Watch: Alpine World Ski Championships – GBs Tilley in Women’s Giant Slalom

Watch Women’s Giant Slalom at the Alpine World Ski Championships live – BBC Sport










Summary

  1. Second run – 16:50-18:40 GMT
  2. Germany’s Viktoria Rebensburg fastest after first run with time of 1:00.91
  3. Slovakia’s Petra Vlhova second and Norway’s Ragnhild Mowinckel third
  4. GB’s Alex Tilley does not complete second run, Jessica Anderson fails to move past first run

Europa League – build-up to Arsenals visit to Bate Borisov

Bate Borisov v Arsenal & Malmo v Chelsea live in the Europa League Round of 32 – Live – BBC Sport











Summary

  1. Bate Borisov v Arsenal (17:55 GMT)
  2. Gunners name strong side with only two changes from last league game
  3. Malmo v Chelsea (20:00 GMT)
  4. Other Round of 32 matches include Lazio v Sevilla (17:55 GMT) and Celtic v Valencia (20:00 GMT)

Real Madrids Gareth Bale faces possible 12-game La Liga ban over provocative celebration – SkySports

Last Updated: 14/02/19 1:36pm

Gareth Bale was playing his 100th game for Real Madrid against Atletico

Gareth Bale was playing his 100th game for Real Madrid against Atletico

Gareth Bale could be banned for up to 12 games over his goal celebration in Real Madrid’s La Liga encounter against rivals Atletico Madrid.

The league’s organising body said the Wales forward faces a sanction for a “provocative gesture” made after scoring Real’s third goal and his 100th for the club in the 3-1 victory at the Wanda Metropolitano last week.

The incident will be referred to the Spanish soccer federation’s competition committee, who will then decide if Bale should be punished.

Bale scored Real Madrid's third goal in their 3-1 victory

Bale scored Real Madrid’s third goal in their 3-1 victory

The statement said Bale “lifted his right arm near his head in a clear sign of provocation towards the fans, then giving a gesture which could be seen as obscene and disdainful by folding his arm and striking it with his other hand”.

If the committee determines that Bale intentionally caused a hostile reaction among supporters, he will be banned for between four and 12 games, according to the federation’s statutes.

Bale could, however, be suspended for between one and three games if his celebration did not cause a hostile reaction but is deemed to have provoked supporters.

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The surprise name Manchester United fans want to replace Anthony Martial against Chelsea – Football.London

Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could have an injury crisis on his hands ahead of Monday’s FA Cup fifth round tie against Chelsea.

The Norwegian suffered his first defeat since replacing Jose Mourinho back in December as the Red Devils were comfortably beaten 2-0 by Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League earlier in the week.

While that loss could derail United’s hopes of progression, there were two separate incidents at Old Trafford which could disrupt Solskjaer’s plan for next week’s game at Stamford Bridge.

 

Firstly Jesse Lingard – a scorer against Arsenal in the last round – limped off the field just before halftime, holding his hamstring as he was replaced by Alexis Sanchez.

Then as the teams remerged for the second half, Anthony Martial – also on target against the Gunners – was nowhere to be seen and as a result ex-Blues star Juan Mata came on in his place.

Solskjaer will now be left to sweat over the fitness of the pair as he prepares for Monday night’s FA Cup fifth round clash with the Blues, with both players recording three goals and two assists since the Norwegian arrived just before Christmas.

“Jesse and Anthony give us something, let’s hope they’re not too serious,” he told reporters after the game. “They’re muscle injuries, so we’ll just have to wait a couple of days.

“They [PSG] had the momentum after the first goal and controlled the game. You could see that we hadn’t played at this level for a while and we will have to learn.

“It was an experience that can go either way, it’s not going to be a season defining one, it’s one we have to learn from.”



Anthony Martial receives medical treatment (Image: FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

Martial’s potential absence opens up a space on the left-wing and the most logical replacement for the Frenchman would be Sanchez despite his struggles since arriving from Arsenal over 12 months ago.

However, a large portion of United fans have sent a message to Solskjaer ahead of Chelsea fixture and it’s not good news for the Chilean forward.

In a poll ran on the Manchester United MEN Twitter account , 42% of supporters voted that they would rather see 19-year-old Tahith Chong start on the left against the west London outfit instead of Alexis.

Marcus Rashford was the fans second favourite choice behind Chong, while Sanchez received 19% of the vote and Mata got 5%.

Keep up to date with the latest news, features and exclusives from  football.london  via the free football.london app  for  iPhone  and  Android .

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Marquinhos hails Thomas Tuchel for masterminding PSGs Champions League win at Man United – Daily Mail

‘The coach gave us the strategy’: Marquinhos hails Thomas Tuchel for masterminding Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League win at Manchester United with pre-match meeting

  • Marquinhos claims pre-match meeting was key to PSG’s Champions League win 
  • Coach Thomas Tuchel gave very specific instructions in defence and attack
  • Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe struck in victory over Manchester United 
  • Captain Thiago Silva also believes his team’s defence was vital at Old Trafford 

Julien Pretot, Reuters

Marquinhos praised Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel for devising the gameplan that helped the club defeat Manchester United in their 2-0 Champions League last-16 first leg clash.

Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe scored at Old Trafford to hand the French giants the advtange before the second leg at Parc des Princes on March 6. 

Brazilian Marquinhos, who bossed the midfield alongside Marco Verratti, highlighted a pre-match team meeting with Tuchel which he believes was key to PSG’s performance.

Marquinhos praised coach Thomas Tuchel for guiding Paris Saint-Germain to a crucial victory

Marquinhos praised coach Thomas Tuchel for guiding Paris Saint-Germain to a crucial victory

Marquinhos praised coach Thomas Tuchel for guiding Paris Saint-Germain to a crucial victory

‘This meeting was very important,’ the Brazilian, who usually plays centre back, said.

‘The coach gave us the strategy. He started with the defensive aspect, underlining the qualities of the opponents’ attack and their speed on the break.

‘He insisted on us not losing the ball too quickly after winning it back in midfield.’

German coach Tuchel took over from Unai Emery last year as the Qatari-backed club look to shine on the continental stage after four consecutive eliminations in the quarter-finals followed by two successive last 16 exits. 

The victory was achieved despite star forwards Neymar and Edinson Cavani being ruled out injured. 

PSG stayed compact throughout, with Julian Draxler often dropping deep to strengthen the midfield.

Thiago Silva feels a solid defence helped beat Manchester United in Champions League clash

Thiago Silva feels a solid defence helped beat Manchester United in Champions League clash

Thiago Silva feels a solid defence helped beat Manchester United in Champions League clash

‘Defensively we were solid. We showed that with the right mindset we could do great things,’ captain Thiago Silva said.

Often criticised for missing the ‘club culture’ key to success in Europe, PSG entered the tie with confidence despite lacking two players who between them who have scored 30 goals in Ligue 1 and seven times in the Champions League.

‘It is not just thanks to the coach,’ said Silva.

‘It is also the whole staff who have been working to give us information on the other team. Everything the staff told us would happen on the pitch happened.’

Kylian Mbappe scored for PSG and stepped up in absence of Edinson Cavani and Neymar

Kylian Mbappe scored for PSG and stepped up in absence of Edinson Cavani and Neymar

Kylian Mbappe scored for PSG and stepped up in absence of Edinson Cavani and Neymar

Even without Neymar and Cavani.

‘They are world class players but we remain a world class team without them,’ added Draxler.

The Ligue 1 leaders, who have already almost secured the domestic title, now have three weeks to gear up for the second leg in Paris, where they will look to avoid a slip-up similar to the Nou Camp debacle.

‘We should stop being scared,’ said forward Kylian Mbappe who scored PSG’s second against United. 

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Leeds United struggle “not a reflection” of my ability, says Matt Grimes – Yorkshire Evening Post


Swansea City midfielder Matt Grimes claimed his spell at Leeds United was “not really a reflection” of his true ability following his side’s 2-1 defeat at Elland Road.

The 23-year-old was making his return to West Yorkshire for the first time since a season-long loan in LS11 under former Leeds boss Garry Monk in 2016-17.

Leeds United defender Luke Ayling and Swansea midfielder Matt Grimes in action at Elland Road.

Leeds United defender Luke Ayling and Swansea midfielder Matt Grimes in action at Elland Road.

Grimes made just one start for the club and six substitute appearances in a difficult campaign as the Whites missed out on a play-off spot on the final day of the season.

The midfielder has now appeared over 30 times for Graham Potter’s team since their relegation from the Premier League last summer having spent last year on loan in League One with Northampton Town.

Grimes, though, admitted he felt United had failed to see the best of his ability during his stint at the club, conceding it was a struggle to find his feet.

“Yeah, massively,” he told SwansTV when asked whether he had improved his overall game since.

“I think my time here was not really a reflection of what I can do. It was a struggle for myself but now I feel confident and good.

“I just want to keep giving good performances for the Swans.”

Grimes also played down the gulf between Leeds and Swansea during Wednesday’s game, saying: “In the first half we were just happy to let them have the ball at the back and then when they tried to play through us we pressed them.

“I thought we limited them to very few chances. I think the goals, I don’t quite remember them, but I know feeling like we weren’t under pressure.

“It’s not like they were having wave and wave of attacks. But you get sucker-punched with one or two goals and away from home it’s always going to be difficult to come back into it, especially at a place like this.”

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren unlikely to face Bayern Munich, says Jurgen Klopp – SkySports

Last Updated: 14/02/19 3:02pm

Dejan Lovren is expected to miss the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich

Dejan Lovren is expected to miss the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern Munich

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits Dejan Lovren is unlikely to feature against Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Lovren is still recovering from a hamstring injury sustained against Wolves last month and the Croatia international did not travel with his team-mates to the club’s warm-weather training camp in Marbella.


Man Utd vs Liverpool

February 24, 2019, 1:00pm

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Virgil van Dijk is suspended for the first leg of the last-16 tie against Bayern and Klopp admits he may have to look for other solutions in defence, with Lovren unlikely to recover in time for the match.

“I don’t want to rule it out but I cannot really plan with it,” said Klopp.

“He is not here for good reasons, because he cannot be part of training. We are back on Friday. Then from Saturday on, Dejan is back at Melwood and we will see.

“But, of course, we have to prepare it differently. If Dejan gives a sign on Monday – ‘I feel brilliant’ – then we’d have to think anew.

“But in the moment we prepare the game and in this preparation Dejan is not involved. We have to find other solutions.”

Georginio Wijnaldum returned to full training with the rest of the Liverpool squad on Thursday

Georginio Wijnaldum returned to full training with the rest of the Liverpool squad on Thursday

However, Klopp has confirmed Georginio Wijnaldum is in contention to face Bayern after returning to full training on Thursday.

The Netherlands international overcame illness to play in the 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday but missed the opening training sessions in Marbella in order to recover.

“Gini didn’t train yet, that’s of course not cool after a very intense game for him,” said Klopp.

“So he had a little dip, but will start today so that’s good.”

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How Chelsea could line-up under Zidane in summer including Isco, Pulisic and Icardi – The Sun

CHELSEA want to bring in Zinedine Zidane to replace Maurizio Sarri at Stamford Bridge.

As SunSport revealed earlier this week, the Blues’ boardroom are deciding whether they should make that move now or let Sarri see out the season.

 If Zinedine Zidane takes over at Chelsea there will be a lot of work needed to be done

PA:Press Association

If Zinedine Zidane takes over at Chelsea there will be a lot of work needed to be done
 How Chelsea could look under Zidane next season
How Chelsea could look under Zidane next season

Whether Zidane would want to come is another question, this Chelsea squad has a mountain of deadwood and is severely lacking in top class talent.

Taking over could knock Zidane – winner of three Champions League titles – and his stellar reputation.

We looked at how Zidane’s Chelsea team could look if he was to take over immediately.

Here we look at how the Frenchman could line-up on the first day of next season.

 Eden Hazard may be tempted to stay at Stamford Bridge if his childhood idol becomes manager

PA:Press Association

Eden Hazard may be tempted to stay at Stamford Bridge if his childhood idol becomes manager

Chelsea players who could leave this summer

Goalkeepers

  • Willy Caballero
  • Rob Green
  • Eduardo

Defenders

  • Marcos Alonso
  • Davide Zappacosta
  • Gary Cahill
  • Andreas Christensen
  • David Luiz
  • Emerson
  • Baba Rahman
  • Matt Miazga
  • Kurt Zouma

Midfielders

  • Danny Drinkwater
  • Lewis Baker
  • Tiemoue Bakayoko
  • Kenedy

Forwards

  • Olivier Giroud
  • Pedro
  • Willian
  • Callum Hudson-Odoi
  • Michy Batshuayi
  • Tammy Abraham

GK: Kepa Arrizabalaga

As we discussed when we went over next season’s Chelsea XI should Sarri stay, there is no chance the Blues are giving up on the 24-year-old just yet.

He’s had a mixed start to life in London but the Spain international has flashed massive potential.

Plus, clubs don’t just admit they were wrong after splashing out a world record fee (for his position) on a player.

RB: Cesar Azpilicueta

Azpilicueta will turn 30 at the start of next season and has definitely declined from his usually sky high standards this season.

But should Zidane arrive he will have much bigger problems to fix than Dave, a Blues fan favourite and consumate professional in his seven years at the club.

Chelsea will eventually need to replace the right-back and fans will be hoping that replacement is Reece James.

The 19-year-old has been one of the best players in the Championsip this season and he deserves a chance to make the back-up spot his own.

 Kepa, Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger would likely keep their place

Reuters

Kepa, Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger would likely keep their place

CB: Antonio Rudiger

The athletic German defender has been Chelsea’s most consistent defender this season and, aged 25, should still have room to grow.

Zidane favours a high back line and high pressing game that favours quick defenders, like Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos.

While Rudiger isn’t at the level of those two, he has the speed to play in Zidane’s system and has improved his passing range under Sarri.

CB: Matthias Ginter

David Luiz is out of contract in the summer and expected to leave as he seeks a longer-term deal than the one-year Chelsea offer players over 30.

There will be flashier centre-backs available this summer – Kalidou Koulibaly and Milan Skriniar spring to mind.

But Zidane needs an upgrade and Ginter should cost significantly less than that pair, allowing the new boss to spend bigger elsewhere.

Ginter, who has also been linked with Arsenal and Spurs, has been brilliant for third-placed Borussia Monchengladbach and is an international team-mate of Rudigers.

While powerful in the air, Ginter has a touch of class on the ball and has spent significant time in his career playing in midfield.

He and Rudiger should complement each other nicely.

However, fans would desperately hope that Zidane gives Andreas Christensen a chance.

The Dane, 22, would be a natural replacement for Luiz, a strong, physical defender with great natural ability on the ball.

While Sarri has given up on Christensen, Zidane may be more willing to give him time – but we’re betting Zidane would be under pressure to deliver instant success.

For that, he may want a more experienced head.

 With David Luiz expected to leave the Blues, Chelsea could turn to Germany defender Matthias Ginter

Getty – Contributor

With David Luiz expected to leave the Blues, Chelsea could turn to Germany defender Matthias Ginter

LB: Alex Telles

In this slot under Sarri we placed long-time Chelsea target Alex Sandro but with money needed elsewhere the Juventus man has been priced out of a move.

Porto defender Telles is a more than suitable second option for what Zidane would expect from his left-back.

Under the Frenchman, Marcelo because arguably the best left-back in world football – playing a swashbuckling style that had him further forward than the midfield.

Marcelo has never been a good defender but his pace would often get him out of trouble.

It’s why speed is needed in a Zidane back four and why Marcos Alonso is a certainty to be moved on.

No player has seen his stock rise and fall more dramatically in the last three years than the Spaniard.

The former Bolton Wanderers and Sunderland defender was branded a joke signing when he arrived at Chelsea, before transforming into the best wing-back in world football under Antonio Conte.

He was named in the Premier League team of the season with Alonso performing a truly crucial job in Conte’s system.

But he has become one of Chelsea’s worst players under Sarri, too immobile to play in a traditional back four.

Telles is a dynamic attacking force and quick enough to recovery when he is inevitably caught out of position.

Emerson Palmieri could also develop if Zidane looks internally.

 Chelsea need a new left-back and Alex Telles could be high on their shopping list

AFP

Chelsea need a new left-back and Alex Telles could be high on their shopping list

CDM: N’Golo Kante

The one move we’re certain Zidane has to make is to remove Jorginho from the deep-lying playmaker role and put Kante back where he belongs.

Think of Zidane’s great Real Madrid teams – and then think of Casemiro playing further up the pitch and Modric in front of the back four.

It makes little sense.

Kante is the best shield in world football and having him deeper and more central will not stop Jorginho from being able to create from the centre of the pitch.

RCM: Jorginho

The Brazil-born Italy international could easily follow Sarri out of the door but we’re betting Chelsea will keep him on after such a big fee last summer.

On the ball Jorginho has the tools to succeed in the Premier League.

Zidane’s teams liked to dominate possession and Jorginho would be a crucial player for that role.

LCM: Isco

Zidane and Isco had a number of run-ins during their time together at the Bernabeu but that wouldn’t stop Chelsea from trying to reunite them in west London.

Isco is massively out of favour under Santiago Solari and has started just five La Liga matches all season – we’re betting he will try and leave this summer.

The Blues are desperately lacking a third top class midfielder and Isco would appear to suit this position perfectly.

Although he often played further forward under Zidane, Isco would provide the Blues with the kind of playmaking force they have lacked since the departure of Juan Mata.

 Zidane and Isco had some problems at Real Madrid but the playmaker was still one of his most important players

EPA

Zidane and Isco had some problems at Real Madrid but the playmaker was still one of his most important players

 

The Spaniard has the skill to beat a player by dribbling round them and to unlock a defence with a magical pass.

His goal tally has been poor for Los Blancos – he’s never scored more than 11 in a season for Real – but he has provided countless goals with assists or clever work in the build-up.

Zidane showed during his time in Spain that he is not keen on Mateo Kovacic.

Ross Barkley should be nothing more than a squad player and although Ruben Loftus-Cheek has flashed potential, he needs to consistently perform.

We imagine this would cost a pretty penny, but it’d be worth it for the Blues.

RW: Christian Pulisic

Chelsea fans would argue that it should be Callum Hudson-Odoi in this slot but, let’s be honest, club politics will play a big part in this one.

Boardrooms don’t spend £60million (without their manager knowing about it) on a player to watch him sit on the bench.

The American, 20, will be first-choice next season for whichever manager ends up in the Chelsea dugout and will be given a long leash to prove he’s up to the job.

Pulisic burst onto the scene as a teenager but has not improved in his professional career and now finds himself playing second fiddle to the brilliant Jadon Sancho.

Cynical fans would say that Chelsea bought Pulisic for the marketing opportunities he offers in the US, a market that is growing by the day and has the potential to take over.

Pedro and Willian may hang around but with both over 30, Chelsea will only offer them a one-year deal.

They would be able to earn much more abroard and could ask for more long-term security.

 Christian Pulisic will definitely be a starter next season - even if some think Callum Hudson-Odoi would be a better option

AFP or licensors

Christian Pulisic will definitely be a starter next season – even if some think Callum Hudson-Odoi would be a better option

LW: Eden Hazard

This one is a risky selection with Real Madrid desperately chasing the Belgian.

But we’re sticking out neck on the line and arguing that Hazard will take the chance to work under Zidane – the player he has idolised since he was a child.

Hazard has cut a frustrated figure in recent weeks and is clearly a step above the rest of the players in the squad (including Kante as he’s in the wrong position).

But if Chelsea manage to sneak into the Champions League and Zidane arrives, Hazard could fancy one more go at Stamford Bridge.

How Zidane uses Hazard would be very interesting to see.

The Belgian has always been at his best when playing from the left, where he gets a bit more space to drive at defenders inside and take potshots at goal.

When Zidane first took over at Real Madrid he started Cristiano Ronaldo from the left but as time went by, Ronaldo basically became a striker, starting centrally but free to roam wherever he wished.

Karim Benzema would provide the movement and build-up play while Ronaldo would be the finisher.

It’s difficult to cast Hazard into that role – he doesn’t have the same killer instinct as the Portuguese – but using Hazard centrally could pay dividends.

The only time he has played through the middle has been as a False 9 and in this Chelsea team that means Hazard has been marked by two centre-backs AND a central midfielder.

There’s no reason for opposition to mark anyone else.

In a more threatening Chelsea XI, with a proper attacker next to him, Hazard could find a lot more joy.

 Mauro Icardi - stripped of the Inter captaincy this week - would be a brilliant signing for Chelsea

EPA

Mauro Icardi – stripped of the Inter captaincy this week – would be a brilliant signing for Chelsea

ST: Mauro Icardi

This is a fantasy team so let’s have a bit of fun, why not?

Inter Milan sent the rumour mill into overdrive earlier this week after stripping their star man of the captaincy.

Everyone believes this is the first step of Icardi moving away from Serie A and it’s no secret that Chelsea have coveted the brilliant striker for a while.

Despite his relatively small stature, Icardi is the kind of lone striker that gives defenders nightmares.

His movement in the box is among the very best in the world and he is brutally strong, lightning quick off the mark and has tireless energy in hassling defenders.

Apart from all that, he knows where the goal is, scoring 70 goals in 105 matches in the last two and a bit seasons.

It’d take a lot of cash to bring Icardi to Stamford Bridge but the Argentine, 25, is worth it.

The other option for Zidane isn’t too bad, either.

Gonzalo Higuain has looked very sharp in his opening weeks as a Chelsea player and was the only Blues star to come out of the Manchester City humilaition with any credit.

Zidane never managed Higuain but the pair will know each other from the Real training ground – Zidane was in charge of the B team in Higuain’s final season.

Chelsea have him on loan until the end of the season and have the option of extending that loan for a year.

The Blues would be smart to explore deals for Icardi, knowing they have a more than able alternative already lined up.

Or, better yet, have both.

Wenger talks up Spurs star Eriksen as natural Modric heir at Real Madrid – Teamtalk.com

Date published: Thursday 14th February 2019 3:47

Arsene Wenger has cheekily suggested Real Madrid sign Christian Eriksen this summer – deeming the Tottenham star as the most natural heir to Luka Modric.

The classy Danish playmaker was again a shining light as Tottenham produced a stirring second-half performance as Borussia Dortmund were resoundingly beaten at Wembley to leave Mauricio Pochettino’s side near to a place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

However, speculation over Eriksen’s future continues to gather pace, with the former Ajax man having just 17 months left on his existing Tottenham contract.

The player has been strongly linked with €100m moves to PSG and Barcelona recently, but Wenger – speaking in his role as a pundit for BeIn Sports – reckons it is Real Madrid who should come calling.

“He is the outstanding player at Tottenham and the worry you can have for Tottenham is can they keep a player of that quality,” the former Arsenal manager said.

“I think he has developed extremely well. He can score, he can deliver on set-pieces, he can give the final ball, he works very hard for the team. You do not find many players with so many qualities.

“He is the player that [Luka] Modric was before at Tottenham but he scores more goals.”

 

Eriksen arrived at White Hart Lane a year after Modric’s departure and the bargain £11.5million signing has developed into not just one of Tottenham’s best players, but also one of the standout performers in the Premier League.

He has also scored 63 goals in 259 games during his time at the club, and has also created a staggering 518 chances in that time – more than any other player – underlining exactly what Mauricio Pochettino and Co are so desperate to tie him down to a new long-term deal.

 

Get the latest personalised Spurs products on our new TEAMtalk Tottenham shop!

 


Surprise Renault F1 engine boost could help McLaren – Sainz – autosport.com

Carlos Sainz Jr thinks a “good surprise” from McLaren engine supplier Renault could help his team make a “big step” this year.

Renault has talked up the progress it has made with its 2019 engine, with the company’s F1 managing director Cyril Abiteboul saying it had found “significant” power gains over the winter.

“Everyone looks to be talking very nicely about that engine,” said Sainz at the launch of the 2019 McLaren on Thursday.

“I really hope it is what they are talking about, and we have a good surprise in testing and we have those horsepower.

“Last year, as a Renault driver, we would’ve needed those horsepower to beat Haas more regularly.

“So hopefully it comes, because it would be already a very big step for for McLaren.

“It would be a step for free that would put us already in a much more comfortable place.”

Although McLaren is coming off the back of a challenging 2018 campaign, Sainz thinks its situation is much improved this year – and says the fact the team has hit its build schedule is a clear sign of things being better.

“The team has done their homework nicely,” he explained. “You’ve seen the car ready here, five days before testing, and that’s a good sign because it means the car has come together earlier and nicer than last year. That is already a very good step.”

Although encouraged by where McLaren is, Sainz said no one at the team was getting carried away with their hopes for 2019 and thinking that success would come easy.

“The team’s philosophy this year is to take it easy with predictions and with where we want to be,” he said.

“Until we see what the others are doing, it’s impossible to know where we are.

“We are optimistic about the directions we’ve taken with the concept, and the directions that we’ve taken restructuring the whole team – not only getting new people, but the good people that we have already at McLaren, to get them into the areas where we think they’re going to exploit their talent better.

“I think we have great talent in McLaren. There’s always new ideas, there’s always new people coming through with great ideas and it’s going to be a matter of when [we succeed].

“It’s now going to be a bit of a mid-term project, I have a two-year deal to work on that, and I’m confident.

“I like what I see, I like the way the restructuring has been, and now we’re ready to go racing and see where the car is, and from there start the development and the recovery.”