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Live Reporting

Ben Collins

All times stated are UK

  1. Till later

    Right then, that's where we're going to leave it for now. Thanks for joining us as we looked back at Wednesday's Champions League and Premier League action, and brought you the best lines from today's news conferences.

    We'll be back with live text commentary on the Europa League, with Manchester United visiting Club Bruges and Celtic away to Copenhagen (both 17:55 GMT). Arsenal, Wolves and Rangers are all in action at 20:00.

    Until then, here are some of today's top stories:

  2. We know what we have to work on to improve - Smith

    Southampton v Aston Villa (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Aston Villa

    Aston Villa go into the game one point and one place above the relegation zone having also lost their last two, although they went down to a stoppage time-winner by Tottenham last Sunday.

    “We played ever so well in the first half and to concede through a mistake in the dying minutes was difficult," added boss Dean Smith.

    “We can take a lot of heart from the performance and we know what we have to work on to improve. The break did us good, we went at a team that can be top four.”

  3. 'If we play to our capabilities, we're a match for anyone'

    Southampton v Aston Villa (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Aston Villa

    Southampton climbed up the table over the festive period and are now 12th after losing their last two league games.

    “Their head coach has said that it’s tough to play at home, because there is pressure on them," said Villa boss Dean Smith. “We have to concentrate on ourselves and put that pressure onto Southampton and their supporters.

    “If we play to the capabilities that we have got, we are a match for anyone.

    “The quality of his finishing (Danny Ings) has been outstanding. If our defenders play well, we keep him quiet. They are all capable but they have to concentrate and focus for 90 minutes.”

  4. 'Hutton was an unbelievable professional, probably underrated'

    Southampton v Aston Villa (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Aston Villa

    Villa manager Dean Smith also paid tribute to former Rangers and Scotland defender Alan Hutton after the 35-year-old announced his retirement on Wednesday after being without a club since leaving Villa last summer.

    “He was brilliant," said Smith. "I have only good things to say about Alan. He’s an unbelievable professional, probably underrated at times.

    “He is very well respected and we wish him well in his retirement.”

  5. Mings fit for Villa

    Southampton v Aston Villa (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Aston Villa

    Villa boss Dean Smith has provided a fitness update and England defender Tyrone Mings is fit.

    “Tyrone is fine," he said. "He had tonsillitis but he was back training on Wednesday. He’s a big player for us so it was a big miss on Sunday. He has the qualities to be a real leader.

    Keinan Davis will start training on Monday. John McGinn will be looking to run on the grass at the weekend, but we’re taking it day-by-day.”

  6. 'Lamptey's a great person and wants to learn'

    Sheff Utd v Brighton (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Brighton & Hove Albion

    Brighton signed defender Tariq Lamptey from Chelsea in January, on a deal until 2023, and the 19-year-old is still waiting for his Seagulls debut.

    Boss Graham Potter said: "Tariq is a great person and wants to learn. He is explosive and sharp, and brings something we may not have had in the past.”

  7. Potter yet to decide on Mac Allister & Stephens

    Sheff Utd v Brighton (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Brighton & Hove Albion

    Brighton boss Graham Potter said that he'll male a decision on Friday whether Alexis Mac Allister and fellow midfielder Dale Stephens are fit enough to play.

    "Alexis has trained well this week," he said. "He's had a busy time, but he's an intelligent player and has good quality.

    "Jose Izquierdo has been out on the grass with the side while we were away, but he’ll still miss this weekend.”

  8. Sheff Utd have surprised people - Potter

    Sheff Utd v Brighton (Sat, 15:00 GMT)

    Brighton & Hove Albion

    Now let's hear from Brighton boss Graham Potter, whose side are 15th in the table after failing to win in their last six league games. This Saturday they visit a Sheffield United side in sixth after winning their last two.

    “Our opposition will be a tough test this weekend," said Potter. "They've achieved a lot and surprised people, but they have a real clarity and spirit. Credit to them, they'll be hard to play against."

  9. Vardy 'will be back scoring again'

    Leicester v Man City (Sat, 17:30 GMT)

    Leicester City

    Striker Jamie Vardy had to miss Leicester's FA Cup win at Brentford due to a glute injury and although their 17-goal top scorer is back in action, he's not scored for eight games.

    "When he had the injury, it took a while for him to come back," said boss Brendan Rodgers.

    "He’s been unfortunate. But as long as he works as tirelessly as always and keeps making those runs, he’ll be back scoring again."

  10. Man City have to feel your aggression - Rodgers

    Leicester v Man City (Sat, 17:30 GMT)

    Leicester City

    Manchester City climbed above Leicester with a 3-1 home win against the Foxes in December.

    "We were too passive. That was pretty clear," said boss Brendan Rodgers.

    "We got a great start but we didn’t press the game well enough. Man City are a great team but they have to feel your aggression and when you get the ball you have to have quality."

  11. 'Focus is huge at this stage of the season'

    Leicester v Man City (Sat, 17:30 GMT)

    Leicester City

    Third-placed Leicester drew 0-0 at Wolves last Friday, before Manchester City's win over West Ham on Wednesday put them four points clear of the Foxes in second.

    "We showed determination and resilience (at Wolves)," said manager Brendan Rodgers. "We’re at a stage of the season where focus is huge.

    "The players have had a good week. It’s second versus third and we want to produce a performance."

  12. Bennett could make Foxes debut

    Leicester v Man City (Sat, 17:30 GMT)

    Leicester City

    Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has said that loan signing Ryan Bennett could make his debut in defence.

    "He's available for selection," said the Foxes' boss. "That's great for him.

    "He’s been here a few weeks and settled in really well. We were delighted to get him in and he'll be an important player for the squad."

  13. Saints trio ruled out

    Southampton v Aston Villa (Sat, 15:00 GMT)


    Now over to Southampton, and manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has confirmed that the Saints will be without Sofiane Boufal, Nathan Redmond and Kyle Walker-Peters this weekend.

  14. Gudmundsson back in Clarets' squad

    Burnley v Bournemouth (Sat, 15:00 GMT)


    Back to the Premier League now, and Burnley boss Sean Dyche has provided a fitness update.

    Midfielder Johann Berg Gudmundsson will be back in the squad and striker Chris Wood is rated "touch-and-go", but Matt Lowton (knee) and Ashley Barnes (groin) will both miss out.

  15. Roma to speak with other clubs about missing children campaign

    Roma are set to have talks with other European clubs about raising awareness of missing children after a groundbreaking social media campaign.

    The Italian club showed videos of missing children when signing players over the past two transfer windows, and six children featured have been found.

    Roma hope to draw on the support of other clubs for International Missing Children's Day on 25 May.

    "I think it will catch on with other clubs," said Roma defender Chris Smalling, who is on loan from Manchester United.

    "I thought it was a great initiative, and to be honest, given how popular and how much impact it has had, I'm surprised it's not happened previously. But full credit to Roma, to be the ones to really start something."

    Video content

    Video caption: The Serie A club raising awareness of missing children
  16. Barca hire company to criticise players?

    The Daily Mail

    And Martin Braithwaite's arrival is just part of the randomness occurring at the Nou Camp right now.

    Lionel Messi has said he feels "weird things" are happening at Barcelona, with the Daily Mail reporting that the Spanish giants have hired a social media company to criticise their players.

    That's one of the stories in today's gossip column.

  17. Braithwaite follows Boateng to Barca

    Let's hope the Martin Braithwaite move works out better than another random Barcelona signing from last January.

    Former Portsmouth midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng earned a 'dream' loan move from Sassuolo but played just four times for Barca.

    The 32-year-old then made a permanent move to Fiorentina last summer before joining Besiktas on loan last month.

  18. Barca sign Braithwaite

    We might be between transfer windows yet we still had a move to announce earlier...

    Barcelona completed the controversial emergency signing of Danish striker Martin Braithwaite from Leganes for 18m euros (£15m).

    La Liga gave Barca permission to make a signing outside the transfer window after Ousmane Dembele was ruled out for six months with an injury. La Liga rules allow clubs to apply to make new signings if a player is ruled out for more than five months.

    Braithwaite, 28, was playing in the Championship for Middlesbrough at the start of last season but has now signed a contract with Barca until the end of June 2024, with a buy-out clause of 300m euros (£251m)... nope, that is not a typo!

    View more on twitter
  19. Premier League fixtures

    And here are the weekend's games in full, with all kick-off times GMT:

    • Chelsea v Tottenham (Sat, 12:30)
    • Burnley v Bournemouth (15:00)
    • Crystal Palace v Newcastle (15:00)
    • Sheffield United v Brighton (15:00)
    • Southampton v Aston Villa (15:00)
    • Leicester v Man City (17:30)
    • Man United v Watford (Sun, 14:00)
    • Wolves v Norwich (14:00)
    • Arsenal v Everton (16:30)
    • Liverpool v West Ham (Mon, 20:00)