Technophobe Jan Vertonghen won over after goal-line decision benefits Spurs

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Jan Vertonghen has professed himself a goal-line technology convert after helping to get Tottenham‘s Premier League season off to the perfect start.

The Belgium international headed Spurs into the lead at Newcastle on Saturday after running on to fellow defender Davinson Sanchez’s eighth-minute flick-on, although referee Martin Atkinson needed the help of the Goal Decision System to rule that the ball had crossed the line by just 9mm.

Vertonghen told Spurs TV: “I haven’t scored in the Premier League for a while, so I was happy to score.

“Davinson had a great touch with the first header – and there could have been another one later because from the other side, he had a first touch again, but I didn’t make that run again.

“I didn’t expect it to be in at first. The goalkeeper made a great save and I was happy with the technology. I’m not a big fan of technology in football, but now I am!”

In the event, Vertonghen’s contribution did not prove decisive at St James’ Park as Joselu levelled within three minutes, and it took Dele Alli’s 18th-minute back-post header to win it in a lively start on Tyneside.

Even then, the visitors needed a stroke of good fortune as Vertonghen blocked substitute Salomon Rondon’s late effort and saw the rebound come back off the crossbar with Mohamed Diame having already hit the post.

Vertonghen said: “You go a bit blind and you hope for some contact, and I had it. I thought, ‘Okay’, and then everything might have been in slow motion.

“Hugo (Lloris) was standing there in slo-mo and then it hit the bar and it fell the right way for us, so in the end we were a bit lucky.

“They had some good chances, but we were sharp, we responded well and we kept the ball quite well at the end.”

Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino was delighted with the way his returning World Cup stars responded to the challenge of launching the season with a victory after minimal preparation with Vertonghen, Hugo Lloris, Alli and Harry Kane all starting the game.

The Belgian said: “It was a short preparation for some players. The guys who played in the World Cup and in the semi-finals, they looked after their bodies well.

“They knew there was a chance that they would have to play today and they were very professional in the summer and today.”

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez was left to bemoan the defensive lapses which cost his side so dearly.

He said: “They have too many big lads, strong lads, who are good in the air, and the delivery was really good. You have [Christian] Eriksen kicking the ball, and then you have Sanchez or Alli or Kane or [Eric] Dier.

“They have so many strong, big lads. When you have money and you buy players, you buy quality, and quality is not just technical ability. It is also the physicality, the strength and they have all these things.”

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Antonio Rudiger insists Thibaut Courtois is a distant memory as Kepa impresses

David Cooper 12/08/2018
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Chelsea’s new record signing Kepa Arrizabalaga impressed team-mate Antonio Rudiger in their opening-day Premier League win at Huddersfield.

Kepa, the world’s most expensive goalkeeper after his £72.1million move from Athletic Bilbao on Thursday, had little to do on his debut as Chelsea cruised to a 3-0 victory in Maurizio Sarri’s first game in charge.

But German defender Rudiger was pleased the Spaniard’s first appearance passed without incident following Thibaut Courtois’ controversial departure to Real Madrid.

“I think he (Kepa) did well,” Rudiger said. “He tried to speak as much as he can. He did well with that and we as defenders we needed to help him and we did that.

“In general, it was a very good day. We all know Thibaut’s quality, but Thibaut’s not a Chelsea player anymore.

“I wish him good luck at Real Madrid, but now we have to concentrate on Kepa because he’s our goalkeeper. In his work he’s very confident.”

Chelsea were found wanting in last week’s Community Shield defeat to Manchester City, but proved too good for Huddersfield despite leaving World Cup stars Eden Hazard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Olivier Giroud on the bench.

“We’re happy because to be honest our pre-season games were not that good,” Rudiger said. “But today we can be more happy because we won the game. Three goals and a clean sheet. That’s good for us.

“It’s not always easy to adapt because it’s a new style of play, but I think we did well. We moved the ball well and to have a good bench is always good.”

Huddersfield had given as good as they got before going behind to N’Golo Kante’s scuffed 34th-minute volley.

The Terriers were then dealt a major blow just before half-time when Chelsea were awarded a penalty for Christopher Schindler’s sliding tackle on Marcos Alonso.

Summer signing Jorginho converted in trademark style from the spot, feinting during his run up to send Huddersfield debutant Ben Hamer the wrong way and stroking the ball into the opposite corner.

Cheeky: Jorghino's penalty against Huddersfield

Cheeky: Jorghino’s penalty against Huddersfield

Huddersfield striker Steve Mounie’s header had hit the inside of a post as David Wagner’s side responded well to Kante’s opener before Pedro drove home the third goal after being set up by second-half substitute Hazard.

“We had a very good first half, but we know that Chelsea, when you face a team like this, they are very clinical,” Mounie said.

“You have to use your chances and (luck) wasn’t on our side unfortunately, so we keep going and keep working, it’s only the first game.”

Mounie took exception to Jorginho’s cheeky penalty, adding: “It was weird.

“He jumped before the penalty and Ben (Hamer) had already dived so I don’t know why the ref didn’t make him retake the penalty.

“It was a little bit weird. The ref needs to explain that to us because I don’t understand why (it was not retaken).”

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Man City defender Jason Denayer turns down chance to go out on loan

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Jason Denayer featured for City in pre-season against Liverpool.

Manchester City defender Jason Denayer has refused two opportunities to go out on loan in a bid to secure a permanent move to Galatasaray, the Daily Star reports.

The 23-year-old centre-back spent last season on loan with the Turkish giants while Leeds and Celtic have both been trying to sign the Belgian on a temporary basis this summer.

The Sky Blues youth graduate has his heart set on a switch to the Super Lig side, however, the stumbling block at the moment is Denayer’s prospective fee.

Galatasaray have lodged a bid of around £3 million for his services but City are holding out for more cash.

It is likely some form of agreement will be reached before the end of the transfer window, given the defender is surplus to requirements at the Etihad Stadium.

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