Ryan Mason insists the Tottenham job remains an attractive proposition despite another protracted search for the head coach role.

Spurs saw another contender to permanently replace Antonio Conte exit the running this week after Feyenoord boss Arne Slot committed his long-term future to the Eredivisie club before he signed a new deal on Friday.

Tottenham held an interest in Slot but no direct discussions with the 44-year-old took place, the PA news agency understands.

Other managers linked with the vacancy, such as Bayer Leverkusen head coach Xabi Alonso and Burnley boss Vincent Kompany, have also pledged their immediate futures to their current clubs, but acting head coach Mason is under no illusions the top job at Spurs remains desirable.

Asked if the Tottenham job was still an attractive proposition, Mason replied: “Absolutely, yes.

“It is Tottenham Hotspur, it is a big club. Not just for managers or coaches, but for staff members, for players.

“Anyone here should feel the privilege and honour to represent the badge. If they don’t, then they shouldn’t be here. It is as simple as that.”

When Conte left his position on March 26, Tottenham were firmly in the race for Champions League qualification but they travel to relegation-threatened Leeds on Sunday with only a faint chance of securing a place in the Europa Conference League.

Mason insisted that, while European football for next season is crucial, the most important task for the club is to put a plan in place.

“Obviously it has its implications and it’s not where the football club wants to be. We definitely want to be competing in Europe,” Spurs’ acting head coach stated.

“Any European competition is important for a club this size but at the same time the most important thing, regardless of whether we’re in or out of Europe, is that there is a plan and there is commitment from everyone to that going forward.”

During the last few weeks, Mason has repeatedly referenced the need for commitment at the club without going into specifics.

Even before Conte departed two months ago, the future of the Italian was uncertain with his deal set to expire this summer anyway.

Mason again refused to be drawn on whether any coaches, players or staff had lacked commitment this season, but admitted the squad had been affected by the turmoil off the pitch.

He added: “The results before he (Conte) left weren’t amazing. I don’t think results have dipped a huge amount.

“Obviously we were in a different position but I think you could feel it, you could feel it the weeks leading up to it there was uncertainty and it’s never great to have that uncertainty.

“We’ve probably been in that situation for the last eight weeks where there’s been a lot of uncertainty.

“That is why one of my main things when me and my team of people came in, I wanted to create a togetherness and make us feel part of something towards the end of the season.”

Mikel Arteta has warned Arsenal the competition will be even tougher if they hope to mount another Premier League title challenge next season.

Wolves visit the Emirates Stadium on Sunday for a fixture that at one stage looked like it would mark Arsenal’s coronation as champions for the first time in 19 years.

Instead they go into their final game eight points adrift of champions Manchester City, the same margin that Arteta’s side led by in early April, with their courageous title tilt having finally been ended by defeat to Nottingham Forest last Saturday.

Arsenal’s challenge has wilted since they threw away a 2-0 lead against Liverpool at Anfield on Easter Sunday, followed by successive draws against West Ham and Southampton before City finally took control of the race with a thumping 4-1 win against the Gunners at the Etihad.

Arteta called for his players to end a nevertheless memorable season on a high against Wolves, but pointed to what is likely to be an even more intense struggle next campaign if the club are to finally end a two-decade wait to be champions.

“The competition is going to be even harder next season,” said Arteta. “In my opinion it’s been the hardest this season in 22 years that I’ve been in this league.

“In order to (compete) we have a really promising plan, we have to reflect a little bit, take a step back, make sure this is the right one and go again with more determination and hunger in the tummies to do even better.

“Now is about finishing the season in style and providing a great performance and a victory in front of our people to show our gratitude.

“(We) received a lot of incredible energy they have given us throughout the season, and (we will) start to build for next season. We have to wrap it up in the best possible way. It’s been some journey, full of emotions.

“Looking with a bit of perspective, there’s a lot of things not only on the field that have happened at the club that deserve a lot of credit for a lot of people.

“We have to nail everything that we do, we have to seek excellence in everything that we touch and we participate in that’s going to have a big impact at the club.”

Arsenal’s late collapse was in part precipitated by the loss of defender William Saliba to injury in March, with the deputising Rob Holding criticised for failing to match the 22-year-old’s imperious form across the season.

Arteta remained hopeful that the back injury the defender picked up during the team’s Europa League exit to Sporting Lisbon will not stretch into next season and that he will be ready to resume training after the summer.

There is also optimism that Takehiro Tomiyasu, who has played only 21 times in the league due to injury, will be fit to take part in pre-season.

Arteta said of Saliba: “He’s evolving the right way, the last few weeks have been much more positive than the previous two months.

“We wanted to protect him, it’s an injury that needed some care and attention. We’ve been pretty conservative to give him the best possible chance to have a good pre-season and to go again next season.

“Tomiyasu will be (back) around pre-season like Willy, they’ll be in a good place. They’ve been working so hard the boys, it’s been a really difficult year for (Tomiyasu) with some issues that he’s had.

“He’s a tremendous person, a top professional, we just want him to be available because when he is he’s really helpful for the team.”

Unai Emery has welcomed pressure as Aston Villa look to seal a European return.

Victory over Brighton in Sunday’s Premier League finale will book seventh spot and a place in the Europa Conference League play-offs.

Villa last competed in Europe in 2010-11 and Emery is relishing the task on Sunday, with the Seagulls having already sealed their Europa League spot.

“For me, the pressure is amazing to try to feel matches when you’re playing for something important,” he said.

“We want to be excited, not anxious, but to be excited, be very motivated and to enjoy the process. When you’re in the match, you have to be prepared to focus only on your game plan.

“The players are doing that. When you are very focused and you’re really trying to work hard on your style and idea, and your players are practicing hard, this is a good way.

“That is a moment you feel you are doing all you can on the pitch.”

Alex Moreno is out with a hamstring injury while Philippe Coutinho is also sidelined and Diego Carlos is expected to miss out.

Emery added: “In front of us is the most important match we are going to face. We are trying to prepare for it like the last matches we played, being motivated and enjoying the process.

“Our time is coming on Sunday with our supporters in Villa Park to enjoy this match. We are going to face a very difficult team.

“They are playing amazing football. Their structure, tactically, is very strong. I enjoy the matches we are playing in the Premier League and the matches we are watching of other teams. One of those teams is Brighton.”

Sam Allardyce has confirmed he will discuss whether he will continue as Leeds boss with the club’s hierarchy after Sunday’s final Premier League game of the season.

Allardyce gave his biggest hint yet that he would be interested in remaining in the role, even if Leeds are relegated on the final day, after their last match against Tottenham at Elland Road.

The former England manager said: “That’s to be decided at the end. It’s always been a case of we will discuss whatever we need to discuss at the end of the season based on where we are.

“Also based on what I think the club needs to go forward and based on what the club thinks and if that’s aligned with each other, then we’ll wait and see.

“But that discussion, it doesn’t happen in a morning or one day, it happens over a period of time and I just hope that we’re talking on a very positive nature on Monday morning and I have a hangover!”

Leeds’ top-flight status hinges on them beating Tottenham and even victory will not be enough to save them unless the results of both relegation rivals, Everton and Leicester, go their way.

Injuries to strikers Patrick Bamford and Rodrigo in last week’s 3-1 defeat at West Ham appeared to have dealt Leeds’ survival hopes another blow.

But Rodrigo returned to training on Friday while Bamford has not yet been ruled out and Allardyce said he would be prepared to take a risk with any of his injured players with so much at stake.

“I’ll gamble on anyone’s fitness if they want to play, if I think they can make a contribution to help us try to win the game,” Allardyce said.

“It’s the last game, they will have plenty of time to recover, but there is obviously medical issues where if you play them the risk is too great and a lot of it is up to the player himself.”

Leeds turned to Allardyce after sacking Javi Gracia with four games of the season remaining in a last-ditch bid to escape the drop.

The former Bolton, West Ham and Everton boss has collected just one point in his first three outings but said camp spirit had risen after last week’s bitter disappointment when survival was taken out of Leeds’ hands.

The 68-year-old, whose side have trained this week at Elland Road, added: “I’ve loved the mood and loved the application. We’re going to live or die on Sunday in terms of the result.

“We train here (at Elland Road) for three days building up to the game. Familiarity, it’s all about this arena on Sunday with obviously the fantastic atmosphere that will go with it.”

Lewis Miller wants Hibernian to turn Edinburgh green on Saturday as they look to beat city rivals Hearts to fourth spot in the cinch Premiership.

Hibs go into the final league weekend of the season two points behind their rivals but fresh from a 4-2 win over champions Celtic at Easter Road on Wednesday and with the bragging rights from last month’s 1-0 win over the men in maroon in Leith.

Miller, the 22-year-old year-old Australian full-back who signed from Central Coast Mariners last June, knows fourth spot guarantees European football albeit so could fifth place, providing Celtic beat Inverness in the Scottish Cup final.

He said: “European football is what everyone is talking about. That is what everyone is excited about.

“If we get this win against Hearts, not only will Edinburgh be green but we will also secure European football which will be unreal, for a boy coming from Australia, who is unheard of.

“We got the win in the last game against Hearts. That showed that we have developed and changed as a team.

“Confidence is sky high at the moment and I don’t think anyone scares us, no matter who we play. And the way we are playing I don’t think anyone can stop us.

“I have never played there (Tynecastle) before but obviously the atmosphere is going to be intense.

“It is a massive derby. I am excited. We have a lot of experienced players that will help guide the younger ones. It is going to be awesome.”

Miller hopes his move to Edinburgh leads to full international honours like his countrymen at Hearts, Kye Rowles, Nathaniel Atkinson, Cammy Devlin and Garang Kuol, who scored the late equaliser in the 2-2 draw with Rangers at Ibrox on Wednesday night.

Miller said: “The Scottish Premiership has a lot of Australian players and pretty much all of them play for the Socceroos.

“So hopefully I am next. Obviously everyone wants to play for their country.

“I think if I keep playing the way I am playing I should get there.

“European football is a lot better; tactics, speed technique. It is exactly what I needed to develop as a player.

“I am quite young and I think this is the perfect move for me and now it is slowly coming together.”

Boss Julen Lopetegui will continue talks with Wolves about his future.

Lopetegui’s long-term future at Molineux has been in the spotlight with uncertainty about his position.

Financial fair play regulations will impact the club’s spending power this summer and Lopetegui has previously said he only discovered the constraints last week.

He has been calling for investment since securing Premier League safety and the manager will continue to speak to chairman Jeff Shi about what backing he will receive.

He said: “We will see, we have to discuss with the chairman and owners. The most important thing is what the solution is going to be. When you have a problem you have to solve the problem.

“This is all. About my future, I have a contract and we will see what is going to happen, This is football, we don’t know.

“We have to talk, it’s not about one or two days. We have to talk about the solution and the future to be able to have a squad ready to compete again.

“This year has been a wake-up call. We have to learn why it has happened and to overcome and make our homework this summer. It’s not about one or two days. We need a clear picture.

“It’s important to have the squad ready. Maybe not 100 per cent of players but maybe 90 per cent. For me it’s very important, to have the squad ready to start working with us on July 1.”

Wolves to go Arsenal for Sunday’s Premier League finale and Joao Moutinho will not feature and is likely to have played his last game for the club as he is out of contract in the summer.

Sasa Kalajdzic (knee) is out while Lopetegui himself is banned from the touchline for collecting four yellow cards.

He added: “On Sunday we have an important match because it’s the last of the season. They have been very close to winning the Premier League and will want to make a good match in front of their fans. We have to be ready to compete with them.”

West Ham boss David Moyes has confirmed Gianluca Scamacca will miss the Europa Conference League final next month.

Italian striker Scamacca, the £30.5million summer signing from Sassuolo, underwent knee surgery in April but there were hopes he could return before the end of the season.

However, Moyes has ruled the 24-year-old out of the final against Fiorentina in Prague on June 7.

“I see him being nowhere near it. He’s not back training and not back,” said Moyes.

“He’s still doing his rehab in Italy just now, so I don’t expect to see him back before then, no.

“He had his operation about four weeks ago, so he has still a few weeks of rehab to do but hopefully, he will be back ready at the start of pre-season.”

The Hammers face relegation-threatened Leicester on the final day of the Premier League season, knowing a win on Sunday could lift them as high as 12th, above Chelsea.

That would not be a bad result from a campaign which looked at times destined to end in relegation.

“I take every game one at a time, that’s all we can ever do,” added Moyes. “It’s a chance to get your league place higher up and we’re all well aware of the value of that in the Premier League.

“If you’d given me this position a few weeks ago I’d have snapped your hand off because we go into the last day without any real problems and, more importantly we go into it knowing we’ve got a cup final in a week or so’s time.”

Leicester need a victory and a favour from Bournemouth at Everton in order to stay up.

“I’m glad it’s a game where it’s not us needing to win it, because it was always a hard-looking game,” said Moyes. “They’ve had a great team over recent seasons, they really have.

“I think it’s a bit of a surprise to everyone that they’re in the position they are in. They have got some top players and we’re going to have to defend well and deal with it well. Hopefully, we can.”

Manchester City’s third-choice goalkeeper Scott Carson has signed a new 12-month contract, the Premier League champions have announced.

The 37-year-old former England international has made just two first-team appearances since joining City, initially on loan, in 2019 but has been an important part of manager Pep Guardiola’s squad.

“I’m excited to be staying at City,” Carson told the club’s website, www.mancity.com. “I love working with Pep, (coach) Xabi Mancisidor and our incredible players every day.

“Hopefully I can help all of our goalkeepers be at their best.”

Guardiola said: “We have him in the locker room and you cannot believe the impact.”

Leicester boss Dean Smith has said his message to his players ahead of their all-or-nothing game with West Ham on Sunday will simply be “just win”.

The Foxes have to win and hope that Everton cannot beat Bournemouth if they are to avoid relegation to the Championship.

Smith, who was parachuted in on an eight-game SOS mission following the sacking of Brendan Rodgers, says that what happens at the King Power Stadium against the Hammers is the only thing the Foxes need to focus on.

He said: “We have got to win the game plainly and simply, we have got to figure out and balance the best way to not give big chances away and create big chances against West Ham, who are in a European final and after a tough first half of the season have climbed away from danger and have got a very good manager there.

“We have to win the game and not look at the Everton result until after the game. We have to do our job and see where it takes us.

“We can only control what we can do. We have to control our performance, help your team-mates out and go and get a good performance and a win.

“If we do our part we are looking at other people to help us, but we have to make sure we concentrate on what we do. It’s quite a simple message really and the lads have trained well so far.

“The players want clarity of what their positions are, what we are asking of them and our job is to give them that. It doesn’t get any clearer for me: They have to win. That’s all they need to know and that’s all they do know.

“We just have to concentrate on our own game. It’s simplistic, we have to win, it doesn’t matter what is going on at other grounds. Just win.

“Whatever else is going on elsewhere we are not in control of. But we have seen how quickly things can change around in the last 15 minutes of games, whether it is this season or previous seasons. We win our games and then see where it goes.”

Smith did not want to discuss his future beyond Sunday’s game, insisting that there will be a post-season debrief.

Asked whether the outcome of the match will impact his future, Smith added: “Not at all, my future was to come in for seven weeks and eight games and that hasn’t change. My future is exactly the same. That is a question to have after the game and not before it.”

The Foxes will be without Caglar Soyuncu, but Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Jonny Evans and Ricardo Pereira will all be fit. Wilfred Ndidi is a doubt with a hamstring injury.

“Caglar is not fit, he has tried to get himself back into training this week but he just felt it, obviously it was too close but the fact he wanted to push it to be in contention shows a lot about his character. He’s definitely out,” Smith said.

“Dewsbury-Hall is good, he’s been training with us for a couple of days now, so he’ll be available for selection.

“(Kelechi)  Iheanacho is fine, Jonny Evans had cramp he’s fine. Ricky we scanned him and he is fine, Wilf is the only question mark at the moment, we are waiting to see if he is good enough to train tomorrow.”

Everton manager Sean Dyche insists he has no problem with the relegation-threatened club potentially already looking for his replacement.

The former Burnley boss arrived late in January as Frank Lampard’s replacement with the challenge of avoiding the drop.

Things have not gone entirely to plan with the Toffees just two points above the relegation zone, although their fate remains in their own hands as they seek to extend their stay in the top flight into a 70th season by matching the results of Leeds and Leicester.

And reports this week suggested Everton were already thinking about what comes next.

“It’s fair to say ‘interesting’ reports, but I don’t know where they come from,” said Dyche.

“At the end of the day, good businesses should be succession planning. I’ve got no problem with that, even if that were true.”

Everton go into their relegation-decider at home to Bournemouth without striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin or defenders Nathan Patterson and Ben Godfrey.

“They won’t be fit. We haven’t had Dom for two-thirds of my time here. We have still won games, still got points on the board and performed,” he said.

“Patto has come into the side more latterly and performed well. We lose him as well.”

Dyche holds out some hope Vitalli Mykolenko – his only remaining full-back on either flank – could return after a two-match absence.

“He’s a bit better so we will see how he reacts tomorrow to training today,” Dyche added.

Dyche was already without Seamus Coleman, Ruben Vinagre, Tom Davies and Andros Townsend so more injuries just increase the pressure in an already-tough atmosphere on Sunday.

“I think it is part of being a professional footballer. You have to use the feeling in the stadium to your advantage and I think we have a decent experience level for the ups and downs of football to understand that,” added the manager.

“We want players to focus on the game, which is not as easy as it sounds, but focus on the game and the idea and don’t worry about the noise. That’s the clear intention.”

Ruben Selles is disappointed not to have been kept on as Southampton manager as he feels ready to lead the side despite overseeing their meek relegation.

A myriad of bad decisions on and off the field has brought Saints’ 11-year stay in the Premier League to a crushing end.

Ralph Hasenhuttl started the season in charge and was replaced by divisive Nathan Jones, with an initial upturn under Selles quickly flatlining after being handed the job for the rest of the campaign.

Saints were relegated with two games to spare and the club announced on Wednesday that the Spaniard’s contract “will not be renewed when it expires at the end of the season”.

Selles found that out on Monday and will take charge for the final time against Liverpool on Sunday, with Russell Martin then set to come in as Southampton prepare for life in the Championship.

“Listen, I did as much as I can, I show here every weekend with you, I make the team being competitive,” he said.

“We didn’t get the football, the results that we expected to have.

“I think you saw an identity, you saw a team that wants to play together. We didn’t make it.

“I tried to put everything every time with this sort of mentality and in that part I did my best and that’s the reality. I cannot change the decision from the owners.

“I still think I’m ready but it’s not my call and, yeah, my feeling right now is just to finish in the best way possible, to prepare the Liverpool game.

“And then on Monday, we will think about something different.”

Selles joined Saints from Copenhagen last summer as first-team lead coach supporting Hasenhuttl having enjoyed a varied coaching career that had taken him from Spain to the likes of Russia and Azerbaijan.

But now the 39-year-old sees himself in England and hopes to be able to stay coaching there at a high level.

“Of course, I would like to stay here and I would like to stay in the top level that I can stay,” Selles said. “If it’s not Premier League, it’s very close to that.

“My target has been always to be competing against the best and with the best.

“That’s what I have been doing in the last three months and I want to be here back and I want to find myself back as quick as possible.”

As Selles’ time at St Mary’s comes to a close on Sunday, attention turns to the new era under impending appointment of Martin.

The PA news agency understands the Swansea boss is poised to become Southampton head coach on a three-year deal.

“I just make my opinion of all of them as a squad, as individual players,” Selles said of the squad Martin will inherit.

“I don’t know who is the new coach. You maybe probably know that better than me but, actually, it’s not for me.

“I just told the club what I think. I told before this week what I think is what we need to do to rebuild the squad for the Championship or for the Premier League in that time if we stay.

“So, they know my opinion, but they can do with that what they want.”

Michael Beale bid “good riddance” to Rangers’ trophy-less season as he looked forward to a summer reset before a stiffer challenge to champions Celtic.

Beale took over as Gers boss from Giovanni van Bronckhorst in November but was unable to halt the Hoops’ march to the title and they will look to clinch the domestic treble when they take on Championship side Inverness at Hampden Park on June 3.

The former Rangers assistant coach, whose side lost the Viaplay Cup final to Celtic and will be runners-up in the league, has started his squad rebuild with the addition of Norwich midfielder Kieran Dowell on a pre-contract and revealed “there are three of four things we know are there.”

Ahead of the final game of the season on Saturday against St Mirren in Paisley, Beale said: “This season is done after tomorrow. Good riddance to this season and we will come back next season and we will give it a right good go.

“I am really excited about pre-season. It is not the easiest thing to do, come into a club in the middle of the season when part of the season has been written. I am glad the summer is upon us.

“I am relishing everything being re-set and giving ourselves an opportunity to have a really strong pre-season, some new players coming in, bringing new energy and enable me to really fully imprint my ideas on the team.

“I am looking forward to a full pre-season, everything being re-set, the league being re-set to zero, and a lot of optimism around what we can achieve.”

Asked if he was confident of giving Celtic a much stronger challenge next season after he builds his new squad, the former QPR boss said: “I am. Otherwise I wouldn’t be sat here.

“My excitement for this summer is because I see the work we are doing in the background.

“We are very close to what I want and if I get that in I will be very pleased and we  will have a very strong pre-season, implement some new things and we will come out of it a much stronger team.

“I think the team will be in an immensely much better place than the team I inherited for sure, because it was different to the team I had left a year before.”

Stephen Robinson insists St Mirren have “massively over-achieved” this season despite a difficult end to their cinch Premiership campaign.

The Buddies made it into the top six for the first time under the current league set-up but the post-split fixtures have proved problematic.

The Paisley side have lost four and drawn two of their last six games with hopes of European football slipping away with a 3-0 defeat by Aberdeen at Pittodrie on Wednesday night.

However, speaking ahead of the final game of the season at home to Rangers on Saturday lunchtime, Robinson stressed that his squad deserve to be judged over the whole campaign and appreciated for their achievement.

The Northern Irishman said:  “This group of players have massively over-achieved from where people thought we would be.

“That needs recognised. It has to be recognised and we want Saturday to be about celebrating that.

“These boys have created history for St Mirren. We don’t want that to be forgotten, we want a full house at the end of the game to say thank you to the fans for their support but also for the fans to show their appreciation for what this group of boys and staff have done for the club this year.

“It has been a terrific season. We must not forget that.

“I think the season has caught up with us in the last five games in terms of depth of squad.

“We have had horrendous injuries up front with Curtis Main being our only fit striker although he is not actually fully fit.

“We have completed phase one of what we started out to do, in reality, probably a year before we envisaged it we got into the top six.

“The challenge is to strengthen, can we get the four or five players that will make us stronger and try to challenge for the top six again.

“That’s the hard bit, to go and do it again.”

Roy Hodgson insisted he expects to be taking charge of Crystal Palace for the final time in Sunday’s Premier League season-ender at home to Nottingham Forest, but did not rule out staying on.

Hodgson took the reins at his boyhood club for the second time on a short-term contract after the sacking of Patrick Vieira, and has taken 17 points from nine games to steer Palace well clear of relegation trouble.

Such has been the turnaround in form that Hodgson has been seen as a candidate to take the job on a longer-term basis, but the 75-year-old said that was not on his mind.

“As far as I’m concerned, this is my last game,” Hodgson said. “I signed a contract here until the end of the season and I was grateful to do so. All along, I have seen this as my last game on my contract and as far as I’m concerned that’s what it is.”

When asked if he would be open to staying on if asked by chairman Steve Parish, Hodgson added: “I don’t know, I’ll wait until that day arrives if it ever arrives. At the moment I don’t have to concern myself with that.

“What’s on my table is to see my contract out, thank everyone for the last two and a half months and hopefully help the team get a result…I hope to leave all my options open.”

Hodgson confirmed that Wilfried Zaha – out of contract this summer – will miss Sunday’s match through injury, raising the possibility that the in-demand forward has played his final game for the club.

“Wilfried’s injury was sufficiently severe to keep him out of the next game,” Hodgson said. “He’ll need a week or two more to recover, so it won’t keep him out of next season. He will be fit for pre-season, but we won’t have the benefit of him on Sunday.”

Palace forward Ebere Eze has been celebrating his first international call up after being included in Gareth Southgate’s England squad to face Malta and North Macedonia next month, and former Three Lions boss Hodgson has offered the 24-year-old some pointers.

“The advice basically, after the congratulations – because as you say I am delighted for him and I’m happy Gareth (Southgate) and Steve (Holland) have seen what we have seen in him as well – but the only advice I can give him is to be himself,” he said.

“Go there and be relaxed enough to show how good he is. Show how good he is in training when he is here. If he does that, Gareth and Steve will be more than happy with him.”

The pressure will be off for both sides in Sunday’s match at Selhurst Park, with Forest’s victory over Arsenal last weekend having ended the threat of relegation at the end of their first season back in the top flight.

“[Cooper] has done a very good job,” Hodgson said. “In particular I think the last five games they have had an incredible upsurge in form. They have taken 10 points from their last five games. That’s top of table form not avoiding relegation form.

“They have taken everyone by surprise at the bottom who are fighting relegation, because many clubs thought they wouldn’t do that well. Hats off to him, hats off to his players and staff. It was very touching last weekend when they beat Arsenal and you saw the scenes after the game.

“It makes you realise how much staying in this league and doing well means to everyone, not just to your staff and people at the club but also to the fans.”

Erik ten Hag says Jadon Sancho’s progress and potential is one of the reasons Manchester United have a “good base” to kick on from next season.

The 23-year-old arrived at Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund in 2021 in a £73million deal following a prolonged pursuit.

Sancho has shown flashes of his outstanding talent but has yet to fully live up to the billing, with the United winger falling out of the England reckoning as a result.

Ten Hag has worked carefully with Sancho, who went on an individual winter fitness programme in the Netherlands rather than travel to the squad’s World Cup camp in Spain.

Back then the patient United boss said the player was “not in the right status or fitness state”, but he has since made strides and the Dutchman expects even more from him.

“He did very well on the right side and I think he played a very good game,” Ten Hag said after Thursday’s 4-1 defeat of Chelsea.

“I think Jadon Sancho is one of the players who made progress in the season and there were many players in our squad who made good progress. I think it’s a good base to build further on.”

Asked if he preferred Sancho on the right or left, Ten Hag said: “He can do both.


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“I think he prefers to play on the left, but we have seen today he is very good on the right as well.”

United’s win against Chelsea sealed qualification for next season’s Champions League with a game to spare.

Ten Hag immediately underlined that summer signings are needed, but also stressed there is far more to come from the likes of Sancho.

“Still, we can also improve with this squad, as we did this season,” the United boss said.

“I said (signings) is one part of it. The other thing is progress in the current squad and the current players.

“That is the job that I have to do, in togetherness with that squad and with my coaching staff.

“As (of) now, I think we make huge progress during the season. The team, many individuals play a fantastic, great season.

“Now we have a good base but, as I just mentioned, I think there is still a lot of room for improvement also in this squad.


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“But then when you get the right players in, that will help and even give you more depth and a better standard and level.

“Then you have more chance to be in the top four and then it gives you more chance to win titles and trophies.”

United have already won the Carabao Cup this season and return to Wembley to face Manchester City in a mouth-watering FA Cup final on June 3.

But first comes the Premier League season finale against Fulham – the last home match before long-serving David De Gea’s contract expires.

Both parties have spoken positively about agreeing new terms but talks have dragged on, although Ten Hag downplayed the suggestion Sunday could be the goalkeeper’s last Old Trafford appearance.

“I think we want him to stay and he wants to stay, so I think we will find each other,” he said of the Premier League Golden Glove winner, who joined United from Atletico Madrid in 2011.

“I never will give a comment about that, about how negotiations are going.”

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