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.

Manchester United’s wretched record away to the Premier League’s best continued with Thursday’s late loss to Brighton.

The Red Devils have failed to win any of their away games against the current top nine teams, drawing one and losing the other eight.

Here, the PA news agency looks at that poor record as Erik ten Hag’s first season in charge edges towards a conclusion.

Brentford (currently 9th) 4 Manchester United 0 – August 13, 2022

Ten Hag’s first away match in charge ended in a 4-0 capitulation, with a mixture of catastrophic defensive ineptitude and Brentford opportunism meaning the Red Devils were four down at half-time. David De Gea gifted the first two to Josh Dasilva and Mathias Jensen, Ben Mee helped himself to a third and Bryan Mbeumo hit a slick fourth on a chastening afternoon for the visitors.

Manchester City (currently 1st) 6 Manchester United 3 – October 2, 2022

The phenomenal Erling Haaland and Phil Foden both scored hat-tricks in a Manchester derby humbling that evoked memories of City’s famous 6-1 win at Old Trafford in 2011. Foden began the rout after just eight minutes and United were a distinct second best thereafter, although Antony pulled one back and Anthony Martial also claimed two consolation efforts.

Aston Villa (currently 8th) 3 Manchester United 1 – November 6, 2022

United fell to their first Premier League loss at Villa Park since 1995 in what proved to be Cristiano Ronaldo’s final match at the club. The Portuguese wore the armband in Birmingham, where the hosts ended a 9,941-day wait to beat the Red Devils in Unai Emery’s first match in charge. Leon Bailey and Lucas Digne scored inside the opening 11 minutes, with Jacob Ramsey atoning for deflecting in a Luke Shaw strike by scoring a fine effort just after half-time.

Arsenal (currently 2nd) 3 Manchester United 2 – January 22, 2023

Eddie Nketiah flicked home a late winner as title-chasing Arsenal won a five-goal thriller in the capital. In-form Marcus Rashford scored a stunning opener that was cancelled out by Nketiah before Bukayo Saka’s own top-drawer finish had Arsenal ahead. Lisandro Martinez, an Arsenal target last summer, levelled but Nketiah would turn home a wayward Martin Odegaard shot to secure a memorable win.

Liverpool (currently 5th) 7 Manchester United 0 – March 5, 2023

Ten Hag fumed at his side’s “unprofessional” display in a loss that equalled United’s record competitive defeat – against Blackburn in 1926, Aston Villa in 1930 and Wolves in 1931. Just a week on from lifting the Carabao Cup, the Old Trafford giants were brought back down to earth with a bump at Anfield. Cody Gakpo’s smart strike had Liverpool ahead at the break and nobody could have foreseen the way United would unravel. Gakpo, Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah ended the day with two goals apiece, with substitute Roberto Firmino completing a win that will live long in the memory of both clubs.

Newcastle (currently 3rd) 2 Manchester United 0 – April 2, 2023

The loss to Liverpool was called “unprofessional” and United defender Luke Shaw labelled the defeat at St James’ Park “unacceptable”. Boss Ten Hag agreed with the left-back’s assessment that the Magpies were “more determined, more passionate” and had “more desire” as Joe Willock and substitute Callum Wilson secured the hosts a win that was more one-sided than the scoreline suggested.

Tottenham (currently 7th) 2 Manchester United 2 – April 27, 2023

United last week blew a two-goal lead against a Spurs side playing their first match since replacing interim Cristian Stellini with another caretaker boss in the wake of their 6-1 trouncing at Newcastle. First-half efforts by Jadon Sancho and Rashford put United in cruise control, only for Ryan Mason’s half-time message to do the trick. Pedro Porro reduced the deficit and Son Heung-min levelled.

Brighton (currently 6th) 1 Manchester United 0 – May 4, 2023

Ten Hag bemoaned Thursday’s “annoying” last-gasp loss at Brighton, where Alexis Mac Allister slammed home from the penalty spot in the ninth minute of added time after Shaw’s inexplicable handball was punished following VAR intervention. Ten Hag conceded his side contributed to their own downfall during a pulsating south-coast clash.

Erik ten Hag bemoaned an “annoying” last-gasp loss at Brighton as Manchester United’s Champions League hopes suffered a setback.

Seagulls midfielder Alexis Mac Allister slammed home from the penalty spot in the ninth minute of added time after Luke Shaw’s inexplicable handball was punished following VAR intervention.

The dramatic 1-0 defeat at the Amex Stadium dented United’s top-four aspirations, leaving them only four points above fifth-placed Liverpool, albeit with a game in hand.

Ten Hag conceded his side contributed to their own downfall during a pulsating south-coast clash.

The Dutchman felt an action-packed opening in which Antony wasted a golden chance before goalkeeper David De Gea was flattened when denying Albion winger Kaoru Mitoma with his face following a poor pass from Victor Lindelof encapsulated the frustration.

“Every defeat is a disappointment but in the end when you lose in the last second, that is of course annoying,” said United boss Ten Hag.

“And I think the first minute sums everything up. We create a good chance, we were not clinical enough, then in the attack after we concede a big chance by a giveaway from us, the ball on the head for David.

“And in the end, we also gave away the goal and that’s annoying because if you can’t win because you don’t finish your opportunities then don’t lose.”

With plenty at stake in the battle for continental qualification, rival players clashed in a heated second half after Antony’s crude challenge on Mac Allister sparked a mass brawl.

The two sides were each shown four yellow cards across the course of a gripping encounter.

Ten Hag was unhappy with some of Brighton’s challenges and also bemoaned a free-kick award in the build-up to referee Andre Marriner pointing to the spot after viewing Shaw’s handball on the pitch-side monitor.

“The annoying thing is that the free-kick before (the corner) is never a free-kick and I have seen really bad tackles today, sometimes without whistles as well,” he said.

“Every attack you make, they kick you and then from a fair block it’s a free-kick and it’s a corner and then it’s a disappointing handball in the dying seconds and you can’t react any more.

“It’s not about me to give a judgement about the ref. We lost this game, we make a mistake in the end and we didn’t take our chances but of course there are some disappointments.”

Brighton’s win partially avenged the spot-kick heartache they suffered at the hands of their opponents in the FA Cup semi-finals just 11 days ago and completed a league double over United.

Victory for Roberto De Zerbi’s men lifted them to sixth in the table, above Tottenham and Aston Villa, and four points behind Jurgen Klopp’s fifth-placed Reds with two additional games remaining.

Head coach De Zerbi, who overcame illness to lead the Seagulls to success, said: “We deserved to win today, we deserved to win in the semi-final. If you play well, it can happen one time you lose but in the end you win, my experience in football says it’s like this.

“I feel better with the victory. I’m wasted!”

Alexis Mac Allister fired Brighton to sixth in the Premier League by converting a dramatic added-time penalty to dent Manchester United’s Champions League hopes.

The Argentina World Cup winner emphatically dispatched the ball into the top left corner nine minutes beyond the regulatory 90 after Luke Shaw was penalised for handball following VAR intervention.

Albion’s 1-0 win from a pulsating Amex Stadium contest moves them above Tottenham and Aston Villa, while leaving United looking over their shoulders at fifth-placed Liverpool.

The Seagulls sit just four points behind Jurgen Klopp’s Reds with two games in hand thanks to the stunning late twist.

Amad Diallo will return to Manchester United this summer on a mission to catch the eye of manager Erik ten Hag.

The 20-year-old midfielder, a £19million signing from Atalanta in January 2021, has been one of the stars of Sunderland’s Sky Bet Championship campaign having endured a less than successful spell at Rangers during the second half of last season.

United’s loan manager Les Parry was on Wearside on Wednesday and Black Cats head coach Tony Mowbray, who admitted he wished the loan arrangement had been for two years, now expects the Ivory Coast international to get a chance to prove himself in pre-season.

Mowbray said: “I think Manchester United are happy, but I think the next step is for them to take him on pre-season to America. That’s what I think is going to happen. Then they’ll see how he gets on.

“They know what they’ve got, they bought him, but I think when the new manager came in, it was right on the cusp of whether they were going to keep him or not. He liked some of the stuff, but then he maybe wasn’t sure about other things.

“I’m sure he’s been watching Amad’s clips from games, just as I watch all of our players who are out on loan, and seeing what he can do.

“But he’ll need to see him on a daily basis and feel what he brings. I’m sure everyone will have an opinion on whether he’s good enough or not good enough for Manchester United, but the reality is that the manager needs to watch him, see and feel him in a game, and see what he brings.”

Amad has made 39 appearances for Sunderland and scored 12 goals heading into Monday’s trip to Preston, in which victory could yet propel the club into the play-offs at the end of their first campaign back in the second tier.

Harry Kane may struggle to resist the temptation to leave Tottenham in search of major honours at the end of the season, believes former Spurs striker Frederic Kanoute.

While Kane has hit 25 Premier League goals during another fine individual campaign, his quest to win a first major trophy never looked likely to end during a frustrating season for Spurs.

Tottenham sit nine points adrift of the top four after Sunday's dramatic 4-3 defeat at Liverpool, and chairman Daniel Levy has already sacked two head coaches in the form of Antonio Conte and his interim replacement Cristian Stellini.

With Kane about to enter the final 12 months of his contract, reports have suggested he could be targeted by Manchester United in the upcoming transfer window, while Paris Saint-Germain are also said to hold an interest in the 29-year-old.

Kane wanted to leave Tottenham for Manchester City in 2021, and Kanoute believes the England captain could be enticed by the prospect of an exit this time around.

Speaking to Stats Perform at LaLiga x Bloomsbury Football League event, Kanoute said: "I can't speak on his behalf but, obviously, the fans would be really, really disappointed if he leaves the club because he's been fantastic.

"At the same time, I think they understand as well that it could be a good opportunity, a huge opportunity for him to win trophies.

"I think he will be a little bit conflicted in the next choice he is going to have to make."

Tottenham are yet to name Conte's permanent successor, with Ryan Mason taking the reins as acting head coach following Stellini's exit.

With the likes of Julian Nagelsmann, Xabi Alonso and Vincent Kompany linked with the role, Kanoute has urged Spurs to look to the future with their next appointment.

"I wish all the best for Mason and I hope he's going to do a great job, but we all think it's going to be temporary," he said.

"Obviously the next appointment is going to be super important as I think it should be a long-term appointment, but as we know nowadays in football, there's not much patience. 

"I just hope the new coach will start with a few wins that will bring some positive momentum for the club.

"It's obvious that they're missing silverware and that's all the Tottenham fans are hoping that Tottenham can finally win a trophy, but I think there's a kind of unsettlement in the team. 

"If you want a trophy, you have to build it up, to have a certain stability with the coach, with the philosophy of what kind of football you want to deliver to the fans.

"I think they're still to reach that stability, so they can finally thrive in their football."

Erik ten Hag is in the dark over Manchester United’s summer spending power as the takeover saga rumbles on.

The Old Trafford giants announced in November that the board was exploring strategic alternatives to enhance the club’s growth, with a full sale one option being considered.

Friday was the third, and what is expected to be final, deadline for parties to make offers to buy the club, with Sheikh Jassim and Sir Jim Ratcliffe both submitting bids.

Now the the Glazer family must decide how they want to proceed – a process that threatens to damage the progress made during Ten Hag’s first season in charge.

United are on course for a top-four finish and have the chance to add the FA Cup to the Carabao Cup, but the financial backing for improvements is unclear even to the manager.

Asked if he has been told he has the funds to do what he wants to this summer irrespective of how the takeover process pans out, Ten Hag said: “No, I don’t have. I don’t have influence on that, I don’t have… also I don’t know.

“The only thing what I know is that Man United is one of the biggest clubs and I think it’s among maybe (the) two biggest clubs in the world from a fanbase perspective.

“So, I think this club has to compete for the highest in the world, so Champions League, Premier League.

“But in football you need funds to construct squads because in the end of the day the level from your players makes if you are successful or not.”

Ten Hag says “everyone knows you need funds to construct a squad” and that “high level players cost a lot of money” in elite football.

“I, we see this as a project,” the United boss said. “In a project also it belongs that you are in windows, that you strengthen your squad needs or to make refreshments, so that you get more balance, definitely, and you bring young players in.

“But I think we already have shown and proved that we can beat the best teams in the world, so, yeah, I think we can compete in the Champions League.

“But at the end of the day we want to be in the winter also in the Champions League and we want to compete, and knock them all out, so then we have a way to go.”

United are preparing to take on Brighton in the Premier League on Thursday after beating Aston Villa 1-0 to a backdrop of protests against the Glazers on Sunday.

Ten Hag was seen after the match at Old Trafford picking up a green and gold scarf as he headed down the tunnel game, holding it up before throwing it back to fans.

When asked if it was an act of solidarity with the fans, the United boss said: “No, it was just polite.

“But I know what’s going around, what the symbol of it is, but this matter was just polite.”

Ten Hag, understandably, refrained from publicly criticising his employers at this stage of the season but his desire for clarity on the club’s future is palpable.

Asked how important it is to get the takeover process resolved as soon as possible, Ten Hag said: “Yeah, I think it’s clear what I want but it’s not up to me.

“It’s about others in this club, finally there are the owners and they make the decisions, so it’s not up to me.

“So, I do everything I can and I influence the processes I’m in charge of.”

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