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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gushes over Paul Pogba after Fulham win

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Uefa Champions League 2021 results, Manchester City vs Monchengladbach, Real Madrid vs Atalanta, scores, highlights

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Premier League leaders Manchester City closed in on the Champions League quarter-finals after cruising past Borussia Moenchengladbach with a comfortable 2-0 win in Wednesday’s Champions League last 16, first leg tie in Budapest.

A first half header from Bernardo Silva and a Gabriel Jesus strike in the second extended a winning streak by Pep Guardiola’s high-flying side to 19 games in all competitions.

With six changes from the side which started Sunday’s win over Arsenal City camped inside the Gladbach half for most of the game, moved to Hungary due to Germany’s Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Although clear favourites City took time to break down a stubborn German defence however, often foiled by the interceptions of Algeria left-back Ramy Bensebaini.

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Debutants in the Champions League knockout stages, a nervy Gladbach had been urged by coach Marco Rose to be brave against Guardiola’s side.

Although France’s Alassane Plea was almost through on goal on 20 minutes after a rare counterattack, deep-lying Gladbach succumbed to the mounting pressure in the 29th minute.

A sublime inch-perfect cross by Portuguese defender Joao Cancelo curled over the defence from the left to reach his compatriot Silva who flicked a close-range header past Yann Sommer.

The 26-year-old Cancelo, impressive throughout, nearly doubled the lead five minutes from the break but his shot from just outside the box pinged over the bar.

Early in the second half Jesus should have converted after latching on to a poorly judged backpass by Bensebaini but saw his shot blocked by Swiss defender Nico Elvedi.

Apart from a lunging backheel from Plea that flashed just wide of Ederson’s far post on the hour mark, City comfortably contained the Germans, and went two up in the 65th minute.

Another majestic cross-field pass by Cancelo again found Silva who this time headed back across the goalmouth for Jesus to fire home and seal City’s 19th successive victory.

The loss in the Puskas Arena leaves Gladbach, who managed just one shot on target throughout the game, needing a near miracle in the return leg scheduled for March 16 in Manchester.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid closed in on the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday with a 1-0 win over Atalanta in the first leg of their last 16 tie in Bergamo.

Ferland Mendy’s strike four minutes from time gave Zinedine Zidane’s side a lead heading into the second leg in Madrid on March 16 against an Atalanta side who played most of the match with 10 men following Remo Freuler’s early red card.

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Chelsea owner Abramovich makes Erling Haaland transfer plan using Eden Hazard blueprint

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Chelsea have made Erling Haaland their top summer transfer target.

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Neil Lennon quits as Celtic manager, Tom Rogic, what does it mean for Australian midfielder

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Neil Lennon has resigned as Celtic manager with the Scottish Premiership club 18 points behind bitter rivals Rangers in their bid to win a historic 10th consecutive league title.

The Northern Irishman took charge for a second spell in February 2019 and led the club to two league titles, two Scottish Cups and a League Cup.

But he has been under pressure all season as problems mounted on and off the pitch, with Hoops’ fans calling for his head as their dream died.

Lennon’s exit provides another career twist for Socceroos midfielder Tom Rogic, who was brought to the club by Lennon back in 2013.

Rogic, who has shown glimpses of his best form recently after a frustrating run with form and injury, is contracted until 2023. However, losing long-time supporter Lennon casts some doubt over the 28-year-old’s future at the club.

Celtic flopped badly in Europe and defeat to lowly Ross County on Sunday left Steven Gerrard’s Rangers just seven points away from landing the club’s first title for a decade.

“Celtic Football Club today announced that Neil Lennon has resigned from his position as football manager with immediate effect,” said a club statement.

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“Neil has served the club with distinction as both player and manager, delivering numerous successes, most recently completing the domestic treble in December.” Lennon, 49, said in the statement he had worked hard but had been unable to turn the club’s fortunes around.

“We have experienced a difficult season due to so many factors and, of course, it is very frustrating and disappointing that we have not been able to hit the same heights as we did previously,” he added.

Assistant manager John Kennedy will take interim charge of the team until a permanent successor is appointed.

The Celtic hierarchy, led by chief executive Peter Lawwell, who is standing down at the end of the season, stood by their manager long after realistic hope of catching Rangers was gone.

But Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Ross County, who started the game bottom of the table, proved the final straw.

Lennon, who won 10 league titles with Celtic as a player and manager, stepped in two years ago initially temporarily when fellow Northern Irishman Brendan Rodgers left to take charge of Premier League side Leicester.

He saw Celtic over the line in the league as Rangers faltered in Gerrard’s first season in charge at Ibrox and won the Scottish Cup to complete a third consecutive treble of domestic trophies.

Lawwell offered Lennon the job permanently in the dressing room after the Scottish Cup final in a move that was fiercely criticised by fan groups.

Celtic completed another clean sweep in the 2019/20 season, with Lennon’s side crowned champions under a points formula after the campaign was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It meant they had matched the feats of Celtic’s greatest-ever side, who won nine consecutive titles starting in the mid-60s, and the big-spending Rangers team that dominated from the late 1980s.

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In December, victory on penalties over Hearts completed a fourth consecutive treble in the delayed 2019/20 Scottish Cup final and Lennon became the first man to win the Scottish domestic treble as a player and manager.

But by then the wheels had already come off Celtic’s season with a string of disappointing results in Europe and Rangers building a commanding lead in the league.

A 1-0 victory for Gerrard’s men in the second Old Firm derby of the season on January 2 opened up a 19-point lead.

Worse was to come for Celtic as Lennon’s squad immediately jetted out from defeat at Ibrox for an ill-judged mid-season training camp in Dubai.

Pictures of Lennon and captain Scott Brown drinking beer poolside enraged supporters and when defender Christopher Jullien tested positive for coronavirus on Celtic’s return to Glasgow, 13 first-team players plus Lennon and Kennedy were forced to self-isolate.

A severely depleted squad lost further ground and Rangers’ march to the title became a formality.

Gerrard wished Lennon well, saying he took “no personal satisfaction” from his struggles.

Former Celtic striker John Hartson said Lennon could be proud of his achievements at the club.

“I’m not surprised he has resigned but feel it’s the best outcome for Celtic,” he tweeted. “The club now need to move quickly and get a new manager and his staff in for the challenges ahead.”

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