Record-breaking sharpshooter Erling Haaland says treble-chasing Manchester City are attacking the run-in with momentum and the right mindset.

Pep Guardiola’s men kicked off a manic May with a comprehensive 3-0 victory against West Ham at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night.

Second-half efforts from Nathan Ake and Phil Foden came either side of Haaland’s 51st goal of the season as City secured a ninth straight Premier League win.

The result saw Guardiola’s men move back ahead of Arsenal at the summit as they eye a fifth title triumph in six seasons, with talk of a treble continuing in the background.

“It was not easy,” Haaland said after beating West Ham. “It’s not easy when they come and play like that but we scored with Nath and then it kind of opened up more. In the end (it was) a so important three points.

“We are in good shape, the mentality’s right. The only thing we can do is focus on the next game and try to win the next game.

“Now it’s Leeds, we have to focus on the game, we have to only think of that game and to try to win it.”

Saturday’s league match at home to Leeds is followed by the first leg of their mouth-watering Champions League semi-final at Real Madrid on Tuesday.

City are looking to reach the European showpiece for the second time in the club’s history, with AC Milan or Inter Milan lying in wait in Istanbul on June 10.

A week earlier comes a fascinating all-Manchester FA Cup final against rivals United, providing Haaland with the chance to end a fine first season in unforgettable fashion.

“Potentially nine games left and I’m enjoying it,” he said. “To have games all the time, this is something I love so we will see.”

Such occasions are why Haaland join City, whose lofty expectations he has somehow surpassed since joining from Borussia Dortmund last summer.


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The 22-year-old has plundered goals aplenty this season and took his Premier League haul to 35 on Wednesday, breaking the competition’s single-season record.


“It’s a bit unreal,” Haaland said. “I am really proud and I’m happy. I just have to thank all my team-mates and the staff for making it possible.”

Haaland got a guard of honour from staff and team-mates as he left the pitch after surpassing Andy Cole and Alan Shearer’s previous record.

“It was a nice moment,” he told club media. “It was really painful to get hit in the back by everyone but it was a nice moment.”

Not only did Haaland make history on Wednesday but there was a significant landmark for Guardiola, with Foden’s deflected volley City’s 1,000th goal in all competitions under him.

“I am enjoying it every single game,” Haaland said of life as a striker under the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss.

“It’s hard, he demands a lot, but I try to do my best to develop and do my best on the pitch. That’s what you have to do – nothing more to do than do your best.

“It’s a pleasure and I love to play under Pep. I’m really happy to have him as a coach.”


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City are not the only English team going for continental glory as West Ham have a Europa Conference League semi-final date against AZ Alkmaar looming large.

Lifting that trophy would be huge for the east London club but Premier League survival has yet to be assured and Manchester United arrive on Sunday evening.

West Ham defender Aaron Cresswell told WHTV: “It’s a four-game season now and we’re four points clear of the bottom three.

“So, three or four points or whatever it might take to keep us up, we just want to get it sooner rather than later.

“We’ve also got a European semi-final which are going to be two massive games, but obviously every game between now and the end of the season is going to be vital.

“Once the lads are back, I’m sure they’ll be back by Sunday and be raring to go, so as I say every game from now is massive.

“It’s Man United in the late game on a Sunday night and the crowd will be up for it and we want to get the three points.”

Erling Haaland must consistently deliver over the coming years to be considered a Premier League great, so says Les Ferdinand.

Haaland scored City's second goal in a 3-0 win over West Ham on Wednesday, taking his total for the season to 51 across all competitions.

In the top flight alone, Haaland has now netted 35 times, seeing him break the Premier League record of 34, which had been held by Alan Shearer and Andrew Cole, albeit that duo hit those tallies over the course of a 42-game season.

According to Opta, Haaland's league goals have come from an xG of 26, showing the brilliance of his finishing. Essentially, he has scored nine more goals than would have been anticipated given the quality of chances he has been provided with and the position from which he has been shooting.

According to Ferdinand, the next challenge for Haaland will be replicating his extraordinary form in seasons to come.

"It's a bit early to say as these guys did it consistently over the years," Ferdinand told Stats Perform.

"Haaland has done it this season and he's been phenomenal this season, but he'll get judged over what he does over the next X amount of years.

"I think a lot of strikers will say, you can have an exceptional year but can you repeat it, can you repeat it and can you repeat it?

"It looks like he can but until he's done it, it's hard to put him in that category of those great strikers. Although he's having an absolutely phenomenal season this year."

Asked what makes Haaland so special, Ferdinand said: "His pace, his power, his ability to score off his left foot, right foot, and head.

"You know, I always used to say Harry Kane, and so sorry to keep going back to Harry Kane but he's current. I used to say he's the complete centre-forward and Haaland is fast becoming that."

And while Ferdinand is wary of labelling the Norwegian a Premier League great just yet, he sees no reason why the 22-year-old will not fulfil his potential.

"I think in the side that he's playing in, if you looked at him from his [Borussia] Dortmund days, do you think he's improved from there? I think he has," Ferdinand added.

"I think with the manager and the coaching staff that they've got at Man City and the players that he's playing with at the moment, you can't not improve. I think the better quality of the player you play with, the better you become.

"It'll certainly raise the bar for him. Because, as a centre-forward, once you've scored 20 goals the next season, you want to score 22, 24 or 25.

"You want to score as many as you can so [now] he's broken the record of 34 he'll be looking to beat the record that he sets. Then that's the benchmark for people to try and get to."

Indeed, Ferdinand does not feel Haaland will find matters more difficult next season.

"Looking at the way he plays, his attributes, and the team that he's playing for, no. I really don't," he said.

When it came to offering advice on how defenders might stop Haaland, Ferdinand only had one idea.

"Kick him early doors, that's what used to happen," he quipped. "I mean, you can't do that anymore.

"You’ve got to find a way, but like I said it's so difficult because you're playing against a City side where, okay Haaland is scoring all of these goals but there are goals throughout that team. So you say, 'Right let's go man-to-man on him.' Then you're leaving the door open for someone else to get in too, so he's going to be so, so hard to stop."

The next target in Haaland's sights is Ron Davies' 37-goal haul from the 1966-67 campaign.

Davies was the last player to net more than Haaland in a single season in the English top flight.

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."

Mohamed Salah may be the man for consistency but fellow forward Darwin Nunez is the player who injects the element of unpredictability which is part of the evolution of Liverpool’s forward line.

Salah became the first player to score in eight successive home matches for the club with his penalty enough to secure a 1-0 victory over Fulham, making it five wins in a row and 12 goals in his last 16 games.

He was starting alongside Nunez and Luis Diaz, which at the start of the season was the expected first-choice forward line until the latter sustained a serious knee injury which sidelined him for six months.

As a result, the Fulham game was only the fifth time they had all begun a game together, but it was Nunez’s return to the starting line-up for the first time in half-a-dozen games which produced the key moment in the first half.

Having lost control 30 yards from goal, he set about regaining possession and nicked it back off Issa Diop inside the penalty area only for the defender to bring him down.

Manager Jurgen Klopp felt the spell among the substitutes helped reignite the Uruguay international, who was played through the middle as opposed to his more regular position out on the left in his maiden season.

“Darwin was like a racehorse, really motivated, really on fire,” said Klopp, who was particularly pleased with how the 23-year-old adapted to the vital counter-pressing role through the middle which has been performed so well by fellow new signing Cody Gakpo recently.

“Absolutely. I think for us it’s super-important. You could see in the beginning, defending the centre against Fulham is really important because Palhinha is there and that is their connector.

“We were a bit too early out there from Darwin, we tried to fix that, but he was like a racehorse – go, go, go, go for everybody.

“We opened up and that’s where we struggle slightly. We could sort that and apart from that he played a really good game, he was always a proper option for us and we needed that.”

But with only a slender lead to protect it was goalkeeper Alisson Becker who, not for the first time in this up and down season for the team, came up with the key moments to keep his first clean sheet in six matches with a good save from Carlos Vinicius.

The Brazil international has now made 100 saves in the current campaign, the first time he has reached triple figures in a single season since joining Liverpool.

“He is is for sure the most consistent player we have this season,” added Klopp.

“That’s actually not bad news, it’s good news, because if we are not in a great shape and the level of the goalie drops as well then we would have been completely lost. So, that’s fine.”

Pep Guardiola agrees with Sam Allardyce’s assertion that he is as good as him as the Manchester City boss launched a defence of experienced English managers.

Embattled Leeds raised eyebrows this week by turning to the 68-year-old Allardyce in a last-ditch attempt to stave off relegation.

Allardyce’s unveiling on Wednesday was similarly surprising as he claimed “there’s nobody ahead of me in football terms – not Pep, not (Jurgen) Klopp, not (Mikel) Arteta”.

The new Leeds boss will get a chance to show that on Saturday afternoon when his relegation-threatened side travel to treble-chasing City.

Allardyce’s comments were put to Guardiola after Wednesday’s 3-0 win against West Ham and elicited a surprisingly positive response.

“He is right,” the City boss said. “I want to be honest. Now look what happened with, for example, Neil Warnock in Huddersfield.

“Now there’s a tendency for these incredible managers, they have done this Premier League or this competition in better position.

“It looks like now the young managers are there with the tactics or whatever… so they are really good, they help us to be what we are.

“Look at the managers, Roy Hodgson for Crystal Palace, what they have done.

“They are really good, they have incredible experience, they know the game perfectly and if he feels that it is because of this.

“It will be tough because he has the charisma, he will put out the pressure to the players and he knows exactly what to do in this kind of situation in a relegation battle.

“It looks like this type of old managers… I’m honest, so what they have done for the club (is dismissed as) ‘they are old, whatever’.

“Now the people who are 35, 40, 45, we invent football or we create football.

“No, football is already created and these guys belong to that league and helped us to do it and that’s why.

“So, Neil Warnock, Huddersfield was in the last (spot) and now already out of the dangerous positions.

“I could not experience what Harry Redknapp has done in this country.

“There are many, many English managers that have done really, really well.

“You don’t have to be young to be a good manager. As much experience you have, you are good.”

Fulham manager Marco Silva claims the award of Liverpool’s match-winning penalty was embarrassing as his side slipped to an eighth defeat in 10 games.

Mohamed Salah scored from the spot for the second successive match to secure a 1-0 win after Issa Diop was adjudged to have brought down Darwin Nunez.

Silva was not convinced, however, saying: “The way they scored the goal, I have to say that is embarrassing.

“Today in football to give a penalty like that, after the VAR didn’t take that penalty (away) it is difficult to understand.

“I will not say nothing more because after it will be difficult for me and I don’t want to create more problems for me. It is difficult to understand that penalty,” Silva said.

“When Darwin touch the ball he start to dive himself but after he touched his left leg with Issa.

“They are going to say it is harsh but the referee gave and after the VAR cannot take (away). It is always the same conversation. I didn’t speak with the referee at the end or at half-time. I had some words with the fourth official.

“Issa told me that it is clear not penalty. The referee made a mistake and the VAR is there to take that decision and not allow the penalty to go on. That’s clear for me.”

The victory secured a fifth successive win for Liverpool for the first time since April 2022 and maintained the pressure on fourth-placed Manchester United, whom they trail by four points having played two matches more.

“Really pleased with big parts of the game: first half controlling, creating not finishing situations off,” said manager Jurgen Klopp.

“The penalty I like a lot because it a counter-pressing situation; Darwin is fully in the situation and gets a pen and Mo finishes it off.

“We then don’t close the game early and we have to fight to the end and we needed Ali (Alisson Becker) obviously, the save from (Carlos) Vinicius was sensational and he was happy about the clean sheet more than anyone.

“Five wins in a row is super-difficult. It felt it was ages ago we did it and the more I like it.”

Fulham manager Marco Silva claims the award of Liverpool’s match-winning penalty was embarrassing as his side slipped to an eighth defeat in 10 games.

Mohamed Salah scored from the spot for the second successive match to secure a 1-0 win after Issa Diop was adjudged to have brought down Darwin Nunez.

Silva was not convinced, however, saying: “The way they scored the goal, I have to say that is embarrassing.

“Today in football to give a penalty like that, after the VAR didn’t take that penalty (away) it is difficult to understand.

“I will not say nothing more because after it will be difficult for me and I don’t want to create more problems for me. It is difficult to understand that penalty,” Silva said.

“When Darwin touch the ball he start to dive himself but after he touched his left leg with Issa.

“They are going to say it is harsh but the referee gave and after the VAR cannot take (away). It is always the same conversation. I didn’t speak with the referee at the end or at half-time. I had some words with the fourth official.

“Issa told me that it is clear not penalty. The referee made a mistake and the VAR is there to take that decision and not allow the penalty to go on. That’s clear for me.”

The victory secured a fifth successive win for Liverpool for the first time since April 2022 and maintained the pressure on fourth-placed Manchester United, whom they trail by four points having played two matches more.

“Really pleased with big parts of the game: first half controlling, creating not finishing situations off,” said manager Jurgen Klopp.

“The penalty I like a lot because it a counter-pressing situation; Darwin is fully in the situation and gets a pen and Mo finishes it off.

“We then don’t close the game early and we have to fight to the end and we needed Ali (Alisson Becker) obviously, the save from (Carlos) Vinicius was sensational and he was happy about the clean sheet more than anyone.

“Five wins in a row is super-difficult. It felt it was ages ago we did it and the more I like it.”

Pep Guardiola said “special striker” Erling Haaland richly deserved the guard of honour by his Manchester City team-mates after breaking the Premier League single-season scoring record.

The 22-year-old has made a mockery of those doubting whether he could repeat his goalscoring feats after last summer’s switch from Borussia Dortmund to the Etihad Stadium.

Haaland took his tally to 51 in all competitions on Wednesday night, when his cool finish moved his Premier League haul on to 35 and broke Andy Cole and Alan Shearer’s competition record.

The Norway international scored between Nathan Ake and Phil Foden’s efforts in a 3-0 win against West Ham that was followed by what Guardiola says was a pre-planned guard of honour.

“It was (special), I think he deserved it,” the City boss said. “All the team deserved it because without the team he couldn’t do it, but he is a special striker.

“We are very pleased for him because he is a joy, not just to work with him as a manager. I think everyone is happy to have him with us.

“Of course this record will be broken sooner or later, maybe by him in the future or maybe another one but they’ll have to score a lot of goals because he scored a lot.

“Of course (we planned the guard of honour). We thought about that and in football when there is a special occasion, we have to show how special it is.

“Today it was with Erling. Another one, another day will happen but of course to score and overcome the position of Andy Cole and Alan Shearer – incredible, top, top strikers – is special.”

Guardiola said “we cannot achieve many things without a good striker”, namechecking previous City frontmen like Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli.

But this night was all about Haaland, who still has five Premier League matches to increase his eye-watering record even further.

“At the end when you buy a player in Erling we know he score goals everywhere and we thought he could do it (here),” Guardiola said.

“But at the end we don’t know. You have to work and see the process.

“He understands what we want to do, the players understand his movement and whatever, so a question of time.

“The impact or how he adjusted to the league was so quick.

“The first two goals was against West Ham. It’s a coincidence as he breaks the record against West Ham when he scored the first goals against them.

“Immediately we saw he is a guy when you provide him with balls, he scores in all situations – except free kicks, but maybe in the future.

“But penalties, crosses, combinations and transitions, he is a guy who can do many, many things. That’s why he scored a lot of goals.”

Haaland’s latest goal helped calm any nerves at the Etihad Stadium, with Wednesday’s victory seeing title favourites City usurp Arsenal and reclaim top spot.

“I said after Arsenal (last week) when everybody said it’s over, I said it was not over in my press conference,” Guardiola said of the 4-1 win last midweek.

“Yesterday Arsenal proved it. They will not give up. I know quite well Mikel (Arteta), how competitive he is and I know a few players.

“Arsenal is one of the historical teams and they will be there. I said to the players.”

As for West Ham, the 3-0 defeat came on a night when illness ruled out Declan Rice, Nayef Aguerd and Tomas Soucek on the day of the game.

David Moyes, whose side face Manchester United on Sunday, said: “I have got to hope they are (back).

“Two of them we’re not sure if it’s maybe a bit of food poisoning they’ve picked up whether at the training ground or hotel.

“One of them we think has got a virus, so, I’m not a doctor, whether antibiotics fix that not quickly or how you work it I’m not quite sure.

“So, hopefully they’ll have a chance for the weekend but I think the biggest thing I have to praise the players who came in and did such a good job.

“For long periods against a really good team we made it quite difficult”

Manchester City forward Erling Haaland reflected on a “special night” after his strike against West Ham earned him the record of scoring the most goals in a single Premier League season.

Haaland claimed the achievement in the 70th minute when he raced through on goal from Jack Grealish’s pass and chipped Lukasz Fabianski to reach 35 league goals this term.

It moved the Norwegian beyond Andy Cole and Alan Shearer, who had previously held the record for their efforts in the 1993-94 and 1994-1995 seasons respectively.

“A special night and special moment. Yeah I’m really happy and proud,” Haaland told Sky Sports.

“Of course I knew about it. Of course but we try to create the chances to score goals. It was not easy.

“They came here to try to defend for 90 minutes and we struggle a bit in the first half but second half, Nath (Ake) scored, I scored and the last one Phil (Foden) of course scored so it was an important win.”

An early penalty at Fulham on Sunday saw Haaland equal the 34-goal tally achieved by Cole and Shearer, but he was forced to wait a few days before he moved in front outright.

His City team-mates gave the summer arrival a guard of honour at full-time following his achievement in a 3-0 win that moved Pep Guardiola’s side back to the Premier League summit.

The next individual target in Haaland’s sights is Dixie Dean’s feat of 63 goals for Everton in the 1927-28 campaign.

But Haaland, on 51 goals for the campaign, insisted: “No, I don’t think of this now. I will sleep on this game and wake up tomorrow and I think of trying to get three points here against Leeds.

“It will not be easy with a new manager and everything, but we cannot keep thinking about these records. My head would become crazy, I would become crazy in my head so I don’t think of this.

“I will go home now and play some video games, eat something and then sleep. That’s what I’ll do and tomorrow we have to start thinking about Leeds. That’s my life.”

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.”

Kaoru Mitoma hopes to cap a fine breakthrough season by helping Brighton make history as he sets his sights on gaining revenge against Manchester United.

The high-flying Seagulls surpassed their Premier League points record by moving on to 52 with Saturday’s 6-0 thrashing of Wolves, which reignited the club’s quest to reach Europe.

Fourth-placed United travel to the south coast just 11 days after inflicting an agonising penalty shoot-out defeat on Albion in the FA Cup semi-final.

Japan winger Mitoma only made his Brighton debut in August but has rapidly enhanced his reputation this term with seven goals and four assists during a string of standout performances.

The 25-year-old, who spent last season on loan at Belgian side Union Saint-Gilloise, is determined to further aid the Seagulls’ push to secure continental qualification for the first time.

“Right now it’s important for the team to finish the season as high up the table as possible and aim for a Champions League or Europa League spot,” he said.

“If we can reach a higher standard playing this brand of football, I think we will be able to bring the fans even more joy.

“I want to make them happy and, in order to do so, we want to make history.”

Brighton edged the recent Wembley meeting with Erik ten Hag’s men but were unable to find a breakthrough before Solly March’s miss proved decisive in a painful 7-6 shoot-out loss.

The eighth-placed Seagulls’ chances of catching United and scraping into the Champions League spots are extremely slim as they sit 11 points adrift, albeit with a game in hand.

Yet a top-five finish remains a distinct possibility going into Albion’s final seven fixtures in a hectic last month of the campaign.

Mitoma, who began the hammering of Wolves on the bench after being rested by boss Roberto De Zerbi, is confident Brighton can complete a league double over United following a 2-1 Old Trafford win on the first weekend of the season.

“It was a disappointing result, a frustrating result, but we have already switched our focus to the league,” he said of the semi-final setback.

“It’s very important that we win this game as they are our direct rivals in the league table. This will be a really big game for both teams.

“They are a team who is always fighting for the title, and the quality of each individual is something that sets them apart from other teams.

“But if we can play to our strengths, we will have a chance to win.”

Head coach De Zerbi could be absent from the Amex Stadium touchline for Thursday evening’s game after cancelling his pre-match press conference on Wednesday due to illness.

Mitoma was handed his maiden top-flight start by the Italian in Albion’s 4-1 victory over Chelsea in late October and believes he is progressing well.

“The coach demands a lot from me, so I’m trying my best to meet them,” he said.

“The way he sets up the team and his tactics are helping my performance, as it suits my style very well.

“He is very specific about what he wants from me in training and in games.

“I think my standard on the ball and off the ball is improving step by step, so I feel that I’m developing under his coaching.”

Liverpool turned up the pressure on Manchester United with a 1-0 victory over Fulham moving them four points off fourth place as Mohamed Salah’s winner edged him even closer to a Steven Gerrard record.

There was none of the drama or histrionics of Sunday’s 4-3 win over Tottenham in bringing up a fifth successive Premier League victory for the first time since April last year.

Salah’s 39th-minute penalty, his second in successive games after back-to-back misses, took him to 185 goals for the club, one behind Gerrard, while also going fifth on the club’s list of all-time league scorers with 136.

Manager Jurgen Klopp’s behaviour in the technical area was the very model of exemplary following a Football Association misconduct charge for comments about Sunday’s referee Paul Tierney.

He was perhaps making the most of his time on the touchline as he has until Friday to respond to the charges and, having already served a one-match ban this season, the punishment could be much more severe.

Klopp had written in his programme notes that going 3-0 up inside the opening 15 minutes against Tottenham – a match they eventually went on to win with an added-time goal – had given them some problems.

And although they set off looking like they might replicate that with Trent Alexander-Arnold alone having three attempts on goal in the first 10 minutes, they lacked some of the sharpness they had shown at the weekend.

Also, Fulham were also more organised than their fellow Londoners and that kept opportunities down to half-chances at best.

Alexander-Arnold’s advanced position stepping into midfield allowed him to get closer to his opponents’ goal but, unusually for him, he was off target with two attempts with another hit tamely at goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Salah, whose cross just evaded Darwin Nunez eight yards out, weaved his way past a couple of defenders close to the byline but could not find the target from a narrow angle, while Luis Diaz also had a shot deflected wide.

Liverpool’s mastery of control in the opposition half was almost absolute, regularly winning back possession before Fulham had time to begin the semblance of an attack, but in their own final third it was much less so.

Virgil Van Dijk had to slide in to turn Harry Wilson’s cross behind after the former Liverpool winger had broken into the space behind Kostas Tsimikas, with Carlos Vinicius exploiting Ibrahima Konate’s hesitation to force a good save out of Alisson Becker.

When the breakthrough arrived it was no surprise it came from a counter-press after Nunez had initially lost possession 15 yards outside Fulham’s penalty area.

Tosin Adarabioyo squared a short pass to Issa Diop but the centre-half, back in the team due to Tim Ream’s season-ending injury, dawdled in making his clearance and Nunez was on him like a shot to nick the ball off his toes with the Frenchman’s swing at fresh air catching the forward’s back leg as he went past him.

Referee Stuart Attwell pointed to the spot and Salah scored an identical penalty to the one against Spurs, blasted straight down the middle.

The second half was much of the same, with Liverpool exerting most of the pressure without really pressing home their advantage.

That made their slender lead vulnerable and Alisson had to save well from Vinicius to prevent the equaliser with 13 minutes remaining to keep their slim Champions League qualification hopes alive.

They are, however, still relying on United to drop points as their arch-rivals have two matches in hand, starting at Brighton on Thursday.

Erling Haaland set a new Premier League goalscoring record as title favourites Manchester City reclaimed top spot with a comfortable 3-0 win over West Ham.

The prolific Norwegian raced through for league goal number 35 of the campaign – surpassing the previous best mark held by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer – on 70 minutes as City eased to victory at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday.

His sweet left-footed chip over Lukasz Fabianksi came after Nathan Ake had headed City in front on 50 minutes and before Phil Foden wrapped up victory with a deflected long-range volley.

The win took the treble-chasing champions a point above Arsenal at the summit and, with a game in hand, they seem to be cruising towards a fifth title in six years.

The victory came 25 years to the day after City were relegated to the third tier of English football in one of the lowest points of the club’s history.

The contrast with the team now is remarkable, although City – perhaps with next week’s trip to Real Madrid in mind – were far from their energetic best.

Again they were without the dynamism of Kevin De Bruyne through injury and the atmosphere was far more subdued than for last week’s seemingly pivotal win over Arsenal.

That lack of spark transmitted itself to the field in a slow start and West Ham may wonder what might have been had a sickness bug not robbed them of key players including Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek.

Yet with Haaland, City always posed a major threat and his strike, his 51st overall this season, was yet another demonstration of his awesome firepower.

Neither side created a clear-cut chance in the opening 30 minutes and West Ham threatened first when Jarrod Bowen got to the byline. Goalkeeper Stefan Ortega, standing in for the rested Ederson, blocked at the near post.

City picked up the pace in response with Jack Grealish cutting inside and lashing a shot against the outside of the post from a tight angle.

Haaland then combined with Rodri to send the Spaniard through on goal but his low shot struck the base of the post and rolled across goal.

The breakthrough came five minutes after the restart as Riyad Mahrez clipped a free-kick to the back post and Ake stole in to head past Lukasz Fabianski.

Haaland appealed for a penalty after going down under a Thilo Kehrer challenge but nothing was given.

The striker was not to be denied, however, as he was released by the hard-working Grealish and calmly lobbed over Fabianski.

With the job done, City eased towards the final whistle and Foden had the final word with a well-struck volley from distance that flew in off Emerson Palmieri.

It was City’s 1,000th goal in all competitions under Guardiola and wrapped up an excellent night’s work.

City celebrated Haaland’s achievement by giving him a guard of honour as after the final whistle.

Manchester City striker Erling Haaland broke the record for most goals scored in a Premier League season with his 35th of the campaign against West Ham on Wednesday.

His feat is even more impressive as the record of 34 was set in the league’s early 42-game seasons by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer.

Here, the PA news agency looks at how Haaland compares.

Andy Cole, Newcastle, 1993-94

Appearances: 40
Goals: 34
Assists: 13

Cole scored only once in the first four games but got 15 in the next 12, including all the goals in a 3-0 win over Liverpool and doubles against Sheffield Wednesday, West Ham and Oldham.

Another hat-trick against Coventry and a standout performance in the return game with the Hammers, with a goal and three assists in a 4-2 win, were further highlights of his season. His 13 assists also led the Premier League as Newcastle finished third, making him the only man until Harry Kane in 2020-21 to top both charts outright.

Alan Shearer, Blackburn, 1994-95

Appearances: 42
Goals: 34
Assists: 13

Shearer was ever-present as he equalled Cole’s record and led Blackburn to the title – like Cole, completing his tally with a goal on the final day of the season. He scored three hat-tricks – all in 3-0 wins at Ewood Park, against QPR, West Ham and Ipswich – and four doubles in his second of three straight 30-goal seasons.

He matched Cole’s assists tally as well, ranking third in the top flight as he and strike partner Chris Sutton combined to set each other up on 13 occasions, a record broken by Kane two years ago in tandem with Spurs team-mate Son Heung-min.

Erling Haaland, Manchester City, 2022-23

Appearances: 31
Goals: 35
Assists: 7


Haaland wasted no time making his mark in the Premier League – scoring two goals on his debut against West Ham, a record nine in his first five games and 15 in nine. He has four hat-tricks to his name and one more will equal Shearer’s record of five in a season set in his 31-goal 1995-96 campaign.

His record-equalling penalty against Fulham at Craven Cottage last weekend brought up his half-century in all competitions, having scored 12 goals in eight Champions League appearances and four in the domestic cups, with his strike against the Hammers sending him clear in Premier League history.

Haaland’s league assist tally, though in single figures, still ranks joint-sixth in the top flight this season, defying scrutiny of his perceived one-dimensional role in Pep Guardiola’s side.

Roll of honour

Haaland began hauling in previous Golden Boot-winning tallies as early as November 5 after 18 goals in his first 12 games.

The 23-goal mark that has won the last three awards lasted only until January’s hat-trick against Wolves, which accounted for nine previous Golden Boot seasons in all, while he matched Mohamed Salah’s 38-game record of 32 in just 28 appearances.

18 goals – Michael Owen, Dion Dublin and Chris Sutton 1997-98; Owen, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Dwight Yorke 1998-99
Appearances: 12
v Fulham (H), November 5

19 – Nicolas Anelka 2008-09
Appearances: 14
v Leeds (A), December 28

20 – Didier Drogba 2006-07; Dimitar Berbatov and Carlos Tevez 2010-11
Appearances: 14
v Leeds (A), December 28

22 – Teddy Sheringham 1992-93; Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 2018-19
Appearances: 18
v Tottenham (H), January 19

23 – Hasselbaink 2000-01; Jamie Vardy 2019-20; Harry Kane 2020-21; Salah and Son Heung-min 2021-22
Appearances: 19
v Wolves (H), January 22

24 – Thierry Henry 2001-02
Appearances: 19
v Wolves (H), January 22

25 – Alan Shearer 1996-97; Ruud van Nistelrooy 2002-03; Henry 2004-05; Kane 2015-16
Appearances: 19
v Wolves (H), January 22

26 – Robin van Persie 2012-13; Sergio Aguero 2014-15
Appearances: 22
v Arsenal (A), February 15

27 – Henry 2005-06
Appearances: 24
v Bournemouth (A), February 25

29 – Drogba 2009-10; Kane 2016-17
Appearances: 27
v Southampton (A), April 8

30 – Kevin Phillips 1999-2000; Henry 2003-04; Van Persie 2011-12
Appearances: 27
v Southampton (A), April 8

31 – Shearer 1995-96; Cristiano Ronaldo 2007-08; Luis Suarez 2013-14
Appearances: 28
v Leicester (H), April 15

32 – Salah 2017-18
Appearances: 28
v Leicester (H), April 15

34 – Andy Cole 1993-94; Shearer 1994-95
Appearances: 30
v Fulham (A), April 30

Jimmy Murphy, one of the most important figures in Manchester United’s history, has been immortalised in a statue outside Old Trafford.

Family members, senior club leaders, former players and fan representatives were in attendance on Wednesday as the tribute was unveiled outside the Stretford End.

Murphy was Sir Matt Busby’s right-hand man and his statue is located close to where he used to coach the Busby Babes on a cinder training pitch.

The Welshman, who died in 1989, served as United’s chief coach and then assistant manager between 1945 and 1971.

Murphy was also Wales manager and international duty meant he missed United’s match in Belgrade in 1958 and the tragic return flight.

The Welshman remarkably kept the side going after the Munich air disaster, taking temporary charge until the end of the season with Busby hospitalised.

Murphy even led United to the FA Cup final against Bolton – a match that took place on this day 65 years ago.

Murphy managed Wales at the World Cup finals in Sweden the following month – the national team’s only appearance on the world stage until last year.

Current boss Rob Page was another in attendance at Wednesday’s ceremony, where Murphy’s son – Jim Murphy Jr – and United chief executive Richard Arnold were among the speakers.

Sir Alex Ferguson recorded a video tribute as he was unable to attend.

The statue is deserved recognition for Murphy, who is already commemorated with the naming of a building at Carrington and the club’s young player of the year award.

Erik ten Hag was unable to attend the ceremony due to Thursday’s Premier League match at Brighton but his admiration for Murphy could not have been clearer.

“I think it’s very good that the club gives so much honour and recognition to a main person in the history of Manchester United,” the Dutchman said in the Jimmy Murphy Centre.

“He stands for more symbols – symbol of youth, youth development. He stands for resilience and determination.

“They are the standards for Manchester United. It’s driven by this person after the Munich (air disaster).

“A manager fell away, many players fell away and the club was devastated. They bounced back and this person played a main role, so it is totally deserved he gets honoured for this.

“The club is doing that with the Jimmy Murphy Centre, the Jimmy Murphy Player of the Year and now a statue. It’s fantastic.”

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