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The Champions League draw is imminent:

Leeds need points too at the bottom of the Premier League, and Javi Gracia has been talking ahead of their game at Wolves tomorrow. This courtesy of PA Media:

Leeds head coach Javi Gracia has admitted he will “suffer a lot” during the club’s Premier League relegation battle …

The 52-year-old Spaniard said: “I feel the stress inside and it’s the best way, the best thing I can do.

“The best way I can try and help my players is to try to give them confidence and give them the calm they need to play the best way.

“I won’t help them if I’m stressed or shouting a lot. I think it’s not my way.

“For sure, inside I suffer a lot, but I try to give my players what they need.

“In this moment, they need confidence and support because they are showing me every day their quality and commitment.”

Leeds dug deep in last week’s 2-2 home draw against Brighton, twice hitting back to salvage a valuable point, and play at relegation rivals Wolves on Saturday.

Gracia, who has collected four points from his first three league games in charge, currently lives in a hotel and is fully immersed in the survival battle.

“I don’t relax,” he said. “I live stressed! I don’t have time out of football.

“I live in the training ground, 12 hours here and the rest is for having dinner, to rest at the hotel. There’s no time for other things.

“I watch the games, the Premier League for example, both (Wednesday night’s) games and at night, I sleep. I speak with my family on the phone, that’s all.”

Leeds will be without USA midfielder Tyler Adams (hamstring) at Molineux, but skipper Liam Cooper is in contention after knee and muscle injuries.

Some Palace fan reaction to Vieira’s dismissal: “Gutted season ticket holder here,” huffs Pengedragon by email. “I’m not quite sure what the board expected given the lack of investment in the last two windows and the way the fixtures have fallen

“Think we’ve played one team below us in the table since the World Cup, we won that game.

“Some good draws against some good sides and I’m sure some wins after the international break when we suddenly play everyone below us again was on the cards

“Really not so sure now, think we may have just increased our chances of relegation. The next appointment is obviously crucial and if it’s one of those recently sacked from a club below us it looks an even worse decision.”

Next Palace manager odds

Oddschecker is throwing up these prices about the successor to Patrick Vieira at Selhurst

Ralph Hasenhüttl 5-1

Rafa Benitez 6-1

Carlos Coberan 9-1

Nuno Espírito Santo 10-1

Marcelo Biesla 10-1

Bielsa would be tasty, but a big risk imposing his style at such a delicate stage of the season

The first international break since the World Cup is upon us after this weekend’s fixtures and Gareth Southgate named his squad for the Euro qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine yesterday. Talking points included the selections of the under-a-cloud Ivan Toney and Kyle Walker and the omissions of Ben White and Trent Alexander-Arnold, though the latter’s patchy form makes that less of a surprise. Southgate also had some words of warning about the under-representation of English players in the Premier League:

Some Spurs chat now, courtesy of PA Media, and Antonio Conte’s been talking about the club’s desire to keep Harry Kane, as the transfer background noise gets louder. “For sure, the club wants to involve Harry Kane for the rest of his career in my opinion,” Conte said.

“Because when you have this type of player, a world-class striker like him, for sure you want him to stay here for the rest of his career.

“But then you know football, you know football. Sometimes it’s unpredictable but I think it’s not in my task to make a decision. This is a decision for the club and for Harry.”

Pep Guardiola speaks, and he has more praise for Burnley and their manager, Vincent Kompany: “I’m not really surprised at all at them being so close to being a Premier League team already – having seen more carefully what they do. They will be a tough opponent. All managers need time [to impose their style] but his success with the team comes from knowing what you believe is best to win games and they apply it. The way they play is exceptional.”

The Manchester City manager reiterates his belief that Kompany is a future boss at his club. “After seeing his team I’m more than convinced he’s going to come back [here], it’s going to happen. He was an incredible fgure here, one of the biggest legends I’ve had. He always said what he believed was best for the team – he’s an exceptional captain, a top human being.”

Guardiola adds that his players have had a couple of days off since their mauling of RB Leipzig but, after the Champions League draw, they will sit down and make plans for Burnley: “They deserves us to pay attention to them.” Though he was keeping his cards close to his chest about team news for tomorrow evening.


Morning everyone. And we’ve got a proper weekend coming up, with the FA Cup back in its rightful weekend slot (albeit with three of the ties shunted to Sunday) and some pivotal league action, as well as the European draws later this morning. That starts tonight with Nottingham Forest hosting Newcastle still in need of points for survival, while the visitors must fancy their chances of overhauling a stuttering Spurs in fourth place. Antonio Conte’s side are at bottom club Southampton tomorrow.

But the big Premier League story this morning is Crystal Palace parting company with Patrick Vieira ‘with regret’. Palace looked to be progressing nicely last season, and early on in this one, but they’ve hit one of those horribly impotent runs of late. Thoughts, Palace fans?

There’s a pleasing blend of big and small in the FA Cup quarter-finals, with the admirably run Grimsby Town the first fourth-tier side to reach the last eight since John Beck’s Cambridge hoofed and muscled their way to the last eight in 1990. They and thousands of inflatable haddocks make their way to Brighton on Sunday. You’d make Manchester City favourites to win the whole thing, mind, though opponents Burnley are unstoppable in the Championship and Vincent Kompany could spring a shock when he takes his team back to his former stomping ground tomorrow.

We’ve got the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League draws coming up from 11am GMT and we’ll have all the team news and comment from today’s media conferences, which include Pep Guardiola shortly, Erik ten Hag around midday and Graham Potter at 1.30. And feel free to drop us a line or comment BTL.

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