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Azpilicueta signs new four-year contract with Chelsea

Azpilicueta has been made captain by Maurizio Sarri. Credit: PA

Cesar Azpilicueta says he wants to "keep Chelsea where it belongs" after signing a new four-year deal with the club.

Chelsea announced on Tuesday morning that the Spaniard - who has captained them in the Premier League this season - has committed his future through to 2022.

The 29-year-old, signed from Marseille for £7million in the summer of 2012, has made 298 appearances for Chelsea and established himself as one of the first names on their teamsheet.

"I am really happy to extend my stay here at Chelsea," he told the club's official website.

"Since I came, I felt the joy and responsibility to play for this club, these fans, and every time I go on the pitch I try do my best. Hopefully there is a lot to come and we can keep Chelsea where it belongs."

Azpilicueta has won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, a League Cup and the Europa League since arriving in London, while he was Chelsea's player of the year in 2014.

"Cesar is one of our longest-serving players and has proven to be a fantastic acquisition over the past six years," club director Marina Granovskaia added.

"His professionalism and consistency in that time have been second to none and he has also developed into one of the squad's most influential players.

"This new contract will take Cesar to 10 seasons at Chelsea, and we hope that over the next four years he will be a key part of our success."

Azpilicueta played every minute of Chelsea's 2016/17 title-winning season, a record he has kept up so far in the current campaign too.

Hughes sacked by Southampton after eight-month reign

Mark Hughes has managed just five wins as manager of Southampton Credit: PA

Southampton have parted company with manager Mark Hughes.

The Premier League strugglers announced on Monday that the 55-year-old Welshman had left the club after winning just one of their 14 league matches so far this season.

"We would like to express our thanks to Mark and his staff for all of their efforts during their time at St Mary's," a statement read.

"The search for a new manager to take the club forward is already under way.

"First team assistant coach Kelvin Davis will lead the team for Wednesday's Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley."

Hughes took over at St Mary's last March and guided them to Premier League survival and an FA Cup semi-final but was unable to inspire a better campaign this time around.

The Saints currently reside in the bottom three after 14 games, of which they have won only one and lost seven.

Hughes, who played for the club in the late 1990s, leaves the club following Saturday's 2-2 draw with Manchester United.

They were leading that game 2-0 and that is symptomatic of some of their problems as during Hughes' tenure they dropped 20 points from winning positions, while the 12 goals scored in 14 games has also been an obvious hindrance.

Davis, who played over 300 times for the club, will lead them into a difficult encounter at Wembley on Wednesday as they face Tottenham in the Premier League.


Pochettino insists Spurs are not title contenders

Pochettino did not sign a single new player for Spurs in the summer transfer window. Credit: PA

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino said his side are not Premier League contenders despite their impressive results this season.

Spurs are enjoying one of their best ever starts to a season, having won 10 of their opening 13 games, and are again residing in the Champions League places.

They showcased their quality with a brilliant 3-1 win over the previously unbeaten Chelsea last weekend which puts them five points behind leaders Manchester City.

City and Liverpool have both beaten Spurs this season and Pochettino, ahead of another tough examination at Arsenal on Sunday, reckons there is no pressure on his side to contend for the title.

"We are closer than last season to the top. I cannot say we're a contender for the title," he said.

"I think Manchester City is in a different level and of course clubs like Liverpool, Chelsea, the same, Manchester United and Arsenal.

"They make more investment than us and in a different level. I think they need to show or be the contenders - or they are the contenders, more than us. But we're there.

"If we're capable in the last few months of the season to be in a good position in the table, we're going to try.

"But football is belief, faith in your quality and then it's approaching the game in the right attitude and the right way, and all is possible."

Not only has Pochettino played down his side's chances of winning the title, he also ranks this season's challenge of getting into the top four as the toughest yet.

"I think it's tougher than last season because at the same point as this season, last season I think we were second or in a better position," he said.

"I think yes, to be in the top four this season will be tougher than the previous season.

"But we have the belief that we can do it and deliver a very good job and that's the most important thing, because we have the quality."


Premier League agrees to pay outgoing boss Scudamore £5million in recognition of 'outstanding work'

The Premier League has agreed to pay its outgoing boss Richard Scudamore £5million over the next three years. Credit: PA

The Premier League has agreed to pay its outgoing boss Richard Scudamore £5million over the next three years in recognition of his "outstanding work", the organisation has confirmed.

This farewell gift was first proposed by Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck, a close ally of Scudamore's, but has been widely criticised by supporters, with the Football Supporters' Federation calling it "hugely unpopular".

But club bosses, who are meeting in London on Thursday for a scheduled Premier League shareholders' meeting, have ignored those protests and agreed to the payment.

In a statement, the league said Scudamore's golden handshake was agreed by the audit and remuneration committee, which is chaired by Buck, and will be spread over three years.

They will also depend on the 59-year-old agreeing to a "comprehensive set of non-compete clauses" in terms of the roles he takes on in the future and that he remains available to his successor Susanna Dinnage "in an advisory capacity".

The statement added that the payments are also "in recognition of the outstanding work Richard has carried out over the last 19 years" and the league would like to put on record its thanks for his "exceptional contribution to the success of the league".

Klopp believes Liverpool remain on course for glory

Klopp's Liverpool suffered an embarrassing defeat in Belgrade. Credit: PA

Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool remain on an upward curve as they look to bounce back from a surprise Champions League defeat at Red Star Belgrade in midweek.

The Reds will aim to extend their unbeaten start to the Premier League season when bottom-of-the-table Fulham visit Anfield at midday on Sunday.

While Klopp admitted his players were below-par on Tuesday night in Serbia, he said: "A lot of things are better than at the same time last year.

"The spectacular football didn't happen each game but it didn't happen last year as well.

"We could have had more points but the boys have looked much more mature and all that stuff but not in the last game. But in the two games before they were OK.

"We all struggle a bit in the last game but it's not too important, I don't make a big fuss of it, or on the other side I don't celebrate performances after when we win a good one."

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