Eddie Howe will target quality rather than quantity as he embarks upon a recruitment mission to equip Newcastle for the Champions League.

The Magpies booked a return to European club football’s biggest stage on Monday evening when a 0-0 draw against Premier League strugglers Leicester handed them the point they needed to be sure of a place in the top four.

That will place fresh demands on a squad which has been boosted by the injection of more than £250million since the club’s Saudi-backed owners took charge in October 2021, but head coach Howe insists there will be no wild spending as he once again looks for astute acquisitions.

He said: “We’ve got work to do, we’ve got work to do to be ready, we know that. There’s a big task ahead of us, but I’m confident we can do it.

“It’s going to be important for us, we have got to try to get it right and that’s going to underpin our success, really. I think we’ve been really, really good in the three transfer windows so far since I’ve been here.

“The challenge gets harder and more difficult because, now we’ve become a better team, there are fewer players who would make us better, so it’s going to be a big window for us.

“It won’t be huge numbers – I don’t think it can be. We don’t have the ability to spend the money that people will think we have, so we’re going to have to be smart.

“It will be a small group of players, but hopefully ones that can make the difference.”

Newcastle last played in the Champions League under Sir Bobby Robson in 2002/03, and repeating the feat was a long-term aim when Amanda Staveley and the consortium she put together completed their takeover, with relegation from the top flight a very real possibility.

That it has arrived so soon is testament not only to their financial backing, but to the expertise, attention to detail and intensity Howe and his staff have brought to their task and the ability and willingness of their players to answer every question they have been asked.

Howe said: “When I came here, creating history and trying to bring success to Newcastle was very much in our thoughts of what we hoped to do. Hopefully, this is the start for us.

“You never know what’s around the corner in football, but we’ll try to enjoy the achievement.

“We’re going into now an incredibly tough competition, but the best competition that you can be in, so I don’t think the achievement can be underestimated.

“It’s a very, very difficult thing to do. To break that monopoly of the top four is so tough, so I think it’s a massive achievement for us and we’ll look forward to what it brings.”

For those supporters old enough to remember, qualification will bring back memories of Faustino Asprilla’s famous hat-trick against Barcelona in 1997 and the Craig Bellamy goal which secured a dramatic victory over Feyenoord and a place in the second group stage five years later, and Howe is determined that his team will not simply make up the numbers this time around.

Asked about making an impression, he said: “Yes, of course, otherwise all the hard work and effort it’s taken to get there is, I wouldn’t say wasted, but you’ve wasted an opportunity to try to leave a mark and try to make a dent in a competition that is an amazing thing to be part of, so we want to be in it as long as we can.”

Newcastle have qualified for the Champions League for the third time in their history and the first in 20 years after securing a top-four Premier League finish.

Head coach Eddie Howe has joined an exclusive club alongside Kenny Dalglish, who guided the Magpies side he had inherited from Kevin Keegan into the competition for the first time in 1997, and Sir Bobby Robson, who matched his feat five years later.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at how the club have fared on their previous encounters with Europe’s big boys.

Temuri and Tino

If full-back John Beresford was the unlikely hero as the Magpies secured a 2-1 qualifying round first-leg victory over Croatia Zagreb with a place in the 1997-98 Champions League group stage at stake, it was Georgia international Temuri Ketsbaia who snatched the headlines in the return at the Maksimir Stadium when his strike in the last minute of extra-time secured a 2-2 draw on the night and a 4-3 aggregate win.

Dalglish’s men launched their Group C campaign in style when Faustino Asprilla scored a superb hat-trick in a stunning 3-2 victory over Barcelona, with Luis Enrique and Luis Figo on target for the visitors, but things went downhill from there.

A 2-2 draw with Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine was followed by back-to-back defeats at the hands of PSV Eindhoven and Michael Reiziger’s strike at the Nou Camp saw Barca – where Robson had been moved upstairs to make way for Louis Van Gaal – gain revenge before the adventure ended with a 2-0 home win over Dynamo.

Back to Barca

Kieron Dyer’s expert finish in Sarajevo and a 4-0 home win in which Alan Shearer scored the final goal saw Newcastle ease past FK Zeljeznicar to reach the competition proper for the second time in 2002.

Dynamo Kiev ensured they got off to a disappointing start with a 2-0 away defeat and their hopes of emerging from Group E looked to be over when Feyenoord won 1-0 at St James’ Park before two Alessandro Del Piero goals handed Juventus a 2-0 victory in Turin.

However, Andy Griffin fired Robson’s side to victory over the Italians on Tyneside and Shearer’s penalty snatched a 2-1 win against the Ukrainians to set up a memorable night in Rotterdam on which Craig Bellamy struck late to claim a 3-2 win over Feyenoord and send his side through to the second group stage as the first side to make it after losing the first three games.

Their reward was a daunting draw which pitched them into battle with Inter Milan, Barcelona and Bayer Leverkusen, and their hopes were dealt a significant blow by a 4-1 home defeat by Inter in which Bellamy was sent off and Shearer later suspended on video evidence after a clash with Fabio Cannavaro.

A 3-1 defeat in Barcelona rubbed salt into the wound and although they beat Leverkusen home and away – with Shearer plundering a hat-trick on Tyneside – and drew 2-2 in Milan, Barca’s 2-0 win at St James’ meant the quarter-finals were beyond them.

The one that got away

Having finished third in the Premier League at the end of the 2002-03 season, Robson and his players were anticipating a second-successive crack at the Continent’s biggest and best, but after Nolberto Solano’s goal saw them return from Partizan Belgrade with a 1-0 win, they lost the home leg of their qualifying tie 1-0 and eventually went out on penalties.

Their consolation was a UEFA Cup run which was ended at the semi-final stage by Marseille striker Didier Drogba’s double.

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has admitted Champions League qualification was not even in his thoughts as he embarked upon the new Premier League campaign.

The Magpies secured a top-four finish and a return to the big stage for the first time since the 2002-03 season with a 0-0 draw against Leicester on Monday evening to complete a remarkable turnaround.

They were in severe danger of relegation when Howe took the helm in November 2021 but will now rub shoulders with the continent’s elite next season.

A delighted Howe said: “This wasn’t in our sights at that moment. We had escaped relegation impressively, from the position we were in.

“We were hopeful of improving and staying away from danger and growing the team to a position where maybe we could compete for Europe in a couple of seasons, so we’ve shot ahead of schedule.

“With that comes big challenges for the future, but when you’re in these moments and there’s an opportunity of something like this, you have to take it.”

The club’s Saudi-backed owners have ploughed in excess of £250million in the squad since buying out Mike Ashley, but have received an earlier than anticipated return on their investment.

Newcastle reached the Carabao Cup final in February only to lose to Manchester United at Wembley, but were not to be denied a place at Europe’s top table.

Howe said: “The difficulty is there’s no trophy. It’s an amazing achievement, an amazing thing in terms of where we’ve come from in such a short space of time.

“But it feels difficult to celebrate it like you’ve won a league or something like that. It’s right up there, of course it is. It’s an amazing thing at a very special club.

Asked how he would celebrate, Howe added with a smile: “I don’t know how I’ll celebrate. I’ll wait and see. I hope it’s not with a tea and a biscuit.”

St James’ Park was bouncing at the final whistle and Howe, his staff and players performed a lap of honour, although the mood in the Leicester camp was very different.

The Foxes remain two points adrift of safety, although victory over West Ham on Saturday coupled with a draw for Everton at home to Bournemouth would keep them up on goal difference.

They did not muster a shot until stoppage time, when Magpies goalkeeper Nick Pope kept out Timothy Castagne’s volley to deny them a priceless victory, but boss Dean Smith was defiant over his safety-first approach.

Smith said: “I make no apologies for the way we set up today. We haven’t kept a clean sheet for too long and the reason we are where we are is because of that in my opinion.

“My mind was made up when I watched Newcastle play Brighton on Thursday, one of the best footballing teams in the Premier League this year, Brighton, and in that first 20, 25 minutes, they steamrollered them.

“We had to keep a clean sheet and hope, because we had to make sacrifices with our team sheet today and hope then we were still in the game.

“It almost worked exactly to plan, but the goalkeeper made a really good save in the 90th minute, which was our only shot, I think.

“If it’s too little, too late, who knows? But we’ve taken it to Sunday now.”

Ilkay Gundogan is determined not to lose momentum as Manchester City aim to close out the season by winning the treble.

City claimed the first of the three trophies they are chasing by winning the Premier League title over the weekend.

Their sights are now set on adding the FA Cup and Champions League but, before they can switch thoughts fully to their two finals next month, they have to complete the league programme.

City, who are unbeaten in 24 games, wrap up their Premier League campaign by travelling to Brighton on Wednesday and Brentford next Sunday and Gundogan is wary of easing up in those matches.

The City captain said: “We haven’t lost any games for so many weeks and that’s the standard that we have to set for ourselves.

“We do nothing different – we do the same things that we’ve done in the last few weeks and hopefully it can be a really special end to the season.

“I love the club and being part of this amazing team.

“Obviously, we want to finish the season with two more trophies. We have two more big finals, and the last two games of the Premier League season are going to be preparation for that.

“We don’t want to drop anything. I would love to lift two more trophies.”

The ultimate success of City’s season will now be defined by the FA Cup final, in which they face Manchester United on June 3, and the Champions League final against Inter Milan the following week.

After a strong run throughout the spring – capped by magnificent performances in crunch games against title rivals Arsenal and then Real Madrid in the Champions League – the focus is strong.

Kevin De Bruyne, who like Gundogan is now a five-time Premier League winner, said: “We like to win, and we’re never bored of it. We’ve won a lot in the past but we want to win again and again.

“We keep on working. We enjoy the games against Brighton and Brentford and prepare for United and Inter and hopefully we can do something special.

“Everybody wants it. We know we need to win two games, but they are hard games, and we need to prepare ourselves the best as possible and hopefully we can win them.”

Midfielder Rodri is confident City can achieve their goal.

He said: “We know there is a long way to go with two big finals and we have to prepare good.

“We can do it. We believe in ourselves. We have been working to arrive in these moments and we are prepared.”

Nick Pope ensured Newcastle booked their Champions League place with a game to spare as he denied Leicester a priceless victory in their bid for Premier League survival.

The Magpies’ £10million summer signing kept out Timothy Castagne’s volley in the second minute of stoppage time with his first save of the game to secure a 0-0 draw on a night when the home side battered at the door but were unable to find a way through.

Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron were both denied by the woodwork, but a point was all their team needed to ensure their place among the continent’s big boys for the first time in 20 years.

By contrast, Leicester, who are still two points adrift of safety, will head into their final-day clash with West Ham knowing their fate is not in their own hands.

Eddie Howe’s men were lauded by a crowd of 52,152 on the final whistle, having secured Champions League football for just the third time in the club’s history and way ahead of the schedule drawn up by the club’s Saudi-backed owners when they took control in October 2021.

In some senses it proved to be a frustrating 90 minutes – it might have been more so had key midfielder Bruno Guimaraes seen red rather than yellow for a poor early challenge of Boubakary Soumare – but it was ultimately the bigger picture which mattered.

Howe was forced to make a last-minute change when, after he had taken part in the warm-up, midfielder Joelinton was unable to start and was replaced by Elliot Anderson.

Any fears the reshuffle might unsettle his team proved unfounded as they took the game by the scruff of the neck amid a party atmosphere at St James’ Park, although Guimaraes was perhaps fortunate to escape with only a booking for his studs-up ninth-minute clash with Soumare.

The Magpies dominated possession but in the early stages were unable to find a telling final ball.

Almiron, who had made another high-octane start, fired over after cutting inside from the right and Anderson tested goalkeeper Daniel Iversen for the first time with a curling attempt.

Alexander Isak was seeing plenty of the ball down the left but sliced a long-range effort well wide as the Magpies piled forward repeatedly without ever really being able to summon up the required precision to make the pressure tell.

For their part, City attempted to hit Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho long and early and, although they achieved a measure of success, they met with stubborn resistance from Fabian Schar and Sven Botman.

Wilson twice went close to his 19th goal of the season four minutes before the break when he stabbed a shot against a post and then saw Wilfred Ndidi clear his follow-up header off the line, while Almiron was similarly denied by the woodwork before Isak steered the rebound wide seconds later.

Wilson headed over from a Kieran Trippier corner in stoppage time after Iversen had misjudged the flight and the half ended goalless.

James Maddison entered the fray at the break as a replacement for Iheanacho, but the traffic continued to head very much in the direction of his team’s goal, with Isak and Almiron menacing out wide, although the massed ranks of blue held impressively firm.

Iversen had to turn a 59th-minute Isak snapshot over his crossbar and block Sean Longstaff’s 76th-minute drive with a foot, but it was the Foxes who almost snatched victory at the death when Pope was forced into his first save of the game to keep out Castagne’s stoppage-time volley.

Southampton’s owners have announced a shake-up at board level in the wake of relegation from the Premier League.

Martin Semmens has left his role as CEO, with Sport Republic – the majority shareholder at St Mary’s – taking full operational control of the club.

Serbian businessman Dragan Solak has been appointed chairman of Sport Republic but Rasmus Ankersen will continue as CEO of the company and Henrik Kraft stays on as club chairman.

Saints are still looking for a new manager, with Swansea boss Russell Martin reported to be the frontrunner.

A statement read: “These are the first of many changes that we will be making to ensure the success of the club.

“Our incoming director of football, Jason Wilcox, will lead a review of the football department and we will announce the club’s leadership team for next season in the coming weeks.

“By taking these steps now, we are laying the groundwork for our goal of returning Southampton FC to the Premier League as soon as possible.”

Everton have entered an exclusivity agreement with American firm MSP Sports Capital as they look to secure an injection of new investment, the PA news agency understands.

It is understood that, while a deal over funding is yet to be concluded, talks between New York-based MSP and the Toffees – who had also been speaking to 777 Partners – are progressing well.

Seventeenth in the table after the weekend’s action, Everton play Bournemouth at Goodison Park next Sunday as the battle for Premier League survival goes down to the final game of the season for Sean Dyche’s men.

The Merseyside outfit’s new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock is currently under construction at a cost of £760million.

Figures from MSP were present at Goodison when Everton lost 2-1 to Southampton in January.

MSP and 777 Partners, another American company, were then understood to be parties being spoken to after Everton owner Farhad Moshiri in February said he was in talks with “top investors of real quality to bridge a gap on the stadium”.

Roberto De Zerbi accepts that some of Brighton’s top talents may not be part of his Seagulls set-up when they take on Europe for the first time next season.

Albion guaranteed themselves at least the Europa Conference League with Sunday’s 3-1 Premier League victory over Southampton, though sixth place and the Europa League are also all-but assured.

What remains less certain are the futures of multiple men who helped make history at the Amex, with Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo among the names linked with summer transfers.

De Zerbi said: “Now we have to organise, we have to build a new squad. We have to organise the new season. We have to finish before, OK, but then we have to organise and we have to build a new squad.

“I think we don’t need too many players but we have to compete in the Europa League. We have to compete in the Premier League because it will be tougher for sure for us.

“I think we will lose some big players, but it’s right, no? Because they deserve to play for other targets in another team, but we have to be ready to bring in other big players with the policy of the club.

“We have to arrive ready to compete in four competitions.”

According to some reports, World Cup winner Mac Allister, who joined Albion in January 2019 on a four-and-a-half-year deal, has already principally agreed a move to Liverpool.

Brighton CEO Paul Barber, however, was quick to dismiss those rumours, telling talkSPORT: “If I lost sleep over every report that I read about one of our players doing that, then I wouldn’t be sleeping very much at all.

“At the moment he’s focused on doing what he can for us in our final two games of the season. We’ve got a massive game here against Manchester City on Wednesday and then we go to Villa Park on Sunday to complete what has been a fantastic season for us.

“I saw him down on the pitch looking very happy and obviously we’d love him to be here next season.

“We know that there are going to be a lot of clubs, not just in this country but around Europe, around the world that are going to be wanting Alexis to play for them.

“But at the moment he is wearing blue and white stripes and I’m delighted about that.”

Southampton boss Ruben Selles was also looking ahead to his club’s future, though what happens to him after the conclusion of the campaign is unclear.

Selles’ agreement also expires at the end of the season, with Swansea boss Russell Martin rumoured to replace him.

The Spaniard handed academy prospects Kamari Doyle and Dom Ballard their league debuts in the relegated Saints’ penultimate Premier League contest, with just Liverpool at St Mary’s left to play.

He said: “I’m looking ahead to what can I do if I’m here or not. And that’s why I can give our players that are coming from the academy all the way into the first team.

“I can get players that are ready to go and perform for the first team and even if it’s some minutes today or against Liverpool, that is a big step for their careers and they just keep the door open for them.”

Leeds stand on the brink of Premier League relegation after Sunday’s 3-1 defeat at West Ham.

The Yorkshire club’s three-season stay in the top-flight will be over if they fail to beat Tottenham next Sunday and, depending on other results, victory on the final day might not be enough to save them.

Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the reasons why it has gone wrong at Elland Road.

Bielsa legacy casts shadow

Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani, former director of football Victor Orta and chief executive Angus Kinnear received huge acclaim when the club ended their 16-year Premier League exile in 2020. They played a masterstroke by handing the keys to the bus to head coach Marcelo Bielsa in 2018, but their legacy was always going to be defined by how they filled the vacuum after sacking him in February 2022. The bus stalled when poor results cost the Argentinian his job. The board has since got most of its key decisions wrong and all the wheels, one by one, have fallen off.

What exactly did the board get wrong?

Bielsa’s successor Jesse Marsch was hailed as a natural replacement, but performances and results did not improve. Leeds survived relegation last season on the final day and when Marsch was sacked in February this year he left the club in a worse position in the table. The board’s failed, ill-conceived bids to hire Rayo Vallecano’s Andoni Iraola and Feyenoord’s Arne Slot led to accusations of panic and, after a fans’ backlash, they also reneged on appointing former Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder. So in came Javi Gracia. The club then admitted they had erred in that decision by parachuting Sam Allardyce into Elland Road with four league games remaining.

Can relegation be blamed solely on the managers?

No. After Leeds defied the odds to finish ninth under Bielsa in their first season back in the top flight, they have failed to sufficiently strengthen their squad. A lack of cover for an injury-prone Patrick Bamford and midfielder Tyler Adams are prime examples. It has also been an imbalanced squad with wide players in abundance, but no depth in other key areas. Some signings since promotion, such as Raphinha, Adams, Luis Sinisterra and Willy Gnonto, have been a success, but too many others have failed to make an impact, while the arrival of club record signing Georginio Rutter has left fans scratching their heads.

Has the ownership issue muddied the waters?

The last-ditch appointment of Allardyce was symptomatic of Leeds’ mis-management and of a club in limbo since the investment arm of San Francisco 49ers increased its stake to 44 per cent at the end of 2021. 49ers Enterprises has an option to own 100 per cent by January next year and the ownership issue has not helped decision-making. Orta’s resignation in protest over Gracia’s sacking has left Leeds without a director of football and, if Allardyce departs as expected, they will be without a long-term head coach. How relegation would affect the takeover remains to be seen, while Radrizzani has been linked with a takeover of Sampdoria. With relegation looming a rudderless ship appears to be heading for the rocks.

Manchester City are celebrating another Premier League title but their season is far from done as they also target FA Cup and Champions League success.

Here, the PA news agency looks at their plans for their coming weeks.

How will Pep Guardiola approach their final two Premier League games?

With the Premier League title race over, City can afford to ease up for their two remaining league games – away to Brighton and Brentford – before switching attention to their two finals.

The line-up for Sunday’s dead rubber against Chelsea, when manager Guardiola named most of his big guns on the bench, showed he intends to lighten his star names’ load. Yet there is also a need to keep players sharp and prevent rustiness.

There may be a clue to his thinking in the line-ups for the two Premier League games immediately prior to the Champions League semi-final first leg against Real Madrid. In those matches, against West Ham and Leeds, Guardiola gave all his starting XI against Madrid game time but only one – Erling Haaland – started both. We could see a similar approach with half the first-choice side starting the first game, and the other half the second.

Are there any injury concerns?

City have had a good season in terms of squad fitness with relatively few injuries. Defender Nathan Ake is currently their only sidelined player with a hamstring problem.

The Netherlands international has enjoyed a fine campaign but time is short. He may need to get some action against either Brighton or Brentford to have a chance of starting against Manchester United at Wembley or Inter Milan in Istanbul.

What will the approach to the finals from City be?

Obviously it is hard to make predictions but it is notable that Guardiola named the same side for City’s three biggest games of recent weeks – the crunch Premier League clash with Arsenal and both legs against Real Madrid.

With performance levels in those games outstanding, it would appear he has found his ideal big-match XI. There could be some room for deviation in the FA Cup – for instance Stefan Ortega has been the regular domestic cup starting keeper and Riyad Mahrez’s semi-final hat-trick may earn him another outing – but the side for Istanbul would seem at least pencilled in.

Can Manchester United stop City winning the treble?

United’s fans may view their own team as the best hope of stopping City emulating their famous 1999 treble. City will be firm favourites to win both finals but Manchester derbies can be unpredictable.

City thrashed their neighbours 6-3 in October but United got revenge when they met again at Old Trafford in January. There was some controversy over United’s equaliser in the 2-1 win but the Red Devils proved they can compete with City on a given day.

City, of course, have hit their stride since and United’s mid-season charge has slowed, but Erik ten Hag’s team can shine on a one-off occasion.

Do Inter pose a threat to City?

After thrashing Madrid in the previous round, City seem destined to finally claim the Champions League prize this term. It is difficult to see Inter, currently the fourth best team in Serie A, containing them.

Yet the Italians are defensively strong and do pose a threat through the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and former City striker Edin Dzeko, so they may have a puncher’s chance.

John Stones is determined not to ease up as Manchester City chase the treble.

City claimed the first of a potential three trophies in the coming weeks as they wrapped up the Premier League title over the weekend.

They now have their sights on the FA Cup final against Manchester United on June 3 and the Champions League final in Istanbul the following week, in which they will face Inter Milan.

Defender Stones, now a five-time Premier League winner, said: “We’re back in training on Monday and we’ll go from there. We’ve got to keep the rhythm.

“The hunger is there and we know what’s ahead of us now, that we can try and make some more history.”

City were presented with the Premier League trophy after celebrating their success with a comfortable 1-0 win over Chelsea, courtesy of a Julian Alvarez goal, at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Their title triumph – their fifth in six seasons and a third in succession – had been confirmed the previous evening when second-placed Arsenal lost at Nottingham Forest.

City trailed the Gunners by eight points last month but have surged past their closest rivals on a run of 12 straight wins.

Stones said: “I don’t think I had time to doubt what we can do. I think it was just focusing on what was ahead of us, focusing on winning.

“We’ve done it so many times now. We just came on this run, and it’s just incredible what kind of team we’ve got.

“I’ve been here nearly seven years now and we just keep going from strength to strength with the players that we’ve got, the team that we’ve got and the improvement.

“The titles that we’ve won – I think it speaks for itself.”

Stones has been one of City’s key players during their strong run throughout the spring, playing in a hybrid defence-midfield role.

The England international has been part of the back line, at either centre-back or right-back, when opponents have been attacking but has stepped into midfield when City have been in possession.

Consequently he has made a big impression at both ends of the field.

“I absolutely love it,” he said. “It’s something new for me that I’m learning, giving my everything, every game.

“I don’t know if it’s my best football but I’m absolutely loving playing.

“It’s always easy when you’re winning and playing the football that we are, but it’s another string to my bow and I am absolutely enjoying it.”

Chelsea sacked manager Carlo Ancelotti on this day in 2011, one year after he had led the club to a domestic double.

The Italian, then 51, won the Premier League title and the FA Cup with the Blues in 2010, but was ruthlessly dismissed by club owner Roman Abramovich after failing to deliver a trophy the following season.

The Blues finished second in the title race, nine points adrift of Manchester United, after exits in the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup and Ancelotti fell victim to his earlier success.

Chelsea finished empty handed for the first time in three years and a club statement read: “This season’s performances have fallen short of expectations and the club feels the time is right to make this change ahead of next season’s preparations.”

Loyalty to managers was never one of Abramovich’s characteristics.

After a 1-0 defeat at Everton on the final day of the season, Ancelotti had just given his post-match press conference when chief executive Ron Gourlay was reported to have taken him to one side in the corridor of Goodison Park and delivered the news.

Ancelotti’s dismissal left Chelsea in the hunt for their seventh manager in the eight years since Abramovich took control of the club in 2003.

The Russian billionaire ended Jose Mourinho’s first spell in charge four months after he had delivered back-to-back trophies.

Both of Ancelotti’s predecessors, Avram Grant and Luiz Felipe Scolari, and the man who succeeded him, Andre Villas-Boas, were all dispensed within eight months.

Ancelotti, who had twice won the Champions League with former club AC Milan before arriving at Stamford Bridge, went on to manage Paris St Germain, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Napoli and Everton.

He returned to Real Madrid in 2021 and, after leading them to their domestic crown, became the first manager to win the title in each of Europe’s top five leagues – Serie A, Premier League, Ligue 1, Bundesliga and LaLiga.

Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka is defiant in his belief that Mikel Arteta is the right man to take the club forward.

The Gunners’ Premier League title hopes ended on Saturday when they lost 1-0 at Nottingham Forest, which saw Manchester City crowned champions for a fifth time in six seasons.

They sat on top of the league for 248 days of the season and had an eight-point lead over City in March, but despite their late capitulation Arteta’s side have won acclaim for their progress this season.

When asked whether he thought Arteta was the man to lead the pursuit of City, he said: “You can forget this question – he is more than the right manager for this team.”

The Gunners have faltered badly in their last eight games, winning just twice, but Xhaka says this season has to be the blueprint for progression.

“We don’t need to forget how we work for the last 11 months,” he said.

“Even when we lost now in the last two games, of course the people see what happens now, but don’t forget the 11 months we worked.

“If someone told us before the season that we will be here, I think everyone would sign it. Our goal for sure was to be back in the top four. Now we are second. Of course when you are so close to the title you want to win the title.

“But we are there where we are, deserve to be where we are, and let’s see what happens next season. We have to go and do the next step.”

Forest’s victory meant that they stayed up against the odds in their first season back in the Premier League.

They did it the hard way, having signed 30 new players across the two transfer windows and were on an 11-game winless run up until the end of April.

But 10 points from the last five games has seen them move out of the relegation zone and midfielder Ryan Yates was happy to prove people wrong.

“That’s what it’s all about,” he said. “I have had a lot of that individually, this season is no different. That was always going to come with the amount of players brought in and the amount of money spent.

“During those periods we have had, we have had to show real togetherness and resilience.

“All credit to the manager, because he has really instilled that belief in us that we can still achieve. This is really special, let’s kick on again next season.”

Sean Dyche fired a warning to Everton’s relegation rivals and vowed his side are alive and kicking ahead of ‘Survival Sunday’.

The Toffees’ last-gasp 1-1 draw at Wolves on Saturday saw them grab what could be a priceless point, with Yerry Mina equalising seconds from the end of nine minute of stoppage time.

Leeds’ 3-1 defeat at West Ham on Sunday left the Toffees two points clear of the Premier League’s bottom three, although if Leicester beat Newcastle on Monday the Foxes will go above Everton on goal difference.

Everton host Bournemouth in Sunday’s finale but boss Dyche believes their battling point at Molineux proves his side are up for the final fight.

“It sends another message that we’re alive and ready, we’re taking it on,” he said.

“We’ve had a few question marks over ourselves and things that have got away from us, but there’s been a lot of good.

“I’ve reminded the players, there are a lot of good players. They are seeing through the challenges, which I’ve spoken to them at length about.

“See through the noise, forget about that. Look at what’s around us, look at the players we’ve got. I was pleased with them on Saturday, not just for the bigger situation.

“A point doesn’t sound a lot – maybe at this stage it is – but also their performance, the will and demand.

“It’s not always about tactics. It can be, but it’s about the will and demand of a group. That was on show to get something out of a game which looked like it was going away from us.

“The consistency of my message to the players has been very similar. Generally there have been tactical and personnel tweaks but the underlying message has been very consistent. The mentality has got stronger and stronger, particularly away from home.

“I think there’s been an obvious shift, but it means nothing unless we take care of ourselves next week.”

Everton went into stoppage time trailing to Hwang Hee-Chan’s first-half opener, but Mina scored with six seconds left of the initial nine added.

It still means their fate is out of their hands until Leicester finish against Newcastle on Monday and Dyche knows it will be difficult to keep his players away from the distractions this week.

He added: “It’s not very easy nowadays because there’s media everywhere. Everyone’s a journo now, it’s not just you guys (the press).

“Everyone with their phone, everyone who wanders around the Trafford Centre. Everyone has an opinion on something, but it’s part of being a modern footballer, manager or coach. It’s the way it is, you adapt. We all know it’s there.”

Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn admits having the chance to qualify for Europe for the first time in more than a decade is something which they did not think was possible six months ago.

Manager Unai Emery took over from Steven Gerrard in late October with the club 15th in the Premier League but after a 1-1 draw at Anfield their destiny remains in their own hands in terms of securing a spot in the Europa Conference League.

McGinn, who said “every day is a school day” under the Spaniard, accepts that possibility seemed remote at the start of winter.

“It’s been the aim since day one. The owners have had a remit to get us back playing European football,” he said.

“If you’d said to us back in November ‘you’d be three points away’ then you’d have laughed. We have got three points to get to get us back.

“This club deserves to be in the top 10, we’ve managed to secure that for the first time in a long, long while.

“Now it’s about building, getting into Europe hopefully and build from there.”

McGinn said the transformation under Emery, who has won 14 and lost just six of his 24 matches in charge, had been remarkable.

And he believed their performance and experience at Anfield against a team desperately trying to attain Champions League qualification would stand them in good stead if they do indeed qualify for Europe.

“It was a test for us, it was a challenge. If we want to play in Europe, we need to come to places like this and get results,” he added.

“We’ve given ourselves a huge opportunity next week (at home to Brighton) and hopefully we take it.

“It’s in our hands now and we know three points will get us European football.

“The manager has touched on it, he has a lot of experience of European football, I’m sure everyone involved in the club will be so focused this week to make sure that’s a reality.

“He will have an obsession this week on how to beat Brighton. I think if you ask any player who has worked with him this year he has been an absolute pleasure.

“He’s made myself better, he’s made other players better. Every day is a school day, I keep saying it.

“I’m not used to his style of football, the Spanish way. I’ve always had British ex-pros who were all brilliant for me, brilliant for my career but he’s certainly showing me a different side of football and one I’m certainly enjoying.

“I feel as if I’ve got so much left to learn but, even at 28, there’s so much more learning to do. Hopefully the progress can continue and myself and others can continue to improve.”

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