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Jurgen Klopp says he’s “proud” of Dortmund players

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Former Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp was asked about his emotions in the aftermath of the bomb that struck the German club’s team bus on Tuesday.

Speaking at the prematch press conference ahead of Liverpool’s away game at West Brom on Sunday, Klopp said he feared for his former players and club at first, but was “proud” of their reaction and ability to play on such a tight turnaround from a traumatic event.

Klopp said he was initially informed of the attack by Liverpool press officer Matt McCann, but had to wait like everyone else to hear any more information about it. “I tried immediately to get information,” Klopp said. “It was strange and I was really concerned and I was scared for them. Then how it was for everybody, in the first moment it looked like a little bit of relief, not too serious, then the more information you could get, the more serious it got and that was really difficult.

“Of course, I had contact with a few people but I didn’t want to bother them with my silly questions that I had, so I was waiting like all the rest for more information in the media. I tried to watch everything I could watch, I tried to get the information I could get. The last thing I thought about in this moment was the game, actually.”

Klopp then expressed his pride towards his former club and the team’s ability to regroup and play a competitive game just 24 hours later. “I saw the game and I was really proud of Borussia Dortmund, how they handled it, how they created this atmosphere. Again, the game was not too important but when they played the game they tried to be at their best.”

The Liverpool manager said of course Dortmund would wish to take time before playing again, but also understood UEFA’s point of view in rescheduling the game the following day, a decision which has come under fire the past few days. “I can 100 percent understand both sides,” Klopp said. “It was difficult, first of all, to find another date in this really tight schedule because when would you want to play the game? But of course, I think they would understand if you say: ‘OK, we don’t play it, we find a solution next week.”

“I heard the interviews after the game and I saw the faces of my former players and saw the shock in their eyes and that was really hard, so I forgot the game again immediately. I only thought about them.”

Dortmund player Nuri Sahin was asked after the game how difficult it was to turn around and play the day after their lives were targeted, and his comments were striking, saying they hardly thought about the game until it kicked off.

“I don’t know if the people can understand this, but until I was on the pitch in the second half I did not think about football to be honest,” Sahin said of his entrance into the game as a second-half substitute. “Last night I didn’t realize what happened until I got through the door and my wife and son were waiting, there I felt how lucky we were. I know football is very important, we love football, we suffer with football, we love football. I know we earn a lot of money, we have a privileged life, but we are human beings, and there is so much more than football in this world, and last night we felt it.”

Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel, Klopp’s successor, was critical of UEFA’s decision to schedule the match so soon after the attack, saying the governing body acted as if “a beer can was thrown at our bus.”

Mourinho: Van Gaal left good team, but I brought belief

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Jose Mourinho and Manchester United are bringing happiness to the Liberty Stadium on Sunday, or at least more of it.

The United boss says the club’s turnaround is emotionally-based, and that the cupboard certainly wasn’t bare when he took over the Red Devils last summer.

[ MORE: Fellaini red  had “a bit of acting” ]

United finished fifth in the Premier League last season, tied for fourth with Man City and 15 points back of Arsenal. Mourinho’s men sit in the same spot this year, but are in the semifinals of the Europa League, have won the League Cup, and have the door open to the Top Four.

So what’s different? Here’s the boss, from the BBC:

“I think Mr. Van Gaal left a good group of boys with very good relations between them.

“[But] I think they missed happiness, they missed trust, belief, this extra bit that brings resilience, brings fight and they have it [now].”

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster with the Bastian Schweinsteiger and Luke Shaw drama, but — like any new manager — Mourinho did have to sort the club. Now we wonder whether he’ll keep it happy or hit a traditional rut by Year Three (assuming he gets there, and United should be very good next season).

Spurs confirm Wembley as 2017-18 home

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May 14 will indeed be the last time Tottenham Hotspur takes the field at White Hart Lane.

Club chairman Daniel Levy has announced that Spurs will play all of its 2017-18 home matches at Wembley Stadium, and that WHL will be demolished in the offseason.

Spurs have a new venue under construction next door to WHL, calling the venue “the heart” of regeneration plans in the region. From TottenhamHotspur.com:

“This marks a momentous day in our Club’s history as it is the day we formally agreed the demolition of our beloved White Hart Lane.

“The Lane means a huge amount to each and every one of us and we needed to gain greater certainty on the delivery of the new stadium before we made the final decision to commence with the decommissioning of our iconic, historic home for some 118 years.

‘We shall ensure that we give the Lane a fitting farewell when we play our last match here on May 14.”

West Ham’s final match at Upton Park was a memorable one last season, thanks not just to the off-field but the on-field as well. The Irons came back to beat Manchester United 3-2 on a Winston Reid goal.

With Manchester United coincidentally (?) serving as the visitor on May 14, with Top Four if not title implications likely still in play, sign us up for a comfortable seat in front of TV.

Pochettino: Derby matters, but this is about title not “Totteringham”

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Mauricio Pochettino is a focused boss, one many of us wouldn’t mind as our manager.

The longtime Espyanol man knows a thing or two about being relegated to second fiddle in town, with Catalan rivals Barcelona enveloping the spotlight 99 times out of 100.

That’s why he’s not even bothering with treating Arsenal and “St. Totteringham’s Day” — the Gunners’ annual celebration of clinching a spot above Spurs in the standings — like anything than a derby date.

“I really don’t think about which position Arsenal are in. My view and focus is to try to win every game and try to win the Premier League.

“For me (finishing above Arsenal) is not a motivation. The motivation for me is to win because it’s a derby and I know what it means to win a derby. My motivation is to try to win some titles with Tottenham, and my players improve every day and show we are better than the opposition.”

Spurs as a club is growing in big ways, and aiming to sit atop the Premier League standings every year. Yes Premier League derbies are important, but aiming to finish above a rival versus above all rivals is short-sighted. Pochettino’s got it right.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks – Week 35

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The Premier League games continue to come thick and fast with 10 matches on the slate this weekend.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live ] 

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out.

[ STREAM: Premier League “Goal Rush”

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the longshots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.


BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

West Brom 2-0 Leicester City – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM]

Man United 2-0 Swansea City – (Sunday, 7 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Middlesbrough 1-3 Man City – (Sunday, 9:05 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM

Crystal Palace 3-1 Burnley – (Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC) – [STREAM

DON’T TOUCH THIS… 

Stoke City 2-2 West Ham – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, Premier League Extratime) – [STREAM]

Tottenham 2-1 Arsenal – (Sunday, 11:30 am. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Sunderland 1-2 Bournemouth – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, CNBC) – [STREAM

Southampton 2-1 Hull City – (Saturday, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

Watford 2-1 Liverpool – (Monday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM

Everton 2-1 Chelsea – (Sunday, 9:05 a.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM