LiveScore Daily: Today’s football news in bite-sized chunks
LiveScore Daily is here to deliver all the big talking points from the world of football throughout the day. Keep refreshing this page for the latest stories in bite-sized chunks.
Making his Marc
Clinton Morrison is delighted to see red-hot Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford playing with a smile on his face again.
Rashford, 25, has netted 18 goals in all competitions this season and is on course for his best return to date, with his previous highest tally standing at 22 in 2019-20.
He was on target again last night as United built up a three-goal advantage to take into the second leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final showdown with Nottingham Forest next week.
And Morrison, who enjoyed spells at a host of clubs including Crystal Palace, believes the England man is in the best form of his career.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live's Football Daily, he said: "This is the sharpest I have seen Rashford play. I feel like he is so confident, everything he is trying at the moment is coming off.
"Whatever he is doing outside football is helping him. We never know what players are going through when they leave that football ground.
"But it looks like he has got a big smile on his face, he's happy again, he's enjoying his football, he looks lively.
"Every time he crosses that white line he believes he's going to score. If you're a full-back it must be a nightmare trying to play against him because he can go either way, he can spin in behind and he is just full of confidence.
"That chance he scored [against Forest] was not even a chance, it was half a chance. It was all his doing and Rashford a year ago would never have made that run.
"He’s a different player, but credit must go to Rashford himself. Managers can help you, but if the players don't want to do it then you have a problem.
"He wanted to get back to his best and he is in the best form I've ever seen him play."
Martin O'Neill is surprised to see Everton in the bottom three but claims the Merseysiders have been "bang average" for a number of years.
After axing Frank Lampard, the Toffees are reportedly set to turn to ex-Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa or former Burnley manager Sean Dyche to keep them in the Premier League.
But with their next game against leaders Arsenal on February 4 followed by a trip to arch-rivals Liverpool nine days later, a huge cloud hangs over Goodison Park — and 70-year-old O'Neill is not shocked by the predicament they find themselves in.
The former Leicester, Aston Villa and Republic of Ireland boss said: "The truth is Everton have been a bang average side for a number of years now.
"Once you get on a poor run, it's very difficult to turn it around.
"From that viewpoint, there are teams that shouldn't be there [in the bottom three] but there is no divine right."
Premier League's lost billions
Research carried out into sexism in football has shown Premier League clubs are missing out on an estimated £3.5billion in revenue because of their inability to connect with female fans.
Fan engagement experts Bulbshare, in association with Her Game Too, found that 80% of female supporters limited how often they attend men's matches due to sexist attitudes and behaviours.
The report also revealed that:
- Over a quarter of female fans spend less at games because of issues around sexist chanting and crowd safety concerns.
- Female football fans feel clubs do not understand them and want to see greater representation of women across the whole of the organisation.
- With its deeply ingrained patriarchal values and attitudes, football needs to actively collaborate with its female fan base if it is to better understand and properly meet the needs of this growing supporter segment (and unlock the huge missed commercial opportunity that it represents).
Newcastle target Anthony Gordon has reportedly failed to train with Everton for the third day in a row.
The highly-rated attacker, 21, missed the session on Tuesday with a planned absence, as did Toffees team-mate Amadou Onana.
But while Onana rejoined the squad at Finch Farm yesterday, Gordon was not present and did not appear once again today.
Mountain to climb
Steve Cooper admits Nottingham Forest have an incredibly tough task on their hands at Old Trafford next week.
Forest were comfortably beaten 3-0 last night in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final with Manchester United.
And while Cooper, 43, was keen to focus on the positives at full-time, he could not hide the fact that his side's chances of reaching Wembley had all but slipped away.
He said: "I think it is going to be incredibly tough next week.
"We have to be very professional and set some objectives to give ourselves an opportunity and also to make sure we go into the game and come out of it in a better place than we went into it.
"The road to success is about dealing with disappointments. Disappointments are not something you encourage or want but they can be good for you and we have to approach it in that way.
"We don't want to be soft or fluffy about it but don't want to be narrow-minded either and think we can't learn from it.
"We are building something here. We are not at the end. I am still pleased the supporters got the chance to walk into the ground and think their team is in a semi-final."
Cup of cheer
Gary Mabbutt believes Antonio Conte is primed to end Tottenham's trophy drought.
Mabbutt, 61, captained Spurs to FA Cup success in 1991 — the last time they won English's football oldest cup competition.
Despite becoming one of the Premier League's strongest clubs and regularly qualifying for Europe, the North Londoners last claimed silverware when they lifted the League Cup in 2007-08.
But with his old team still in both the FA Cup and Champions League this season, Mabbutt believes Conte is the man to bring success to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
He said: "Looking at the teams left in the FA Cup, I feel we have a great opportunity.
"We are also in the last 16 of the Champions League with a game against AC Milan, who are beatable, so yes, the cups could be very exciting for us.
"I think Antonio has set his mind on winning something this season and we'll be throwing everything to do it. We haven't had a trophy for a while now and it is time we had one.
"Antonio has done it with the last few clubs he has been at and he is working as hard as he can through the training we're doing, the players we're bringing in and getting players back from injury as quick as we can to make sure this season we have a great chance to win a cup."
Spurs face Preston in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday.
Hats off to Ten Hag
Paul Ince reckons Erik ten Hag has helped Manchester United fans believe there is a bright future to look forward to at Old Trafford.
Reading boss Ince, 55, takes his team to the Theatre of Dreams in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday as he returns to the scene of two Premier League title triumphs during a six-year spell playing under Sir Alex Ferguson.
The former midfielder was part of the club's first title-winning side in 26 years in 1992-93 and also played a prominent part as they did the Double the following season.
It has been nearly six years since United won a major trophy — the Europa League under Jose Mourinho in 2017 — but Ince believes Ten Hag has got his old side back on track.
He said: "It's been frustrating, especially for Man United fans. But now, looking at what Ten Hag has done in such a short space of time, it's great, it really is.
"I’m not saying they're there yet. We saw at Old Trafford against Man City that City are still probably a little bit ahead of them.
"But at least fans can see that there's a future going forward."
Forest Green have named ex-Everton player and coach Duncan Ferguson as their new boss.
The Scot, 51, succeeds Ian Burchnall, whose departure was confirmed by the League One club earlier this week.
Ferguson, who won the FA Cup with the Toffees in 1995, said: "I'm really delighted to join FGR for the next step of my career and I plan to be here for a while.
"We have a bit of a fight on our hands to stay up in League One and I am ready for the challenge.
"I am grateful for the opportunity to come and lead such a progressive and forward-thinking club."