Erik ten Hag praised Manchester United’s collective efforts defensively after David de Gea collected the Golden Glove award for the goalkeeper with the most Premier League clean sheets.

United’s 1-0 win at Bournemouth brought De Gea his 17th shut-out of the campaign, taking him clear of Liverpool’s Alisson Becker, as well as helping the team to within a point of Champions League qualification.

De Gea has been at fault several times this season, most recently in gifting West Ham a goal in a 1-0 defeat at the London Stadium and as the team crashed out of the Europa League against Sevilla.

Yet against Bournemouth he gave a reminder that his shot-stopping ability and reflexes remain undiminished, making three excellent saves from Dominic Solanke, David Brooks and Kieffer Moore to preserve United’s lead.

Ten Hag agreed that De Gea has been a key factor in the team’s defensive record, which is the third best in the league, but emphasised it has been a group effort.

He also singled out central defenders Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane in helping United to back-to back clean sheets that have now virtually secured their place in the top four.

“A clean sheet is always very important to be successful in a season,” said Ten Hag.

“I think it’s telling something about our structure, our plan, and it’s telling also something about dedication from the team. The belief they had in this plan and how they execute it.

“Of course we have some individual great players in pressing, in the defending. In the end also a very good goalkeeper who will save you in one-on-ones and shots.

“If you’re talking about clean sheets, it’s across the whole team, but centre-halves are very important.

“I think they played a really focussed game, really well defended, but I think over many games in April and May it’s Victor together with Rafa is doing great; positioning, duelling. Very good.”

United’s win was secured courtesy of Casemiro’s brilliantly improvised goal in the ninth minute, hooking the ball into the roof of the net after Christian Eriksen’s fine cross had deflected off defender Marcos Senesi.

The victory at the Vitality Stadium did not find the visitors at their best but nevertheless Ten Hag said he was impressed with his side’s work with the ball in Bournemouth’s half, particularly in the opening 25 minutes.

“We emphasise a lot and we train a lot (that) it’s about the movements when we are in the final third,” he said.

“The movements of course have to come first from the front line, second line just behind, but also from the third one with full-backs, with Casemiro coming from there.

“The movement is great (for the goal), the touch from Christian Eriksen I think is great, and the finish is brilliant.”

Lionel Messi has paid for Paris Saint-Germain's "obsession" with winning the Champions League, suggests Ander Herrera.

Messi moved to Parc des Princes in 2021 from Barcelona, and helped PSG to a Ligue 1 success in his first season.

PSG are on the brink of retaining their crown, though Messi's future at the club is far from certain.

Messi has been unable to drag PSG closer to their ultimate goal – winning the Champions League. Earlier in May, Messi was targeted by sections of the club's fanbase after he was suspended for taking an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia.

Herrera, who played with Messi last season, sees the PSG's dogmatic pursuit of European glory as the main issue. 

"I was admiring Leo before [I knew] him, and after knowing him, I admire him even more as footballer and as a person," he told Stats Perform.

"I understand that Paris is a place that [does] not have much patience. There is an obsession to win the Champions League that doesn't help.

"I think that [they are] the only team in the world that, if [they] do not win the Champions League, it is a failure. All the rest can [have] good seasons without winning [it].

"In Paris, this patience and calm does not exist. You perceive that there is an obsession to win the Champions League, and at the end, who pays for it?

"[It is] the best ones [in] the team. They are the ones that receive the [criticism]."

Herrera also weighed in on speculation over the future of his former Manchester United team-mate David De Gea, amid questions over the goalkeeper's place at Old Trafford.

De Gea has come in for criticism after several key errors this term, but yet also claimed the Golden Glove once again for his Premier League performances.

The Spaniard's contract runs out at the end of the season, but includes an option for a further year, and Herrera feels United would be foolish to not keep his compatriot on.

"Of course David should continue," he added. "He has the record [for most clean sheets] in the club's history.

"He has been, four or five years, the best [in] the Premier League. A couple of mistakes won't affect his performance and his wining mentality."

Erik ten Hag says Casemiro has exceeded expectations since arriving at Manchester United after his goal to beat Bournemouth took the team to within a point of Champions League qualification.

The 1-0 win puts United on the brink of a return to Europe’s top club competition next season, with Liverpool’s draw against Aston Villa meaning Ten Hag’s side need only a draw from their final two games.

Casemiro’s brilliantly improvised strike was the difference at the Vitality Stadium, the Brazilian finishing off Christian Eriksen’s cross with a wonderful overhead volley after nine minutes.

United were not at their best but did enough to contain Bournemouth, who went close to levelling late on through Kieffer Moore after David De Gea had denied them with a string of reflex saves.

Ten Hag’s team need only to avoid defeat against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Thursday to ensure they will go into the final game with their objective in the league this season secured before turning attentions to the FA Cup final.

The manager singled out match-winner Casemiro’s contributions as being key on the south coast and throughout his time at the club.

“He keeps surprising us, Casemiro,” said Ten Hag. “He’s such a brilliant football player. We know him as very good (at) organisation, positioning, anticipating, intercepting a lot of balls, winning duels, a fighter. Also in possession, his passing and distribution, but also finishing. Just a great football player.

“Absolutely (he has exceeded expectations), by far. One of the things that came when we analysed, we missed a player in the midfield. We searched and it was not easy because there are not many in the profile whose standard fits the standard of Manchester United. We’re happy we found him and his contribution is massive.”

United had been within minutes of wrapping up their place in the top four with two games to spare, only for a late equaliser for fifth-placed Liverpool against Villa at Anfield to ensure that, mathematically at least, Jurgen Klopp’s side remain in the hunt.

But it would take a total collapse from United during the Premier League’s final week to deny them from here.

If they take a point at home to Frank Lampard’s side it will render the result of the meeting with Fulham on the final day irrelevant and mean preparations can begin for the showdown with Manchester City at Wembley on June 3.

Ten Hag said he had not been aware of the score at Anfield but stressed their goal had been in their own hands all along.

“It’s not important, I’m telling you already for weeks it’s not about our opponents,” he said. “We are in the lead, it’s only up to us, we have everything in our hands, we don’t have to look behind. We have to make our performance. It’s nothing to do with any other team. It’s to do with the opponent on the day.

“Very happy. First 25 minutes was a very good performance from our team, maybe one of the highest levels this season. It’s the way we want to play football.

“Pin the opponent back, good on the ball, a lot of movements, good counter-press. Against a good team, Bournemouth, they can really play very good structures, I like them and their way of play.

“You can see they’re already safe two games before the end. They didn’t have any chance to play out because we dominated them totally. We created chances and we scored a brilliant goal.”

Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neil, whose team went into the game already secured of their top-flight status for next season, felt the Cherries matched United on the day and reflected on his side having beaten the drop with room to spare.

“I was pleased, I thought it was a good performance,” he said.

“United are full-throttle at the moment and we were obviously understrength. Five key players missing, a little bit short today. I didn’t think there was much in it, our chances were as good as theirs. I don’t think anyone could have complained if Kieffer Moore had scored and it had finished 1-1.

“I think everyone felt the Everton game (next week) would be pivotal. The fact that it isn’t shows what a big achievement it’s been from the players to stay up with four games to spare.”

Manchester United moved a step closer to playing in the Champions League next season as Casemiro’s brilliant overhead kick earned a 1-0 win away at Bournemouth.

Victory on the south coast, together with Liverpool’s failure to beat Aston Villa, strengthened United’s grip on a top-four spot with two games to play and meant Erik ten Hag is close to achieving his primary objective in his first season in charge.

This was not Ten Hag’s side at their best, but once they were in front they limited a spirited and organised Bournemouth to a handful of chances, with David de Gea in form to deny Gary O’Neil’s side whenever they threatened.

A point against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Thursday will ensure the team go into the final day with the top-four job complete.

United took the lead after nine minutes, partly through good fortune, but the goal owed much to the quick thinking and improvisational brilliance of Casemiro.

Christian Eriksen’s floated ball into the box was flicked on inadvertently by the boot of Marcos Senesi. The defender’s intervention played Casemiro onside and in one movement he swivelled acrobatically and whacked an effort on the turn past Neto to give United the perfect start.

The game settled down, United largely controlling the ball and probing for gaps in behind Bournemouth, most of which were plugged well by O’Neil’s side.

The next real chance fell to Dominic Solanke. A long, reaching pass arrived invitingly at his feet, though the opportunity looked to have gone when Aaron Wan-Bissaka hustled him off the ball. But Solanke would not be deterred and, winning it back, he cut inside United and made space for a low drive which De Gea turned aside brilliantly.

Casemiro tried once again to execute the spectacular when he hit a thumping drive first time from 35 yards which Neto got down well to and held.

On the whole, though, the first half ended with Bournemouth in the ascendency, Solanke reminding United once again of his and his team’s threat by planting a header fractionally over with the last action before the break.

David Brooks, making his first start since being diagnosed with cancer in 2021, tested the reflexes of De Gea minutes after the restart, the goalkeeper throwing up an arm to turn a fizzing drive over the bar.

Brooks was substituted shortly afterwards and left to a standing ovation from the Vitality Stadium.

United were without top scorer Marcus Rashford, out with an unspecified illness after also missing the previous victory against Wolves, and their attack lacked a focal point in his absence.

A goalscorer of Rashford’s instincts might have brought Bournemouth an equaliser when Solanke ran the ball to the byline and sent over a cross that rolled inches in front of the goal. No one in red and black had kept pace with the forward and the ball drifted to safety.

Illya Zabarnyi was in the right spot at the right time to turn Bruno Fernandes’ first-time effort over the bar from Wan-Bissaka’s cut-back as United probed for a second.

Fernandes stung the palms of Neto with a volley from outside the box, the keeper requiring two strong palms to beat it away.

Dango Ouattara came off the bench and caused problems down United’s left, bursting past Luke Shaw and crossing one moment, linking up well with Solanke the next. If Bournemouth were going to find a way back, it looked likely that it would be via the substitute.

Instead it was another of O’Neil’s replacements, Kieffer Moore, that spurned the hosts’ best chance.

Moore’s movement was clever to run in behind, but, with only De Gea to beat, his shot was straight at the keeper, who saved with his leg.

United hearts were in mouths when Senesi volleyed on to the roof of the goal in added time.

But the visitors saw the job out and one more point will ensure Ten Hag can turn attentions to an FA Cup final meeting with Manchester City at Wembley.

Erik ten Hag is confident Manchester United and Marcus Rashford will “find each other” regarding the forward’s contract situation.

Rashford has only one year left on his deal at the club he has played for since the age of seven.

The 25-year-old rubbished reports earlier this year that he was demanding £500,000 per week but the situation continues to drag on.

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Ten Hag is publicly calm, saying: “I know (it is taking time), but I don’t talk about the process.

“This is not important at the moment for me or Rashy. For him, it is to get more goals this season and he is playing a wonderful season and the team is playing a wonderful season.

“We have to get into the Champions League and focus on that. Marcus wants to stay and we want him to stay, so I think we will find each other.”

The uncertainty over United’s takeover process will inevitably lead to concern about their prospects for the summer transfer window.

Ten Hag said: “We do our job in the background and we are working hard but, for now, it is about games, getting into the Champions League and the FA Cup.

“For me, it is about finance and that there is the money available to do the right things.”

United have a big fortnight ahead, with their final three Premier League matches determining whether they will qualify for the Champions League before a first FA Cup final showdown with Manchester City.

Up first is a trip to Bournemouth on Saturday, where United, who could be without the unwell Rashford, will look to put their away struggles behind them.

Eight of the Red Devils’ nine league defeats this season have come on the road, with their last three trips away from Old Trafford yielding just one point between them.

Ten Hag said: “I think there are some reasons. For instance, one thing is clear and that is from the back we have to be better on the ball.

“But we have one opportunity tomorrow to show that we can improve and we definitely have to improve for next season.”

Manchester City are moving ever close to matching United’s achievement of winning the treble, adding an extra edge to the FA Cup final on June 3.

Asked if he is relishing the opportunity to stop City, Ten Hag said: “When we have three games and (the Premier League) is gone, yes, I will enjoy it. Before that, it is not important at all.

“I think we have to keep doing what we have all season, improve every day and improve every game and not look too far ahead. Focusing on the next game is the most important.”

Bournemouth manager Gary O’Neil has challenged his side to continue pushing for points ahead of Saturday’s clash with Manchester United.

Despite being in the mix for relegation for most of the season, the Cherries secured Premier League survival last weekend and they now sit 14th in the table with 39 points.

Their survival bid saw them pick up some vital wins, including memorable victories against Tottenham and Liverpool.

They now face a tricky test against a United side pushing for Champions League football, but O’Neil believes the game offers a perfect opportunity for his team to respond to last weekend’s 2-0 defeat by Crystal Palace.

He told a pre-match press conference: “We’ve lost our last two games so 39 points is a good tally, but it was better two weeks ago so we’ve been stuck on it for a couple of weeks.

“We set ourselves a goal and we’ve achieved it, but does that mean that we’re just happy to just stop, park up and finish on 39 points? Definitely not.

“Last weekend was a good reminder that if you drop your level a little bit, it can look like a lot at this level; the Premier League is ruthless.

“We’re looking for a response from last weekend and Manchester United at home is a great fixture for the boys to go and show what they can do.

“We’ve got full focus on Manchester United, we’ve managed to get some good work done on preparing for what is going to be a very tough game against a good side that are still pushing hard to make sure they qualify for the Champions League.

“It’ll be a good test for us tomorrow.”

Jefferson Lerma could be involved on Saturday and is expected to wear protection after breaking his nose against Crystal Palace, while Hamed Traore is still ruled out.

O’Neil also confirmed that Antoine Semenyo has undergone surgery to a shin injury and is hoping for a “speedy recovery” ahead of pre-season.

“Antoine has had surgery so he will be out until next season,” O’Neil said.

“We’re hopeful he gets back and can have a decent little spell with the team before the season starts but it will depend on how quickly he recovers.

“Everything went well and we’re hoping he has a speedy recovery because he can be a big help again for us next season.”

An LGBTQ+ activist from Qatar says “people need to be worried” about Sheikh Jassim’s bid to buy Manchester United.

Dr Nasser Mohamed, who now lives in San Francisco in the United States, sees the efforts to acquire United as part of a “pattern” of purchases by individuals or funds connected to Qatar, and says global brands in multiple sectors are “surrendering control to an authoritarian regime”.

Sheikh Jassim made an improved fourth bid to buy 100 per cent of the club and clear United’s debts on Tuesday but faces competition from chemicals billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

Sources close to Sheikh Jassim have repeatedly insisted he is bidding alone as a private individual, without any direct or indirect support from the Qatari state or any of the country’s sovereign wealth funds.

Many United fans appear to see Sheikh Jassim’s bid as preferable, amid reports Ratcliffe’s bid would be structured to allow current co-owners Avram and Joel Glazer to maintain a minority stake.

But Dr Mohamed, whose Alwan Foundation seeks to advocate on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community across the Middle East, told the PA news agency: “The sad reality is that everybody has a price.

“People need to be worried. Surrendering control to an authoritarian regime, giving them more and more with the money that they have… (Qatar) is doing this everywhere.

“They’re doing it through real estate. They’re doing it in fashion, they’re doing it in sports, they’re doing it in tech, and they’re gaining control. And you really need to be worried.

“It’s the same pattern, right? It’s establishing dominance and having influence over people. And by controlling a big team like (United), they will continue to grow in their influence and their voice and their presence.

“As a global community, should we let people with money basically do what they want to unchecked, with nobody stopping them?

“Can anybody stop them from doing anything? People want oil and gas from the region and that is impacting our ability to push back on it.

“There are people with this insane amount of power that can just go in and do whatever they want, and nobody can stop them.”

Even if the Premier League did establish there was state involvement or control of United, it is unclear if new rules around human rights in the league’s owners’ and directors’ test would be a barrier, because Qatar and members of its government are not the subject of human rights sanctions from the UK government.

Dr Mohamed says conditions in Qatar for its LGBTQ+ community have returned to how they were prior to the World Cup.

Dr Mohamed, who says he is directly in contact via social media with more than 100 members of the community, spoke prior to the World Cup about the persecution he alleges the community faced from the country’s Preventive Security Department, including detention, beatings and forced conversion therapy.

He said there had been a period of calm in the two months immediately after the World Cup, but said shortly before the start of Ramadan in March “the crazies came back out”.

“Arrests happened again, another round of them,” he added.

“And the intrusive searches in the airports, the hunting, all of the things that they were doing (before the World Cup) are back again as of a month and a half ago.”

The Qatar government said in October last year that claims of mistreatment of the LGBTQ+ community contained in a report by Human Rights Watch were “unequivocally false” and that the country “does not tolerate discrimination against anyone”.

He also criticised the countries involved in the OneLove campaign during the World Cup for failing to offer practical support to the Alwan Foundation, which recently was able to provide a scholarship for a transgender person from Qatar who has resettled in England.

FIFA threatened the seven European nations involved, including England and Wales, with sanctions starting at a yellow card for their captains if the rainbow-coloured armbands were worn.

Germany’s players covered their mouths in a team photograph prior to their match against Japan, with their coach Hansi Flick saying they had wanted to convey the message that FIFA was silencing them.

“I did meet the presidents of the FAs who were going to wear the OneLove armband. I  gave them an hour’s talk about driving change. They were like, ‘cool, that’s good to know’ – and they just walked away,” Dr Mohamed said.

“You have the Germany team, they made the whole gesture – they didn’t put a single dollar towards the cause. Why are you making a scene? What’s the point?

“If you’re going to speak about an issue that’s difficult, let’s be solution-oriented. Let’s not just be provocative for the sake of being provocative. You know, like that just is not helpful.”

The Football Association declined to comment.

Phil Jones will look back fondly on 12 years at Manchester United despite admitting to “difficult days” in his battle with injuries after it was announced he will be leaving the club in the summer.

The 31-year-old will depart Old Trafford at the end of his contract, having been blighted by injuries for much of his stay.

The defender, who joined from Blackburn in 2011, played 229 times, scoring six goals for United and helping them win one Premier League title, an FA Cup and the Europa League.

Jones, who is yet to decide whether he will carry on playing, said in an open letter on Twitter: “It’s always tough to leave a club. I did so already with Blackburn Rovers, all those years ago aged only 19, but I could never imagine what was to follow.

“My time at United has been nothing short of incredible.

“It’s not a time to be sad. It’s a time to look back, for me and my family, and be happy that I managed to live a dream at United.

“I can always say to my family and friends that not many people get to play for this club, to always be in its history and to be able to look back with such happy memories.

“I wish Erik (ten Hag) and his staff, and all the players, the best of luck for the future. He’s building something here and I’ll be watching, supporting, and hoping, more than anyone, that he can continue the progress we can all see already.

“I want to say thank you to everyone who has helped me at Manchester United, where I’ve made friends for life.

“But, most of all, my family, who stuck by me through everything. The biggest one to my wife and two beautiful girls. I cannot put into words the support you’ve given me. We’ve stuck together and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

Jones has not played in over a year and managed only 13 appearances since the start of the 2019/20 season and has revealed the turmoil injuries played on him.

“I wish I could have played more. I wish I could have given more to the many squads I played alongside,” he added.


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“I will say, from the bottom of my heart, I did everything I could. I did everything the medical team asked of me.

“I never left a stone unturned in the pursuit of living my dream and having the opportunity to represent Manchester United on the pitch. I spent some difficult days away from my family, rehabilitating and recovering away from everyone, recuperating away from the training pitch, which I was desperate to get back to.

“I’ve said before that I found it hard to even speak to my team-mates because I was hurt that I couldn’t help them. I was hurt that my family couldn’t see me on matchdays, and you feel like you’re letting people down.

“Sometimes, in life, things happen that we don’t like, but we have to learn to accept it and be at peace in our minds that we did everything we could to overcome the challenges. In your career, and life, that’s all we can really do.

“I lived a dream at the biggest club in the world. I played for England in major tournaments. At United, I won trophies, most notably the Premier League under Sir Alex, in his final season.”

What the papers say

Manchester United have emerged as a “shock contender” to sign ex-Liverpool star Sadio Mane, the Daily Mail says. The 31-year-old forward only joined Bayern Munich last summer in a £27.4million deal but after a troubled debut season which saw Mane involved in a post-match altercation with Leroy Sane, the Bundesliga club are looking to offload the winger.

The Evening Standard says the Red Devils are also among the clubs to have sent scouts to watch Gent striker Gift Orban. It adds that Chelsea, Tottenham and Fulham are also keen on the 20-year-old.

Gossip surrounding United’s summer transfer plans is also featured in the Daily Mirror, with it reporting that both Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, 28, and Napoli’s defender Kim Min-jae, 26, are on Erik ten Hag’s shortlist.

According to the Liverpool Echo, Liverpool are monitoring Brighton’s Argentina World Cup-winning midfielder Alexis Mac Allister, 24, Chelsea’s Mason Mount, 24, and Bayern Munich’s Ryan Gravenberch, 21.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Josko Gvardiol: The Daily Mail reports Manchester City are interested in signing the 21-year-old RB Leipzig and Croatia defender with the German club asking for £85m.

Simon Adingra : 90min says Brighton’s 21-year-old winger is wanted by clubs in Germany and France following a successful loan in Belgium with Union Saint-Gilloise.

Charlie Savage is determined to make his own mark on the game as the Manchester United youngster follows in the footsteps of famous father Robbie.

It is 32 years since Savage Sr pitched up at Old Trafford, going on to play in the FA Youth Cup-winning Class of 92 before joining Crewe without making a first-team appearance.

Another Savage is now in the United youth set-up and Charlie fulfilled a lifelong dream by making his senior debut as a substitute against Young Boys in the Champions League in late 2021.

The 20-year-old regularly jokes with his dad that has the edge on him as a result, but Robbie’s humorous retort reminds him there is a long way to go.


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“I say it all the time to him,” Charlie Savage told the PA news agency. “He played 346 games in the Prem and he says come back to me when you’ve played 347!


“I’d have to play every game in a row for 10 years to do that!”

You could feel the respect as Charlie spoke about his dad’s career, which saw him represent Leicester, Birmingham, Blackburn and Derby in the Premier League as well as play 39 times for Wales.

That impressive CV and subsequent media career piques interest and leads to comparisons when the 20-year-old comes into focus, but he brushes such talk aside.

“With the industry that we’re in, it’s fair that people say about my dad and stuff,” Savage said. “But I definitely am my own player.

“I think we’re quite different as players. It’s hard to compare me and him because we’re from two different eras.

“Obviously if I go and have the career that he had, I’d be very happy – playing for your country and playing more than 340 times in the Premier League.

“My aim is to be my own man but, like I say, it doesn’t really bother me that people compare me to my dad because I am proud that he is my dad.”


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That pride is reciprocated by his father, who was emotional on co-commentary duties when Charlie came on against Young Boys.


A clip then went viral of the ex-Wales international expressing his joy after seeing his son had netted his first senior goal during his loan at Forest Green in the second half of last season.

It is a time Savage junior took a lot from, embracing life in Gloucestershire and building a bond with staff beyond the field in a season that ultimately ended in relegation from League One.

Savage says playing for a club built on sustainability has made him “more environmentally conscious” and has backed them to bounce straight back under Everton great Duncan Ferguson.

“He’s been fantastic with me,” Savage said of the Forest Green boss.

“He’s not who everyone makes him out to be in terms of the hardman persona. He’s honestly really caring.

“I’m forever grateful for him giving me a chance and sticking with me.”

Savage is now looking forward to the next step in his career for club and country.

He is taking part in a Wales training camp later this month and plans to work throughout the summer to give himself the best chance of impressing back at United.

“I think it’s tough to say at the minute,” he said of his ambitions for the 2023-24 campaign.

“Obviously it’s everyone’s dream to make it at United when you’ve come through here as a boy, so I have to work as hard as I can and see where it takes me.”

United technical director Darren Fletcher kept in frequent contact during his time at Forest Green, as did loan managers Les Parry and Danny Keough.

Savage said that hands-on approach “sticks with you”, so too the chance to work so frequently with United boss Erik ten Hag after he arrived last summer.

“I went on the tour in pre-season to Thailand and Australia,” said the midfielder, who came on at half-time in the 4-0 win against Liverpool in Bangkok before getting further minutes Down Under.

“I spent the first two, three months of the season with them every day, so it was a really, really good experience learning from him and taking knowledge from him.

“I think United have had a really good season, winning the Carabao Cup and potentially winning an FA Cup, so I’d say he’s done a really good job.”


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Savage would love to have another chance to impress this pre-season and is staying open-minded about his future.


“I’d have liked to make my debut for Wales,” he said when asked where he sees himself in a year.

“I think that’s the next one, not to tick off as such but that’s my next aim along with just playing at the highest level I can.

“Whether that be on a better loan, at United or whatever it is. Football works in weird ways. you never know where you’re going to be until maybe a week before.”

Friday marks the 10th anniversary of Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game as Manchester United manager, with the club still searching for a return to their glory days under the long-serving Scot.

Here, the PA news agency compares those years to the last decade of Ferguson’s triumphant reign.

Ferguson’s last 10 years

United won the Premier League in five of Ferguson’s last 10 years in charge, taking his total to 13 titles overall.

That included a run of three in a row from 2006-07 to 2008-09, before he added the 2010-11 title and signed off in 2012-13 with another.

They never finished outside the top three in that time, with an average league position of 1.7, and averaged 84.4 points per campaign.

His sides won 68 per cent of their league games and 66 per cent overall as they also collected three League Cups, an FA Cup and the 2007-08 Champions League title. Their 10 major trophies were supplemented by the 2008 Club World Cup and five Community Shields.

They scored an average of 1.94 goals per game and had a goal difference of +632 across their 578 games in all competitions.

The decade since

United have been through five permanent managers in the years since Ferguson’s departure, in addition to last season’s interim boss Ralf Rangnick and caretakers Ryan Giggs and Michael Carrick.

Ferguson’s anointed successor David Moyes did not even make it through the first season of his six-year contract while Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also failed to bring sustained success.

Current boss Erik ten Hag has impressed in his first season in the role and offers hope the club are turning the corner, but their statistics in the last 10 years stand in stark contrast to Ferguson’s record.

Most glaring is the lack of a league title, with local rivals Manchester City instead chasing a sixth win in those 10 years, Chelsea winning two and one each for Leicester and Liverpool.

Mourinho’s 2016-17 season is the high water mark, with United winning both the League Cup and the Europa League. Ten Hag has already matched the former and will have the chance against City next month to emulate the FA Cup won in 2016 in fellow Dutchman Van Gaal’s last match in charge.

Even a pair of Community Shields can only lift the trophy count ahead of that final to six, and the club’s league record paints a similar picture.

They have gone from constantly battling for the title under Ferguson, and winning it half of the time, to a similar record in the battle simply to qualify for the Champions League.

Should Ten Hag’s side hold on to their top-four spot this season that will be five in 10 years, with an average position of 4.5 after finishing second twice, sixth on three occasions and once each in third, the fourth place they again occupy this season, fifth and seventh.

They have averaged 68.2 points over the nine completed seasons, 16 fewer than in Ferguson’s last decade. With 66 this season and three games remaining, they are at least on course to improve on that mark.

They have won 52 per cent of league games, rising to 55 per cent across all competitions, scored 1.68 goals per game and have a goal difference of +381 in 559 games.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s trophy-laden reign at Manchester United was illuminated by his often fiery rhetoric.

From withering put-downs to sparkling praise, the Scot produced many an apposite phrase and created a catalogue of memorable quotes.

Ten years on from his final match at the helm (May 19, 2013), the PA news agency takes a look at some of the most notable.

On challenging times

“My greatest challenge is not what’s happening at the moment, my greatest challenge was knocking Liverpool right off their f***ing perch. And you can print that.”

On Manchester City’s emergence as a Premier League force

“There has been a lot of expectation on Manchester City and, with the spending they have done, they have to win something. Sometimes you have a noisy neighbour and have to live with it. You can’t do anything about them.”

On Jose Mourinho

“He was certainly full of it, calling me ‘Boss’ and ‘Big Man’ when we had our post-match drink after the first leg. But it would help if his greetings were accompanied by a decent glass of wine. What he gave me was paint-stripper.”

On Arsene Wenger

“They say he’s an intelligent man, right? Speaks five languages. I’ve got a 15-year-old boy from the Ivory Coast who speaks five languages!”

On Rafael Benitez

“I think he is very concerned about his CV. He refers to it quite a lot.”

On his bust-up with Newcastle boss Alan Pardew

“The press have had a field day. The only person they have not spoken to is Barack Obama because he is busy.”

On the incident which saw former midfielder David Beckham struck on the head by a flying boot

“It was a freakish incident. If I tried it 100 or a million times it couldn’t happen again. If I could I would have carried on playing!”

On the mind games employed by Italian teams

“When an Italian tells me it’s pasta on the plate, I check under the sauce to make sure. They are the inventors of the smokescreen.”

On seeing Ryan Giggs as a schoolboy

“I remember the first time I saw him. He was 13 and just floated over the ground like a cocker spaniel chasing a piece of silver paper in the wind.”

On Wayne Rooney’s decision to sign a new contract

“Sometimes you look in a field and you see a cow and you think it’s a better cow than the one you’ve got in the field.”

On Real Madrid’s hopes of signing Cristiano Ronaldo

“Do you think I would get into a contract with that mob? Jesus Christ, no chance. I wouldn’t sell them a virus.”

On United’s dramatic Champions League final victory over Bayern Munich in 1999

“Football, bloody hell.”

On retirement

“The decision to retire is one that I have thought a great deal about and one that I have not taken lightly. It is the right time.”

On handling star players

“Superstars with egos are not the problem some people may think. They need to be winners, because that massages their egos, so they will do what it takes to win. I used to see Ronaldo, Beckham, Giggs, Scholes… practising for hours. They realised that being a Manchester United player is not an easy job.”

On his football philosophy

“Fear has to come into it. But you can be too hard; if players are fearful all the time, they won’t perform well. You play different roles at different times. Sometimes you have to be a doctor, or a teacher, or a father.”

On his supposed influence with referees

“This is a guy who has the worst record of any manager in the history of English football, fined £100,000 by them, suspended so many times. That’s some influence, I must say. It’s a little bit Walter Mitty.”

On the England manager’s job

“I don’t think the manager’s job with England is a good one. I think it’s a horrible job.”

On turning down the England job

“It took me about 10 seconds to say ‘No way’. I couldn’t manage England in a million years. Think of me going back to Scotland doing that.”

On David Beckham’s celebrity

“David is the only player I managed who chose to be famous. He thought he was bigger than Alex Ferguson.”

On his recovery from a brain haemorrhage

“I knew I was alive but, on my own, I started thinking, ‘I wonder if they’re telling me the truth?’ The operation was a success, but you’re in that loneliness. It can be frightening.”

Marcus Rashford has boosted Manchester United’s top-four Premier League hopes by returning to training.

England striker Rashford, who has scored 29 goals this season, missed Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Wolves with a leg injury.

“There is good news regarding Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay, who have both returned to training,” a United statement read after Erik ten Hag’s first-team squad trained at Carrington on Wednesday.

“Our leading scorer took part in the session after missing the win over Wolves due to injury.”

Scotland midfielder McTominay is also closing in on a return, having not played since scoring in a 2-0 win over Everton on April 8.

France defender Raphael Varane, who Ten Hag said was replaced late on against Wolves as a precaution, also trained on Wednesday.

Marcel Sabitzer this week joined Lisandro Martinez and Donny van de Beek on the sidelines for the rest of the season.

Fourth-placed United continue their bid for Champions League football at Bournemouth on Saturday.

After their trip to the south coast, United conclude their league campaign with home games against Chelsea and Fulham.

Sheikh Jassim has submitted an improved bid in his attempt to buy Manchester United from the Glazer family, the PA news agency understands.

Both Sheikh Jassim, the chairman of Qatar Islamic Bank and the son of a former Qatari prime minister, and his rival Sir Jim Ratcliffe had submitted what had been expected to be their third and final bids for the club last month.

But amid growing confidence in the Ratcliffe camp, Sheikh Jassim has increased the value of his offer, which as before is for 100 per cent of the club, will clear all debt and includes a separate fund directed solely at the club and community.

Officials and staff inside Old Trafford are eager for clarity over the takeover situation, which began in November when United announced that the board was exploring “strategic alternatives” to enhance the club’s growth, with a full sale one option being considered.

Sheikh Jassim was the first prospective owner to publicly confirm a bid during the first round back in February and was soon joined by Ratcliffe, the Manchester-born owner of INEOS.

The first quarter of the year was initially recognised as a key time in a process that has rumbled on and threatened to overshadow United’s push for a Champions League qualification place.

February’s soft deadline was followed by a second deadline in March for those that progressed, with Raine Group, brought in to oversee the sale, then asking interested parties for their third and final bid on April 28.

United fans have made clear their desire for a full buy-out from the Glazers, who have been unpopular since their leveraged takeover of the club in 2005.

Marcel Sabitzer has been ruled out of Manchester United’s final three matches of the Premier League season as well as next month’s FA Cup final because of a knee injury.

The 29-year-old Austrian, who joined United on loan from Bayern Munich in January, missed Saturday’s 2-0 win over Wolves and tests have revealed a meniscal problem, bringing his campaign to an early end.

“Everyone at the club is disappointed to lose Marcel’s services, as the Reds chase a strong finish to the season in the Premier League and FA Cup, and we are grateful for his contribution to our progress so far,” said a statement on United’s official website.

Sabitzer was brought in on deadline day because of injuries to fellow midfielders Christian Eriksen and Scott McTominay and impressed with three goals in 18 appearances at the Old Trafford club.

He bolstered United’s hopes of a top-four finish and scored from the spot in the FA Cup semi-final penalty shootout win over Brighton that set up a showdown against rivals Manchester City on June 3.

Sabitzer came on as a substitute in United’s win over Newcastle in the Carabao Cup final in February.

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