Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers says he will ‘take responsibility’ for their 2-0 loss at the hands of Slavia Prague.

The Foxes were knocked out in the round of 32 as the manager’s poor run in the Europa League continued.

He is yet to reach the last 16 of the competition after five attempts.

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The Premier League side went behind in the 49th minute, with Lukas Provod scoring the first goal of the second leg and the tie.

He was found unmarked at the back post by a great Nicolae Stanciu cross. The 24-year-old managed to finish off the chance from close range to give his side a crucial away goal.

Abdallah Sima then made the task pretty much impossible for Leicester by adding a second in the 79th minute.

Reacting to the loss, Rodgers told BT Sport (via BBC Sport): “We lost to the better team. I take responsibility for the team I’ve picked. I picked a team I felt could win the game.

“We didn’t create enough over two legs. We didn’t defend with any intensity. We gave away two disappointing goals. The better team won.

“We started pretty well. We didn’t have enough quality to break them down.

“I don’t want to give too many excuses. [We had] players not available tonight at the top end of the field. However I still expected us to show up more. They’ll learn from it.

“We’re disappointed to be out but we know we weren’t good enough.”

The result means Rodgers and Leicester will have to focus on qualifying for Europe through the Premier League.

They sit third in the table, four points ahead of West Ham.

The Foxes also have a chance of silverware in the FA Cup.

They take on Man Utd in the quarter-finals on March 21.

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Pep Guardiola has claimed that Bayern Munich are the favourites to win the Champions League despite Manchester City’s scintillating form.

Man City started the game well and they deservedly took the lead in the 29th minute. Joao Cancelo was the creator as his cross towards the back post found Bernardo Silva. The midfielder header evaded Yann Sommer to find the net.

Guardiola’s side continued to put their German opponents under pressure but they had to wait until the 65th-minute for their second goal.

READ MORE: Klopp’s blind faith, Arteta’s black magic and more mails…

The second came via a cross from Cancelo once again. Silva met his ball in, but he could only direct it across the goal. Gabriel Jesus was there to smash it home, however, as City netted an important second goal.

City will face Monchengladbach in the return leg at the Etihad on 16 March. Speaking post-match with BT Sport, as cited by BBC Sport, Guardiola admitted that his side were not “clinical enough” against Monchengladbach:

“In general, we controlled the game. Unfortunately today we were not clinical enough up front.

“That is something we have to improve in this competition. Up front we have to be more clinical. In this competition, you have to be perfect to make sure you go through.

“When I see Bayern Munich I don’t think we are favourites. My target is West Ham in three days.

“If people say we are favourites we have to accept it, but a team who in their whole history has been a semi-final once OK, they say it, we have to accept it.”

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

After being an integral player for Chelsea during Frank Lampard’s reign, Mason Mount continues to impress under Thomas Tuchel.

Mount was dropped for Tuchel’s opening game against Wolves but has since stated six of their last seven games in all competitions.

“It was very clear before because we watched the team and he was a regular starter with Frank,” Tuchel said. “We had no doubt he had potential and was the team player that he is.

“We did not choose him for the first game because we opted for a slightly different profile for the two No.10 positions. He showed what a big influence he can have from the bench.

“From here, there are no guarantees for anybody, not even for Mason. It is easy with him because he leaves his heart out there on the pitch, but everybody else does the same thing. It is a team effort and Mason is the first to agree.”

Despite being booked in the opening minute during their Champions League round of 16 tie against Atletico Madrid, he produced a brilliant display in the middle of the park.

Watch the video here.

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Roy Hodgson insisted that “games are decided by goals” and not “touches in the box” after Crystal Palace’s win against Brighton.

Palace took the lead just before the half-hour mark. Jordan Ayew did well as he advanced down the left before crossing it into the area.

His ball in was met by Jean-Phillippe Mateta, who held off Ben White before he sublimely backheeled it into the net.

READ MORE: Premier League weekend winners and losers

Brighton grabbed a well-deserved equaliser in the 55th-minute. The ball broke for Joel Veltman in the area and he made no mistake as he emphatically found the bottom corner past Vincente Guaita.

Graham Potter’s were well on top but it was Palace who grabbed the winner in stoppage time.

Andros Townsend carried it down the left flank and he sent in a deep cross towards Christian Benteke. The forward peeled away from Dan Burn and he struck it sweetly on the volley as he found the bottom corner.

This ends Palace’s run of two consecutive defeats in the league. They are now up to 13th in the table and they are ten points clear of the bottom three.

Speaking post-match with BBC Sport, Hodgson admitted that Palace had to “soak up a lot of pressure” against Brighton:

“It’s always great to score in the last minute, especially when we had to soak up a lot of pressure.

“The defending was very good, they threw their bodies on the line. We worked hard to make certain they didn’t get many sights at goal. We didn’t create as many chances we’d like. The two we created from crosses were goals.

“It was important tonight because we haven’t been pleased with our defending recently. We thought we were falling short of our high standards.

“Tonight from the very start we showed we’d make it hard for them to score. The bodies were there, headers were there, blocks were there. We took maximum advantage from the counter-attack.

“But we’ve had games like that ourselves – against Brighton, against Newcastle. It’s nice to know the old adage about things evening themselves out, they have tonight.

“We get so hung up on statistics these days. The game is decided by goals. Goals are a question of how well you take your chances and defend theirs.

“Until there are prizes for corners and touches in the box, it’s very important we keep in mind that results are borne out by goals you score and goals you don’t concede. I get no satisfaction when we lose and we have more corners or touches in their box.

“[The opener was a] very good goal”, Hodgson added. “Both goals were wonderful bursts by Jordan Ayew. Christian has been short of goals, he turns up in the last minute. I’m pleased for both of them. It’s good for the future. We will need fighting performances like that. We’re not Man City, we can’t roll teams over.

“Brighton are a form team. I’m sure they’d say they didn’t get the result they deserved.”

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Steve Bruce understands growing concerns about Newcastle’s predicament but the under-fire manager remains “quietly confident” of staying up despite Sunday’s defeat at Manchester United.

Having been 10 points clear of the dropzone just a fortnight ago, Fulham’s upturn in fortunes has seen the gap to the 17th-placed Magpies closed to a mere three points.

Newcastle have lost to Chelsea and now Manchester United in that period, although Bruce’s side started well at Old Trafford on Sunday and Allan Saint-Maximin cancelled out Marcus Rashford’s fine opener.

But Daniel James struck early in the second half and Bruno Fernandes’ spot-kick wrapped up a 3-1 result that left the Magpies boss facing difficult questions.

“After a good hour they got a goal just at the right time then another,” Bruce said.

“The first goal I’m sure we could have defended better as I try to analyse it now.

“The second one got a horrible deflection that took it into the path of young James.

“We’re disappointed but I can take a lot of positives from it, especially the first hour of the performance.

“I think Allan had a big chance when it was one each and unfortunately (David) De Gea saved it.

“But for long periods I was pleased but we’ve got to put the whole thing together and get a few results, of course.”

Asked how big the threat of relegation is after Fulham cut the gap by beating Sheffield United on Saturday, Bruce said: “Well, look, there’s six or seven teams in and around us with 13 games to go.

“I’m sure there’s a few looking over their shoulder and of course we’re one of them.

“But I’m still quietly confident that we’ll be fine if we keep performing like we did in the first hour.

“It was always going to be difficult coming to Chelsea away then Man United away, but I’ve been pleased with certain aspects of it.”

Bruce felt the groin issue that forced off Joelinton in the 55th minute was a big turning point, while the Newcastle boss said Saint-Maximin is still “physically not right” after a long spell on the sidelines.

Miguel Almiron also came off “totally exhausted” on a night that saw fans’ concerns grow about Newcastle’s Premier League status.

“Of course they don’t want to see their team at the wrong end of the table and I understand that totally,” Bruce added.

“The one thing we’ve got is a unique fanbase, which makes us the club we’ve got.

“Of course they’re anxious but, as I said, I’m quietly confident if we keep performing like that first hour in particular then I’m still confident we’ll be fine.”

Meanwhile, United counterpart Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was pleased to build on Thursday’s 4-0 shellacking of Real Sociedad in the Europa League.

The Red Devils had secured just one win from their previous five top-flight matches, with this victory moving them back into second and within 10 points of leaders Manchester City.

“It’s one of those that you can’t really walk into a stadium and think ‘we play Premier League now, we’re in bad form’,” said Solskjaer, who brought 17-year-old Shola Shoretire off the bench for his debut.

“And then when you walk into stadium Thursday in the Europa League and think ‘we’re in great form’.

“To build momentum, to go on the pitch and feel you’re playing well is important. We’ve had a couple of setbacks.

“West Brom and Sheffield United, two setbacks there but we can look back at them and see why we didn’t get points we deserved, but that’s not what I want to do.

“The boys are really focused, good at recovering mentally and physically.

“It’s not easy. We played Thursday night and came back here and that’s why we maybe needed 45 mins to get going.”

It was a great end to a day that started with United announcing that Nicky Butt and Mark Dempsey would join Solskjaer on the bench “due to some of the coaching staff having to self-isolate”.

Coaches Michael Carrick, Mike Phelan and Kieran McKenna were not listed on the team sheet for the game against Newcastle.

“We’ve got good staff elsewhere,” Solskjaer said.

“Of course it was a bit of a different preparation for the boys but in the situation we’re in, we’ve got to be ready for that.

“We did that as a precaution and we’ll have to follow protocols.”

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti admitted the happiest man at the club after their first win at Anfield in 22 years was his assistant Duncan Ferguson.

An early goal for Richarlison and a late penalty from Gylfi Sigurdsson consigned Liverpool to a fourth successive home defeat – their worst league run since 1923.

Victory, the first in 23 visits to Anfield, saw Everton draw level on 40 points with their seventh-placed hosts and they are just three behind fourth-placed Chelsea, with a match in hand over both clubs.

“I think the happiest man in our team was Duncan,” Ancelotti said of the former Toffees striker, who has experienced plenty of derby tussles against the Reds during his long association with Everton but has not been able to celebrate victories in many of them.

“We are really happy. The performance was good, difficult, but the spirit of the team was good.

“We defended really well, we were clinical up front as we didn’t have a lot of opportunities but the opportunities we had we were able to convert really well.

“What this victory means is that we can compete, using our quality, maybe not the technical quality of Liverpool but we had a strong spirit in this period, our belief is improving, of course we have to improve.”

16 Conclusions – Liverpool 0-2 Everton

Ancelotti was asked whether he appreciated the extent to which he would be lauded for achieving victory against their neighbours, their first in the Merseyside derby since 2010.

“I realise I was the manager that beat Liverpool after 22 years,” he added.

“I don’t know if this is enough to be in the history of this club but if it is not enough I am working on it.”

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Nuno Espirito Santo insisted that he cannot fault the “attitude of his players” after Wolves beat Leeds United 1-0 on Friday night.

There were plenty of chances in the first half, but Wolves just about edged it. Nelson Semedo forced Illan Meslier into a couple of impressive stops.

Leeds United’s best moment came as Liam Cooper headed the ball straight at Rui Patricio after a ball in from Raphinha. Mateusz Klich’s cross in the opening half also came close to evading Patricio as it cannoned away off the post.

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The second half continued in a similar vein to the first, with the decisive moment coming just past the hour mark.

Adama Traore powerfully advanced forwards before he unleashed a brilliant shot from range. His effort struck the bar, but it bounced off Meslier to roll into the net in unfortunate fashion for Leeds.

The visitors looked to have equalised in the 77th-minute, but the goal was chalked off. Patrick Bamford finished emphatically after being played in by Tyler Roberts, but the forward was narrowly offside.

This win sees Wolves leapfrog Leeds in the table, as they now sit 11th. They are now unbeaten in their last four Premier League games.

Speaking post-match with BT Sport, as cited by BBC Sport, Santo praised Traore for his “beautiful strike” that led to his side’s winning goal:

“They have a unique approach to the game and the boys did really well.

“In some moments we were stronger but Leeds also had chances and created problems for us.

“Players like Adama [Traore] and Pedro [Neto], when they have the ball and start running, are really dangerous. It was a beautiful strike.

“It is a hard moment for the keeper but he did very well.

“We still have some issues to assess but the approach that we have during these tough moments – always believing, always committing. You can’t say anything about the attitude of the players. But we chase the high standards we have and let’s keep on doing that.”

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says his team needed to be ‘more ruthless’ in front of goal during their 1-1 draw with Benfica.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed a golden chance to put the Gunners ahead in the first half.

He was found by Hector Bellerin in the box but managed to send his shot wide.

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Benfica then opened the scoring in the 55th minute through Pizzi.

He scored from the penalty spot after a cross was adjudged to have hit Emile Smith-Rowe’s arm.

Arsenal equalised just two minutes later through the in-form Bukayo Saka.

The 19-year-old finished off a nice move which saw Martin Odegaard play a defence-splitting pass.

Speaking after the draw, Arteta told BT Sport (via BBC Sport): “We were very dominant and created some big chances. We have to be more ruthless. It was disappointing the way we conceded the goal. We gave them the ball then it was 1-1 and all to play for.

“We conceded a corner then from the corner we did not react quick enough and conceded the penalty. Looking at it, it’s difficult to judge. We had a great reaction and scored a great goal.

“We tried to maintain the level. Both teams dropped in the last 20 minutes. But overall we should leave the ground with more.”

The draw leaves Arsenal on course to qualify for the last 16 of the Europa League.

They’re the home side on paper in the return leg, despite it being played in Athens due to coronavirus restrictions.

Arteta will be hoping his team can be more effective in front of goal next time to secure progress in the competition.

In the mean time, their attention will turn to the Premier League.

They play Man City in a huge match on Sunday at 16:30.

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Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Pep Guardiola was pleased with how Manchester City dealt with a “physical” Everton team en route to their 3-1 victory on Wednesday night.

Man City were well on their way for yet another win as Phil Foden fired them in front just past the half hour mark. A cross into the area eventually fell to Foden. His right-footed strike deflected off Seamus Coleman before finding the net.

Their lead did not last long though, as Everton pegged them back in the 37th-minute. Lucas Digne hit a great first time shot towards goal. His effort struck the post but it bounced into the goal off of Richarlison.

READ MORE: Early winner: Kylian Mbappe and another step to greatness

Guardiola’s side went back in front in the 63rd-minute in superb fashion. Bernardo Silva picked it up on the edge of the area before laying it off to Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian international struck it first-time as he emphatically found the far left corner past Jordan Pickford.

City’s win was all but sealed in the 77th-minute as Silva got their third. Gabriel Jesus was the creator this time as he let in Silva on the edge of the area. The attacker evaded Michael Keane before smashing it home past Pickford to make it 3-1.

This is City’s seventeenth successive victory across all competitions. They are now ten points clear at the top of the Premier League.

Speaking post-match with Amazon Prime Video, as cited by BBC Sport, Guardiola suggested that Man City always need to have “patience” when attacking:

“A real tough game, pitch in not perfect condition in winter and they are so physical team. A solid performance, the guys run like the way we have to do and three points.

“We have the quality up front but it comes through the passes and when we arrive in the final third we want to attack too quick, we have to have patience. The second goal is an example of that if you can’t find (the opening), make an extra pass.

“Sometimes Riyad Mahrez plays left, sometimes right, it depends on the decisions for the team.

“Football is not about defensive, offensive, you cannot win titles (without a good defence) and we have conceded few goals and few chances. This team (Everton) scored three at Old Trafford and five against Spurs and a team that can create chances.

“Sometimes our full-backs attack wider, it depends on the opponents. Not all the full-backs can play inside, it depends on the skills of everyone.”

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Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain came from behind to triumph 4-1 at Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Mbappe netted a fine equaliser in the 32nd minute, shortly after Lionel Messi had put Barca ahead with a penalty.

The France forward subsequently struck again midway through the second half, Moise Kean added a header five minutes later and Mbappe completed his treble with a curling finish with five minutes remaining.

READ: Gerrard admits Torres ‘broke his heart’ when he joined Chelsea

PSG were also thwarted by some excellent work from Marc-Andre Ter Stegen as last season’s runners-up produced a hugely impressive performance in their first Champions League outing under boss Mauricio Pochettino.

It leaves Barca requiring another considerable comeback heading into the second leg at the Parc des Princes on March 10.

That will mark four years since the sides’ memorable last-16 clash in which the La Liga outfit recovered from a 4-0 first-leg loss in France by winning the second 6-1 at the Nou Camp.

For what was the first meeting since then, Barca’s line-up included Gerard Pique, returning to Ronald Koeman’s defence after almost three months out due a knee injury. Ousmane Dembele was also among the players coming in as he joined Messi and Antoine Griezmann in the attack.

PSG, with former Barca man Neymar and Angel Di Maria still sidelined, started with a front three of Mbappe, Mauro Icardi and Kean.

Idrissa Gueye skewed an early shot off target for the visitors, Griezmann brought a save out of Keylor Navas at the other end, and in the 19th minute Icardi sent a shot past Ter Stegen but Pedri was there to clear.

Barca then grabbed the lead in the 27th minute after referee Bjorn Kuipers pointed to the spot when Frenkie De Jong went down in the box under pressure from Layvin Kurzawa.

Messi fired the resulting spot-kick high into the net for his 10th goal in 10 games in all competitions.

Navas easily dealt with a Dembele attempt moments later before Mbappe drew things level in superb style, collecting a flick from Verratti, dancing around Clement Lenglet and rifling the ball past Ter Stegen.

Ter Stegen then produced good saves to deny Kurzawa and Kean, either side of Griezmann shooting just wide of Navas’ goal. Icardi went close with a header just prior to the break.

The early stages of the second half saw Mbappe strike wide and Ter Stegen again do well as he kept out a deflected Kean shot.

After Dembele had an effort saved by Navas, PSG then went 2-1 up in the 65th minute when Alessandro Florenzi crossed from the right and the ball went via a touch off Pique to Mbappe, who lashed it in.

Shortly after, Mbappe was denied a hat-trick when he saw a low shot blocked by Ter Stegen before Kean made it 3-1 as the on-loan Everton man connected with Leandro Paredes’ free-kick.

Mbappe’s third did arrive in the closing stages as PSG broke forward and the 22-year-old star curled a shot past Ter Stegen having been teed up by Julian Draxler.

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