Solari insists title still possible

Real Madrid boss Santiago Solari insisted his team are still in the hunt for the La Liga title despite losing at home to Girona.

After leaders Barcelona won on Saturday and Atletico moved into second with victory, Real had the chance on Sunday to move back to second with a win of their own.

However, despite Casemiro giving the home side a first half lead Girona gave their relegation concerns a huge boost with two goals in 10 second half minutes.

They equalised from the penalty spot after a Sergio Ramos handball, converted by Cristhian Stuani and then, after Portu had hit the crossbar, he won the game with a diving header on 75 minutes.

Real's woes were increased in injury time with Ramos being sent off for two yellow cards.

Their seventh defeat of the league season means they now trail Barcelona by nine points in La Liga, a gap that Solari insists can still be breached.

He said after the game when asked if they can still win the title: "Always. We are always in it. We need to get good results as soon as possible, but we're still in three competitions.”

On the game he added: "We tried to increase our energy levels with our changes but we did not achieve it – we have a big squad and a lot of good players.

"We did not take our chances when we had them and it was really difficult for us in the first 25 minutes."

Real are still in contention in two other competitions as Solari indicated. They are in the Copa del Rey semi-finals where they are tied with Barcelona 1-1 after the first leg.

They are also in the Champions League and, having won the trophy the last three years, have a 2-1 lead over Ajax after the first leg of their round of 16 tie in this season's competition.

They are 8/15 to win the second leg with Ajax 17/4 and the draw 7/2.

Real Madrid are 9/1 to win the Champions League while they are 5/4 to win the Copa del Rey.

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Simeone signs new contract

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has signed a new contract that will keep him at the club until 2022.

The Argentine has been in charge at Atletico since 2011 and during that time the club have won the Europa League twice and La Liga in 2014.

He also led the club to two Champions League finals, their first, losing both times to Real Madrid, in 2014 and 2016.

This season they are third in the league, behind Real Madrid and leaders Barcelona and, having qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League, face Juventus in the round of 16.

The first leg is in Madrid next week with Atletico 9/5 to win, Juventus are 13/8 with the draw 21/10.

His success in Spain has led to speculation that he would make the move to the Premier League but he looks set to stay in Spain for the foreseeable future and said, on signing the new deal, that he is focused on an exciting future for the club.

On Atletico's Twitter feed Simeone said: "I see hard work, I see players focused on improving, I see excitement, I see youth.

"All of this can make us grow as a team, and I know that if the four legs remain strong and firm like they have until now, we're going to continue in the same way.

"Fans, players, officials and coaches. That's been a big strength of ours, and we must not change in the future."

Atletico lost their last La Liga game at home to Real Madrid and are back in action on Saturday when they play away to Rayo Vallecano.

Atletico are 20/1 to win this season's La Liga with Barcelona 1/7 and Real 11/2.

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Barca dismiss Neymar return

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has dismissed the prospect of Neymar returning to the club in the near future.

The Brazilian striker left the Nou Camp to move to Paris St Germain in 2017 but has been the subject of speculation at times linking him back with the La Liga leaders.

However, president Bartomeu ruled out the possibility, saying although he had spoken with Neymar, there had never been any indication that he wanted to return.

He told a Spanish radio station: "No one's called us about it. Neymar has a contract with PSG. It's his second season there and it's very difficult (to imagine) they want to sell.

"The club's taken another path, with (Ousmane) Dembele, (Philippe) Coutinho. We have to move on with them. They're the two biggest investments in the club's history and we back them 100 per cent."

Neymar is currently out injured after suffering a metatarsal injury last month and missed PSG's Champions League round of 16 first-leg win at Manchester United in midweek.

He may well be ruled out when the teams meet again in the French capital next month but insists he will be back in what he predicts will be a run to the final.

He is quoted as saying: "PSG is not just about me – it has an awesome team with great athletes and a genius coach.

"Besides, the PSG fans are like a 12th player when we are playing in Paris. I have no doubts that we will be champions and that I will be playing."

PSG are 1/2 to win their home leg against Manchester United who are 5/1 with the draw 10/3.

Barcelona are 5/1 to win the Champions League this year with PSG 5/1.

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City hit Chelsea for six

Manchester City moved back to the top of the Premier League table in emphatic fashion, beating Chelsea 6-0 at the Etihad Stadium.

City were 4-0 up before half an hour, exposing the visitors defensive frailties to move back above Liverpool on goal difference.

Chelsea began the game by attempting to press high up the pitch but their tactics were undermined within the first five minutes, City taking the lead.

It was the recalled Kevin De Bruyne who began the move with a quick free kick which found Bernardo Silva and, with the Chelsea defence failing to react, crossed for Raheem Sterling to pounce and turn the ball past Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Sergio Aguero should have scored shortly afterwards but, after being set up by Silva, shot wide with the goal gaping.

However, Aguero and City weren't denied for long and he doubled City's lead on 13 minutes, Oleksandr Zinchenko losing possession but the ball fell to the Argentine who shot into the top corner from about 25 yards out.

All Chelsea's plans were in tatters and City continued to pour forward to test a stretched defence and were rewarded on 19 minutes, Aguero getting a rather more scruffy goal but again Chelsea failed to clear the ball from their own area.

With less than half an hour of the game gone it was 4-0 when Ilkay Gundogan took advantage of a poor clearance from Antonio Rudiger and shot home.

City made it five about 10 minutes into the second half, Aguero completing his hat-trick from the penalty spot. Cesar Azpilicueta was ruled to have brought Sterling down in the area and the striker made no mistake from the spot to compound Chelsea's misery.

City have a heavy fixture list in coming weeks, taking on Newport in the FA Cup, Schalke in the Champions League and Chelsea again in the EFL Cup final and Pep Guardiola made changes with those games in mind.

The game already won he took off Aguero and De Bruyne, replaced by Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez.

It looked as if City were winding down but Guardiola recently suggested the Premier League title race could come down to goal difference and City scored another before the end to be nine goals ahead of Liverpool, Sterling getting on the end of another excellent moving involving David Silva and Zinchenko.

That completed the scoring and City, having played a game more than Liverpool, are back above them at the top of the Premier League.

City are 8/11 to win the Premier League with Liverpool 6/5.

City are 13/8 to reach the final of the Champions League this season with Liverpool 4/1 and Manchester United 14/1.

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Spurs stay in the hunt

Tottenham ensured the bid to win the Premier League remains a three-horse race after beating Leicester City 3-1 at Wembley.

The Foxes contributed much to an entertaining game and Jamie Vardy should have equalised from the penalty spot shortly after coming on, but Spurs made the points safe with a last minute goal from Son Heung-min.

Mauricio Pochettino's side took the lead just after half an hour when Davinson Sanchez scored his first goal for the club.

Leicester had a glorious chance to draw level, Vardy coming off the bench to take a penalty but Hugo Lloris made the save.

It was to prove a costly miss as Spurs doubled their lead just minutes later, Christian Eriksen scoring the goal.

Vardy made amends by getting on the scoresheet, converting Ricardo Pereira's cross and that left the Foxes with a quarter of an hour to try and force an equaliser.

However, despite late pressure they couldn't get a second and the home side made the game safe just before the end, Son getting the goal to continue the fine form he's shown since returning from Asian Cup action.

It was a fourth successive league win for Spurs who remain third in the Premier League table, five points off joint leaders Liverpool and Manchester City.

They are back at Wembley on Wednesday night for the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie with Borussia Dortmund.

They are 13/10 for the win with the German side 19/10 and the draw is 5/2.

Having been knocked out of the FA Cup Spurs then have 10 days off before returning to the Premier League, away to Burnley on 23rd February.

Spurs are 10/1 to reach the Champions League final this year with Manchester City 13/8 and Liverpool 4/1.

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Ancelotti ready to attack Liverpool

Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti says his side will attack Liverpool on Tuesday as they seek to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages.

Ahead of the final games in Group C, Napoli are top of the group with Paris St Germain second and Liverpool third.

Just a point will ensure that the Italian side go through but Ancelotti insists that his intention is to go on the attack to win the game and ensure they finish top of the group.

After his rotated side beat Frosinone 4-0 in Serie A, Ancelotti said: "We don't know how to play a defensive match and we won't do it at Liverpool.

"We want to control the game. We are not used to playing defensively, we are not capable of doing it. We will not park the bus in front of our goal.

"We believe we will get through: so far we have prepared a beautiful cake, now we must add the icing."

Liverpool, last season's beaten finalists, have to win Tuesday's game to stand any chance of qualifying from the group but Ancelotti takes inspiration from previous visits to Anfield, including a victory with Chelsea which virtually ensured the Premier League title in 2010.

"Anfield is a fantastic stadium. It is the most beautiful stadium of all – it has a unique atmosphere apart from the San Paolo," he added.

Napoli are 15/4 to win at Anfield on Tuesday with Liverpool 4/7 and the draw 7/2.

Just as Napoli warmed up for the game with a 4-0 victory, Liverpool did likewise, winning 4-0 away at Bournemouth, a result that leaves them top of the Premier League after Manchester City's defeat at Chelsea.

Napoli are second in Serie A, eight points behind leaders Juventus.

Napoli are 33/1 to win the Champions League while Jurgen Klopp's side are 16/1.

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Mourinho criticises United mentality

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho criticised the officials as well as his team's mentality after they lost 3-1 away at West Ham.

The loss means that United have made their worst start to a league season after seven games since 1989-90 and heaps more pressure on the United boss after a week which also saw them knocked out of the EFL Cup.

Felipe Anderson's clever finish put the home side ahead at the London Stadium after just five minutes and the Hammers were two up at the break, Andriy Yarmolenko's shot going off Victor Lindelof and past David de Gea in goal.

Marcus Rashford gave the travelling supporters hope by pulling a goal back on 71 minutes but the game was made safe just three minutes later, Marko Arnautovic getting on the end of a Mark Noble pass.

The Hammers, after a poor start to the season under new manager Manuel Pellegrini, are now undefeated in three league games.

However, United's season is heading in the other direction. They drew at home to promoted Wolves last weekend, got knocked out of the EFL Cup on penalties by Derby in midweek and now lose at West Ham.

Mourinho told the BBC afterwards: "I can have complaints with quality and mental approach. You have to try always and that is my nature as a football professional."

On West Ham's win, he added: "When you are winning and you are full of confidence that is the best victory you can have.

"One goal is offside, the second goal is own goal and the third goal is referee's mistake but for the next game we have to have a better start."

United are next in action in midweek when they are back at Old Trafford to face Valencia in the Champions League.

They are 3/5 for a much-needed victory, Valencia are 9/2 with the draw 3/1.

United are 25/1 to win the Champions League this season while neighbours Manchester City are 5/1.

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Pogba stays “mad” after defeat

Paul Pogba says that he and the rest of the Manchester United squad are "mad" after losing to Brighton but are now intent on finding improvement.

United were poor in suffering their second successive loss at the Amex Stadium to bring about their first defeat of the league season.

A goal from Romelu Lukaku and a late penalty from skipper Pogba gave United brief hope of a comeback but it wasn't to be and the Frenchman said he and the rest of the team were angry at their below-par display.

He told MUTV: "We always play for the shirt and the fans, this is not the result we or they wanted. They should be very mad. We should be mad. Everybody is mad. We are mad.

"The next game we want to change this. We want to be happy at the end of the game, with smiles on their faces and give the fans a nice weekend afterwards.

"We definitely don't want to lose two games in a row, so we're going to have to get ready and play much, much better than today."

United's next game is at home to Tottenham next Monday, Mauricio Pochettino's side having started the new season with successive wins, over Newcastle and Fulham.

United are 8/5 to get back to winning ways with Spurs 17/10 and the draw 9/4.

United travelled to the south coast without Alexis Sanchez, Nemanja Matic and Antonio Valencia but all are back in training and would hope to come into contention for the game at Old Trafford next Monday.

United and Spurs are both in Champions League action this season having finished the last Premier League campaign in the top four. United are 10/11 to finish in the top four again this campaign with Spurs 4/7.

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Buffon says Mbappe “superhuman”

Gianluigi Buffon says that his new PSG team-mate Kylian Mbappe can become one of football's true greats if he stays grounded.

The 19-year-old made such an impact at the World Cup 2018 becoming only the second teenager to score in a World Cup final as France beat Croatia in Russia last month.

In contrast to Mbappe, Buffon is at the other end of his career, at the age of 40, but the two are now team-mates after the Italian left Juventus to move to Ligue 1.

He says Mbappe has the game to be compared, in time, to the likes of Pele and Diego Maradona.

He told Paris St-Germain's official magazine: "It's obvious [Mbappe] has something more than others. I hope he will remain humble and keep this desire to progress and make sacrifices.

"If so, he will make a mark in the history of football and write incredible pages of the sport."

Mbappe is now back at PSG after an extended break following the World Cup 2018 and may play with Buffon for the first team as the Ligue 1 season starts this weekend with PSG at home to Caen.

PSG are 1/10 to start off with a win with Caen 20/1 and the draw 8/1.

Buffon added that he had been following the club before his arrival in the French capital and says the Champions League has to be the aim for a squad so talented.

"It's never been that a team so strong couldn't make the leap in the Champions League," he said.

"Time is needed, but with an identity, a group, a good dressing room and a strong coach, the time to win can be reduced."

PSG lost in the quarter-finals of the Champions League four times in a row, between 2013 and 2016 and have fallen in the round of 16 the last two years, to Barcelona and then Real Madrid.

PSG are 1/10 to win Ligue 1 this season while they are 7/1 to break their duck in the Champions League.

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Pochettino quashes Real rumours

Mauricio Pochettino, who signed a new five-year contract at Tottenham last week, has played down rumours linking him with Real Madrid.

The former Southampton boss is believed to be Real's first choice to succeed Zinedine Zidane, who resigned on Thursday just five days after leading the Spanish side to their third consecutive Champions League title.

Pochettino insists he is happy at Spurs and has been quick to confirm that there is no clause in his contract that would permit him to speak to the La Liga side.

The Argentine said: "When Real Madrid call you, you have to listen to them. Although in this case it doesn't depend on me. I have just signed a long contract with Tottenham and I am very happy here.

"Right now I want to focus on planning for next season and keep out of all the things that are being said. There will be lots of rumours, lots of things said, but I have no news from Real Madrid."

However, earlier this year, Pochettino refused to rule out managing Real when asked directly if he could succeed Zidane.

The 46-year-old has been in charge at Tottenham since 2014 and has guided the club to three consecutive top-three finishes and to the last-16 of the Champions League this season.

Joachim Low, the Germany manager, is thought to be another name on Real's shortlist, although he has a contract with the 2014 World Cup winners until 2022.

Pochettino is 5/4 to be Real Madrid's next permanent manager while Low can be backed at 16/1. Meanwhile, Spurs are 16/1 to win the 2018/19 Premier League title.