Goals from Bryan Mbeumo and Yoane Wissa fired Brentford to a 2-0 victory in a Sunday stroll against makeshift West Ham.

David Moyes’ priorities clearly lie elsewhere despite not being mathematically safe from relegation, with the Hammers boss making nine changes to his side ahead of Thursday night’s Europa Conference League semi-final second leg against AZ Alkmaar.

However, if Moyes was hoping to be given some selection dilemmas for the trip to the Netherlands, he was left sorely disappointed.

Not even the absence of 20-goal striker Ivan Toney, out with a hamstring problem, could prevent Brentford racking up a fourth Premier League win from their four meetings with the Hammers.

The visitors were almost caught cold in the seventh minute when Kevin Schade’s cross was missed by Lukasz Fabianski, but Mikkel Damsgaard could not get enough on his header and it drifted wide.

However, Brentford’s next real attack provided the opening goal after 20 minutes thanks to some passive West Ham defending.

Damsgaard intercepted a sloppy pass from Nayef Aguerd, and Vitaly Janelt and Mathias Jensen helped the ball across the pitch to Mbeumo, who was in acres of space as he strode into the penalty area and fired under Fabianski.

Hammers keeper Fabianski made amends after the half-hour mark with a smart save to prevent Wissa from converting Aaron Hickey’s cut-back.

Then came a ridiculous goalmouth scramble after Fabianski punched Schade’s header clear. Damsgaard’s shot was blocked and Fabianski saved from Wissa, with Emerson Palmieri blocking his follow-up on the line before Ben Mee smashed the loose ball wide.

The second goal arrived shortly before half-time when Mee flicked on a long throw from Jensen and Wissa darted in front of Emerson to glance a header home.

West Ham’s feeble first half was summed up when they managed to win a corner, only for Pablo Fornals to fail to get the ball in play with his cross rolling into the side-netting.

Brentford should have had a third after Tomas Soucek needlessly gave the ball away to Wissa, who played a one-two with Mbeumo before firing wide.

Mbeumo then met another cross from Schade at the far post but his header was blocked by stand-in Hammers skipper Angelo Ogbonna, before Damsgaard blazed over from a corner.

Moyes sent on Declan Rice and Said Benrahma with half an hour left and West Ham had the ball in the net shortly afterwards, but Danny Ings’ tap-in was harshly disallowed for handball by Divin Mubama to cap a miserable afternoon for the Hammers.

Ryan Mason refused to defend Tottenham’s wretched away record after slipping to defeat at Aston Villa.

Jacob Ramsey and Douglas Luiz scored for the home side as a 2-1 win moved them level on points with sixth-placed Spurs.

Harry Kane’s last-minute penalty added a flattering look to the scoreline, with Tottenham second best.

They have not won away since January or outside of London since October and are now clinging to a European spot with two games left.

“Many different things contribute to that. Ultimately it is not good enough for a club this size. You cannot expect to compete where we want to compete with that sort of record,” said Mason.

“It needs to improve. It needs to be a collective, it needs to be driven from all of us. It isn’t good enough. It is nowhere near the level we should be at and it needs to change.

“We’ve had a disappointing season in terms of where we are in the table but many other things as well. There probably hasn’t been that consistency, that alignment and that togetherness throughout the whole club.

“That is probably the most important thing going forward that we are going to change and I am absolutely confident that that will change. I believe that will happen.”

Villa have guaranteed a top half finish for the first time in 12 years and remain in the hunt for Europe.

“The victory is so important because the dream is alive,” Luiz told the club’s official site. “My dream, and our dream, is to play in Europe, and we continue.

“We have one more game at home, we’re so strong at home, in six games we haven’t lost, and we need to continue.

“The process is difficult; it’s training every day. It’s so hard, but I’m so happy to score in the game, with the free-kick.”

Frank Lampard asked for his players to show greater intensity in the final third of the pitch after watching Chelsea’s 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest.

The PA news agency understands the Blues are close to appointing Mauricio Pochettino as manager for next season, but performances and results under interim boss Lampard continue to disappoint.

There was a familiar lack of urgency and focus to the team’s attack during the first half at Stamford Bridge, with Steve Cooper’s relegation-threatened side largely untroubled.

It meant Forest were able to bide their time and wait for chances of their own, and one came when Taiwo Awoniyi got between two Chelsea defenders and beat goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to the ball to head them into a half-time lead.

It was a defensive calamity for Lampard’s side, but the manager said he was more alarmed by his players’ lack of attacking intent when they got near Forest’s goal.

“They can happen,” he said of Awoniyi’s 13th-minute effort. “You’re disappointed with them but they can happen. It’s not something where training affected it, it’s one player’s scored, you don’t spend all week recreating that moment.

“What I’m more disappointed about is we lost 45 minutes of the game where we had all the control and we weren’t doing all the things we said about before the game. It’s not good to play 60, 70 per cent in the last third. The last third has to be 100 per cent.

“It has to be repetitive, and that’s not something that can change overnight. I’ve been asked what we did in training all week, but it’s not training at this point in the season that’s going to change this season or what these games look like, it’s the idea and sticking with the idea and doing it and doing it and doing it.

“In the second half when we showed bits of that in our game, it looked different. It’s a game that you would want to come and watch, we’re in the game and we’re playing like we want the team to play.

“But you have to have speed in the last third of the game, and at the moment we’re too comfortable, getting up there and being slow. It’s not hard enough to defend against.”

Chelsea briefly looked to have turned the game on its head thanks to a second-half brace from Raheem Sterling, the first a deflected strike after being set up by Trevoh Chalobah before he rifled in a fine solo effort.

Awoniyi levelled for Forest minutes later to boost their survival hopes and leave Lampard with a familiar feeling of frustration.

He has just one home game left against Newcastle on the final day to secure the first win of his interim tenure before, as expected, Pochettino takes charge.

“That is a game for me with big possession, we should have more shots, (be) more clinical,” Lampard added. “But at the moment that isn’t the case. I think that’s a process that will (need) time, because that’s not changing right now.

“As much as you want to talk about it, it has to be changed by players affecting out and doing it.

“Today we didn’t do that in the first half. We did it better in the second half and we all saw the result.”

Sam Allardyce refused to criticise Patrick Bamford after the Leeds striker’s saved penalty proved costly in Saturday’s 2-2 Premier League draw against Newcastle.

Bamford had the chance to atone for his glaring miss in last month’s home draw against Leicester and put relegation battlers Leeds 2-0 up at Elland Road.

Luke Ayling had given Allardyce’s side an early lead, but after Joelinton had hauled down Junior Firpo, Bamford’s weak spot-kick was comfortably saved by Nick Pope.

Allardyce said: “I thought he was good today. He held the ball up, he caused a few problems. He got the cross in for the (opening) goal. We were doing OK with him.

“Hopefully, like everybody needs to do when it gets a little bit better next week and better again, he scores goals when he gets a chance.

“We need goal-scorers on the pitch and also, we’ve not got that many.”

Four minutes after Bamford’s effort, Callum Wilson converted the first of his two penalties following Max Wober’s reckless challenge on Alexander Isak.

Wilson then struck his 17th league goal of the season from the spot early in the second half after VAR had referred referee Simon Hooper to the pitch-side monitor to check Firpo’s handball.

Rasmus Kristensen’s 79th-minute equaliser rescued a point for Leeds, but some fans were left angry that Bamford, low on confidence, had taken the penalty instead of leading goalscorer Rodrigo.

Allardyce added: “Well, I left it how it used to be like before I got here. I mean, I haven’t seen them take many penalties.

“It is what it is. I would have thought if Rodrigo really wanted it he’d have gone and snatched it off Patrick and said ‘I’m taking this’.

“So you miss it, it can happen to anybody. It happened to us today, but at the worst possible time. And that’s very unfortunate for us.”

Newcastle’s point ensured them a top-six finish and they remain on course for Champions League football next season with back-to-back home games against Brighton and Leicester to come before a last-day visit to Chelsea.

Magpies boss Eddie Howe said: “We can wait a few more days if we achieve it. It is the toughest league in the world and we knew how difficult it would be today.”

Nerves frayed on and off the pitch in a highly-charged clash at Elland Road. Firpo was sent off in the closing stages after his lunge on Anthony Gordon earned him a second yellow card.

And before the subsequent free-kick was taken a Leeds fan leapt from the crowd to confront Howe before being dragged clear by match stewards.

“I’m struggling to make sense of it all,” Howe added. “We hadn’t created clear-cut chances. I thought we played well at times without hitting our best form and we were rushed around the box.”

Leeds issued a statement shortly after the match to confirm the fan who confronted Howe had been arrested and issued with a lifetime ban.

West Yorkshire Police added in a statement on Sunday: “Police have charged a man with assault and entering the field of play following an incident at Elland Road football stadium during the Leeds United versus Newcastle United football match yesterday.  The man has been bailed to appear before magistrates on July 21.”

Chelsea are in talks with Mauricio Pochettino to take over as manager at the end of the season, the PA news agency understands.

A deal has yet to be signed but Pochettino is closing in on his first role since leaving Paris St Germain in July, succeeding interim head coach Frank Lampard.

Chelsea have three Premier League fixtures remaining – against Manchester City, Manchester United and Newcastle – and want their new boss in place once the campaign is over.

The Blues have endured a disappointing season and sit in 11th place having managed just 11 wins in 35 league games.

Graham Potter was sacked in April and while Julian Nagelsmann was the initial favourite to replace him, Chelsea turned to Lampard to see out the rest of the season in his second spell as manager.

Potter was jettisoned just seven months into a five-year contract but the club has also struggled under Lampard, who at one stage oversaw a six-game losing run in all competitions.

Former Argentina international Pochettino enjoyed a popular five-year spell as Tottenham manager, guiding Spurs to the Champions League final in 2019.

If – as expected – he is appointed by Chelsea, the 51-year-old will inherit an expensively assembled but under-performing squad who will not be competing in Europe next season.

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.”

The Leeds fan who confronted Newcastle manager Eddie Howe late in Saturday’s 2-2 Premier League draw has been charged with assault by West Yorkshire Police.

Leeds have banned the supporter for life after he climbed out of the stands at Elland Road and entered the technical area where the altercation with Howe took place, before he was quickly led away.

West Yorkshire Police have confirmed that the man has been charged with assault and will appear before magistrates in July.

A statement from the force read: “Police have charged a man with assault and entering the field of play following an incident at Elland Road football stadium during the Leeds United versus Newcastle United football match yesterday.

“The man has been bailed to appear before magistrates on 21 July.”

While Howe said he was unhurt during the incident, he views it as a wake-up call for the game.

“I actually can’t remember whether he pushed me or not, I’ve got no idea. It’s such a strange thing because you’re concentrating on the game and you don’t expect it to happen,” Howe said.

“He confronted me, said something that I can’t repeat and was then led away. I’m OK.

“I don’t know if I had time to be fearful because it was over in a flash but it certainly makes you think ‘what if?’.

“No one should have to face that, playing a sport we love and trying to entertain the country, no one should feel like their own personal safety is violated. It is something for us to reflect on.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is confident his side can close the gap to Manchester City next season.

Wild inconsistencies in results – beating Manchester United 7-0 and Bournemouth 9-0 but losing to struggling Leeds, their only home defeat of the season – had left the Reds 20 points adrift of the Premier League leaders going into the weekend.

It has been more common for the two to push each other all the way to the final day of the season, Liverpool twice coming second by just a point, and despite their most recent troubles Klopp expects normal service to be resumed when the new campaign kicks off in August.

“There are two games a season, maybe with cups three, four or five, when you play City, Arsenal and the others,” he said ahead of the trip to struggling Leicester.

“There are five million ways to win a football game, you only have to find one. A successful season is you are ready for all the games, that you can win 25-odd games.

“If City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle, Tottenham, Man United are all involved in that 25 then it is even better.

“But it is about can we create a team who can win the majority of the games? Yes, we can. It was never about what the other teams do.

“We didn’t become champions by a point twice and there will be some people who say it was because we didn’t have this player in that moment.

“Getting 90-odd points is absolutely insane, pretty special, and no one should take these things for granted.

“The top seven get even closer together, it will be more difficult and more competitive.

“It doesn’t make it easier but everyone with a good idea has a chance to be part of it. If you are part of the battle up there then you can win it as well.”

Liverpool’s current six-match winning run, their best sequence for more than a year, has given a glimpse of the level the side used to – and Klopp believes will again – play at.

The Reds boss has spoken regularly in recent weeks about using the end to the campaign as a platform for next season and has been pleased with the way his squad have responded.

“We show it in six weeks. I’m happy that this question has come and you don’t ask me, ‘how is it you can play such rubbish football for so long?’,” he added.

“I never questioned these boys. Never. Mentality-wise these boys are exceptional but we still couldn’t deliver for long periods of the season consistently good, successful football.

“Is that normal for human beings? The period was a bit too long, but yes.

“For everyone it is a relief to go again, to be winning again in a convincing way and not (having to) scrap three points.

“We have a clear idea of what we want to do and I saw so many good things we could build on.

“Nothing for Match of the Day, it won’t show up there, but I saw so many things in these games.

“I’m absolutely fine with the reaction now but we all think it was a bit too long until we showed it.

“All we can do is go for the last three games and make the best of what we have so far.”

Captain James Ward-Prowse has “full confidence” Southampton can make a swift return to the Premier League following the pain of relegation.

Saints’ fate was sealed by Saturday’s listless 2-0 defeat to Fulham – a club-record 24th league loss in a single season.

England midfielder Ward-Prowse has been with Southampton since the age of eight but is already being linked with a summer move away from St Mary’s.

The 28-year-old, who insists he is “not thinking too far ahead” regarding his own future, is optimistic Saints will bounce back from surrendering the top-flight status they have held since 2012.

“(I’ve) full confidence, I think the club’s been there and done it,” he told Southampton’s website.

“The squad that we’ve got now is incredibly young and they’ve got a lot to learn.

“They will have learnt a lot from this year and next year I’m sure the club will be doing everything they can to be back in the Premier League.”

Southampton were precariously placed for much of a miserable campaign, having continually occupied the bottom three since early November.

Second-half goals from Fulham pair Carlos Vinicius and Aleksandar Mitrovic condemned Ruben Selles’ side to the drop with two games to spare.

Spaniard Selles was the team’s third manager this term following the sackings of Ralph Hasenhuttl and Nathan Jones.

Ward-Prowse concedes warning signs were present for a long time and admits Saints ultimately went down to the Sky Bet Championship with a whimper.

“It’s something, in all honesty, we’ve been fearing for a little while,” he said.

“Over the last couple of years we’ve not been performing at the level I believe we should be and I think this season’s caught up with us.

“There’s a way to lose games, there’s a way to maybe fail in sport and I think the way we’ve done it this year, that’s the disappointing way.

“I don’t feel we’ve really gone down with a fight and given everything we can.

“I feel for the fans because they don’t deserve to see what we’ve produced this season and that’s the sad thing.”

Victory for Fulham was a club-record 15th in a Premier League season to tighten their grip on a top-half spot.

Winger Harry Wilson, who was involved in each of the Cottagers’ goals on the south coast, hopes to increase the impressive points haul of 51 going into a home game against Crystal Palace and a trip to Manchester United.

“It’s not something I was aware of but it’s something we’ve earned throughout the season,” he said of the record.

“We’ve shown that we can win different ways, so to get 15 wins and the record is great.

“We’ll definitely enjoy them (the final two games) but we also know there’s a lot to play for and we want to make sure we get two wins.”

Substitute Mitrovic returned from his eight-match ban with a bang by heading home seven minutes after replacing fellow goalscorer Vinicius.

The Serbia striker was punished for grabbing referee Chris Kavanagh during his side’s 3-1 FA Cup loss at Old Trafford in March.

Wilson is already eyeing revenge against United on the final weekend following the heated cup exit in which Mitrovic, Willian and manager Marco Silva were sent off.

“We were really good for 70 minutes and we all know what happened,” he said of that game.

“We feel like we kind of owe them one in a way because we felt on that day we maybe should have left with something.”

Chelsea are reportedly closing in on the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino as manager.

The Blues have agreed terms with the former Tottenham boss, according to reports in various media outlets on Saturday evening.

The 51-year-old Argentinian would take over from interim manager Frank Lampard at the end of the season.

There has been no confirmation from the club. The PA news agency has contacted Chelsea.

Chelsea are seeking a new full-time manager after sacking Graham Potter amid a run of poor form just seven months into his five-year contract in April.

Lampard, who previously managed the club from 2019-21, was brought in on a temporary basis but the team’s struggles have continued and they sit 11th in the Premier League.

Pochettino, who led Tottenham to the Champions League final in 2019 before being sacked later that year, is available after leaving Paris St Germain last summer.

Mikel Arteta insists his Arsenal side will continue to dig for Premier League glory as the season enters its final fortnight.

The Gunners headed into the weekend just one point behind leaders Manchester City, but having played a game more.

Brighton are the visitors to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, with Arsenal hoping for the chance to move back to the summit, a position they held for the majority of the season.

The destiny of the title was taken out of their own hands after a 4-1 thrashing at City followed a run of three consecutive draws.

Since then, Arsenal have got back on track with impressive wins over Chelsea and Newcastle and Arteta is urging his players to keep working until the end of the campaign.

“We are going to continue to dig — dig, dig, dig, dig,” he said.

“And maybe the prize is there. We don’t know if it’s there, but we are going to continue to dig, just in case it is where we can get to, and make sure that we can do our best.

“The stakes are huge and we are full of enthusiasm to get that prize in the best possible way.

“To do that, we have to win our matches and the first one is Brighton and they are fighting for something very important.

“That is what is going to make it really complicated.”

Arsenal will kick off against the Seagulls after City have faced relegation-threatened Everton.

Arteta spent six-and-a-half years at Goodison Park before moving to Arsenal and is hoping for a favour from his former club, who shocked Brighton with a 5-1 win on the south coast last week.

“Obviously they are playing for their life right now and you could see that in the last game against Brighton,” he added.

“Sean (Dyche) has instilled that belief again and that cohesion around the team and the fans to create something special.

“As a huge Everton fan, I want the best for them and that’s not going to change this weekend.

“They had some very good results and some others that deserved more. They have been really, really competitive in the last few months.

“For sure they are going to give their best, but there are teams who are fighting for Europe and others fighting for relegation and others playing the last game of the season at home, and you know what that means.

“Every game has a different meaning and it will be important for sure.”

Leicester boss Dean Smith has challenged his players to carry the psychological burden of their relegation battle.

The Foxes host Liverpool on Monday desperate for victory as they sit two points from safety with three games left.

Leeds’ 2-2 draw with Newcastle added extra pressure on the 2016 champions and dropped them to second bottom in the Premier League.

Smith, who replaced Brendan Rodgers until the end of the season last month, knows the importance of the Foxes keeping their heads.

“My approach has always been to challenge the players in terms of their performances because that’s the only thing they can control,” he said.

“When they go into the game their decision-making has to be good and they’ve made good decisions because otherwise they wouldn’t have won the FA Cup a couple of years ago. There are players here who have won the Premier League as well.

“What they’ve done in the past shows that they are good decision-makers but this is the cut and thrust now, we need to make sure we’re all good at making decisions.

“We’ve shown in all the games we’ve had so far that we can come back from a goal down, they know they can come back from that.

“We knew Fulham would come and press us and if they did we needed to play beyond them on the press and we played straight into it for the third goal.

“I felt we needed to change something at half-time and that might open us up a little bit in the second half because we wanted to be a bit more aggressive in our press.

“I’ve seen a really good attitude and application to training and to the matches that we’ve had, with the exception of 45 minutes at Fulham which I felt we were too passive, we looked a yard off it.

“Whether that was psychological or not I don’t know but it appeared to be because I get the running numbers after and I think we were slightly higher than Fulham in every metric. That psychological bit can let you down on technical ability at times and so our job is to ease that up.”

Jurgen Klopp insists forward Darwin Nunez would have scored a lot more goals if Liverpool had performed better this season.

The Uruguay international, signed from Benfica in the summer for a potential club-record £84million, has found the net 15 times in his maiden campaign.

However, with virtually all of Klopp’s first-choice forwards available again the 23-year-old has struggled to secure a place in the team recently, starting just five times in the last 11 matches in which he has scored just once.

But Klopp said the failing was that of the team, which has been wildly inconsistent prior to their current six-match winning run, and not the player.

“There’s a lot more to come. That’s clear. He needs time to settle,” said the Liverpool manager.

“The most difficult thing for a striker is to come into a team that is not clicking.

“Imagine if we played for us a good season, an 80-point or more season, he would have scored more goals definitely.

“But it is like now each situation we created and miss it is a more high level (of pressure).

“Mo Salah, in his best season when he scored 40-odd goals, missed chances. That’s normal. Erling Haaland missed chances. But they had much more than we created in this period.

“Fifteen goals is absolutely fine. Still three games to go so possibly he can increase that number as well.

“He had time to adapt at Benfica and there was no language issue, or less than it is here. We tried to help him so he can help us even more than he did already.”

Pep Guardiola has no fears about complacency heading into Manchester City’s crucial clash at Everton.

The Premier League leaders head to Goodison Park on Sunday for a match of significance at both ends of the table.

City need points to hold off the challenge of title rivals Arsenal while the relegation-threatened Toffees are anxious to pull away from trouble.

Yet for City the game is complicated by its placement between both legs of their finely-poised Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid.

Guardiola’s side fought out a 1-1 draw in a draining encounter at the Bernabeu Stadium on Tuesday and it would be easy for players to look beyond Everton to Wednesday’s return against the Spanish giants.

But City manager Guardiola said: “The players are humble enough and respect the opponents. They know exactly how difficult it is at Everton. They know what they are playing for.

“I don’t know what is going to happen but I am pretty convinced they will have incredible focus at Goodison Park.

“The Premier League is such an important title. I know the Champions League is so special but this is many months, many tough games. You have to train incredibly good and we know what a Sean Dyche team means.”

By playing on Sunday, City will only have two clear days prior to the Champions League game while Real, who were in action on Saturday, have three.

Guardiola has admitted he would have preferred to play on Saturday but insists it is not a problem.

He said: “It’s not complaining at all, not even about the schedule. It is a privilege.

“I think the excitement to try to do it again, to try to win the titles at the end, gives you an incredible energy when you are a little tired.

“The tension and pressure are there. I feel it, we feel it. It’s normal, but we have three days. It is enough time to prepare for Real Madrid. We are used to it.

“It is not the first time we’ve had incredible games. We play the second leg at home and Everton is only one hour away by bus.

“It is not as demanding as playing Champions League away then in the south of England three days later. Come on, we are privileged. The club takes care of us perfectly and we have to be ready to do it.”

Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson refuses to step on Gareth Southgate’s toes when it comes to Eberechi Eze despite a two-goal afternoon from the England hopeful.

The 24-year-old netted either side of half-time at Selhurst Park to lift his side to a 2-0 victory over Bournemouth, who could still secure their mathematical Premier League safety this weekend depending on results elsewhere.

Eze was believed to have been amongst the names on England boss Southgate’s long-list ahead of the World Cup, but former national team manager Hodgson made clear he would not try to influence any decisions about his midfielder’s international future.

He said: “It’s a question for Gareth I’m afraid, Gareth and [assistant manager] Steve Holland. I know they follow the team, our team closely, they follow the players, so what I’ve seen they will have seen and it will be totally and utterly up to them if they decide if what they’re seeing is what they’re looking for.

“No one would be happier for Ebs if he got selected, but I’m certainly not going to be the person who starts making those suggestions and telling the national team coach what he should do.

“I had four years of people telling me what I should be doing, so I made a definite rule that if I ever got back into club football no one is every going to pick up a newspaper, Gareth Southgate, and hear ‘Roy Hodgson thinks’.

“Roy Hodgson thinks what he thinks, and if Gareth ever wants to know what I’m thinking he knows where to find me, and we’re close enough friends for him to ask me.”

Eze, who has now netted 10 times for Palace this season, has thrived since Hodgson’s arrival in March and has credited the 75-year-old manager for an uptick in performance.

His first goal against the Cherries came as a result of some fine work from Wilfried Zaha, who evaded his marker and sent the ball in the direction of Jordan Ayew, who flicked the ball backwards to his team-mate for a neat finish after 39 minutes.

Michael Olise then became the first player in Palace history to pick up 10 assists in a single Premier League season when his long ball found Eze after the restart to set up a mazy run ending in an impossible save for Neto in the top right corner.

O’Neil’s side have all but assured themselves top-flight safety, but Saturday’s result means they may not have the chance to secure it on the pitch if results at Everton and Leicester, on Sunday and Monday respectively, go in their favour.

It will still be another week before Bournemouth can take their campaign to 40 points, but O’Neil himself will be turning the big 4-0 on his birthday this Thursday.

He said: “I won’t be celebrating. We’ll get to the end of the season and reflect on everything. I’ll have a clearer picture on what we have achieved, what we had and where we fell short, where we need to improve, what we’ve done well.

“In the summer I’ll give myself a small amount of time before we get ready for next season.

“Hopefully it’s mathematically done. We were looking to take care of ourselves today, but I think the fact that we were all but safe with four to go is a big achievement for the group and they should be very proud of what they have achieved.

“But a nice little reminder for them today that if you take your foot off the gas and you try and stand still then things can go past you very, very quickly.”

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