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Chelsea Boss Thomas Tuchel hints at Pep Gaurdiola over Champions League final comments



There is something about facing Manchester City and Pep Guardiola that seems to bring the very best out of Thomas Tuchel.

After guiding Chelsea to a 1-0 win over the Premier League champions-elect in their FA Cup semi-final showdown at Wembley last month.

The Blues got the better of City again yesterday evening, coming from behind to beat them 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium, further bolstering their hopes of securing a top-four finish this season.

Second half goals from Hakim Ziyech and Marcos Alonso turned the game in the Blues’ favour after Raheem Sterling close-range tap-in had handed City a 1-0 advantage at half time.

City, though, could have headed into the interval 2-0 up had Sergio Aguero not been denied from the penalty spot by Chelsea shot-stopper Edouard Mendy.

With Tuchel having recorded two wins from two against City since he took charge of Chelsea towards the end of January.

The German will now be praying that the same outcome occurs when the two sides meet again towards the end of this month, which, of course, will see them go head-to-head in the battle to win the UEFA Champions League.

While it is every manager’s dream to be involved in a Champions League final, the feeling will not be too unfamiliar for either Tuchel or his counterpart Pep Guardiola.

That is because, between them, the duo have been involved in three Champions League finals in the past, with Tuchel’s one and only appearance coming as recently as last season, when he guided Paris Saint-Germain to the final, only to be beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich.

Tuchel’s one and only appearance in a Champions League final as a manager ended in disappointment, but Guardiola has won the two finals he has appeared in as a manager, guiding Barcelona to glory against Manchester United in both 2009 and 2011.

With the Spaniard now looking to make it a hat-trick of Champions League titles on his CV, Tuchel will be doing everything to stop him and secure the first of his managerial career.

Ahead of kick-off at the Etihad Stadium yesterday evening, both Tuchel and Guardiola were spotted locked in deep conversation by the side of the pitch, raising questions about what they could possibly be discussing.

Then, ahead of kick-off, Tuchel was asked the question about what they had been talking about, prompting him to deliver a tongue-in-cheek response.

The Chelsea boss, when speaking to Sky Sports about his pre-match conversation with Guardiola, joked: “He told me the tactics of the Champions League final, I now know everything!

“We had a long relationship from Munich, he was at Dortmund and Mainz.

“Yes, he is a good guy.”

With Guardiola’s 100 per cent record in Champions League finals, Tuchel would probably love to learn a thing or two about how to produce the goods on the biggest stage of all.

At the same time, though, Tuchel clearly has the knowhow of how to get the better of the Spaniard, winning two out of two since his arrival in England.

Prior to that, however, Tuchel had drawn one and lost four of his previous five meetings with the City boss during their respective spells in Germany.

However, they have never faced each other in a European clash.


Rio Ferdinand issues major warning about Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag




Former centre-back Rio Ferdinand believes it is still too early to judge whether Erik ten Hag is the right man to lead Manchester United back to the top, despite their unquestionable improvement under him this season.

United head into tomorrow’s Manchester derby against City at Old Trafford with the knowledge that a win will lift them to within a point and place of their neighbours in the Premier League table.

The Reds have lost just one of their last 18 matches since being battered 6-3 by City back in October, featuring a current run of eight wins on the bounce.

The Reds, such is the level of progress they have made under Ten Hag this season, are now considered as one of the favourites to qualify for the Champions League for next season.

They have made significant strides in a relatively short space of time and victories over the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur already this season have proven that they are capable of competing in the upper echelons of the table again.

However, despite heading into the second half of the campaign with form in their sails, Ferdinand insists the jury is still out on Ten Hag, despite him reaching 20 wins as United manager quick than any of his predecessors.

“I think it’s too early to say,” said Ferdinand to the Mirror. “We’ve been here with previous managers when it looks like we are onto something.

“We’ve got to be patient and give the man time. I think all the signs are very positive at the moment. He’s come in and seen what is happening, assessed how things are, looked at individuals and looked at the shape of the team.

“These were a bunch of players that were quite low. They were shot to pieces and he’s had to build, not only footballers, but men back up again. He’s had to build a lot of human beings back up and that takes time.

“The fact he’s now talking about qualifying for the Champions League so positively, he can sense a confidence coming back into this team. There’s a consistency of performance from the team that wasn’t there before and the signals and signs are all very promising.

“But they’re still not where they want to be. City are way ahead of where United are. The distance is a bit closer, but it’s still not anywhere near where we want it to be. There’s still work to be done.”

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Manchester United takeover bids ‘expected imminently’ with serious interest in Club




Manchester United are expecting takeover offers from across the world as they are set to invite bids ahead of ‘mid-February deadline’.

The Telegraph have reported that the club have received ‘serious interest’ from consortiums based in the Middle East, Asia and the United States.

British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe is also weighing up an offer, as the Glazers hope to the sell one of the biggest clubs in the world for over £5billion.

The report also adds that parties who had been interested in taking over Chelsea, before Todd Boehly’s £4.25bn takeover, are set to return with approaches for the Red Devils.

It’s expected that potential investors will go public with their attempts to buy United in the coming weeks with the clock ‘now ticking on a deal’.

Senior United figures will issue a mid February deadline for formal offers in order to help get get the takeover completed before the end of the season.

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Confirmed: Chelsea ready to make late bid to hijack another Arsenal transfer




Chelsea will make a late attempt to scupper Arsenal’s hopes of finally signing Mikhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Gunners have submitted their third bid for the Ukraine international winger and hope an offer of £62m before add-ons, which take the deal closer to £70m, will be enough to break the deadlock between the two clubs.

Chelsea’s interest in the 21-year-old winger was earlier this week described only as ‘exploratory’ but ESPN now claim that Todd Boehly will test the waters and attempt to throw a spanner in the works for the Premier League leaders.

Shakhtar’s technical director Darijo Srna was pictured at Stamford Bridge last week as he watched Chelsea’s defeat against Manchester City and Boehly would have little issue with meeting an asking price which is closer to £88million.

Arsenal are said to be confident that their latest bid for Mudryk will be enough to finally secure the services of their No.1 January target, but have already been beaten to the punch once this month by their west London rivals.

Chelsea won the race to sign Joao Felix on loan from Atletico Madrid amid competition from Arsenal and Manchester United, but the Portugal international’s promising debut ended in devastating fashion when he was sent off just shy of the hour mark for a dangerous challenge on Fulham’s Kenny Tete.

Felix will now miss the next three games through suspension as the problems mount for Chelsea’s under-fire manager Graham Potter.

‘It sums up where we are at the moment – everything that can go wrong, is going wrong,’ Potter said after Chelsea’s 2-1 west London derby defeat.

‘It was a forward’s tackle from Joao, there was no malice in it but I understand why it was a red. It is another blow the hits keep coming at the moment.

‘He was really good you could see his quality in the game so it is doubly disappointing for us because he was looking dangerous throughout.

‘I don’t think there was too much malice in it and it is an unfortunate action and we are going to lose him now for three games.’

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