government's travel 'red list' last week, making the Ataturk Stadium an impractical venue, with fans told they should not be travelling to such destinations and players and staff would have had to isolate in a government-approved hotel upon their return.

Euro 2020 and the Copa America each starting on June 11 would have made that element particularly problematic.

UEFA on Thursday announced the change of venue and revealed both clubs will be given 6,000 tickets for the showpiece and they will be on sale immediately.

Portugal is on the UK's 'green list', meaning there will be no need for fans or players to quarantine afterwards.

UEFA discussed moving the match to England but it was not possible to achieve the necessary exemptions from UK quarantine arrangements.

Aleksander Ceferin, the UEFA president, said: “I think we can all agree that we hope never to experience a year like the one we have just endured.

"Fans have had to suffer more than twelve months without the ability to see their teams live and reaching a Champions League final is the pinnacle of club football.  To deprive those supporters of the chance to see the match in person was not an option and I am delighted that this compromise has been found.

"After the year that fans have endured, it is not right that they don't have the chance to watch their teams in the biggest game of the season.

"Once again we have turned to our friends in Portugal to help both UEFA and the Champions League and I am, as always, very grateful to the FPF and the Portuguese Government for agreeing to stage the match at such short notice.

"They have worked tirelessly in very tight time constraints in finding solutions for the many challenges that hosting a game of this magnitude presents.  Whenever there has been an obstacle, they have been creative in the solutions presented and the success of staging this year’s final is entirely down to their hard work and persistence.

"We accept that the decision of the British Government to place Turkey on the red list for travel was taken in good faith and in the best interests of protecting its citizens from the spread of the virus but it also presented us with a major challenge in staging a final featuring two English teams.

"The difficulties of moving the final are great and the FA and the authorities made every effort to try to stage the match in England and I would like to thank them for their work in trying to make it happen.

"The Turkish football federation and the Turkish authorities have recognised the UEFA's efforts to give fans of the competing clubs a chance to watch the game.

"The Turkish Football Federation and the authorities have always been reliable partners of UEFA and Turkey has hosted many UEFA events over the years with great success. I hope to be in Istanbul and Turkey for a Champions League final and many other events in the near future.

"I hope the final will be a symbol of hope at the re-emergence of Europe from a difficult period and that the fans who travel to the game will once again be able to lend their voices to showcase this final as the best in club football.."

What does the future hold for Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez?

The pair helped Inter to their first Scudetto since 2009-10.

But both could depart San Siro as Inter look to cut costs.

 

TOP STORY – LUKAKU AND LAUTARO TO LEAVE INTER?

Inter could be forced to sell star forwards Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Antonio Conte's Inter have been crowned Serie A champions this season, but the Nerazzurri have financial problems as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lukaku has been linked with former club Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid, while team-mate Martinez has long been tipped to join Barca.

Alessandro Bastoni is also listed in the report amid links to Manchester City and Liverpool, while star full-back Achraf Hakimi is said to be of interest to Arsenal and Bayern Munich.

 

ROUND-UP

- The front page of Thursday's Mundo Deportivo reports Barca look at the idea of signing City's Sergio Aguero favourably. Aguero is out of contract at season's end and he has been linked with Inter, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham. But the Argentina star reportedly wants to play alongside countryman Lionel Messi. A move for Aguero would not prevent Barca from signing fellow free agent and Lyon captain Memphis Depay. Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland is also a target for the LaLiga giants. It comes amid doubts over the future of head coach Ronald Koeman.

Manchester United and Arsenal are battling to sign Sparta Prague sensation Abdallah Sima, claims the Mirror. Sima is reportedly valued at £25million (€29m).

- Sky Sports says United are interested in Juventus defender Cristian Romero, who could cost £34m (€40m). The 23-year-old Argentinian joined Atalanta on a two-year loan deal from Juve and the Serie A side have an option to buy Romero. United have also been linked with Sevilla's Jules Kounde, Lille defender Sven Botman, Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres and Real Madrid duo Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.

- Former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard could replace Roy Hodgson at Crystal Palace after emerging as a leading contender, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Miralem Pjanic has been used sparingly at Barcelona since his off-season move from Juventus last year and may be on the move again soon.

The Bosnian was a regular for Juventus during four title-winning Serie A seasons prior to the switch.

With Barca's LaLiga title challenge faltering, the club are eager to mix things up in the next transfer window.

 

TOP STORY - BARCELONA PLOT SWAP DEAL WITH CHELSEA

Barcelona are looking to complete a swap deal with Chelsea whereby Pjanic and Jorginho would be exchanged, claims Sport.

Barca head coach Ronald Koeman is behind the move as he tries to land Jorginho and is willing to use the out-of-favour Pjanic to facilitate the deal.

Sport also claims that if Chelsea are not interested, the Catalans may suggest a trade with Inter involving Pjanic and an unnamed Nerazzurri player.

 

ROUND-UP

Roma have joined the list of clubs keen on Brighton and Hove Albion's Ben White, according to The Sun, with Jose Mourinho's Premier League knowledge playing a part. Manchester United and Arsenal are also said to be keen on White.

- The Telegraph claims Arsenal are interested in making a move to sign Moussa Dembele, who has had underwhelming loan spell at Atletico Madrid from Lyon.

Eric Garcia is on his way to Barcelona, according to Goal, who reports they have reached an agreement to sign him. The defender's contract is up at the end of the season.

- Chelsea's veteran forward Olivier Giroud has attracted interest from Inter and Lazio, claims Calciomercato.

- Calciomercato also reports Milan are tracking Tottenham full-back Serge Aurier.

Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland together at Camp Nou?

Barcelona are among a host of clubs interested in Borussia Dortmund's Haaland.

Joan Laporta is reportedly fighting to bring Haaland to Spain.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA NOT GIVING UP ON HAALAND

Erling Haaland remains Barcelona's number one transfer target, according to Diario Sport.

Borussia Dortmund star Haaland has been linked with Barca, Real Madrid, Manchester CityChelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

Despite their financial problems and cheaper alternatives, Barca are determined to prise Haaland to Camp Nou, though Inter's Lautaro Martinez and Tottenham star Harry Kane remain possible options.

 

ROUND-UP

- Le10Sport claims Arsenal are desperate to lure Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga to London. Camavinga is in demand amid reported interest from Madrid, United and PSG. Mundo Deportivo, meanwhile, reports Barca are eyeing the France international as a replacement for Sergio Busquets.

- Milan intend on signing Fikayo Tomori on a permanent deal from Chelsea, reports Fabrizio Romano. Tomori has impressed since arriving at San Siro on loan. It comes as Chelsea work to extend Thiago Silva's contract.

- FT says Bayern star Kingsley Coman wants to double his wages in a contract extension. The France international has previously been linked with United.

- Liverpool have shown interest in Leeds United forward Patrick Bamford, according to The Athletic.

- Calciomercato reports Serie A champions Inter and Lazio are targeting Chelsea veteran Olivier Giroud, who is set to leave Stamford Bridge amid the Blues' links with Bayern star Robert Lewandowski and City free agent Sergio Aguero.

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