Jose plays down United’s chances

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho insists his side are underdogs as the race for a top-four spot in the Premier League hots up.

United face City in an eagerly-anticipated Manchester derby on Thursday with both teams in danger of missing out on qualifying for next season's Champions League.

City are fourth in the table, only a point ahead of United, but Mourinho also has a two-legged Europa League semi-final tie against Celta Vigo to think about in May.

If United win the Europa League they will qualify for next term's Champions League irrespective of where they finish in the Premier League.

United are 10/11 to win the Europa League outright and 15/8 to finish in the top four while they can be backed at 16/5 to beat Pep Guardiola's team on Thursday and 4/1 to keep a clean sheet in the encounter.

"They [Manchester City] play now one game a week until the end of the season while we have the [Europa League] semi-finals which are very important for us," Mourinho said.

"Obviously to play one match per week brings teams and players to other levels, so it's more difficult for us but we are going to try.

"I would say this can be the first season of the next five or six or seven. It can be the first season of better years.

"And the reality is even in the first season of better years we won already [the Community Shield and EFL Cup], and if we manage to win the Europa League and in August to play the European Super Cup against the Champions League winner, it will be magnificent."

Conte relieved to stay on track

Antonio Conte praised his side's great effort after Chelsea had enhanced their title hopes by beating Southampton 4-2 at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea's goals in Tuesday's fixture came from Eden Hazard, Gary Cahill and a Diego Costa brace and the Blues are now seven points clear of second-placed Tottenham and available at 1/14 to win the Premier League title outright.

Former Chelsea players Oriol Romeu and Ryan Bertrand scored for Saints who remain locked in mid-table.

"For sure it was a good win and I think I have to be pleased for the great effort from my players," said Conte afterwards.

"It wasn't easy to play two-and-a-half days after a tough game [the FA Cup semi-final] against Tottenham and to face this type of team.

"We must be pleased for the win. I am pleased for my players because they deserve this win for the great effort they showed me."

Chelsea visit Everton on Sunday and are 8/1 to win 1-0 at Goodison Park with Costa available at 5/6 to score at any time in the encounter.

Meanwhile, Chelsea can be backed at 8/1 to win the match against Ronald Koeman's side from behind.

Wenger keen to keep Giroud

Arsene Wenger has played down speculation suggesting Olivier Giroud will be moving from Arsenal to Marseille this summer.

The 30-year-old striker has been linked with a £20million move to the Ligue 1 side after struggling to maintain his place in Wenger's starting line-up on a regular basis this season.

The France international has scored 66 Premier League goals in 158 appearances for the Gunners since moving to north London from Montpellier for £13million in the summer of 2012.

He has found the net nine times in the Premier League this term but has often been forced to start matches on the substitutes bench.

However, when asked about Giroud's future in his press conference before Wednesday's match against Leicester City, Wenger said: "I have had no approach from Marseille and we want to keep Olivier Giroud at the club."

Of his own future, Wenger would only say: "I work until the last day of the season for the present and future. Transfer targets are the future of the club and are very important."

Arsenal are currently seventh in the Premier League table and are 6/1 to finish in the top four once again, while they are 3/5 to beat Leicester on Wednesday with Giroud available at 20/21 to score at any time against the Foxes.

Toure targets derby glory

Yaya Toure is determined to help Manchester City finish in the top four of the Premier League and qualify for the Champions League again.

City will end the campaign with no silverware after being beaten by Arsenal in the semi-finals of the FA Cup on Sunday and face a potentially crucial match against rivals Manchester United on Thursday.

Pep Guardiola's team are currently in fourth spot, but are only one point above United, who won 2-0 at Burnley on Sunday.

Both teams have six league matches left but City, 1/10 to finish in the top four, are 10/11 to win Thursday's match with Toure available at 10/3 to score at any time in the Manchester derby.

"City have been able to qualify for the Champions League for seven years now. Definitely, Thursday is so important," admitted Toure.

The 33-year-old Ivory Coast midfielder did not feature in the Premier League this season until November but has gone on to score four times in 20 matches since then.

He moved to City for £24million from Barcelona in the summer of 2010 and has gone on to score 58 goals in 215 Premier League matches for the club.

Meanwhile, Manchester United are 16/5 to win Thursday's match and 13/8 to clinch a top-four finish.

Dier predicts Tottenham response

Tottenham Hotspur utility man Eric Dier is confident that an FA Cup semi-final loss to Chelsea will not affect their bid to pip the Blues to the Premier League title.

Spurs were beaten 4-2 by Chelsea at Wembley on Sunday, with both sides returning to league action this week.

The Blues, who top the table by four points, play host to Southampton on Tuesday evening, with Tottenham in action a day later when they take on Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

And England international Dier is not expecting any hangover from the weekend reverse, as he told Sky Sports: "It won't affect our momentum in the Premier League and won't be in our minds on Wednesday.

"If we want to do something special we need to have the attitude and belief that we can win every game."

Meanwhile, Dier is well aware that he and his team-mates face a tough test on Wednesday against the Eagles, who have won six of their last eight games to power clear of relegation danger – a run which has included victories over Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.

He added: "They have had a fantastic run of form, so I'm sure they will be very confident, especially at home.

"It will be difficult, but we have to be confident we can go there and win. We have the belief we can win every game and it depends on ourselves.

"If we are mentally right, have the right attitude and are willing to give everything, then we can win every game."

Tottenham are 13/20 to claim victory at Selhurst Park on Wednesday, with a 1-1 draw priced at 15/2, while Dele Alli is 11/8 to score at any time – having found the net in three of his last four games.

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Cahill return to boost Chelsea

Chelsea central defender Gary Cahill is expected to return from illness to face Southampton at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening.

England international Cahill missed the 4-2 FA Cup semi-final win over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday due to a bout of gastroenteritis, but Blues head coach Antonio Conte has confirmed that his player is back in training.

And Conte is hopeful of having Cahill back in the fold for the visit of the Saints, with Nathan Ake having stepped in against Spurs at the weekend.

He told reporters: "He trained with us yesterday and today.

"It's normal to check the condition and I want to speak with him tomorrow before making a decision. (At the moment) I am very happy that he is able to play tomorrow."

Conte is also expected to return both Eden Hazard and Diego costa to his starting line-up for the visit of the Saints, although the Italian is wary of a possible returnee for the visitors.

Forward Manolo Gabbiadini made a flying start to his time in England before being sidelined by a groin problem, with Conte a big fan of the former Napoli and Sampdoria man.

He added: "I think he is a really good player. He has a fantastic left foot, I think one of the best in the world. If someone doesn't know him, they don't understand the talent he has. He is a great striker.

"For sure, I have talked (to the defenders on how to deal with him) and also the goalkeeper."

Gabbiadini is available at 3/1 to score at any time on Tuesday evening, with Chelsea 4/9 to win the game and 8/1 to secure a 2-1 victory.

Prior to his injury setback, Gabbiadini had scored goals in six appearances for the south coast outfit following his January arrival from Napoli.

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Stephens vows to silence Costa

Southampton defender Jack Stephens is relishing the prospect of facing Chelsea striker Diego Costa at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday.

Claude Puel's side are ninth in the Premier League table, and 1/14 to finish in the top half, but will be keen to produce a better display against Chelsea than in their last encounter in the 3-0 defeat to Manchester City.

Saints have struggled against the leading teams this season but Stephens knows that the pressure will be on Antonio Conte's team, who lost their last Premier League match at Manchester United and are now only four points ahead of second-placed Tottenham.

Stephens said: "We can't look too much into the title race because it's nothing to do with us really. We're just concentrating on our games and our match is at Chelsea, where we want to take maximum points.

"I've played against some very good strikers and that's what you find in the Premier League – every team's got fantastic attacking players, so it's always a challenge for me.

"That's why I play football because you want to test yourself against the best players and obviously Costa's a player that likes a battle and has been very successful in England.

"It's going to be a really good battle, but it's one I'm looking forward to and hopefully I come out on top."

Saints are 11/2 to keep a clean sheet against Chelsea on Tuesday and 16/1 to secure a shock 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.

Allardyce to shuffle his pack

Crystal Palace manager Sam Allardyce is set to make wholesale changes to his starting line-up for Wednesday's Premier League clash against Tottenham.

The Eagles came from behind to beat Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield on Sunday, with former Reds striker Christian Benteke grabbing a brace.

The victory has all but ended Palace's relegation concerns as they are now seven points clear of the drop-zone, and Allardyce is keen to rest some of his first-team regulars.

"I am worried these lads can't reach this level when they don't have time to recover," said the former England, Newcastle United and Bolton Wanderers boss.

"I may have to make huge changes to make sure we compete with Tottenham. 38 points has been safe for a long time, but mathematically we're not safe.

"In our games to go we have to pick up as many points as we can, and then when mathematically we're safe we'll have a little celebration."

Palace have won six out of their last eight Premier League fixtures and are 17/4 to win again against Spurs on Wednesday. A 2-1 victory for Allardyce's side is available at 16/1 while Palace are 9/1 to win the encounter to nil.

Foxes warned not to ease off

Leicester City boss Craig Shakespeare has warned his players not to think that they are safe from the threat of relegation from the Premier League just yet.

The Foxes are six points clear of the bottom three ahead of a Wednesday evening visit to Arsenal, although City do have a couple of games in hand on most of the teams around them in the table.

However, Shakespeare is taking nothing for granted, having seen his side take just one point from their last two league games.

He told reporters: "I'm not sure how many points survival will take. All teams are capable of winning. We don't know what's around the corner.

"We aren't safe and even if we get there, we've to keep trying to win. Competitiveness is vital in football, we need it to the end (of the season)."

City are available at 10/3 to claim a draw on Wednesday evening and are 7/1 to keep a clean sheet, with Arsenal 10/1 to win the game 2-0.

Meanwhile, Shakespeare confirmed that Wes Morgan, Islam Slimani and Nampalys Mendy will all miss the clash with the Gunners due to injury.

He added: "Unfortunately Wes Morgan won't make it, I think he just overstretched his hamstring. It's not a full pull, but we're mindful of it. Islam Slimani has a groin strain.

"Unfortunately Papy Mendy has had an operation on his ankle. He will be out for the rest of the season."

Leicester have not beaten the Gunners since November 1994, with the meeting of the two sides earlier this season at the King Power Stadium ending in a goalless draw.

Last season, despite being crowned champions of England, the Foxes were beaten twice by Arsenal, including a 2-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium.

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Ibrahimovic dismisses quit talk

Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic insists he has absolutely no intention of retiring from the game even though he needs knee surgery.

The veteran Swede sustained knee ligament damage during United's Europa League quarter-final win over Anderlecht last Thursday.

The 35-year-old's Old Trafford contract is due to expire at the end of this season, but Ibrahimovic, who has scored 28 goals in all competitions this term, is adamant that he has no plans to quit.

"First of all, thank-you for all the support and love," Ibrahimovic was quoted as saying after United had won 2-0 at Burnley on Sunday.

"It's no news I got injured so I will be out of football for a while.

"I will go through this like everything else and come back even stronger. So far I played with one leg so it shouldn't be any problem.

"One thing is for sure, I decide when it's time to stop and nothing else. Giving up is not an option. See you soon."

United are 13/8 to finish in the top four after their Turf Moor victory and can be backed at 16/5 to beat Manchester City on Thursday. United are 4/1 to keep a clean sheet against Pep Guardiola's team and 22/1 to win the derby 2-0.