It's matchday 31. The run-in requires points, and lots of them.

Of course, picking the players who earn surprise points is a big part of fantasy football, but at this point of the season, do you really want to be taking risks?

With that in mind, let Stats Perform lead you by the hand with Opta data as we pick four players who might just give you those precious extra points in the latest Premier League gameweek.

EDOUARD MENDY (Chelsea v Brentford)

Edouard Mendy provides value, given Chelsea have won their previous five matches and will be facing a Brentford severely down on form, having won only two in 11 (against Norwich City and Burnley).

Despite the turbulent circumstances the Blues have faced of late, they powered into this past international window, with four clean sheets in their past five league games.

Among all Premier League goalkeepers with a minimum of 450 minutes played in 2022, only Alisson has kept more clean sheets and conceded fewer goals per 90 than Mendy.

BEN WHITE (Crystal Palace v Arsenal)

Aside from their loss at home to a Liverpool side that is rolling at present, Arsenal have been in otherwise solid form of late.

Clean sheets against Aston Villa and Leicester City sandwich the Liverpool defeat, and Ben White has been a pivotal figure in the Gunners' defensive output.

Among Premier League central defenders this season, Ben White has the second-highest tally of clean sheets with 13, behind only Virgil van Dijk's 17. The last time Arsenal kept more in a single campaign was in 2015-16 (18).

MOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool v Watford)

This might be stating the obvious, but if you can afford Salah, bring him in and make him your captain straight away like he's an old professional playing Sunday League.

Mohamed Salah has been in intimidatingly great form this season, and in the thick of a Premier League title race, rotation from Jurgen Klopp coming out of an international break is unlikely.

The Egyptian attacker averages a goal or assist every 57 minutes against Watford, the fourth-best ratio one player has against a club in Premier League history, with a 600-minute cut-off.

With nine goals and two assists in seven games against the Hornets, only versus West Ham (12 goal involvements) has Salah been more productive since he arrived in Liverpool.

SON HEUNG-MIN (Tottenham v Newcastle United)

Despite Tottenham's somewhat volatile form in the New Year, Son Heung-min has been one of the few constants for Spurs since his return from a hamstring injury.

In the nine games since his February return, the 29-year-old has provided five goals and two assists. He has come to life under Antonio Conte in 2022, with his eight Premier League goal involvements this calendar year bettered by only Harry Kane (12).

Meanwhile, of the Premier League's top ten players in goal involvements, only Bruno Fernandes (29) and Kevin de Bruyne (23) have created more chances than Son (21), which is all the more impressive given he's not Spurs set-piece taker.

Everton have endured a nightmarish season and currently find themselves in the Premier League's relegation scramble.

The Toffees are sitting only three points above the relegation zone, despite two games in hand on 18th-placed Watford.

Just as pertinent is their financial situation, which will reportedly force them into having to sell one of their most valuable assets.

TOP STORY – EVERTON TO CHOOSE BETWEEN RICHARLISON AND CALVERT-LEWIN

The Sun is reporting Richarlison or Dominic Calvert-Lewin will have to leave Everton in order for the club to balance their books.

Their latest figures revealed a £121million loss in the last financial year, and one of the two strikers will now have to be sold.

Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin are Everton's two highest goal scorers still at the club since the latter arrived in 2016. The Brazilian has scored 47 in 142 appearances in all competitions, while the former Sheffield United man has tallied 55 in 180 games.

Richarlison is a reported target for Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid, with Arsenal apparently keeping a close eye on Calvert-Lewin's situation.

ROUND-UP

– England midfielder Kalvin Phillips has told Leeds United he wants to sign a new contract, potentially warding off interest from the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Newcastle, per The Mirror.

– According to ESPN, Anthony Martial could be used to create a package deal from Manchester United for Tottenham's Harry Kane .

– Le Parisien report N'Golo Kante turned down an offer to leave Chelsea for Paris Saint-Germain in January.

Milan have cooled on Real Madrid's Marco Asensio due to the 26-year-old's wage demands, as reported by Tuttosport.

Barcelona's rebuild under Xavi has shown positive signs, but a new striker appears to be a priority going forward.

Following Sergio Aguero's retirement in December, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang arrived during the January transfer window and quickly excelled under Xavi, but his position may yet come under threat.

Memphis Depay remains the club's top scorer this season, netting 10 times in all competitions, yet one potential signing guarantees goals.

TOP STORY – LEWANDOWSKI SETTLES ON BARCELONA MOVE

Barcelona have reportedly reached an agreement with Robert Lewandowski.

Sport claims the Poland striker wants to leave Bayern Munich for the Catalan giants, but they will have to convince Bayern to sell him.

The 33-year-old's contract expires at the end of next season and he is yet to agree to an extension in Bavaria.

Lewandowski has scored 45 goals in all competitions this term, and Barca are reportedly willing to pay as much as €60million to bring him to Camp Nou for next season.

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– Tottenham are leading the race to sign Memphis Depay, per reports in Mundo Deportivo.

– Napoli have set a price tag of €100million for striker Victor Osimhen, according to Corriere dello Sport.

– The Mirror is reporting Ainsley Maitland-Niles is expected not to be retained by Roma, on loan from Arsenal.

 Inter show continued interest in Torino's Gleison Bremer, with talks in progress with a defender also linked to Milan, per Fabrizio Romano.

Hugo Lloris hailed the work of Antonio Conte for inspiring Tottenham to make "real progression" and putting them in contention for European football.

The France international's future in north London was doubtful in January with just six months left on his contract and the option to negotiate with foreign clubs for an end-of-season free transfer.

However, Spurs captain Lloris committed his future to Conte's project by signing a new two-and-a-half-year deal to keep him at the Premier League club until the end of the 2023-24 season.

While Spurs' form nosedived initially in the wake of Lloris' extension announcement, losing four of their following five Premier League matches, things had started to look up again prior to the international window.

Spurs went into the break having won four out of their past five games in the league, form that has seen them climb up to fifth place with nine fixtures left.

While they remain three points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, who have played one match fewer, Lloris credited Conte for restoring belief at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

"I extended a month and a half ago. Things were done fairly quickly with the leaders, with a lot of respect and consideration," Lloris said in an interview with Europe 1, as quoted by FootMercato.

"It's been two and a half years that we've known ups and downs, irregularity in terms of results. But since the arrival of Conte, we feel a real progression.

"We have the feeling that we are crossing a plateau. I think we will be ready to go for the European places."

The 35-year-old will be hoping Spurs can continue their push for a place in the top four after the international break when they host Newcastle United on April 3.

Harry Kane is the world's best striker and can land another World Cup Golden Boot this year, says England team-mate Luke Shaw.

Tottenham ace Kane scored the winner for England from the penalty spot in Saturday's 2-1 friendly success against Switzerland at Wembley.

That goal 12 minutes from time, after Shaw had cancelled out Breel Embolo's header, took Kane level with Bobby Charlton as England's joint-second all-time top scorer.

Only Wayne Rooney has scored more goals in an England shirt, with the former Manchester United frontman having netted 53 compared to Kane and Charlton's 49 strikes.

With seven England games pencilled in between now and the World Cup, Kane may well break that goalscoring record before Qatar 2022 gets up and running in November.

On current form, Shaw is backing his Three Lions colleague to finish top of the scoring charts in the global showpiece, having previously done so in Russia four years ago.

"I don't see why not," Shaw told beIN SPORTS. "For me, at the moment, the way he's playing, he's one of the best strikers in the world, probably the best.

"So hopefully he can keep that form up, keep it going. He's showing it week in, week out at the moment, and it's a joy to watch.

"Long may that continue, and I’m sure he will be hunting another Golden Boot and all the other records."

At club level, Kane has scored 11 goals in 17 appearances so far this calendar year and chipped in with a further four assists in all competitions.

The 15 direct goal involvements is a tally bettered only by Robert Lewandowski, Christopher Nkunku (both 16) and Karim Benzema (17) from Europe's top five leagues.

Kane has also now scored eight goals in his last three international appearances, helping England to three successive wins with an aggregate score of 17-1.

England were not at their best against Switzerland, but Manchester United defender Shaw believes the battling display – a seventh comeback win under Gareth Southgate – stands the national team in good stead.

"The belief, the confidence – I've said it many times before, when we're under pressure in games where it's not going the way we want to, I feel like we're all together," said Shaw.

"We're going to come across all sorts of games when we're under pressure. The main thing for me is we're all together, and we do that in abundance where we're really well drilled, and we know what everyone has to do when they step out on that pitch.

"That's with the ball but definitely without the ball we're getting better with that, too."

Former Tottenham and England forward Jermain Defoe has confirmed his retirement at the age of 39.

The Sunderland striker, who spent time with Spurs in three different stints, also played for West Ham, Portsmouth, Toronto FC, Bournemouth and Rangers across a two-decade-plus career.

Defoe had been due to play on until the end of the season with the League One club after rejoining from Rangers in January, but confirmed his plans to hang up his boots in a lengthy statement published on social media on Friday.

"After 22 years in the game, I have decided to retire from professional football," he stated.

"It's been a really tough decision, and one I have discussed with my family and those closest to me.

"I made my professional debut at 17 years old in 1999, and I feel now is the right time to bow out. I have had an incredible journey and have met some amazing people in the game.

Initially coming through the youth ranks at Charlton and West Ham, Defoe scored on his debut in the League Cup for the Hammers against Walsall to kick-start a prolific career.

He won a subsequent medal in the same competition for Tottenham in 2008, despite leaving midway through the campaign and missing the final. He was finally presented with the medal in 2018.

Defoe won his only other club honour last year when he helped Rangers to the Scottish Premiership title under former England team-mate Steven Gerrard.

For the Three Lions, he won 57 caps and scored 20 goals, including bagging the winner in a 1-0 victory against Slovenia in the group stage of the 2010 World Cup.

"Football will always remain in my blood, and it gives me great pride and satisfaction to look back on the blessed career that I've had," he added.

"I now look forward to spending some quality time with my friends and family before moving forward on this next chapter in my career.

"Thank you to all the fans from each club I've played for. The love I have received and endured throughout my career will never be forgotten, and I will always have a special bond with you all."

Paul Pogba has one foot out of the door at Manchester United, going on the record this week to say he has been disappointed by his five seasons with the Red Devils.

With his contract set to expire in June, the 29-year-old will have plenty of suitors from all over Europe.

While he is expected to sign with an established Champions League contender, Premier League sides Newcastle United and Aston Villa are reportedly assessing if the France international has any interest in remaining in England.

TOP STORY - POGBA TO STAY IN THE PREMIER LEAGUE?

While away on international duty, Pogba spoke to French media about how his time at Manchester United has fallen short of expectations.

He spoke about how he has been depressed at times throughout his latest near six-year stint in England, and went on to describe the current season as "dead", pointing to his ambition to win trophies in the future.

It seems likely that Pogba's future will be at another club, and while it is widely reported that the favourites to attain Pogba's services are European giants Juventus, Real Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain, The Sun is reporting that Newcastle and Aston Villa are "monitoring the situation".

ROUND-UP

- According to Calciomercato, Milan are considering a summer move for Chelsea's Jorginho after his agent declared it would be a "dream" to return to Italy. "Today he can play in four or five teams: AC Milan, Inter, Juventus, Roma or Napoli," agent Joao Santos declared this week.

- The Evening Standard is reporting that Declan Rice would prefer to move to Chelsea as opposed to Manchester United after West Ham reportedly placed a £150million price tag on the English midfielder to try and fend off circling clubs.

- Tottenham's Harry Kane was non-committal when asked about his future at the club, with The Daily Mirror reporting there is interest in reuniting the striker with former boss Mauricio Pochettino if he is to secure the top job at Manchester United.

- UOL is reporting that Barcelona are set to make it a three-horse race for young Ajax star Antony after Dani Alves recommended the Barca hierarchy should match the bids of Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

Dejan Kulusevski says his time at Tottenham has been a "breath of fresh air" after a "frustrating" period with Juventus.

Kulusevski joined Tottenham in January on an initial 18-month loan deal, which includes an obligation to buy if certain objectives are met.

The Sweden international signed for Juve in a €35million deal in January 2020 and spent the rest of that season – which ended with him crowned Serie's A's Best Young Player – on loan with Parma.

He made 47 appearances in his sole full campaign at the Allianz Stadium, with only Adrien Rabiot featuring as many times for the Serie A giants.

Kulusevski scored seven goals and assisted six more across all competitions in an encouraging first year in Turin, but he had been directly involved in just five goals in 27 outings this campaign.

Of those 27 games under Massimiliano Allegri – the joint-third most of any Juve player – just seven were starts, with the versatile attacker dropping down the pecking order.

Kulusevski has impressed since his arrival at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, scoring twice and claiming four assists in nine Premier League appearances. Indeed, only Harry Kane and Son Heung-min have created more goals (both five) for Spurs than him all season in the English top flight.

"Things can change so quickly for a player," Kulusevski told reporters ahead of Sweden's World Cup play-off semi-final against Czech Republic on Thursday.

"There were many things at Juventus that weren't working and it was very frustrating. I played one match a month always in a new position. My body did not feel good, I did not feel physically strong.

"At Tottenham, there's a breath of fresh air. I have a better rapport with the coach, I was trained better and my physique has improved."

Tottenham are next in action on April 3 when they host Newcastle United in the Premier League. 

Tottenham defender Eric Dier is appreciating the impact Antonio Conte has had on his game as he explained he feels 2021-22 has been his most consistent season.

Dier has featured in 26 Premier League games for Spurs this season, starting each of those matches.

Of those league appearances, 19 have come under Conte, with the 28-year-old only missing three top-flight games due to a thigh injury sustained in January.

No Tottenham player has featured in more defensive clean sheets than Dier's 11 in the league this season, while his 95 clearances is also way ahead of any team-mate, with Emerson Royal ranked second on 51.

Harry Kane is the only Spurs player to win more aerial duels than Dier's 52, with the centre-back making a team-high 60 headed clearances.

Only Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (1,885) has attempted more passes than Dier (1,616) for Spurs, with the latter tasked with helping to build attacking moves from his position in the centre of Conte's back three.

Dier turned in another strong display as Spurs beat West Ham 3-1 on Sunday to move to within three points of fourth-placed Arsenal, and though he has missed out on Gareth Southgate's 25-man squad for England's fixtures this month, Conte believes the former Sporting CP defender will go to the World Cup in Qatar this year.

The centre-back is encouraged by Conte's support, as he went on to claim he is playing his best football since he arrived at the club in 2014, when he enjoyed a brilliant breakout season under Mauricio Pochettino.

"I feel for me this is consistently my best season I have had so far at Tottenham, not just as a defender but overall," Dier told the Evening Standard.

"I don't think I've ever shown the consistency in the performances that I have shown this season and I feel like my football is the best it has been in my opinion.

"It is always very nice when a manager, especially one like him, says those things, it gives me a lot of confidence, but the thing I pay most attention to from his words are that I have a lot of space for improvement and I think that is really the thing he says that I focus on the most.

"I want to fill that space, fill that potential, as much as possible, as much as he thinks possible."

Son Heung-min said the only downside to Tottenham's Premier League win over West Ham was that Harry Kane drew another blank in front of goal.

A 3-1 victory lifted Spurs to fifth place in the Premier League, three points behind north London rivals Arsenal, with Son hitting a fine double.

Kane and Son combined to cause the panic that prompted Kurt Zouma to put the ball into his own net early on, before wreaking more havoc at the heart of West Ham's defence.

A sumptuous throughball from Kane set up Son to make it 2-0, before Said Benrahma pulled one back.

In the 88th minute, Kane flicked on a long kick from Hugo Lloris and Son dashed through to finish off West Ham.

It means Kane has managed a competition-high 19 assists in the Premier League since the start of last season, though he has hit only four league goals at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this term.

The England captain has now been involved in 50 goals in Premier League London derbies (39 goals, 11 assists), becoming just the third player to reach this milestone after Thierry Henry (55) and Frank Lampard (50).

Kane has assisted Son 20 times for goals in the Premier League, with only Lampard (24 to Didier Drogba) and David Silva (21 to Sergio Aguero) having teed up a single team-mate more often in the competition's history.

"The relationship with Harry, I've spoken about it more than 100 times now," Son said on Sky Sports.

"It's incredible to have this striker alongside me and I feel sorry for him today that he didn't score.

"He looked sad, obviously as a striker, and I feel sad as well for him because I want him to score so many goals, and you want everything as a team-mate and as a friend."

Kane hit a double at home against Everton earlier this month, but his luck was out against West Ham, although he made his presence felt with his creative skills.

As a result, Tottenham are firmly in the hunt for a top-four finish and Champions League football next season.

"From the start of the game we played really well; especially in the first half we created so many chances," Son added.

"It's a massive, massive three points before the international break, so we are really happy."

Spurs have won four of their last five Premier League games now, and reaching the Champions League is looking a real possibility again.

An FA Cup exit to Middlesbrough came early in Tottenham's recent strong league run, and that meant that coming into this game they had not won back-to-back games across all competitions since December.

They have now banished that particular demon and Son recognised the importance of doing so.

"We haven't wanted to speak about this situation," he said. "To bounce back is always so, so important, for your confidence as well, and your rhythm."

Son Heung-min and Harry Kane turned on the derby style in a 3-1 win over West Ham as Tottenham jumped to fifth place in the Premier League.

The pair created the chaos that resulted in an early Kurt Zouma own goal, before teaming up again when Kane's pass teed up Son to put the hosts two ahead.

Said Benrahma hauled West Ham back in the game, but David Moyes' men could not find a leveller and Son finished them off in the 88th minute.

A fourth win in five Premier League games means Tottenham are now ahead of the Hammers and Manchester United, albeit three points adrift of great rivals Arsenal in fourth. In Kane and Son, Spurs have two of the best, and they could yet carry Antonio Conte's team into the Champions League.

Tottenham snatched a ninth-minute lead when Zouma turned the ball past Lukasz Fabianski after Kane tried to pick out Son, who should have made it 2-0 soon after only to fizz wide.

Son made no such mistake at the next time of asking, finding the back of the net after a delicious throughball from Kane, the striker's fierce left-footed shot taking a telling deflection off Zouma on its way in.

Benrahma volleyed West Ham back into it in the 35th minute after Craig Dawson headed on Aaron Cresswell's corner from the left.

Fabianski did well to smother a Kane shot early in the second half, before Dejan Kulusevski whipped a strike too high as Tottenham kept pushing for a third, and it came when Kane and Son inevitably combined again.

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris booted the ball long for Kane to flick on for Son, who ran beyond the West Ham defence and rammed gleefully past Fabianski.

Manchester United's hopes of silverware this season are officially over and focus is now turning towards the 2022-23 campaign.

The Red Devils are left focusing on their top-four battle in the Premier League following elimination to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last 16 this week.

That has surely ended Ralf Rangnick's hopes of landing the managerial position full time, though it remains to be seen who will be in the Old Trafford hot seat come next term.


TOP STORY – UNITED RAMP UP MANAGERIAL SEARCH

The likes of Mauricio Pochettino, Erik ten Hag and Thomas Tuchel have each been touted as contenders to replace Rangnick, but another name may now be in the frame.

According to Spanish outlet Fichajes, Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui is also being considered for one of the top positions in world football.

Lopetegui has previously managed Real Madrid and the Spain national team and is in his third season with Sevilla, whom he remains under contract with until 2024.


ROUND-UP

- Newcastle United intend to splash the cash when the transfer window reopens at the end of the season and, according to Fichajes, Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar is in their sights. The Brazil international was jeered by his own supporters during last week's win against Bordeaux.

- After two years with Tottenham, Fabrizio Romano claims that left-back Sergio Reguilon could be on his way back to Spain in the coming months. Barcelona are said to be monitoring his situation, while Madrid have a buy-back clause of around €40million.

- It could be a busy transfer window for Madrid, who have also been strongly linked with PSG forward Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund's in-demand striker Erling Haaland. However, Goal reports that Los Blancos are losing hope of beating Manchester City to the signature of the latter.

- Man City midfielder Rodri has another three years to run on his contract, but The Telegraph suggests that the Premier League leaders are eager to tie the midfielder down to an even longer deal, with talks between the two parties ongoing.

- La Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Nikola Milenkovic is on the radar of Inter and Man Utd. Inter are said to have made the Fiorentina and Serbia defender one of their primary targets, while United had scouts present to watch him against Bologna last week.

At the start of the Premier League season, if you were to talk about a London derby that could be crucial for both teams in the race for Champions League qualification, you might guess it would be Chelsea against either Arsenal or Tottenham.

That West Ham are still in the conversation for the top four as we approach late March is impressive in itself, but that they have done so while having the added distraction of a Europa League run just adds further credit to the bank for David Moyes' men.

There are no such distractions for Spurs, who host the Hammers on Sunday, with both eager to win and get closer to fourth in the table.

Antonio Conte's men go into the game behind West Ham on goal difference, having played a game fewer, while both sit two points behind Manchester United in fifth and three behind Arsenal in fourth.

Ahead of what should be a fascinating encounter in the capital, Stats Perform has taken a look at some key facts.

Kane to continue bashing Hammers?

Harry Kane has had an odd season, scoring just once in his first 15 games in the league, before plundering 11 in 14 top-flight appearances since.

The England captain also has a tremendous record against West Ham, scoring eight in his six home league games against them – the most home goals he has scored against a specific opponent in the competition.

However, Hammers striker Michail Antonio has scored more Premier League goals against Tottenham than he has against any other opponent in the competition (six), three of which have been the winning goal in 1-0 victories, including in the reverse fixture this season.

 

Spurs must avoid more derby misery

Tottenham have lost five of their seven Premier League London derby matches this season (W2), last losing more in a single campaign back in 2004-05 (seven).

In fact, their six points accumulated is the fewest of any other side in Premier League London derbies in the current campaign.

West Ham, on the other hand, have won three of their last four derbies in the league (L1), as many as they had in their previous 12 such games (D5 L4).

Only Chelsea (18) have earned more points in London derbies this season.

 

Moyes must rediscover form on the road

It has been a memorable season for West Ham so far, including a famous European night at the London Stadium on Thursday as they knocked Sevilla out of the Europa League to reach the quarter-finals.

However, despite a very good start to the campaign, they have come unstuck in away games in the Premier League.

Having won four and drawn one of their first five away games in the league this season (13 points), the Hammers have since won just twice in nine on the road, drawing two and losing five (eight points).

Go on, my Son

With all the deserved plaudits Kane gets, it can sometimes feel like Son Heung-min gets a bit ignored despite being one of the best players in European football.

Son has been in fine form as Spurs have tried to force their way back into the top four, and has been involved in seven goals in his last seven Premier League home games (six goals, one assist).

Overall this season, he has scored twice as many home league goals as any other Spurs player (eight).

 

Antonio Conte called on Mikel Arteta to remember the postponed clash between Tottenham and Arsenal, after the Gunners' manager fumed at the Premier League schedule.

Arteta vented his frustration after a 2-0 loss to Liverpool on Wednesday, sarcastically thanking the league for their scheduling, which sees Arsenal visit Aston Villa in Saturday's early kick-off.

Arsenal also face Chelsea and Manchester United in quick succession next month, on April 20 and 23, and the Spaniard doubled down on his comments ahead of the clash with Villa.

Arteta suggested "we've been the only team that has been scheduled like that", citing the short turnaround time as a problem for players' welfare heading into the crunch period of the season.

Spurs head coach Conte was quick to remind his north London rival of the situation in January that left Tottenham "extremely surprised" following the postponement of the derby with Arsenal, who were granted a rearrangement due to COVID-19, injuries and the Africa Cup of Nations leaving them with a "depleted squad".

When asked about Arteta's recent comments, Conte told Friday's pre-match news conference: "Arteta should remember the game postponed, Tottenham-Arsenal.

"In general, I think my answer is enough. If someone wants to think about fair or unfair. We postponed the game, Tottenham-Arsenal. I don't forget this. And it's not right to speak about fair or unfair."

Spurs host fellow top-four chasers West Ham on Sunday, currently sitting three points behind fourth-placed Arsenal, who have played one game fewer.

While Conte believes the meeting with David Moyes' side may be too soon for Oliver Skipp, the Italian hopes to have the midfielder back after the international break.

"About Skippy, I hope to have him after the international break," Conte said. "His pain is getting better and better.

"About Ryan [Sessegnon], we're waiting for weeks to have another scan and then if everything is OK he'll restart training sessions with us."

The former Inter and Chelsea coach was also keen to praise Cristian Romero, who he feels will be a key player with the right guidance.

"Cristian is a player who has to be focused in every moment of a game," he added. "If he's good, he's focused from the start, from the first to last second of the game and he's a really important player for us.

"He has a bit to improve in this situation, to be focused on every moment of the game. Sometimes he gets a yellow card he can avoid. He has to improve in this aspect, to be focused from the start to the end.

"Sometimes you can't explain this in a good manner - you have to shout! But he's a good guy and he understands that what I do is always best for the team and himself.

"He has quality to be a great defender so it's important to find the right way to improve the player."

Tottenham defender Japhet Tanganga has been ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on his right knee, the club has confirmed.

Tanganga has not played since January following the injury and will now not return to action until the start of the 2022-23 campaign for the north London outfit.

"Japhet Tanganga has undergone surgery on his right knee and will be out for the remainder of the season," the club confirmed in an official statement.

"The England Under-21 international will undergo a period of recovery and is expected to return to training during the pre-season period."

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