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Antonio forced to don Spurs jersey after losing to Sessegnon at FIFA

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The Premier League derby between Tottenham and West Ham was meant to be on Friday. With the coronavirus postponing all Premier League activity through at least April 30, the real game has yet to take place.

Still, West Ham winger Michail Antonio and Spurs wide man Ryan Sessegnon decided to hold the game anyways despite their isolation during the shutdown. Virtually.

The two agreed to a match of FIFA between the two clubs, and spent two days promoting the event before grabbing the Playstation controllers and streaming the game live on Twitch.

Even their clubs got involved to promote the event, with the two sides streaming the event as well as putting it up on Twitch.

Ryan Sessegnon came out victorious via a 2-0 scoreline, with both Giovani Lo Celso and Lucas Moura on the virtual scoresheet. The second goal was a lovely bit of play between Moura and Dele Alli in the box, which had Antonio reminding himself the stream had to be kept PG despite his frustration.

Antonio was frustrated with his performance, calling it “embarrassing” at halftime and posting that “The passing was off, shooting was bad and couldn’t tackle,” on social media, although he jokingly caveated that by saying “my controller must have been broken.” After the loss, per the rules of the bet, Antonio was forced to don a Tottenham kit, which he did so extremely begrudgingly.

Which Premier League players would you like to see play each other in FIFA to decide the outcome of an otherwise postponed match?

Mourinho: Injury-hit Spurs need to be ‘very strong to cope with limitations’

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Jose Mourinho is taking the simplest approach to Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League exit.

Spurs were rolled over by RB Leipzig in the second leg of their Round of 16 tie on Tuesday, falling 3-0 on the day and 4-0 on aggregate without Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son, and Steven Bergwijn.

[ MORE: Dele Alli reaction ]

Mourinho said things were going to have go nearly perfect for Spurs to overcome the 1-0 first leg deficit without those key pieces.

Spurs were not close to their best, and they were punished.

“There is nobody to blame when it looks like in every match we have a traumatic injury that ends with months and months,” he said on television after the match. “That’s the history of this season. It started with problems and you look at when I arrived our position at the table. The negative history starts with the first injury and look to our bench and look to our pitch with Tanganga with his first (Champions League) match and Sessegnon his second match. It’s very, very hard.”

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Mourinho said he’s confident his team will be much better when healthy next season, adding Kane, Son, Bergwijn and Moussa Sissoko to the fold.

That doesn’t help much ahead of a huge weekend tilt with Manchester United. Spurs will have two more days rest than the Red Devils, but can fall seven points back of the top five with a loss on Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

“With the squad we have it’s going to be very difficult if we have the same squad we had today tomorrow,” he said in his post-match press conference, via Football.London. “We have games ahead and we have to fight. We are going to fight and the players need to be very strong to cope with the limitations we have. We are not going to recover any players before Sunday.”

That’s an awful lot of foreshadowing from Mourinho, who would do well to strike a more positive pose for his players and fans ahead of a reunion with old pals Manchester United.

Spurs admit failing to secure Champions League would affect summer recruitment funds

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Tottenham Hotspur released a statement for supporters and investors that admitted the potential loss of Champions League play could affect the club’s financial availability for player recruitment this summer.

Spurs currently sit eighth in the Premier League table after drawing with Burnley this past weekend, currently seven points adrift of a Champions League place and four points shy of fifth which could end up being a Champions League qualifying spot pending Man City’s UEFA ban.

Club chairman Daniel Levy spoke at a meeting with the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust, and the minutes from the meeting published by the club outlined the chairman’s concerns with the potential lack of top European play next season.

“Daniel Levy responded that Spurs have a net base spend of £200m in the last four years on players but maintained there is little correlation between money spent and winning. It’s about making the right decisions. Funds were ring-fenced for the summer, however not qualifying for the Champions League would have an impact all round.”

Levy continued with the narrative that spending does not equal winning, saying, “Spurs are a club that makes superstars. Jose Mourinho wants to bring in players who give everything for the club because they recognize the opportunity.”

The club spent an estimated $163 million this season on players between the summer and winter transfer windows, bringing aboard the likes of Tanguy Ndombele and Ryan Sessegnon in the summer plus Steven Bergwijn and Gedson Fernandes in the winter, while Spurs also committed another $46 million to this coming summer on the permanent signing of on-loan midfielder Giovani Lo Celso. Tottenham has struggled through a striker drought during the second half of this season, with both Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son missing significant time through injury.

Spurs can also qualify for next season’s Champions League should they win the competition. They currently face a 1-0 Round of 16 deficit as they travel to RB Leipzig for the second leg on Tuesday.

Premier League Preview: Burnley v. Tottenham Hotspur

Burnley v. Tottenham preview
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Tottenham Hotspur looks to steady its wobbly top four hopes against surging Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday (Watch Live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Spurs sit seventh with 40 points and have lost four-straight matches across three competitions.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ] 

Burnley, meanwhile, has a six-match unbeaten run including four wins and two draws. The Clarets are two points back of Spurs.

Spurs beat Burnley 5-0 in the reverse fixture but four of the five goals were scored by players who will miss Saturday’s encounter.

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE


Injuries/suspensions

Burnley: OUT — Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Matthew Lowton, Ashley Barnes, Ben Gibson. QUESTIONABLE — None.

Tottenham Hotspur: OUT — Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko, Heung-Min Son. QUESTIONABLE — Ryan Sessegnon


Probable lineups

Burnley: Pope, Taylor, Mee, Tarkowski, Bardsley, Westwood, Cork, McNeil, Hendrick, Rodriguez, Wood.

Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Davies, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Tanganga, Winks, Ndombele, Gedson, Lamela, Lo Celso, Bergwijn


What they’re saying

Ben Mee on Burnley’s team commitment: “I think you can work together on the pitch even if you’re not that close off it, but I think as a group as a whole we chat a lot and we are a close-knit group. There’s a British and Irish core to it and we all have the same mentality. Even the boys that have come in from other places feel really at home with the warmth of the group and the welcome they get. It’s credit to the coaching staff and the environment they create and the culture.”

Jose Mourinho on the squad’s injury problems: “Imagine my team playing – Lucas, Kane and Son. And Lucas and Son, minute 70 they are tired. Let’s go. Lamela and Bergwijn. We have the squad for that. Midfield players – you are feeling the team is going a little bit down. You feel the players are a little bit in trouble – change one and get another one. We have a squad for that. It’s not like I’m saying our squad is not good. The squad is good. In this moment we are in trouble. It’s so simple as that.”


Prediction

It seems just as unlikely that Spurs’ struggles would continue as Burnley defy the statistical odds and stretch its unbeaten run, but Tottenham will have an eye on RB Leipzig. Call it 2-1 to Spurs.

Jose Mourinho says no Spurs overhaul this summer

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Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho rejected the idea that Spurs will overhaul the squad this summer.

The London side has been better since Mourinho took over in late November, but still results have been spotty with injuries decimating the attack. The sharp downturn since last year’s Champions League success has led many to speculate this summer will be met with wild swings of the axe, but Mourinho told reporters today that is not the case.

“No, not massive changes [in the immediate future],” Mourinho confirmed at his pre-match press conference ahead of the FA Cup game against Norwich City on Wednesday. “First of all, that’s not what we think we need. Second, because of the profile of our club and third because of what the market is. Year after year, it’s more difficult. I’m not thinking of an overhaul.”

Despite Mourinho’s defiance, a host of Spurs players remain in contract limbo that could force the club into changes. Jan Vertonghen has still not signed a new deal, with his current set to expire this summer, while the likes of Eric Dier, Japhen Tanganga, Victor Wanyama, and Oliver Skipp all see their contracts expire in the summer of 2021. Also notably, the summer of 2022 brings the expiration of Hugo Lloris, Serge Aurier, Eric Lamela, and Juan Foyth meaning they could see increased transfer activity this coming offseason.

Still, staying the course is a likely strategy as chairman Daniel Levy is not known as a wheeler and dealer. Last offseason saw the arrival of Tanguy Ndombele, Ryan Sessegnon, and Giovani Lo Celso plus the additions of Steven Bergwijn and Gedson Fernandes this winter. Such recent activity is another sign the coming summer could be quieter than usual.