Reaction, Jose Mourinho edition: Real Madrid coach on Tuesday defeat, future

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Of course, José Mourinho was vaulted center stage after today’s elimination at the Santiago Bernabéu. With his future up in the air and his team out of Champions League, it was natural for the media to prod about The Special One’s future, even if the English press as somewhat obsessive about it.

Well, most of the English press. As you’ll see above, ITV’s Gabriel Clarke, undoubtedly being pestered by a director’s mandates in his ear, cuts off Mourinho just as it appears the Real Madrid boss is ready to confess what we all suspect: He will leave Real Madrid, return to England, and again take up the post at Stamford Bridge.

I mean, why would you want to let Mourinho keep blithering in that situation? And can have the story-of-the-season revealed like on your broadcast? No time for that gobbledygook!

Here are some other highlights from Mourinho’s post-match reaction – reaction given to the media but mostly poached from UEFA.com, ITV, and the Twitter feeds of Trancedi Palmeri and Dermot Corrigan:

“My players have given everything. We were close. If we had scored earlier, we would have had more opportunities. The Bernabéu [crowd] was fantastic, they believed until the end, but we couldn’t do it.” — Mourinho

“I’m very disappointed with one of my favorite refs in the world.” — Mourinho, to ITV

“[I’m] disappointed [with] Webb, it was a red for Hummels but at that moment he thought like a human and not a ref, didn’t want him to miss final.” — Mourinho to ITV

“Maybe not. I want to be where people love me to be.” — Mourinho, to ITV, asked if he’ll be back at Real Madrid

“It is tough to decide because I like [Real Madrid] and the President. We made a fantastic team ready to make big things, so it is hard.” — Mourinho

“Any person at Real Madrid, for one day, it was worth it. Anyone who can say they’ve been at biggest and most important club in world.” — Mourinho

“Very close is not good enough for Madrid. Or for me.” — Mourinho

“I have a contract at Madrid. But contracts are broken when people want. But I’ve respect for (the) president. I know I’m loved in England, by fans, media that treats me fairly. Criticizing me when they must, but giving credit when deserved.” — Mourinho

“In Spain the situation is a bit different, because some people hate me. Many of you are in this room.”— Mourinho

“I know I am loved by some clubs, especially one.” — Mourinho

“We’ll take that as England. I’ve got to go! — Gabriel Clarke

Pochettino: Dembele “next to Ronaldinho, Maradona”

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Mousa Dembele‘s been appreciated as a midfielder for sometime, but the Belgian is getting as many rave reviews as any other non-scorer these days.

Tottenham’s middle man got the twice-over from his manager on Friday, as Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino prepares for Crystal Palace.

[ MORE: Europa League draw ]

Calling Dembele a “genius,” Pochettino heaped praise on the 30-year-old.

“I’ve told you, I put him next to Ronaldinho, Maradona, Okocha – players I’ve been lucky enough to play with. For me he’s one of the unbelievable talents in the history of football.”

The temptation is to make a joke about Dembele being next to Ronaldinho and Maradona in the lobby of an awards ceremony, but the player has been dynamite for some time.

The advanced stats, for what they’re worth, aren’t incredibly kind to Dembele aside from his club-best 93 percent passing percentage and average of 2.2 successful dribbles per game. Still, it’s improbably hard to ignore the eye test, and Dembele passes that one every time.

Spurs are off to Selhurst Park for a Sunday match with Palace (Watch live at 7 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Fonte leaves West Ham after one year (for Dalian Yifang)

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Surely it was supposed to go a bit better than this: West Ham has moved center back Jose Fonte to the Chinese Super League.

Fonte, 34, is the latest member of Dalian Yifang, the Irons announced Friday. Reports say it’s a move for about $7 million.

[ MORE: Europa League draw ]

It ends an unexceptional 12 months for the center back, who made just 24 appearances for West Ham after engineering a move away from Southampton.

Fonte was publicly criticized by West Ham’s co-owner David Sullivan earlier this season as Sullivan said his children “begged him” not to sign Fonte and Robert Snodgrass last January. Ouch.

Injured for much of this season, Fonte was one of the Saints’ heroes as the club moved from the disappointment of League One to the Europa League.

Those heroics inspired this longform piece from Joe Prince-Wright.

Premier League TV, streaming schedule

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Week 28 of the Premier League season is here and the main talking points are the battle for the top four and the ever-changing relegation situation.

MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ] 

Remember: due to the League Cup final on Sunday, finalists Arsenal will host Manchester City on Thursday, Mar. 1 as they were also scheduled to play in the PL this weekend. That worked out smoothly.

The full TV schedule for the games this weekend are below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: Premier League live here ] 

You can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” at for all the goals as they go in around the grounds. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.

[ MORE: Premier League “Goal Rush” ] 

If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.

Here’s your full TV schedule for the coming days. Enjoy.


FULL TV SCHEDULE

Saturday
7:30 a.m. ET: Leicester City vs. Stoke City – CNBC [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Liverpool vs. West Ham – CNBC [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Bournemouth vs. Newcastle United – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Brighton vs. Swansea City – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
10 a.m. ET: Burnley vs. Southampton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM
10 a.m. ET: West Brom vs. Huddersfield Town – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM
12:30 p.m. ET: Watford vs. Everton – NBC [STREAM]

Sunday
7 a.m. ET: Crystal Palace vs. Tottenham Hotspur – NBCSN [STREAM]
9:05 a.m. ET: Manchester United vs. Chelsea – NBCSN [STREAM

Pep sticking with Bravo for final: “Locker room more important”

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Petr Cech and Ederson will watch from the bench as their clubs start the League Cup Final on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola announced that Manchester City will turn to Claudio Bravo between the sticks against Arsenal, which has already appointed David Ospina as its backstop for the final.

[ MORE: Europa League draw ]

And if you think Pep, having seen his side lose to Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup, should go back to Ederson for the final, he gets it.

“You can have an opinion, I am the manager. We are here for Claudio. He saved two lots of penalties. He deserves to play in the final. The locker room is more important than the final.”

The points aren’t completely independent, of course, but at this point the final is pretty darn important as Man City could see its trophy potential drop from 4-2 in little more than a week’s time.

Bravo has played just 45 minutes in the Premier League, against Liverpool in relief of Ederson, but has been the man for each of eight League and FA Cup matches.

City has just one clean sheet in that group, but won the seven matches apart from the 1-0 Wigan defeat. Two of those, against Wolves and Leicester, came in penalty kicks.