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Tottenham never saw cup competitions as a priority, Pochettino says

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Spurs fans have long ribbed Arsenal supporters for treating fourth place in the Premier League like a trophy. They’re now being fed that same mentality from their own manager.

After a 2-0 FA Cup defeat to Crystal Palace in the fourth round, Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino said that his main focus has always been attaining a top four position in the league, and that cup competitions were secondary. He also admitted that’s a controversial point of view.

“We are going to create a debate that to win a trophy is going to help the club,” he said. “I don’t agree with that. That only builds your ego. In reality the most important thing is being consistently in the top four and playing in the Champions League. That is going to help the club to achieve the last step.”

Tottenham is sitting third in the Premier League table, with Chelsea three points back in fourth and fifth-placed Arsenal six behind. Still, Spurs will experience some trepidation at the club’s recent form, crashing out of both the League Cup and the FA Cup in a four-day span. They also needed a last-gasp winner from Harry Winks to beat 19th-placed Fulham in the league last weekend, and fell 1-0 to Manchester United the match before that.

Much of the poor run of form can be attributed to horrible injury luck of late, losing both Harry Kane and Dele Alli to month-long muscle injuries, while Moussa Sissoko has also missed time of late. Still, Spurs’ failure to add in the summer window has led some to criticize the club for failing to plan for such a scenario.

While Pochettino still has a long-term mentality, he believes there is plenty of work to do. “The club is doing fantastically well,” he said after the Crystal Palace loss. “It’s so successful. In the last four or five years we’ve been fighting in different ways to achieve what the club needs, to be in the level of Chelsea, United, City, Arsenal or Liverpool. People wish we could win some trophies. But, being realistic, we are a team not built to win titles still.”

“It’s true, this season has been tough,” Pochettino continued. “But to be a contender is always difficult for us. Now the realistic targets are trying to be in the top four, to try and be close to Manchester City and Liverpool and reduce the gap. Another is to try to beat Dortmund and be in the next round.”

WATCH: Zlatan stunner answers Vela’s opener in El Trafico

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic is walking it like he talks it, not that that’s anything new.

A few days after claiming superiority over LAFC superstar Carlos Vela, Ibrahimovic and his Galaxy trailed early in El Trafico via a Vela penalty.

[ MORE: Latest on Eriksen ]

Naturally, Zlatan took it upon himself to answer the bell with his 14th goal in 17 games.

Ibrahimovic chests a long ball onto his right foot, cooking Eduard Atuesta by pushing it into position for a tremendous lash into the LAFC goal.

And if you haven’t been following LAFC’s amazing season, Atuesta’s probably been the side’s best player after Vela, who now has 20 goals in 20 games.

Wizard stuff.

Borussia Dortmund tops Liverpool 3-2 at Notre Dame

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A half-hour of the big guns wasn’t enough to get Jurgen Klopp a result against his former team.

Harry Wilson and Rhian Brewster scored for Liverpool in a 3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund at the University of Notre Dame on Friday.

Paco Alcacer, Thomas Delaney, and Jacob Bruun Larsen scored for the Black Yellow, who led 3-1 when mass changes began with Virgil Van Dijk, Georginio Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, and Andrew Robertson entering the match.

Liverpool faces Sevilla on Sunday at Fenway Park in Boston.

[ MORE: Latest on Eriksen ]

Alcacer with the ball in the box is a bad idea, and the Spaniard took advantage of Nathaniel Clyne and Joel Matip to smash home from a yard outside the six.

Wilson leveled the score before halftime, but Delaney made it 2-1 in the 53rd minute when a long diagonal ball beat the Reds line and a low pass across the box went undetected.

It was 3-1 via a clever Bruun Larsen touch to wrong foot James Milner, but Brewster brought the Reds back to within one when he converted a 75th minute penalty won by Ben Woodburn.

Liverpool was without Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah, who are on break after deep summer tournament runs.

Eriksen offered big Spurs wages, but Atletico Madrid lurks

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Christian Eriksen may trade London for Madrid after all, but Marca claims it’ll be Real Madrid’s rivals who earn the services of Tottenham’s Danish playmaker.

Eriksen, 27, scored 10 goals with 17 assists for Spurs in all competitions last season, and was reportedly ready to spread his wings for Real Madrid.

[ MORE: Kean to Everton? ]

But pro-Real site Marca says Zinedine Zidane doesn’t want Eriksen at the Bernabeu, and that Diego Simeone feels differently… should Atletico Madrid fail at landing his prime option.

That’s James Rodriguez, who remains property of Real and that’s a problem.

So Eriksen to Atleti, helping to replace Antoine Griezmann? It’s possible.

From Marca.com:

Just last November, the London club put a 250 million euro price tag on his head, but now appear keen to move him on. The next few days will likely reveal a lot about what’s to come.

So we may get an idea of whether this report has any guts to it by next week. There could be some sense to it, but Metro claims that Spurs are offering Eriksen an “enormous” contract to keep him in North London.

Enormous means a doubling of Eriksen’s wages, and the Dane is said to be happy in England. Might Spurs hold off the finest of La Liga and Serie A after all.

Report: Everton could land Juventus’ Kean after all

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Everton could end up with one of the hottest prospects in world soccer.

Moise Kean may wind up leaving Juventus due to the club’s failure to offload fellow strikers Mario Mandzukic and Gonzalo Higuain.

And Kean, 19, was poised for a breakthrough to the first team, to the extent that Juve reportedly turned down a $33 million bid from Everton.

[ MORE: Algeria wins AFCON ]

The Toffees, however, may have new life due to the Higuain/Mandzukic problem, and Sky Sports Italia reports that Kean may indeed be an option for Marco Silva‘s club. He could join Michael Keane, if he’s keen.

It wouldn’t be surprising if Kean elected to leave Italy given the racial abuse he’s suffered in Serie A (Though racism is everywhere, of course).

The same report says Kean turned down a Barcelona offer because he would’ve headed on loan, while Arsenal is also said to be in the mix.

Kean scored six Serie A goals with an assist in just 13 matches for Juventus last season after scoring four times for Hellas Verona on loan.