Crystal Palace caretaker manager Paddy McCarthy believes new boss Oliver Glasner will have seen plenty to excite him in the Eagles’ battling 1-1 draw at Everton.

Hours after being confirmed as the successor to veteran Roy Hodgson, who stood down earlier in the day, Glasner was watching from the stand at Goodison Park as Palace claimed a point on Monday night.

McCarthy, who took charge of the side along with fellow assistant Ray Lewington after Hodgson was taken ill last week, feels the team being handed over is in fine shape.

McCarthy said: “He’s seen a team with spirit and commitment to the cause. It’s a good point in the right direction at a difficult place to come.

“I’m sure he will take a lot of positives from the game and I bet he can’t wait to come and work with the lads.”

Glasner, 49, inherits a side 15th in the Premier League and hoping to avoid being pulled into a relegation battle after a poor run of form.

The Austrian led Eintracht Frankfurt to Europa League glory in 2022 and McCarthy feels he is a strong appointment.

The Irishman said: “He is a manager with great pedigree, a European winner. He is coming into a group that I’m sure he will enjoy working with.

“It is a positive move for the football club and one I’m sure will excite the fans.”

McCarthy revealed he had not yet had the chance to meet Glasner and admitted he did not know if he himself had a future at Selhurst Park.

He said: “It was just announced as we arrived for our pre-match meal. I’ve not had chance to meet him.

“It has been a whirlwind couple of days. I’ve had no communication about myself and my future.”

In terms of the game, a dull encounter was lit up when Jordan Ayew broke the deadlock with a superb long-range strike after 66 minutes.

Everton responded well and their pressure eventually paid off when Amadou Onana headed an equaliser six minutes from time.

McCarthy said: “We created some great situations, Jordan took his goal well. We knew the questions that would be asked coming here.

“I thought we defended resolutely for the majority of the game but unfortunately we couldn’t hang on.”

Everton manager Sean Dyche bemoaned the number of chances the hosts wasted but nevertheless felt the point, which lifted the Toffees out of the bottom three, was a valuable one.

Dyche said: “First half it looked like we were off and they were a side where the new manager was sitting in the stand. They had a bit of edge about them and they played well.

“We weren’t miles off but we weren’t brave enough in possession, were too timid, played backwards too much.

“They scored a good goal, a clean strike, but I thought the mentality then was good to get on the front foot. We certainly did enough to get a point and it was a fine delivery and a fine finish.

“It’s another point on the board and we’ve just popped out of the relegation zone but there were chances – we’ve got to start taking them. There were a couple of golden chances we didn’t take.”

Crystal Palace caretaker manager Paddy McCarthy believes new boss Oliver Glasner will have seen plenty to excite him in the Eagles’ battling 1-1 draw at Everton.

Hours after being confirmed as the successor to veteran Roy Hodgson, who stood down earlier in the day, Glasner was watching from the stand at Goodison Park as Palace claimed a point on Monday night.

McCarthy, who took charge of the side along with fellow assistant Ray Lewington after Hodgson was taken ill last week, feels the team being handed over is in fine shape.

McCarthy said: “He’s seen a team with spirit and commitment to the cause. It’s a good point in the right direction at a difficult place to come.

“I’m sure he will take a lot of positives from the game and I bet he can’t wait to come and work with the lads.”

Glasner, 49, inherits a side 15th in the Premier League and hoping to avoid being pulled into a relegation battle after a poor run of form.

The Austrian led Eintracht Frankfurt to Europa League glory in 2022 and McCarthy feels he is a strong appointment.

The Irishman said: “He is a manager with great pedigree, a European winner. He is coming into a group that I’m sure he will enjoy working with.

“It is a positive move for the football club and one I’m sure will excite the fans.”

McCarthy revealed he had not yet had the chance to meet Glasner and admitted he did not know if he himself had a future at Selhurst Park.

He said: “It was just announced as we arrived for our pre-match meal. I’ve not had chance to meet him.

“It has been a whirlwind couple of days. I’ve had no communication about myself and my future.”

In terms of the game, a dull encounter was lit up when Jordan Ayew broke the deadlock with a superb long-range strike after 66 minutes.

Everton responded well and their pressure eventually paid off when Amadou Onana headed an equaliser six minutes from time.

McCarthy said: “We created some great situations, Jordan took his goal well. We knew the questions that would be asked coming here.

“I thought we defended resolutely for the majority of the game but unfortunately we couldn’t hang on.”

Everton manager Sean Dyche bemoaned the number of chances the hosts wasted but nevertheless felt the point, which lifted the Toffees out of the bottom three, was a valuable one.

Dyche said: “First half it looked like we were off and they were a side where the new manager was sitting in the stand. They had a bit of edge about them and they played well.

“We weren’t miles off but we weren’t brave enough in possession, were too timid, played backwards too much.

“They scored a good goal, a clean strike, but I thought the mentality then was good to get on the front foot. We certainly did enough to get a point and it was a fine delivery and a fine finish.

“It’s another point on the board and we’ve just popped out of the relegation zone but there were chances – we’ve got to start taking them. There were a couple of golden chances we didn’t take.”

New Crystal Palace manager Oliver Glasner watched from the stand as substitute Amadou Onana grabbed Everton a crucial late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park.

Jordan Ayew’s 66th-minute goal was greeted with a beaming smile from the former Eintracht Frankfurt coach, who was sandwiched between Eagles chairman Steve Parish and ex-striker Mark Bright in the directors’ box.

The 2022 Europa League winner had no input into the game, having only been announced as Roy Hodgson’s successor less than three hours’ before kick-off, but the change looked to have had the desired effect.

However, Onana came off the bench to nod home from an 84th-minute corner to snatch the point which lifted the Toffees out of the bottom three.

Defeat would have been calamitous for Sean Dyche’s side but the draw at least ensured Palace, with just two league wins in their last 14 matches, were denied a victory which would have pulled them eight points clear of the relegation zone.

Glasner said he was looking forward to working with a talented squad and this display, without the stardust provided by the injured duo of Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise, will have given him some encouragement.

Assistant managers Paddy McCarthy and Ray Lewington took charge for the game after Hodgson, who was hospitalised after falling ill at training on Thursday, confirmed his decision to step down earlier in the day.

Their futures have yet to be decided as no announcement has been made on Glasner’s backroom staff but if this was their last involvement they at least did their former boss proud with an organised performance after days of uncertainty.

Everton will feel this was a missed opportunity but they were far from their best and the returning Abdoulaye Doucoure, making only his second appearance in 12 matches after injury, looked rusty – none more so than when he somehow failed to convert from six yards.

But in terms of missed opportunities, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, in particular, was culpable with headers in either half which he would have buried at the height of his powers but a lack of confidence saw his goalless run stretch to 19 games.

A nondescript first half ended with the home side being booed off after failing to register a shot on target, with Doucoure’s volley wide and Calvert-Lewin’s header from Dwight McNeil’s cross off target.

The visitors’ Odsonne Edouard had shot straight at Jordan Pickford and Jean-Philippe Mateta’s header was cleared off the line by Ashley Young.

Things improved slightly after the break and it required Pickford to charge down a Tyrick Mitchell effort with his chest and opposite number Sam Johnstone to parry James Tarkowski’s goalbound header.

The mess Doucoure made of trying to divert Idrissa Gana Gueye’s miscued drive from the loose ball suggested it was not to be Everton’s night.

And that seemed to be the case when Mateta held off Jarrad Branthwaite to tee up Ayew to strike an angled drive past Pickford for only his third goal of the season.

Another Calvert-Lewin header went wide and James Garner’s shot was parried before Onana rose above Johnstone to head home McNeil’s corner, but Everton’s winless run was extended to eight league matches and they remain in trouble pending the imminent outcome of their appeal against a 10-point deduction for breaching profit and sustainability rules.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has apologised to Kalvin Phillips for saying publicly that he had returned from the Qatar World Cup overweight.

Guardiola made the comment in a press conference in December 2022 having left the City and England midfielder out of a Carabao Cup tie against Liverpool.

Phillips, who joined West Ham on loan in January, earlier this month told the Observer that “after the World Cup was probably the toughest, when Pep came out and said I was overweight”, adding: “I did not disagree with him but obviously I took a big knock on my confidence and how I felt at City.”

Guardiola was asked at a press conference on Monday if he regretted going public about Phillips’ weight, and he said: “Yeah, I’m sorry.

“Once in eight years is not bad. But I’m so sorry. I apologise to him. I do apologise. I’m sorry.”

Phillips said there had been a misunderstanding as to when he was expected to report back and that rather than speaking to Guardiola about that, he “just took it on the chin”.

Guardiola emphasised that he had spoken to Phillips before making the public comment about his weight, saying: “I never, never before I said something here did not speak with the players in that case.”

The manager was talking ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League home clash with Brentford, who City came from behind to beat 3-1 at the Gtech Community Stadium on February 5.

That match saw City defender Kyle Walker respond angrily to something Neal Maupay, the forward on loan with the Bees from Everton, had said to him in the closing stages.

Guardiola said: “I don’t want it but sometimes there is emotions and it happens, and you know that. But this (incident) is forgotten. It happened, I think they talked and that’s all.”

Asked how he dealt with players verbally winding him up during his days on the pitch, the former Barcelona midfielder said: “It depended on my mood!

“Listen, in my period in Barcelona I am in the history for having the record of the most yellow cards conceded. All the time it was for talk, talk, talk.

“So it depends, sometimes I controlled (myself), sometimes (I was) being crazy. People say ‘ah, he cannot control’. As a football player I was the same.”

Tuesday’s fixture is a game in hand for third-placed City over leaders Liverpool and second-placed Arsenal, who the defending champions are four and two points behind respectively.

Guardiola’s treble-winners saw an 11-match winning run in all competitions come to an end with Saturday’s 1-1 league draw with Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium.

New Crystal Palace manager Oliver Glasner watched from the stand as substitute Amadou Onana grabbed Everton a crucial late equaliser in a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park.

Jordan Ayew’s 66th-minute goal was greeted with a beaming smile from the former Eintracht Frankfurt coach, who was sandwiched between Eagles chairman Steve Parish and ex-striker Mark Bright in the directors’ box.

The 2022 Europa League winner had no input into the game, having only been announced as Roy Hodgson’s successor less than three hours’ before kick-off, but the change looked to have had the desired effect.

However, Onana came off the bench to nod home from an 84th-minute corner to snatch the point which lifted the Toffees out of the bottom three.

Defeat would have been calamitous for Sean Dyche’s side but the draw at least ensured Palace, with just two league wins in their last 14 matches, were denied a victory which would have pulled them eight points clear of the relegation zone.

Glasner said he was looking forward to working with a talented squad and this display, without the stardust provided by the injured duo of Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise, will have given him some encouragement.

Assistant managers Paddy McCarthy and Ray Lewington took charge for the game after Hodgson, who was hospitalised after falling ill at training on Thursday, confirmed his decision to step down earlier in the day.

Their futures have yet to be decided as no announcement has been made on Glasner’s backroom staff but if this was their last involvement they at least did their former boss proud with an organised performance after days of uncertainty.

Everton will feel this was a missed opportunity but they were far from their best and the returning Abdoulaye Doucoure, making only his second appearance in 12 matches after injury, looked rusty – none more so than when he somehow failed to convert from six yards.

But in terms of missed opportunities, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, in particular, was culpable with headers in either half which he would have buried at the height of his powers but a lack of confidence saw his goalless run stretch to 19 games.

A nondescript first half ended with the home side being booed off after failing to register a shot on target, with Doucoure’s volley wide and Calvert-Lewin’s header from Dwight McNeil’s cross off target.

The visitors’ Odsonne Edouard had shot straight at Jordan Pickford and Jean-Philippe Mateta’s header was cleared off the line by Ashley Young.

Things improved slightly after the break and it required Pickford to charge down a Tyrick Mitchell effort with his chest and opposite number Sam Johnstone to parry James Tarkowski’s goalbound header.

The mess Doucoure made of trying to divert Idrissa Gana Gueye’s miscued drive from the loose ball suggested it was not to be Everton’s night.

And that seemed to be the case when Mateta held off Jarrad Branthwaite to tee up Ayew to strike an angled drive past Pickford for only his third goal of the season.

Another Calvert-Lewin header went wide and James Garner’s shot was parried before Onana rose above Johnstone to head home McNeil’s corner, but Everton’s winless run was extended to eight league matches and they remain in trouble pending the imminent outcome of their appeal against a 10-point deduction for breaching profit and sustainability rules.

Andre Onana called for his Manchester United team-mates to stick together in the bad moments as well as the good after they extended their winning Premier League run to four games against Luton on Sunday.

Two early goals from striker Rasmus Hojlund set United on the way to a 2-1 victory at Kenilworth Road, though they were made to sweat on the result after Carlton Morris pulled one back for the Hatters after 14 minutes.

Hojlund became the youngest player to score in six consecutive Premier League games, with the 21-year-old’s barren spell that followed his £72million move from Atalanta seemingly now behind him.

United are within five points of fourth-place Aston Villa in the race to qualify for the Champions League.

They are unbeaten since going down 2-1 to Nottingham Forest on December 30 and have progressed to the fifth round of the FA Cup, where they face a rematch with Forest at the City Ground next week.

Goalkeeper Onana, who like Hojlund has found form after being criticised for high-profile errors following his arrival at Old Trafford from Inter Milan in the summer, said togetherness will be key if the team are to maintain their good run until the end of the season.

“You know we have to be together in good and bad moments,” said Onana.

“We have to help each other even when things are not going good. But what we are doing now is very nice and it’s the way we have to follow.

“We have to continue like this because we have done nothing. We didn’t do anything spectacular. Yet now we have to continue winning games, and that is the main thing.

“We have to try to win against every opponent and especially the next game is another final for us.”

United were made to work for three points by 17th-place Luton, who refused to lie down after falling two goals behind inside the opening seven minutes and quickly halved the arrears.

Rob Edwards’ side almost pulled off a famous fightback when Ross Barkley’s header hit the crossbar in stoppage time at the end of the game.

But Erik ten Hag’s team hung on to consolidate their place in sixth and keep the pressure on Villa and Tottenham.

“(Luton) are tough when they play at home and we expected a difficult game,” said Onana. “But like I always say, the quality is there. I’m happy for the victories and hopefully we continue this way this season.

“This is giving us more confidence. We are all happy, you know, when we win, especially this kind of game.

“These three points are very important for us to fight to be in the top four. But like I said, it’s always going to keep us together. This is just a strong motivation for us and makes us very happy.”

Oliver Glasner has been appointed manager of Crystal Palace.

The former Eintracht Frankfurt head coach succeeds Roy Hodgson at Selhurst Park.

Here, the PA news agency takes a closer look at the 49-year-old.

Who is Oliver Glasner?

Glasner was born in 1974 in Austria. He spent his entire playing career, between 1992 and 2011, in his homeland. Aside from a loan spell with Linz-based LASK, the defender was a one-club man, playing 571 times for SV Ried. Glasner twice won the Austrian Cup with Ried and in 1995 helped the club reach the Austrian Bundesliga for the first time. His playing career ended just days short of his 37th birthday after he suffered a subdural haematoma following a clash of heads with Rapid Vienna’s Mario Sonnleitner.

Where has he previously worked?

Following retirement, Glasner became a sporting co-ordinator at Red Bull Salzburg. He was later named assistant to Salzburg boss Roger Schmidt before returning to Ried as head coach for the 2014-15 season. A year later, he was appointed coach and sporting director at his other former club, LASK, and led them to promotion in 2017 followed by a fourth-placed finish. LASK missed out on a place in the Europa League on away goals against Besiktas but finished second the following season. Glasner then elevated his global reputation in Germany during impressive two-season stays with Wolfsburg (2019-2021) and Frankfurt (2021-2023).

What successes has he had?

Glasner has already achieved plenty, with the pinnacle undoubtedly leading Frankfurt to Europa League glory in 2022. The Bundesliga side defeated Rangers on penalties in the final, having knocked out Real Betis, Barcelona and West Ham en route. Frankfurt lost the 2022 UEFA Super Cup 2-0 to Real Madrid but progressed to the last 16 of last season’s Champions League. Glasner left Frankfurt last summer – a year before the end of his contract – after finishing seventh and reaching the German Cup final. Before moving to Deutsche Bank Park, he guided Wolfsburg to finishes of seventh and fourth, securing Europa League and then Champions League qualification.

What can Palace expect?

A passionate and demanding individual and fine tactician, Glasner favours an intense tempo without the ball and likes his teams to entertain in possession. Players can expect honesty and a high level of trust. “The most important thing is to be authentic,” he said, according to the Bundesliga website. “What I say to the players, I mean”. Away from the pitch, Glasner can be quite spiky. Following his final match with Frankfurt – a 3-1 defeat to Hoffenheim – he went viral after angrily telling a journalist to “stop with the garbage” after the commitment of his team was questioned.

Crystal Palace have appointed Oliver Glasner as manager having announced earlier on Monday that Roy Hodgson had stepped down from the role.

Glasner, 49, who led Eintracht Frankfurt to Europa League glory in 2022, has agreed a two-year deal with the Premier Leaguer club.

A Palace statement read: “Crystal Palace F.C. are pleased to confirm the appointment of Oliver Glasner as manager.

“The 49-year-old Austrian has signed a deal to become the Eagles’ boss until the end of the 2025/2026 season.”

Palace announced Hodgson’s departure just hours before their league game against Everton and said that the 76-year-old, who was hospitalised after falling ill during a training session on Thursday, was “out of hospital and doing well”.

Palace chairman Steve Parish said: “I’m delighted to welcome Oliver to the club. He has an outstanding record, and we believe he is the right manager to take the club forward at this pivotal stage.

“Wherever Oliver has gone so far in his managerial journey, success has been quick to follow, and we believe his ambition, as well as his exciting and attacking approach, is the perfect fit for getting the most from our talented young squad in the remainder of this Premier League season and beyond.”

Brentford boss Thomas Frank has backed Phil Foden as the England player most likely to be crowned Ballon d’Or winner.

The 23-year-old scored a hat-trick in Manchester City’s 3-1 win over Brentford earlier this month and the Bees manager was wary of a repeat showing ahead of Tuesday’s meeting between the sides at the Etihad Stadium.

Brentford were the last team to beat the defending Premier League champions at their Etihad home, Ivan Toney scoring the late winner in a 2-1 triumph in November 2022.

And they briefly led Pep Guardiola’s side again at the Gtech Stadium 14 days ago before Foden took over to steal the show with three well-taken strikes.

With 15 goals in 35 games so far in all competitions Foden is one short of his best scoring season for City and has featured in all but one of their league games this term.

“He’s a very good player,” said Frank, whose team have lost eight of their last 10 in the league and are 14th, six points above the bottom three.

“For me, he’s the closest England get to potentially having a Ballon d’Or winner in the future. I think he’s got that potential, that level.

“I think he influences the game in so many ways. Last game he got on the end of three situations, scored three goals. He’s very good dribbling, he’s very good sliding people in, works very hard.

“He seems to have a good mentality. I don’t know him personally, but he looks form the outside to have a very good mentality in terms of working hard.

“He is very good, but there are so many good players; (Kevin) De Bruyne, (Erling) Haaland, Rodri, (Jeremy) Doku, (Julian) Alvarez. The whole team.”

Frank predicted his team would need to play “almost the perfect game” if they are to match the heroics of last season – when they also defeated City at home on the final day – but fretted they have been defensively more porous than he would have liked this campaign.

“In general we’re good defensively, don’t give much away,” he said. “But this season we’ve been giving more away than usual. That’s something we’re trying to adjust.”

The meeting on February 5 was marred by a spat between Neal Maupay and City’s Kyle Walker, with the Brentford striker allegedly making personal remarks about the defender’s family.

In an interview with The Times on Sunday, Maupay said he did not believe that his actions had crossed a line.

Frank came to the defence of his player, who has scored five times in his last seven appearances in all competitions.

“All players are different, what gets them to tick, what they think is important for them to perform,” he said. “That I always respect.

“In terms of winding players up, it’s part of the game. It’s a fine line not to cross. If he does that or not, I don’t know. As far as I know Neal is a good guy, a good teammate and he’s very good for us.”

Newcastle have confirmed sporting director Dan Ashworth has been placed on leave as Manchester United prepare to formalise their efforts to take him to Old Trafford.

The 52-year-old has stepped away from his duties at St James’ Park having told the ownership group that he wants to accept the Red Devils’ overtures.

Chief executive Darren Eales said: “We are naturally disappointed that Dan has chosen to leave, however our exciting journey doesn’t stop and the process to recruit a new sporting director will begin immediately.

“We thank Dan for his efforts at Newcastle United and we wish him and his family well for the future.”

New Manchester United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has identified the former Football Association technical director as the man he wants to lead an overhaul and now faces the prospect of striking a deal to prise him from the Magpies.

The PA news agency understands there has been no formal contact between the clubs as yet but there is little doubt that both will want the matter resolved swiftly to their satisfaction after a week of speculation.

Magpies head coach Eddie Howe has already expressed his concern over the potential for Ashworth to take his inside knowledge with him and that fear is likely to have a major say in Newcastle’s willingness to cut short a stipulated period of inactivity before he can take up a role with a competitor.

In the circumstances, Manchester United may have to bite the bullet on a significant compensation package if they want to get their man in time for an important summer transfer window.

Ashworth was drafted in by Newcastle’s Saudi-backed owners in June 2022 after they paid Brighton substantial compensation to secure his services.

They had identified him as the man they wanted to knit together the various arms of the club’s football operations and not just to oversee its transfer dealings.

He was at the helm as the Magpies surged to a top-four Premier League finish and earned a return to Champions League football after an absence of two decades.

Along the way, they also reached the Carabao Cup final, where they were beaten 2-0 by Erik ten Hag’s men at Wembley.

Howe has enjoyed a close relationship with Ashworth, who was in the stands at St James’ Park for Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Bournemouth, but admitted after the game he had not spoken to his sporting director since voicing his fears about the confidential information he has about the club’s future planning.

Asked on Friday if Ashworth knew the details of Newcastle’s summer recruitment mission, he said: “Yes, and that’s why I say he’s in a position of power, with a lot of intelligence and information.”

Newcastle have not commented on the situation, but are sure to drive a hard bargain as they attempt to protect themselves while at the same time looking for the right administrator to replace a key member of the hierarchy.

Roy Hodgson has stepped down as Crystal Palace manager hours before their Premier League meeting with Everton.

A Palace statement also confirmed the 76-year-old, who was hospitalised after falling ill during a training session on Thursday, was “out of hospital and doing well”.

Hodgson’s right-hand man Ray Lewington and assistant manager Paddy McCarthy will lead the team on Monday at Goodison Park, with the Eagles just five points clear of their opponents who are in the relegation zone.

Hodgson, in a statement released by the club, said:  “This club is very special and means so much to me and has played a big part in my footballing life. I have fully enjoyed my time here across six seasons, as it has given me the chance to work with top class players and staff doing what I love every day.”

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has stressed he is “more than satisfied” with what he is seeing from his team.

Saturday’s 1-1 Premier League draw with Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium, secured by Rodri’s late equaliser, brought an 11-match winning run in all competitions to an end for City.

The defending champions are third in the table, two points behind second-placed Arsenal and four behind leaders Liverpool ahead of playing their game in hand when hosting Brentford on Tuesday.

Guardiola – whose treble-winners are aiming for a fourth successive league title – told a press conference: “The last five, 10 minutes first half, (and) in the second half, we were in our best level.

“But I know the standards we have, that we create to be there, for what we have done in the past, and I understand completely the doubts for the people but what I am seeing, I’m more than satisfied.

“I’ll give credit to Chelsea, who created problems, not just because in some actions we were not good. But in general when you analyse the game, we were more than decent.

“But I know our standards, and you demand our standards, for what we have done in the past. I know it’s not easy to sustain it. For a long, long, long time we did it.

“We were 11 games winning, and the people say ‘they are not going to lose any other game’. So now, just for one draw…when for 55, 60 minutes, we were who we are.”

Guardiola added: “You demand to us all the time, the only team, because we achieve what we have achieved. We have to live with that. We know that. We know how difficult it is, we know it. It’s you that believes it’s easy, not us.”

And when then asked if people demanding perfection every game was the price of success, he said: “Absolutely – I had experience at my previous clubs, especially Barcelona.

“It’s an honour. Go for it. But no effect – we know what it is and we have to continue doing what we try. It’s normal.

“In the beginning was a lack of consistency, and I said it’s how we behave in many, many things in how we perform and I demand, I’m the first to demand myself, the team do it during in 95 minutes, knowing it’s impossible.

“The reality is since we lost against Aston Villa (on December 6) we didn’t lose one game (in 15), and in the (two) games we drew, we were better.

“Are we going to win the Premier League? I don’t know. But still we are there and this is why we continue.”

Guardiola – who confirmed Jack Grealish (groin) and Josko Gvardiol (ankle) will again be unavailable on Tuesday – was also asked what he thought of Kylian Mbappe as a player, following a report in Spain that one of the Paris St Germain star’s representatives had a meeting with City last week.

And he said with a smile: “I think he’s quite good – he has a future! He’s really, really good.”

Rasmus Hojlund’s goals against Luton on Sunday made him the youngest player ever to score in six consecutive Premier League games.

The 21-year-old Manchester United striker broke Joe Willock’s record and here, the PA news agency puts his achievement in context.

Six of the best

Hojlund’s scoring run began with the winner against Aston Villa on Boxing Day. That was his first-ever Premier League goal, having failed to score in his first 14 appearances, but he has not let up since.

He opened the scoring after three minutes in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham, netted against Wolves, West Ham and in the return fixture with Villa and then scored twice in the first seven minutes in the win over Luton.

Aged 21 years and 14 days, he is 260 days younger than Willock when he netted for Newcastle against Sheffield United in May 2021 to break the record previously held by Romelu Lukaku.

Willock extended his streak to seven games three days later against Fulham, who will also be United’s opponents on Saturday as Hojlund has the chance to break that record.

The Dane also has Manchester United’s longest scoring run since Cristiano Ronaldo’s first spell at the club. Marcus Rashford managed five in a row in January and February 2023 but Hojlund is the first United player to score in six consecutive league games since Ronaldo in 2013.

Willock’s run, while on loan from Arsenal, earned him a permanent move to Tyneside – but in a warning that nothing can be taken for granted, he has scored only five Premier League goals in 67 games since.

In good company

The list of the youngest players to achieve each goalscoring streak in the Premier League sees Hojlund join a high-profile group of names.

The early entries are players whose goalscoring impact came at a young age – James Vaughan and Danny Cadamarteri failed to build on their early promise with Everton while James Milner, who scored in back-to-back Leeds games as a 16-year-old, has had a long and successful top-flight career but rarely as a prolific marksman.

Beyond Cadamarteri’s three-game scoring run, the other names on the list are some of the league’s elite strikers – starting with Robbie Fowler, who scored in four straight games for Liverpool as a 19-year-old.

Nicolas Anelka scored in a fifth successive game for Arsenal in 1998 aged 19 years and 239 days, with an age gap of more than a year to Hojlund.

Willock still has the seven-game record, while Daniel Sturridge netted in eight in a row for Liverpool in 2014 aged 24.

No player has had a scoring streak of exactly nine games, meaning Ruud van Nistelrooy holds that record as well as the 10-game mark aged 27, while Jamie Vardy was 28 when he set the league’s record scoring run of 11 games for Leicester in their 2015-16 title-winning season.

Newcastle have placed sporting director Dan Ashworth on garden leave as Manchester United prepare to formalise their efforts to take him to Old Trafford.

The PA news agency understands the 52-year-old has stepped away from his duties at St James’ Park having told the ownership group that he wants to accept the Red Devils’ overtures.

New Manchester United co-owner Jim Ratcliffe has identified the former Football Association technical director as the man he wants to lead an overhaul and now faces the prospect of striking a deal to prise him from the Magpies’ grasp.

It is understood there has been no formal contact between the clubs as yet but there is little doubt that both will want the matter resolved swiftly to their satisfaction after a week of speculation.

Magpies head coach Eddie Howe has already expressed his concern over the potential for Ashworth to take his inside knowledge with him and that fear is likely to have a major say in Newcastle’s willingness to cut short a stipulated period of inactivity before he can take up a role with a competitor.

In the circumstances, Manchester United may have to bite the bullet on a significant compensation package if they want to get their man in time for an important summer transfer window.

Ashworth was drafted in by Newcastle’s Saudi-backed owners in June 2022 after they paid Brighton substantial compensation to secure his services.

They had identified him as the man they wanted to knit together the various arms of the club’s football operations and not just to oversee its transfer dealings.

He was at the helm as the Magpies surged to a top-four Premier League finish and earned a return to Champions League football after an absence of two decades.

Along the way, they also reached the Carabao Cup final, where they were beaten 2-0 by Erik ten Hag’s men at Wembley.

Howe has enjoyed a close relationship with Ashworth, who was in the stands at St James’ Saturday’s for 2-2 draw with Bournemouth, but admitted after the game he had not spoken to him since voicing his fears about the confidential information he has about the club’s future planning.

Asked on Friday if the sporting director knew the details of Newcastle’s summer recruitment mission, he said: “Yes, and that’s why I say he’s in a position of power, with a lot of intelligence and information.”

Newcastle have not commented on the situation, but are sure to drive a hard bargain as they attempt to protect themselves while at the same time looking for a talented administrator to replace a key member of the hierarchy.

Dejan Kulusevski has acknowledged Tottenham were “too open” against Wolves and insisted they must work harder to get their top-four charge back on track.

Spurs slipped to a 2-1 loss at home to the Midlands club on Saturday, which allowed Aston Villa to leapfrog them and take back fourth position, while sixth-placed Manchester United are only three points behind.

Tottenham lacked fluency against Wolves and while Kulusevski levelled 34 seconds into the second half, the visitors continued to cause Ange Postecoglou’s team problems on the break and it ultimately resulted in Joao Gomes’ second goal after a superb Pedro Neto run.

“Nothing worse than losing so very tough,” Kulusevski said.

“We had a lot of chances, we can’t score them and then not enough discipline when we lost the ball.

“They had two or three counter-attacks where we’re not good enough and they made us pay. After that it is difficult to come back again in the game.

“We were too many guys up front. Too open and not running back as hard as we should. They could score a couple and that’s not good enough.”

Tottenham have shipped chances all season and only kept five clean sheets in the Premier League, but have missed first-choice defenders Cristian Romero and Micky van de Ven for chunks of the campaign.

The absence of speedy full-backs Pedro Porro and Destiny Udogie also curbed Spurs’ creativity against Wolves and they face a two-week wait to put things right as Friday’s scheduled fixture at Chelsea was postponed due to the Blues’ Carabao Cup final involvement.

Postecoglou stated hard work would get Tottenham back to the free-flowing football they produced during the opening months of the season and Kulusevski echoed his sentiments ahead of Crystal Palace’s visit on March 2.

Kulusevski added: “We are not playing good enough, especially first half. We are not playing good enough and losing too many balls, so we have to get better.

“We have two weeks to work on that and come back much better.

“We found a couple of solutions (against Wolves) so it is there and we just have to get better and practice in training.

“We are football players, we want to play a lot and two weeks is a long of time, but we have to do the journey. We have to train and get better, so we have to see it as a positive thing.”

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