Pochettino: FA Cup victory would not change Tottenham’s life

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Mauricio Pochettino says that an FA Cup triumph this season would not change Tottenham’s life, as he looked ahead to Saturday’s semi-final against Manchester United.

“It would be fantastic to win the FA Cup,” the Argentinian said.

“But is it going to change our life? I don’t believe so. Every one of the semi‑finalists will fight to win but it’s not about who needs the trophy more.”

Tottenham have lost their previous seven FA Cup semi-finals — the most recent being the one last season against Chelsea. That defeat still hurts Pochettino but he remains consumed by the pursuit of glory in the Premier League or Champions League.

“If we are capable to win the Premier League and the Champions League, it is a moment you say the team has improved and reached the next level,” Pochettino added. “ To win the FA Cup or the League Cup — it will be fantastic for the fans but it is not going to move the club to a different level.”

“That is my opinion. Some people respect it; some people don’t. I want to play to win the Premier League and Champions League. If we can win the FA Cup, then fantastic. But if you are going to change the vision or put the club in a different level, you must compete for and then win the Premier League and Champions League.”

“People in England love to talk about perception and the changing of perceptions. We had a good Champions League group stage this season — beating Dortmund and Real Madrid — and we competed very well against Juventus [in the last 16]. The dimension of the club around the world changes completely [because of that].”

Michael Carrick: midfielder asked to no to be picked for England

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Michael Carrick has revealed he asked not to be picked for England after becoming “depressed” on international duty.

Carrick, who plays as a midfielder for Manchester United has also made 34 appearances for his country, with the last being in a friendly against Spain in November 2015.

However, he said that his experience at the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa left a lasting impression.

“I’d been in the squad a long time and I’ll be honest, I was finding it hard going away with England. I didn’t mind going away with United pre-season for three weeks or whatever and coming back, but going with England, it was almost depressing in a way.”

“It made me really down, so I came to the point after South Africa where I thought: ‘I can’t do that again.’ People would be saying: ‘Pull yourself together and be grateful for it’ and I understood the position I was in, the privileged position I was in, but I just found it so hard and I couldn’t deal with it any more.”

“I was probably on the verge of … yes, I was depressed at times, yes. I told the FA: ‘Look, please don’t pick me.’”

Carrick, 36, has revealed his intentions earlier this season to retire as a player at the end of the season, when he will join the coaching staff at Manchester United

Sergi Roberto sees red but Barca keeps unbeaten run

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A second-string FC Barcelona side were held at Celta Vigo by 2-2 as Ernesto Valverde rested players before Saturday’s Copa del Rey final against Sevilla.

Key players such as Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez started from the bench and Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta were rested, although Valverde started Ousmane Dembele.

He and Philippe Coutinho came into the Barca squad as part of eight changes for the night, with the goalkeeper Marc ter Stegen captaining them for the first time.

Dembele, 20, then fired Barca ahead with his first La Liga goal since joining the Catalan team in the summer before the defender Jonny Castro Otto equalised on the stroke of half-time.

Paulinho put the visitors ahead again just after the hour, by which time Messi had been sent on, but Sergio Roberto saw red on 71 minutes for pulling down Iago Aspas, who made it 2-2 with eight minutes left.

Paulinho also hit the post for the La Liga leaders on what was a frustrating night for Valverde’s side.

Still, they held out to extend their unbeaten run to 40 matches, however, and move 12 points ahead of Atletico Madrid who stays at second place, who have a game in hand.

PSG: Thomas Tuchel tops list of managers to replace Unai Emery

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Former Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel is in prime position to become Paris Saint-Germain’s next manager after further meetings between his representatives and officials from the French champions.

Tuchel, 44, has been out of work since leaving Borussia Dortmund in May 2017, and could replace Unai Emery by the end of the season despite the Spaniard sealing his first Ligue 1 title at the weekend with a 7-1 thrashing of Monaco.

Meetings to finalise details on his prospective contract are scheduled for this week, with Emery linked with a return to Sevilla when he finally departs the Parc des Princes.

Tuchel has been a target for Bayern Munich as a replacement for the interim manager Jupp Heynckes but indicated he was not interested, with Bayern’s chief executive, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, telling German broadcasters ZDF on Monday that “he will almost certainly be going to PSG”.

PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi had denied that any agreement had been reached after his club sealed their Ligue 1 victory, but their comprehensive 5-2 aggregate defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16 under the Spaniard is believed to have convinced him of the need for change.

“If we had signed with someone, we would have announced it to you,” he told Canal+. “Today we have a coach who was on the pitch. We are very honest; we have a coach today who works with us, with a contract until the end of the season.

“Let’s be positive tonight, we’ve done a lot of positive things. We’re champions, it’s a wonderful thing, I thank everyone. And the season is not over yet, there is the cup to win. The Champions League is our big goal, but it’s not easy. We work hard, but the other clubs do it too. We are very proud today.”

Tuchel spent two years at Dortmund after five at Mainz and was widely admired for the job he did in replacing Jurgen Klopp at the Westfalenstadion. The team played attractive football and reached two cup finals, winning the second one, as well as being Bayern Munich’s main challengers in the league.