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Pogba wants to play for title winning team

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Paul Pogba‘s agent Mino Raiola insists his client is only interested on playing on teams who will be challenging for the title.

Manchester United better get a shift on then.

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Speaking to our partners Sky Sports News in the UK, ‘super agent’ Raiola revealed that Pogba is happy enough at United right now as he’s returned to action after a three-month stint out injured.

“Paul has always respected Manchester United, as long as Manchester United has respected Paul. The only one that talks for Manchester United and Paul is Ole. I go by what he says; he will not move. That’s OK and we are good with them,” Raiola said. “Paul is struggling a little bit with his injury and that’s our main interest now. There’s one objective that Paul has and that is to perform as well as possible with Manchester United. He’s a top pro and I think that his heart is in the right place with Manchester United.”

Asked if he thought Pogba would be at United this time next year, Raiola was confident that would be the case but was also keen to stress that the French superstar wants to be winning trophies as he seemed to offer a warning to United’s hierarchy.

“Yes I can, but in a club that I hope fights for the league and hopefully the Champions League,” Raiola said. “Is that strange? Am I the only one that’s worried? Is the owner not worried? I think that everybody that is in love with Manchester United is worried about that. I’m worried about that for my player. I’m not a fan of Manchester United but I have a very direct interest.”

“As long as Paul is in Manchester United, he wants to win trophies with Manchester United. That’s the kind of player he is and he will not act differently. Like Ole’s saying, it’s a work in progress now this club. He’s says he’s working on a team for next year. Let’s hope that it goes well for him because the world needs Manchester United on the top. Clearly they are not where they think they should be.”

Raiola is saying what every Man United fans wants but this is clearly a long way away from happening.

His answers seem to mostly challenge the United board to spend big in the next few transfer windows as they are making progress but need more pieces to turn them into legitimate top four contenders again.

Despite his wishes to leave in the summer, Pogba will be a key part of this United rebuild under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. His quality on the ball stands out as he made a big impact against Watford and Newcastle on his first two games back but he then wasn’t fit enough to face Burnley.

He should play against Arsenal on New Year’s Day (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) and 2020 is a big deal for Pogba and United.

Watch Live: Leicester City v. Man City

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Manchester City can put Leicester City deep in its rearview mirror when the two sides meet at the King Power Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Leicester opens the day four points back of the second-place visitors. The Foxes also saw Chelsea move four points back with a win over Spurs.

[ STREAM: Leicester City v. Man City ]

Aymeric Laporte again pairs with Fernandinho in Man City’s back line, keeping John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi on the bench.

Harvey Barnes and Ayoze Perez start on the bench for Brendan Rodgers‘ Foxes.

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VIDEO: Messi scores first half hat trick for Barcelona

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Lionel Messi scored a first half hat trick for Barcelona against Eibar on Saturday.

Messi, 33, is warming up quite well for the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg as he tore Eibar’s defense to shreds to put them 3-0 up at the break.

In a week where Messi and Barcelona have been in the news amid an emergency signing of Martin Braithwaite, a social media spying scandal and plenty of criticism of sporting director Eric Abidal, the Argentine ace got back to doing what he does best.

Barcelona sat in second place in the La Liga table heading into this weekend, one point behind Real Madrid.

Giroud vows “start of a good run” for Chelsea ahead of UCL

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OIivier Giroud knows he’s given Frank Lampard food for thought as Chelsea improved its top four stock with a 2-1 defeat of Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Giroud scored the first goal in making just his third Premier League start and eighth league appearance under Lampard, and now has two goals in 375 minutes this season. The other came against Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup.

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The Frenchman now has 79 Premier League goals, and the ex-Arsenal man will be doubly thrilled to that four of them have now come against Spurs.

“I was lucky the ball came back after hitting the post and I tried to finish,” Giroud said, via the BBC. “It was a good feeling for me, a good moment and I’m so happy for the team to win today. It’s been three months I didn’t start, it’s been a special day for me and all of us.”

[ MORE: Mourinho reacts ]

Giroud said that this was bigger for Chelsea than it was for him, though.

“It was a very important game for us today. I want to talk about the team spirit. We’ve shown great character today. We knew it was maybe a kind of turning point. We lost a bit of confidence. It was nice to bounce back and get this win, a hard win against a rival, so I feel relieved today.

“Tottenham is obviously a rival for the Champions League race, so we are pleased to put them four points behind us. This is the start of a good run, I hope, now we need to focus on the Champions League. This game would be nice for the confidence and for the changing room.”

Chelsea meets Bayern Munich on Tuesday at Stamford Bridge before a trip to Bournemouth on Feb. 29. The breathing room on fifth place is welcome.

Jose Mourinho defends players “trying to do miracles,” explains Dele move

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Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho says he can have no complaints with his shorthanded men following a 2-1 loss to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho pointed to the absence of strikers Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane as well as a Champions League match in midweek.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

“Look at Chelsea they played a World Cup-winning striker up front, England’s second striker on the bench, and Belgium’s second striker in the stands,” he said, via Football.London. “We had no strikers on the pitch, no strikers on the bench and two in the hospital.”

Chelsea were the much better side on the day, with Olivier Giroud making a statement to Frank Lampard about his ability as a center forward.

And Mourinho felt sufficiently shorthanded on the day, especially given the exhausting 1-0 loss to RB Leipzig at midweek.

“Lucas, Lo Celso, Bergwijn,” he said. “These boys that are playing every minute and trying to do miracles in positions that are not their positions. I cannot complain.”

Mourinho also defended keeping Dele Alli on the bench for the first time in his tenure as Spurs boss.

“We had strange game plans but we needed to have them. Like Lamela who played well, people think I’m stupid that I don’t play him, but he’s constantly communicating with me in the warm-up, can I play or not. He was telling me his feelings.”

Spurs will finish the weekend four points back of the top four and as many as two back of fifth. They have eight days until another big match, March 1 versus Wolves.