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Mourinho: ‘Not the best’ Eriksen; Spurs stretched to limits

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Jose Mourinho has admitted that the situation surrounding Christian Eriksen and his new contract is impacting the Danish playmaker.

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Eriksen, 27, is out of contract this summer and put in another subpar display as he was jeered off the pitch when substituted in Spurs’ 1-0 defeat against Liverpool on Saturday.

Speaking ahead of their FA Cup third round replay against Middlesbrough on Tuesday, in which Eriksen will start, Mourinho delivered his thoughts on Eriksen’s poor form.

“If you ask me if I think this is the best Christian Eriksen, I have to be honest and say no,” Eriksen said. “If you ask me the reasons, I am not an idiot, I know clearly a player in his situation is not a player, even if he wants… I am not blaming the player, I am not criticizing the player it is normal that a player in this situation doesn’t perform at the highest level. I can also say he is helping us in matches he is playing with us. He had positive performances and contributions, the game against Olympiakos which was fundamental for us to qualify and we were 2-0 down. The same against Norwich. I also think the same that you probably think, I also probably think what the fans think about the game. He didn’t have a very good performance against Liverpool, I have to agree with that.”

Mourinho was then asked further about Eriksen and he confirmed he knew what would happen when it comes to his future, but wouldn’t say anything else.

Is this public shaming by Mourinho the final shove out of the door that Eriksen was waiting for?

With Spurs losing him in the summer for nothing, unless he has a miraculous turnaround and signs a new deal, then should they cut their losses and let him leave now?

Eriksen’s representatives are said to be in talks with Inter Milan over a four-and-a-half year deal, as he can now speak to non-UK clubs about arriving in the summer a la Aaron Ramsey at Arsenal last January. However, it is believed both Eriksen and Inter want to seal the move in January but why would the latter pay big money to sign him this month when they can get him for free in a few months time?

Inter are pushing to win the Serie A title, so that is why, but Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has previously been unwilling to show much of a soft spot for any players wanting to leave Tottenham on their own terms. Maybe Eriksen’s poor displays all season long will change his mind on this one, as his departure could open up a spot for a new player to arrive in January.

With Tottenham nine points off the top four, is Champions League qualification now possible?

“Mathematically yes. Of course the distance is important,” Mourinho said. “We don’t need just to win matches, we need opponents to lose matches. We know we are not powerful enough to believe we are going to win every match. We are not powerful enough to be competing in three different competitions. It is a really difficult situation for us. Mathematically it is possible. I prefer to look match after match.”

As for their FA Cup replay against second-tier Middlesbrough (the winner will travel to in-form Southampton in the next round), Mourinho admitted that his squad are being stretched to their limits and only one player will be rested.

“The only player that is not selected is [Toby] Alderweireld. He is the only one I can give a rest to and say take two days off,” Mourinho said.

As for additions, he had no update on Gedson Fernandes, who is expected to sign on an initial 18-month loan from Benfica with an option to buy.

“I am waiting for news, when I say I am waiting, news can come or not,” Mourinho said, coyly. “I am more worried about Middlesbrough than the market. In this moment I am not interested in Gedson or other players who can come.”

He needs additions in midfield and attack and Eriksen, and maybe Vertonghen, to move on as soon as possible as Mourinho’s Spurs are in a slump.

You wouldn’t put it past him to mastermind an FA Cup trophy win or a deep run in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds this season, but at this point a top four finish seems highly likely.

Premier League social media wrap: Brighton, teqball, remembering Tiote

Premier League social media
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Premier League sides are fully back in the flow of training with scheduled matches coming within a fortnight.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

So it’s no surprise that banter’s back, too.

That’s where we’ll start Friday, with Irish center back Shane Duffy making sure he’s keeping things light as Brighton and Hove Albion prepares to defend its Premier League place.

Duffy turned a sprinkler on his teammates at training, showing that, yes, your high school career has some things in common with Premier League footballers.

How about some skills as Manchester United gets ready for its return to the PL pitch?

Bruno Fernandes and Andreas Pereira tangled with Fred and Diogo Dalot in a match of Teqball.

You’ll have to watch to see who won.

There’s also a sad anniversary on this day.

It’s been three years since former Newcastle United wrecking ball Cheick Tiote passed away at age 30 after collapsing during a training session with Chinese side Beijing Enterprises, causing shock and grief around the Premier League.

His former teammates were remembering him on Friday, the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations winner was definitely beloved and will always be remembered for his incredible goal to cap off Newcastle’s 4-4 comeback draw with Arsenal.

We’ll start with Norwich City backstop Tim Krul, who spent time with Tiote at Newcastle.

Former Magpies wizard Yohan Cabaye pinned an old memorial to his Twitter wall.

 

Preview: Borussia Dortmund v. Hertha Berlin

Borussia Dortmund v. Hertha preview, how to watch
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Four Bundesliga teams are unbeaten in their last five matches and Hertha Berlin is the unlikeliest of the bunch.

They’ll tangle with Borussia Dortmund at the Westfalenstadion on Saturday in the latest challenge of the Bruno Labaddia era in Berlin.

[ BUNDESLIGA: Week 30 preview and predictions ]

Labbadia is Hertha’s third manager of the season and Hertha has played a scrappy brand of football that has punched and counter-punched under his tutelage. That doesn’t mean they’ve failed to find finish, as Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic and Brazilian youngster Matheus Cunha have been potent.

Borussia Dortmund is a bigger ask, though Hertha made RB Leipzig make mistakes in a 2-2 tie.

[ LIVE: Bundesliga scores, stats ]

Will it be able to get a result at the Westfalenstadion? Perhaps this is a bridge too far, because Dortmund’s shown an explosive offense and its defense has been strong far more often than not this season.

That said, Erling Haaland is just returning to fitness and has just one goal since the league’s restart from the coronavirus pause. Mats Hummels will miss with a yellow card suspension and Marco Reus still isn’t back.

Maybe American teen Giovanni Reyna will get prolonged run along with Jadon Sancho. We’ll see!

Borussia Dortmund v. Hertha Berlin, how to watch

  • TV Channels: FS2
  • Stream LiveVia Fox Soccer
  • Americans Abroad: Giovanni Reyna (Dortmund)
  • When: Saturday, June 6 – 12:30 p.m. ET: Dortmund v. Hertha

Sheffield United season restart preview

Sheffield United season restart preview
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With the 2019-20 Premier League season soon to restart, let’s focus on all 20 clubs and see where they stand ahead of the final nine matches of the season.

Sheffield United is next.

[ MORE: Remaining PL schedule in full ]

Let’s take a closer look at all things Blades when it comes to the season restart.


Outlook: Sheffield United has welcomed itself to the Premier League and put its feet up on the big boys’ tables while asking what’s for dinner. Blades sit seventh and will hope to continue a fairytale which has them on the precipice of the Europa League. Their fixture list in monstrous, especially at Bramall Lane, but Wilder’s proven capable of outwitting even the smartest of bosses for long periods of time. A name to remember is Simon Moore. The backup keeper and starter from Blades’ League One days could become vital should Manchester United defy expectation and pull Dean Henderson home from his loan upon its June 30 expiry.

[ MORE: Ranking every Southampton player in 2019-20 ]


Tactical analysis: Chris Wilder has flummoxed many a Premier League manager with his creative use of defenders in attack. United typically uses Jack O’Connell, John Egan and Chris Basham as a back-3 with Enda Stevens and George Baldock as the two wingbacks. Those players have accounted for six of United’s 18 PL assists this season. For more on the tactics, Wilder laid things out in entertaining fashion for Arlo White late last month.


Possible XI (3-5-2) 

—– Henderson* —–

— Basham — O’Connell — Egan —

— Baldock — Fleck —  Berge —– Norwood — Stevens—

—– McBurnie —– Mousset —–

The challenge here is fitting January signing Berge into the mix, as fellow central midfielders John Fleck, Oliver Norwood, and John Lundstram have been instrumental in this amazing season. Lundstram seems the most likely to cede his spot if someone will, which really says something about Berge’s immense talent. David McGoldrick and Billy Sharp have provided a lot up top, so McBurnie and Mousset will see plenty of time on the bench. And the biggest question of all is Henderson, who’s on loan from top seven rival Manchester United.

[ MORE: The 2 Robbies assess Sheffield United’s chances ]


[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

Remaining schedule
Home: Spurs, Wolves, Chelsea, Everton
Away: Newcastle, Manchester United, Burnley, Leicester City, Southampton

Predicted finish: The Blades will get the chance to defend their home turf from not one, not two, not three, but four would-be European rivals (It’s a little generous to include Everton, but the talent is there). Throw in Leicester and Manchesteer United away, and there is a huge bridge to cross for Wilder’s men to keep their incredible season on the path toward unprecedented heights. It’s not just about keeping Spurs and Arsenal in the rear view mirror, as Blades meet the next four teams above their seventh-place footing.

Petersen’s header leads Freiburg past 10-man Gladbach

Freiburg v. Borussia Monchengladbach recap
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Nils Petersen’s second half goal led Freiburg to a huge 1-0 win over 10-man Borussia Monchengladbach at the Schwarzwald-Stadion on Friday.

Freiburg keeps its Europa League hopes alive by moving onto 41 points, one behind sixth and seventh.

Gladbach fails in a bid to go third and remains fourth with 56 points, ahead of Bayer Leverkusen on goal differential.

A second yellow card to Plea was a double curse to Gladbach, who went down a man and now will miss a star forward against Bayern Munich.

[ LIVE: Bundesliga scores, stats ]

Bayer’s Ramy Bensebaini utilized a slick backheel turn to nutmeg an opponent and send in a cross that was put out for a corner kick.

Freiburg keeper Alexander Schwolow made a tight-angle save on Alassane Plea just after the quarter-hour mark.

Gladbach saw a chance chalked off after two dangerous bids resulted in an offside deflection into the goal.

Florian Neuhaus came close to scoring again when Lars Stindl headed the penultimate move of a fine team play into the six, but he popped it over the frame.

[ BUNDESLIGA: Week 30 preview and predictions ]

Gladbach’s second half again settled into the Freiburg final third, but it was a home sub that paid dividends at the other end.

Petersen improved his club record for goals when he nodded Vincenzo Grifo’s free kick home in the 59th.

Stindl wasn’t too far from equalizing with a 17-yard shot at the hour mark, but Plea’s second yellow card damaged Gladbach’s hopes of a comeback.