The Premier League is back after a gruelling another round of European football and the managers are out in full flow for more press-conferences ahead of the first December games. There is a lot to say ahead of what could prove to be one of the hardest Decembers in the league’s history.
A North London derby awaits Jose Mourinho and his boys after a tiring 3-3 draw away from home against LASK, with the Portuguese unhappy with the result. The North Londoners only needed a point to qualify for the next round and while they got the point, the Spurs boss was looking to dominate and walk away with a win. However, ahead of the North London derby, Mourinho’s presser was filled with questions about Harry Kane’s injury status, the return of fans and the fixture congestion.
“I believe he's going to be fit. I'm not sure, he's on treatment. But I could be now doing some bluff or trying to pretend that he's in big trouble. He's not in big trouble. I believe he's going to play.”
Many predicted it to be an up and down season for Chelsea but it has been anything but with the Blues qualifying from their Champions League group with ease. Not only that, they’ve lost just one of their opening ten league games and walk into the game against Leeds United in fine form. But since Lampard and Marcelo Bielsa have a lot of history, from their time in the Championship, the Chelsea boss’ presser was filled with questions about that. Not only that, Lampard was asked about the history between the two sides, his history with a few Leeds players and more.
“I'm aware of the rivalry from being a player for so long and I know how fans feel about it. It's two huge clubs with a history but hard for me to equate that to Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and others who don't know that history. But I know it will be competitive because that's how Leeds approach games.”
Four losses in their eighteen games so far would normally have many concerned about the Premier League Champions but injuries to key players have changed things for Liverpool. But with a clash against Wolves coming around the corner, Jurgen Klopp will be happy to have secured his passage into the Champions League round of 16. But a guerling December fixture list troubles them. But the German’s presser was dominated by questions about the five subs rule, Phil Neville and a few other topics.
"Everything has been more difficult without the fans. From a specific moment we didn't think about it because we couldn't change it. We don't go on a bad pitch and think about it, you have to deal with it. It's nice for the people Congrats to the 2,000 who can come."
"If gives us a chance to show we can deal with it and show in the future we can get more in, but that's nothing for us. We have to deal with the circumstances. Football is more difficult without fans and not half as enjoyable. But still football."
Another 5-0 win over Burnley at the Etihad last weekend has many believing that Manchester City are back to their best but a poor game against Porto had many concerned once again. But with the Cityzens playing Fulham over the weekend, it gives Guardiola a chance to bring back few of his best players having rested them for the mid-week game. That saw the Spaniard’s pre match press conference filled with questions about his 700th game, contracts, injuries and more.
“700 games. I will do 700 more then retire. I never expected it. It's good to have 700 games with few defeats in these games, for all the players and staff we had in Barca B, first team, Bayern and here. It's a great number, with all the people we made incredible things together and hopefully we can do more in the future.”
Defeat in their mid-week game to PSG had many shocked but Manchester United will be looking forward to continuing their fine league form. The Red Devils have won three out of their last three games in the league, with them looking to make it four when they face former United boss David Moyes and West Ham. While their record against the Hammers, in recent years, hasn’t been the greatest, the odds are with the away side. That saw Solskjaer asked questions about consistency, playing in front of fans again and injury updates amongst others.
"Depends on how many games do you wanna go back, football is a game with human beings and live their own lives, we've played some fantastic games, go 40 games back we're one of the most consistent in the Premier League.
"You're disappointed when you lose and it's fine margins at times that decide if you win or lose, the PSG game was miles better than West Brom, but you don't get three points against PSG, we're getting more more, less bad performances and getting more consistent. You can never control the result in the end, that's decided by fine margins."