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Premier League issues statement supporting Tottenham, Chelsea

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The Premier League is giving it’s backing to its clubs, Tottenham and Chelsea in particular, as investigations continue into alleged racist abuse from White Hart Lane on Sunday.

In a statement released Monday, the Premier League re-iterated its support for whatever punishment Tottenham and Chelsea decide for their supporters who are proven to have committed racist abuse during Chelsea’s 2-0 win over Tottenham.

[READ: Chelsea, Tottenham react to racist incident]

“The Premier League and our clubs will not tolerate discrimination in any form,” the Premier League wrote. ”If people are found to have racially abused Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger or Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min, they deserve to be punished.

“We will support Tottenham Hotspur FC and Chelsea FC in their pursuit of any perpetrators and call for appropriate action to be taken by the authorities and the clubs. We appreciate the millions of supporters who help create a positive Premier League matchday atmosphere and have made it clear that racist conduct or language is unacceptable.

“The Premier League uses a protocol specifically designed to support players, managers and match officials who believe they are being subjected to discriminatory abuse during a match. This protocol is intended to ensure that abuse is stopped and offenders dealt with efficiently by clubs and police.”

Tottenham issue statement on alleged racist abuse

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Tottenham are investigating the alleged racist abuse aimed at Chelsea’s Antonio Rudiger during the Blues’ 2-0 win at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

According to Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta, Rudiger expressed to him that racist chants were being aimed at him during the second half of Sunday’s match, shortly after his incident with Son Heung-min.

“It is made very clear to us all that if we have heard any racist incident to report it. Tony came to me and told me he was listening to racist songs towards him so I reported it to the referee,” Azpilicueta said. “We are very concerned and aware of this behavior. Altogether we need to make it stop. I hope everything gets clear and we eradicate it as soon as possible. It‘s an issue not just in football but in life.”

The alleged incident caused the match to be paused momentarily by referee Anthony Taylor, in accordance to official protocol issued by FIFA.

Following the match, Spurs confirmed through a statement that they have launched an investigation and are ready to “take the strongest possible action” against anyone found guilty of the alleged racist abuse.

The club’s statement reads: “We are now conducting a thorough investigation which will include liaising with Chelsea and their players for their observations. Any form of racism is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our stadium. We take any such allegations extremely seriously and shall take the strongest possible action against any individual found to be behaving in such a way, including stadium bans.”

PL Sunday preview: Man Utd travel to Watford; Mourinho’s Tottenham host Lampard’s Chelsea

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With seven Premier League fixtures on Saturday, two more remain in Matchweek 18.

Watford v. Manchester United  — 9 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

If this had not been said already: Watford are in trouble.

The Hornets have yet to win a home match this season, with their last win at Vicarage Road dating back to April. Over 17 games this season, Watford have registered one win – a 2-0 win over Norwich City in November – conceding 32 goals along the way. At home, Watford have scored four goals this season – a Premier League-low.

With the odds definitely against him, it is tough seeing recently-appointed Nigel Pearson overturning, possibly even if club owner Gino Pozzo commits to revamping the squad over the winter transfer window.

“It’s stating the obvious – it’s clear to everybody we need to affect our fortunes as soon as possible,” the 56-year-old said ahead of Sunday’s match.

“We’ve got another difficult game and when you play against Manchester United you know they’ve got quality, they’ve got players who are very capable of being match winners, so the most important thing for us is to raise our own levels of performance and find a level of consistency that will generate a better feeling within our fan base.”

Meanwhile, over in Manchester, the aura is overwhelmingly unrecognizable. United are riding a six-game unbeaten streak in Premier League play, and are in their best shape this season.

As a result, the talk at Old Trafford has been the first team’s ascendance over the past few months, but it’s quickly becoming the January transfer window.

Is Erling Haaland reuniting with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the Theatre of Dreams? Are Paul Pogba‘s days numbered with the Red Devils? These are the type of questions that the Norwegian manager is taking on.

“As a manager, you always hope you can do something but, then again, it’s not something that’s nailed on,” he said regarding United’s potential signings over the winter transfer window.

“It has to be the right player, the right age, he’s got to fit into this squad and for the right value. We’re always looking and the transfer window will be open but it might not happen.”

Getting three points at Vicarage Road doesn’t pose as a daunting task, obviously.

INJURIES: Watford —  OUT: Cleverley (calf), Holebas (ankle), Janmaat (knee), Prödl (knee), Welbeck (hamstring) | Manchester United — OUT:  Bailly (knee), Fosu-Mensah (knee), Pogba (ankle)

Tottenham v. Chelsea — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

For the first team in a Premier League match, Jose Mourinho and Frank Lampard will square off as managers.

And if Derby County’s win against Manchester United via penalties in the Carabao Cup last year told us anything it’s that the student learned a lot from his master.

“I am happy to go up against Jose [Mourinho], it was a big deal last year [with Derby against Manchester United],” Chelsea boss Lampard said when asked about playing against a Mourinho-led Spurs.

“I have a big respect for him,” he added. “The big thing is Chelsea versus Spurs, it is what the rivalry means to my players.”

For a second time in his storied managerial career, Mourinho will take on Chelsea – the club he managed for nearly six years – representing a different English club. For the first time ever, however, the match will be a derby.

So, is the Portuguese in any sort of emotional quandary going up against his former team and his former standout player?

“I am 100% Tottenham,” he stated. “I am 100% my club always. No space at all for my previous clubs. I gave everything to all of them, but they are my previous clubs.”

“My club is Tottenham so it’s so, so easy for me,” he said. “Not difficult from the emotional side of things.”

Now that sound like the Mourinho, who knows that there’s a clear pathway to dethrone Chelsea from the fourth position with a win.

INJURIES: Tottenham —  OUT: Lamela (hamstring), Lloris (elbow), Davies (ankle) | Chelsea  — OUT: Loftus-Cheek (achilles)

Report: No money in January for Mourinho

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Jose Mourinho will have to deal with the squad he has for the rest of the season, according to a report the Guardian.

The report states that Tottenham isn’t making any money available for signings in January, meaning that Mourinho won’t have the chance to add to his Spurs squad. Usually, when a new coach comes in, they’re given at least a transfer window to bring in one or two players, especially mid-season, to stabilize the squad.

[READ: Mourinho speaks for the first time as Spurs manager]

It’s certainly an unusual move from Tottenham. It leaves Mourinho in a bad spot in terms of the five first-team players who will be out of contract in June. If any of them, including Jan Vertonghen and Christian Eriksen, leave on transfer, perhaps Tottenham can use those funds towards new signings. However, it’s more likely at this point that all five will finish the season at White Hart Lane and leave, setting up a massive summer for Mourinho.

At the same time, Tottenham has shown financial austerity for the past few seasons, as it struggles to pay back the loans it took to renovate its stadium. Pochettino didn’t make a single signing for the entirety of the 2018-2019 season and while the club broke its transfer record to sign Tanguay Ndombele, there wasn’t investment throughout the squad.

Considering Tottenham’s financial behavior, it does question why Mourinho took the job in the first place. But with his reported eight-figure salary, and the chance to work with Harry Kane, Mourinho may have decided it’s worth it, even if he can’t sign his players and mold the squad in the way he wants.

Looking Ahead: Mourinho’s first 10 games

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Tottenham’s stunning week continued on Wednesday with the appointment of Jose Mourinho as manager.

Taking in his first day of training, Mourinho can now get to grips with not only his squad, but what’s ahead for Spurs. Here’s a look at what Mourinho will be up against in the next two months.

[READ: 5 things Mourinho must do at Tottenham]


Game 1: Tottenham at West Ham, Saturday, Premier League

Mourinho’s first game in charge is a London derby, which is a pretty tough way to start life at the club. Coming on the road, you can expect a packed house, tons of media attention, and possibly a re-energized squad. That’s what Mourinho will be hoping for, anyways.

Sebastian Haller has struggled recently, and with just four goals in 11 Premier League games, he could be looking at this matchup as a way to get back on the scoresheet. It will be up to Mourinho to re-organize a want-away defense.

Game 2: Tottenham v. Olympiakos, Nov. 26, UEFA Champions League

Game 3: Tottenham v. Bournemouth, Nov. 30, Premier League

Game 4: Tottenham at Manchester United, Dec. 4, Premier League

Mourinho only has to wait three weeks before his first trip back to Old Trafford. Even though it’s coming soon, it’s not a guarantee that it will be Mourinho v. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who is under a lot of pressure himself. Things haven’t improved at Man United much since Mourinho was sacked, and a win for him on the road would be the kind of grudge match he lives for.

Game 5: Tottenham v. Burnley, Dec. 7, Premier League

Game 6: Tottenham at Bayern Munich, Dec. 11, Champions League

If the Champions League stopped today, passed Go and went directly to the knockout rounds, Tottenham would be in. Despite all the Premier League troubles, Spurs have done well enough to stay ahead of Red Star Belgrade and Olympiakos in the standings. Should Tottenham beat Olympiakos in November, and Red Star loses to Bayern Munich, it will be set. However, if Tottenham hasn’t secured a place in the knockout round by then, it may need a result against Bayern at home. That will be one of Mourinho’s biggest tasks moving forward.

Game 7: Tottenham at Wolves, Dec. 15, Premier League

Game 8: Tottenham v. Chelsea, Dec. 22, Premier League

Tottenham opens the busy holiday period against Mourinho’s other Premier League former club, and the place where he made his name in England. At this point, Mourinho will have been with Tottenham for an entire month and if things are going well, Tottenham could challenge Chelsea in this match. If Tottenham remain at its current level, Chelsea could certainly win a match like this on the road at the new White Hart Lane. Another side plot will be Mourinho facing his former star midfielder, Frank Lampard.

Game 9: Tottenham v. Brighton and Hove Albion, Dec. 26, Premier League

Game 10: Tottenham at Norwich City, Dec. 28, Premier League

Mourinho will have to navigate some tough matches, including big six derbies against Chelsea and Man United, plus a trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers. However, it certainly could have been worse for Tottenham. Spurs has five home games, along with matches against Burnley, Bournemouth, Norwich City and Brighton and Hove Albion. Despite 10 games in the rest of 2019, and a busy holiday period, Mourinho has a shot to turn Spurs’ season around and put them in contention for fourth place by May.