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.

Bruno Fernandes has been delighted by Alejandro Garnacho’s progress but warned the Manchester United teenager that he cannot relax if he is going to fulfil his potential.

A year and two days after his starring role in the club’s FA Cup Youth Cup triumph against Nottingham Forest, the 18-year-old was once again in goalscoring form at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Garnacho had been out for two months with an ankle injury and he returned with a bang against Wolves, with the substitute scoring a fine, late goal in front of the Stretford End to wrap up a 2-0 win.

Skipper Fernandes threaded through the Argentinian to score and hopes the nascent talent can “score much more until the end of the season.”

“Obviously, we know Garna can change games,” the Portugal midfielder said. “He plays with pace, he can take players one against one.

“But he’s still developing himself, so we don’t have to go and push so much to him because he’s still a young kid.

“He can do great things, but in the future he has to do much better than actually he is doing because he has more than the capability to be even better than he is actually (right now).

“He’s been doing amazing for the first season he’s been playing in the Premier League, with more minutes, with more consistency. He’s doing great, but we all know he can do much more for us.”

Garnacho recently signed a new deal keeping him at Old Trafford until 2028 after impressing in his first full season as a first-team player.

He has also won around Erik ten Hag having irked him during pre-season, with Fernandes claiming he “didn’t have the best attitude” during that period.

“That message was from the manager, it was not from me,” Fernandes said. “I just heard what the manager said.

“What I have to say to Garnacho, I tell him at the training ground, whenever we are eating, on the training ground or wherever.

“If he wants to hear, he hears. If not, he doesn’t but I try to help.

“I think he did an interview talking about me trying to help him a lot of times, and that’s what I’m trying to do.

“But, obviously, as I said, he’s still young, and I don’t want to give too much compliments because you know when you’re young, you get too many compliments, you can get a little bit relaxed and everything.

“We need this Alejandro coming on and making goals, making assists, getting back to recover balls – everything.

“But I think if he wasn’t doing what he needed to do, he wouldn’t be playing.

“At the beginning of the season, the manager didn’t give him any chances because he thought that he wasn’t being the best, and now he’s getting his chances.

“He’s been playing a lot this season because he’s training well, he’s doing what he has to do and he’s getting his rewards – and the team are getting the rewards as well, and that’s the most important thing.”

Garnacho’s adaptation from youth football to the top end has also impressed Fernandes, saying his team-mate is reaping the rewards of his hard work.

“I think he’s doing very well and he’s training every time with us, so that makes him be more prepared for the games,” he said. “But mentally he’s being much better also because I think he understood what it takes to be a professional player.

“He is doing that, taking that and he is working a lot also in the gym with the coaches, so he is getting his rewards.

“He’s getting his rewards because he is training well because if he wasn’t he is not even playing I’m pretty sure.”

Garnacho’s return is a welcome boost for United with three Premier League games left in the race for the top four before the FA Cup final against Manchester City.

“We know it will be tough to get the top four but it depends on ourselves and everything is in our hands so we have to do our job,” Fernandes added.

“I’m not worried about Liverpool – I’m worried about us doing our job because it’s about ourselves.

“Like I said, if we do our job properly, if we win our games, we will be in the Champions League so we don’t need to look at the table or look at other teams.”

Christian Eriksen was pleased by the way Manchester United dealt with the “extra pressure” and bounced back from the back-to-back defeats that jeopardised their top-four ambitions.

This has been a promising first season under Erik ten Hag, who has won the Carabao Cup and taken the Red Devils to June’s FA Cup final against Manchester City.

United have also improved markedly on last year’s Premier League performances and have long looked set to secure a return to Champions League football.

Back-to-back defeats at Brighton and West Ham allowed Liverpool to close the gap, but Ten Hag’s men got back to winning ways by triumphing 2-0 against Wolves on Saturday afternoon.

“Of course, when you lose two games the extra pressure is on,” midfielder Eriksen said.

“But we have shown the character and the quality to be where we are.

“We’re just going to focus on us. For us, it has to be three wins in the last three games.”

United travel to Bournemouth next weekend, before finishing the league campaign with home matches against Chelsea and Fulham.

Ten Hag’s men have won 25 matches at Old Trafford in all competitions and could match the club record 27 home triumphs in a single campaign.

“It’s definitely something that we need to first of all finish the season strong with a perfect home record,” Eriksen told MUTV.

“But, in the end, of course, for next season we need to be as good at home, but also away and then it’s going to be a fun season.

“We know where we can pick up extra points because at home at the moment we’re feeling very, very secure.”

United never looked in danger against Wolves, with Anthony Martial finally opening the scoring from a smart Antony pass.

It looked to be the winning goal until Alejandro Garnacho struck in stoppage time as the substitute returned from a two-month injury lay-off with a bang.

“It’s very good (to have him back),” Eriksen said of the teenager.

“You can see the quality he will bring back and the confidence of how he’s playing.

“I’m pleased for him. To be out for a while and then come back and score, it’s the perfect return.”

Wolves failed to muster a shot on target at Old Trafford and are now looking to end the season on a high as Julen Lopetegui’s men round things off at home to Everton and at Arsenal.

Skipper Ruben Neves said: “We’re going game by game. We want to have as many points as we can in the Premier League. That’s our main goal.

“We’re playing at Old Trafford which is big motivation.

“It doesn’t matter the table, it doesn’t matter the points and just playing here is fantastic for us as players, it’s a dream to play in these kinds of pitches, so we just want to get as many points as we can until the end of the season.

“We have two games to go and next week is our last game at home so we will do everything to get the three points with the atmosphere being fantastic at home.

“Our fans in here today were fantastic again, so we will try to get as many points as we can for them as well.”

Marc Skinner believes stripping the emotion out of a sold-out Women’s FA Cup final at Wembley can help Manchester United claim their first major trophy.

Sunday’s showdown between United and Chelsea is a 90,000 sell-out, setting a new attendance record for a women’s domestic club match outside the Women’s Champions League.

But United boss Skinner has promised to treat the occasion as a “business-like event”, saying he has learned lessons from Manchester City beating his Birmingham team 4-1 in the 2017 FA Cup showpiece at Wembley.

Skinner said: “What we got wrong at Birmingham is that we made it a massive event. We made it bigger than it should have been.

“Everyone knows it’s a big deal, but we put quotes on the wall from players and families. We made mistakes, and that was naivety.

“It became an emotional event rather than a clear business-like event.

“You can celebrate after if you win the cup and be as emotional as you want, but the reality is there’s going to be enough emotions in the game that we need to save them up.

“I’ve learned from that and we have to manage stages of the game better than we did at Birmingham. These are the factors we are looking to develop for this one.”

United’s women’s team have had a remarkable rise since their formation in May 2018.

They were promoted from the Championship in their inaugural season and currently top the Women’s Super League, holding a one-point lead over serial winners Chelsea who have a game in hand.

Emma Hayes’ Chelsea are chasing a third successive league and cup double, but Skinner insists the Wembley clash will have no bearing on the title race.

He said: “I’m not thinking about that at all. I am solely focused on a one-off game.

“For the first time I’ve allowed our players to separate the games and we are looking at this before two difficult games in the league (against Manchester City and Liverpool).

“This has no effect in our league and we are going to treat it as such, play it as the one-off event that it is.”

Skinner is adamant there is no extra pressure on him on Sunday, even though women’s football will be under a fierce spotlight both in the stadium and around the country with a nationwide television audience.

“It’s not pressure I don’t have every day,” said Skinner. “I even think there’s more pressure on us than Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester City because we are Manchester United.

“I feel that because every Manchester United fan will want us to win and we are huge around the world.

“I’m sure there will be some nerves, but I’m fuelling my focus and attention to maximise this because, if we win, it will be massive.”

United captain Katie Zelem is available after suspension as Norway defender Maria Thorisdottir misses out with the foot injury that ended her season prematurely.

What the papers say

Portugal striker Goncalo Ramos, 21, has emerged as a major target for Manchester United. The Daily Mirror reports the Old Trafford club have held talks with Benfica over a deal worth up to £100million, including add-ons.

The Red Devils are also poised to join the race for England midfielder Declan Rice, 24, according to The Sun. United are ready to join Arsenal and Chelsea in the hunt for Rice, who impressed in their narrow 1-0 defeat to West Ham on Sunday.

The Hammers are eyeing a move for Fulham boss Marco Silva if they part ways with David Moyes, according to the Daily Mail. The 45-year-old has a £6million release clause in his contract.

Chelsea are keen to make Portugal forward Joao Felix’s loan from Atletico Madrid permanent. According to the Standard they are willing to offer striker Pierre-Emerick Aubamayeng, 33, and defender Marc Cucurella, 24, as part of a deal for the 23-year-old.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Viktor Gyokeres: West Ham are keen on a move for the 24-year-old Sweden forward from Coventry, reports the Daily Mirror.

N’Golo Kante: The France midfielder, 32, could be persuaded to stay at Chelsea if Mauricio Pochettino is appointed as manager.

Erik Ten Hag shrugged off the threat of Liverpool and insisted Manchester United’s top-four bid is still in their own hands.

Fourth-placed United have slipped to back-to-back 1-0 defeats against Brighton and West Ham to allow Liverpool, who have won six straight matches, to close to within a point of the final Champions League spot.

Ten Hag’s side do have a game in hand, however, and three wins from their remaining games at home to Wolves, Chelsea and Fulham and a trip to Bournemouth will guarantee finishing above Jurgen Klopp’s team.

“It’s not about Liverpool, it’s about us and because of the table we have everything in our hands,” said Ten Hag.

“If we bring our performance and our standards we’ll win games. We don’t have to look to others, we have to look at ourselves and find a way to win and get back to our levels.”

Said Benrahma’s first-half goal, aided by an awful gaffe from United goalkeeper David De Gea, lifted West Ham seven points above the relegation zone.

The Hammers spent £160million on eight new signings last summer, and another £12million on Danny Ings in January, but have endured a tough season in the Premier League.

However, full-back Aaron Cresswell believes the new faces are finally beginning to click.

“It’s always a tough transition when you bring in eight or nine players and, certainly for the boys who have come from abroad, it takes time for them to settle in,” Cresswell told West Ham TV.

“It’s a new language, a new team, a new everything.

“We knew it would be tough but I think in this game, some of the performances from the new lads – Thilo Kehrer was excellent, as were Lucas Paqueta and Nayef Aguerd. All the new boys who have come in were excellent.

“Everyone played their part. That atmosphere was special too, especially in the last 10 minutes when you’re digging deep and everyone is cramping up.

“But what a night, and it’s a massive three points. We’re not completely safe but we’re getting close to being mathematically safe.”

Erik ten Hag threw his backing behind David De Gea despite the slip which loosened Manchester United’s grip on the final Champions League place.

Goalkeeper De Gea is in talks over a new contract at Old Trafford, but he did not exactly enhance his negotiating position after letting let Said Benrahma’s hopeful shot from 20 yards bounce over his glove to condemn United to a 1-0 defeat at West Ham.

They now lie just one point ahead of a rapidly advancing Liverpool, albeit with a game in hand, after an eighth defeat on the road this season and a second in four days following the last-gasp loss at Brighton.

“Frustrating? Yes, I’ve seen it in the same way. I think we started well, dictated the game, created chances, didn’t take them and then one mistake,” said United boss Ten Hag.

“Twice individual mistakes and you lose games. But it is what it is. Now we have a full week, we have to reset, reload and keep going.

“(De Gea) has the most clean sheets in the Premier League, we would not be in this position without him. No concerns. It happens but as a team you have to deal with it, show character and resilience.

“We want him to stay and to extend his contract.”

Lukasz Fabianski made late saves from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial but Ten Hag’s side offered little in their 57th match of a gruelling season which, as well as Liverpool, might just be catching up with them.

But Ten Hag insisted: “Nothing changed. We could have made it easier with a win. We need three wins from four games, everything is in our hands.

“Tiredness is in your head. If you have the willingness you can take it. It’s up to the players and staff to be together, to get the willingness in that we can take it.

United’s defeat could prove as costly for the visitors as it was priceless for West Ham, who climbed seven points above the relegation zone and are surely now safe.

It was a first victory over his former club for Hammers manager David Moyes since he was in charge at Everton, in August 2012, and a huge boost ahead of this weeks Europa Conference League semi-final against AZ Alkmaar.

“It’s a huge step, getting three points is huge against whoever but against Manchester United was massive for us,” said Moyes.

“It’s a great result going into a European semi-final and we’ll take a lot of confidence from it. We have another big challenge and we are looking forward to it.”

Hammers skipper Declan Rice put in another terrific display, showing just why the likes of United, Arsenal and Chelsea are constantly being linked with him this summer.

“He was outstanding tonight. He’s great across the ground, very quick. I’m pleased, but not surprised,” added Moyes.

“That’s why he’s probably the best England midfield player around – and he’s going to be extremely expensive if anyone comes in for him.”

David De Gea’s slip loosened Manchester United’s grip on the final Champions League place as they were beaten 1-0 at West Ham.

De Gea let Said Benrahma’s hopeful shot from 20 yards slip over his glove to condemn Erik Ten Hag’s side to back-to-back defeats.

They now lie just one point ahead of a rapidly advancing Liverpool, albeit with a game in hand.

But an eighth defeat on the road this season could prove as costly for the visitors as it was priceless for West Ham, who climbed seven points above the relegation zone and are surely now safe.

De Gea’s evening began inauspiciously when his poor clearance flew to the feet of Declan Rice, whose run into the area was only curtailed by a last-ditch tackle from Wout Weghorst.

Marcus Rashford curled over for the visitors while Bruno Fernandes and Antony fizzed low shots narrowly wide.

Christian Eriksen’s effort also floated too high before Rashford cut inside Thilo Kehrer and crashed his shot against the outside of the near post.

The goal arrived in the 29th minute and it is not one De Gea will want to see again.

Benrahma had few options as he drove forward with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw for company.

The Algerian tried his luck from 20 yards but his shot lacked any real menace and De Gea should have made a routine save.

But the ball seemed to spin away from the Spaniard as he attempted to push it away, and instead it rolled almost apologetically into the net.

Ten Hag’s men tried to hit straight back and Antony’s shot flicked the heel of Nayef Aguerd before clipping the far post.

But the visitors had a lucky escape in first-half stoppage time when Benrahma broke through again.

De Gea saved the winger’s initial shot and his attempt to turn the rebound back into the box clearly hit the hand of Lindelof.

If anything the Swedish defender got a better hand to it than his goalkeeper did for the goal, but the penalty appeals were waved away with the VAR apparently seeing nothing untoward.

United got away with another after the break when De Gea went down as he was challenged by Michail Antonio, the West Ham striker hooking the ball in only to be pulled up for a foul.

Weghorst had United’s first shot on target as the hour mark approached, a tame effort from the edge of the box which was straight at Lukasz Fabianski.

But West Ham, eager to put their relegation worries to bed with a Europa League Conference semi-final to look forward to, sensed something special and Tomas Soucek’s volley hit a post before the Czech midfielder’s header was ruled out for offside.

Fabianski made late saves from Rashford and Anthony Martial but Ten Hag’s side offered little in their 57th match of a gruelling season which, along with Liverpool, might just be catching up with them.

Manchester United loanee Shola Shoretire was praised by Bolton manager Ian Evatt after his first senior goal ensured the Trotters warmed up for the Sky Bet League One play-offs on a high.

The 19-year-old opened his senior goalscoring account to put Bolton on course for a hard-fought 3-2 victory over Bristol Rovers at the Memorial Stadium and ensured they will face Barnsley in their play-off semi-final in confident mood.

Evatt said: “I think that Shola is a hugely talented player and while I’m delighted that he’s now got off the mark with us, I’m certain that there’s lots more to come.

“He’s had a bit of a stop-start of things since he came to Bolton but scoring his first senior goal for us will be a great boost for him.

“This is his first loan away from United and his first sustained taste of senior football and as a young player you’re always going to have highs and lows.

“He started off great with us after arriving on loan in January and then he’s had a dip but the key thing is that he has kept his head down and worked hard and he can have an impact in the play-offs.”

Shoretire put Bolton in command with a tap-in midway through the first half and although Luca Hoole equalised soon after, Bolton’s superiority told after the break.

After Shoretire limped off with cramp, Southampton loanee Daniel Nlundulu restored Bolton’s advantage with a 20-yard drive before Aaron Morley struck with a delightful side-footed effort from outside the box.

Rovers substitute John Marquis slotted home from close range late on to set up a tense finale that saw Scott Sinclair’s stoppage-time strike hit the crossbar but Bolton held firm, much to Evatt’s delight.

“The squad is in a good place, the players have lots of confidence and I have a massive amount of belief in them,” Evatt added.

“We have to prove what we can do in the play-offs but now I feel we’re coming to the boil at just the right time.

“We have the hunger and determination to attack the play-offs and we’ve been working tirelessly behind the scenes, so we’ll be ready.

“But now isn’t the time for pats on the back, it’s about getting our heads down and working hard because we can do it in the play-offs if we give it our best shot.”

After taking part in a post-match lap of honour with his players and staff, Rovers boss Joey Barton was quick to look forward to next season.

“I’ll be aiming to build a squad that is capable of challenging for a place in the Championship because that’s what the fans deserve,” Barton said.

“The support we’ve received from the Gasheads has been sensational but special mention must go to my players who have worked ever so hard all season.

“I know the enormous sacrifices that they have made this season to help establish ourselves in League One.”

Alexis Mac Allister believes Brighton are proving they have the quality to reach Europe after his nerveless penalty secured an “unforgettable” 1-0 win over Manchester United.

The Seagulls soared to sixth spot in the Premier League table, above Tottenham and Aston Villa, thanks to Mac Allister thumping home with virtually the last kick of Thursday’s pulsating contest.

Roberto De Zerbi’s free-flowing side have two games in hand on Spurs and Villa, as well as fifth-placed Liverpool, who sit just four points above them.

Argentina midfielder Mac Allister says Albion must focus on their own situation and results as they bid to cap a memorable campaign by achieving continental qualification.

“We know that it’s the end of the season and these three points are very important,” he told Brighton’s club website.

“The way we are playing is very important because we feel very good. We will do our best to finish as high as we can.

“We have to think about ourselves and not look at the other teams. If we play the way we play, we will have big chances to fight for a European spot and that has to be our aim.”

World Cup winner Mac Allister kept his composure to fire into the top-left corner from 12 yards nine minutes into added time after Luke Shaw’s inexplicable handball was penalised following VAR intervention.

The 24-year-old’s 11th club goal of the season prompted more jubilant scenes inside the Amex Stadium on the back of Saturday’s record-breaking 6-0 hammering of Wolves.

“It was so special,” he said. “For the team and the fans, it was an amazing win and something unforgettable.”

Brighton’s last-gasp success partially avenged their painful FA Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out defeat to United 11 days earlier.

The Seagulls also broke the club-record top-flight points tally by moving on to 55 – three more than they managed in the the 42-game 1981-82 season – with six games still to go.

Goalkeeper Jason Steele, who made smart saves to deny Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes, admits Albion’s recent Wembley agony gave them additional incentive.

“It wasn’t about revenge or anything like that,” he said. “Did we have a little bit extra motivation? Yeah, probably.

“But I don’t think it spilled over into anything other than that and we deserved to win.

“It was a big night for us. Two good teams were going toe to toe, really enjoyable to play in and the last-minute winner, you can’t beat that.”

Brighton complete a trio of consecutive home games against relegation-threatened Everton on Monday evening.

The fitness of Pascal Gross and Evan Ferguson will be assessed ahead of that match but head coach De Zerbi does not expect to have Joel Veltman back from injury.

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