David Moyes hopes West Ham have turned a corner after finally beating bogey side Brentford 4-2.

On a night of firsts, Jarrod Bowen scored a first career hat-trick to ease the pressure on boss Moyes after a rotten run of eight matches without a win.

The Hammers won their first match of 2024, with Bowen scoring his first goals since before Christmas and becoming the first Hammers player to hit a treble at the London Stadium.

It means West Ham, for all the talk of their poor form and Moyes’ future, are back up to eighth and in the mix for Europe again.

“Most teams have difficult periods in the Premier League. Manchester City have, Liverpool have, so West Ham are certainly going to be no different,” said Moyes.

“We’ve struggled to get our best team out, but overall if we can get our better players out there we can compete with most teams.”

Bowen scored twice inside the opening seven minutes before Neal Maupay pulled one back for the Bees, who had beaten West Ham in all five of their previous Premier League meetings.

Bowen headed his third midway through the second half and Emerson Palmieri hit a 20-yard rocket before Yoanne Wissa pulled another back.

“I’m really pleased for Jarrod, his performances have gone unnoticed as we’ve not been playing well,” added Moyes.

“Tonight it happened for him, his all-round play, the way he was working, he was a threat all night and hopefully the goals will get him back in (England manager) Gareth (Southgate’s) thinking.

“If you can play wide and you’re a goalscorer you will be of interest to the international manager.”

Maupay, Brentford’s premier wind-up merchant, was seen having a heated discussion with Hammers coach Kevin Nolan as the teams came back out of the tunnel for the second half.

“I actually didn’t know who the row was with, I thought maybe it was with the fourth official. I didn’t see it so I can’t really tell you anything about that,” said Moyes.

Brentford, already plunged deeper into the relegation scrap earlier on Monday following Everton’s points deduction being reduced from 10 to six, suffered another defeat – their 12th in 15 matches since beating West Ham at home in November.

“Today we didn’t hit a good level individually and collectively. West Ham hit a good level, Bowen was unplayable, Emerson hit the top corner and we lost 4-2,” was boss Thomas Frank’s blunt assessment.

“I need to watch the game back because one of the things we’ve been good at is consistent performances. There are very few games where we don’t perform to a certain level and this was only the third this season we’ve been below our level.

Asked whether the Everton situation had an effect, Frank replied “Absolutely not.

“I think right now I’m very irritated with our performance, that’s the main focus.”

Boss George Elokobi hailed his Maidstone history makers as their FA Cup heroics ended with a 5-0 defeat at Coventry.

Ellis Simms’ first-half hat-trick and Fabio Tavares’ late brace fired the Sky Blues into the quarter-finals.

The Stones were the first team outside the top five divisions to reach the fifth round since Blyth Spartans in 1978, having started their run in September and beaten EFL sides Barrow, Stevenage and Ipswich.

It was their eighth game in the competition this season and Elokobi saluted his National League South battlers.

“I’m super proud of our players, super proud of our community and how we have gone about this historic FA Cup run,” said the former Wolves defender.

“There has been so much attention, they have inspired so many people. This is a moment we will never forget in the history of the club.

“We are all winners, some are a little bit disappointed but my job is to pick them up and remind them how far we have come.

“Everyone who watches football, this is the moment we live for. There are so many positives to take. We want to make sure we can concentrate on the league.

“The magic of the FA Cup is still alive. When we began this FA Cup journey we knew we weren’t going to win it. It was about showcasing our talent and skills. We have done that.”

Coventry rain riot early and were 2-0 ahead after just 15 minutes through Simms.

He opened the scoring after nine minutes, latching onto Kasey Palmer’s throughball to beat Lucas Covolan before linking with Palmer six minutes later to drill in a second.

His first senior hat-trick was complete after 35 minutes when Covolan parried Palmer’s 35-yard volley for the striker to gobble up the rebound from four yards.

There was no coming back for Elokobi’s side but they held firm for the majority of the second half until Tavares’ late double.

Coventry, who last won the cup in 1987, reached the quarter-finals for the first time in 15 years and will learn their opponents on Wednesday.

Boss Mark Robins said: “I’m delighted, if you do it right against any opponent who are below you, you should prevail. It was important we started well.

“We didn’t turn up on Friday (a 3-0 defeat to Preston) so we needed to start like we did. Ellis’ movement was brilliant, in 35 minutes the game was over as a contest.

“Ellis deserved and needed it, you have to take those chances. It should give him plenty of confidence, he has six (goals) in eight (games) and is starting to come to life and believe in himself.

“He has some brilliant attributes and he is doing it with plenty of scrutiny.”

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has urged Jack Grealish to seize an opportunity to finish the season strongly.

The England midfielder has so far this term been unable to reproduce the influential form he played in last year’s treble success.

The 28-year-old’s campaign has twice been interrupted by injury and there was also an unsettling off-field incident when his house was burgled while members of his family and girlfriend were in the property.

His latest setback came when he suffered a groin injury during City’s Champions League game at FC Copenhagen earlier this month but, after a speedy recovery, he was an unused substitute at Bournemouth on Saturday.

He could come back into the reckoning for Tuesday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie at Luton and Guardiola hopes he can make the most of it.

Guardiola said: “He started a bit late but (in) the last month Jack is back in terms of many things.

“That’s why he played an important game in the Champions League in Copenhagen. Unfortunately there was a setback after 10-15 minutes but he’s recovered quick and he is back.

“Hopefully (he can have) the impact he had last season. It depends on him.

“I try to be fair with my decisions. If he played a lot of minutes last season and this season a little bit less in the beginning, he is the same player. It’s the same manager, the same way we want to play. Nothing has changed.

“It is just how how we perform, that is the difference. We need him. I’ve said from day one we need him. He has a special quality for our team. Hopefully he can do a good last three months.”

With other players in good form, however, Guardiola admits Grealish will have to hit the ground running when the chance arises.

Grealish must compete with the likes of Phil Foden, Jeremy Doku, Julian Alvarez and Bernardo Silva, all of whom have been in better form this season, for a place.

Guardiola said: “I cannot give three or four games in a row in order to get the rhythm.

“They have to take a rhythm to play 20 minutes, 90 minutes, in the high level. You cannot wait.

“I’m going to give you three or four (games) for you be fit and the other 10 players don’t play?

“They don’t deserve the same? Of course they deserve it but that’s not how it works.

“You have to see in the training session, every moment all details.

“He’s the same lovely person, lovely guy, same qualities, skills. He has even more years to improve.

“So the players don’t have to convince me. They have to convince themselves that they deserve to play.”

Adam Idah believes the pressure of playing for Celtic is bringing out the best in him after he stepped up to the mark at Motherwell.

Idah came off the bench at Fir Park with the home side deservedly one ahead at half-time and Celtic at major risk of falling further behind Rangers in the cinch Premiership title race.

The on-loan Norwich striker came to Celtic’s rescue with a well-taken double before Luis Palma grabbed another stoppage-time goal to earn a 3-1 win and cut the gap back to two points.

Idah said: “Look, there’s always going to be pressure going into any game. There’s always pressure at Celtic because it’s such a big club and the demands on everyone are huge.

“I think for us players, you need pressure. It can be tough at times but we are all experienced enough to deal with that pressure and keep going.

“I think I thrive off pressure. That’s what excites me. For a lot of players, that’s what you play football for.

“That pressure gives you that bit of motivation. I know for me, that’s when I play my best.”

Just like against Hibernian earlier this month, Idah’s second goal came four minutes into stoppage-time.

“I’m aware of Celtic and late goals,” the 23-year-old said. “We actually watched the clips before the game of Matty O’Riley scoring at Motherwell in the 96th minute.

“But it’s just that attitude of never giving up. I could see it as soon as I came in. Everyone is so hard-working in training, so professional.

“You see it in the games. They never give up, everyone is willing to put in that extra per cent to get results. You saw that on Sunday and it turned out well.”

Idah netted two penalties at Easter Road and he was delighted to double his Celtic tally at Fir Park without the aid of spot-kicks.

“It’s obviously very pleasing,” the Republic of Ireland international said. “The two penalties were great but you do want to score from open play.

“To do that on Sunday and the way it went was unbelievable for me and my confidence as a striker.

“My job is getting goals so I was delighted. That’s what I’ve come here to try to do. I want to score as many goals as I can and help the team.

“The team is helping me by putting balls in the box and making me the reference point. Overall we are working well with each other.”

Girona boosted their hopes of sealing a Champions League qualifying berth as they returned to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano.

Viktor Tsygankov’s effort early in the second half and two injury-time strikes from Savio ensured the early LaLiga pace-setters snapped a run of two straight losses and leapfrogged Barcelona back into second place.

The ailing visitors, who went into the game without a win in six, had their chances but had Pep Chavarria sent off for two yellow cards in the 76th minute and slid to another disappointing defeat.

Girona had shown few early signs of ending their poor run of form with Paulo Gazzaniga called into action early as he raced from goal to deny Rayo striker Alvaro Garcia a one-on-one.

The hosts gradually improved and came close through Yangel Herrera who had a good shot blocked in the box, before Artem Dovbyk missed a golden opportunity when he was found unmarked in front of goal.

Tsygankov brought a fine save out of Rayo keeper Stole Dimitrievski in the 51st minute but notched the opener moments later when he swept home from a neat cut-back in the box by Miguel Gutierrez.

Dovbyk missed another glorious chance to add Girona’s second from point-blank range and it almost cost the hosts as the excellent Miguel Crespo played in Garcia who hit a poor shot that was easily saved by Gazzaniga.

Chavarria was dismissed for two yellow cards in as many minutes as Rayo’s frustrations began to tell, and after Dimitrievski saved well to deny Cristhian Stuani, Savio put some gloss on the final scoreline with a well-taken double in added time.

Jarrod Bowen scored a hat-trick as West Ham beat bogey side Brentford 4-2 to ease the pressure on David Moyes.

The Hammers won their first match of 2024, with Bowen scoring his first goals since before Christmas, to end a miserable run of eight games without a victory which had prompted more questions about the manager’s future.

Played five, lost five was their sorry Premier League record against Brentford, the only team of the 43 Moyes had faced in the top flight and not previously beaten.

Finally the rot was stopped as Brentford, already plunged deeper into the relegation scrap earlier on Monday following Everton’s points deduction being reduced from 10 to six, suffered another defeat – their 12th in 15 matches since beating West Ham at home in November.

Where this West Ham have been for the past two months is anyone’s guess. They should have led after only three minutes when James Ward-Prowse flicked on Vladimir Coufal’s cross, only for Tomas Soucek to blaze over from six yards out.

But moments later they did go ahead when Ward-Prowse sent Emerson Palmieri down the left wing.

The Italian defender pulled the ball back for Bowen, who took a touch before lashing his shot past Mark Flekken.

Bowen, who had not scored a Premier League goal in seven matches, suddenly had two inside the first seven minutes.

This time Coufal found the England hopeful 10 yards out and he calmly slotted past Flekken to double the lead.

But the Bees were stung into action and responded in the 13th minute through Neal Maupay, who stole in to score his fifth goal in as many starts against the Hammers.

West Ham looked for a third before half-time, but Soucek missed his kick in front of goal, fit-again Lucas Paqueta volleyed wide and a Mohammed Kudus drive was held by Flekken.

It had not been a particularly niggly half, but Maupay, Brentford’s premier wind-up merchant, seemed to say something which riled Hammers coach Kevin Nolan as they came back out of the tunnel, with Bees defender Mathias Jorgensen separating the pair.

Ivan Toney was inches away from an equaliser when he just failed to get a touch to an inviting cross from Keane Lewis-Potter.

Instead, in the 64th minute, Bowen completed his treble – the first by a West Ham player at the London Stadium – with a simple header from Kudus’ cross.

Home keeper Alphonse Areola saved a Frank Onyeka volley down low at his near post before the Hammers grabbed their fourth in style.

Another Kudus cross was headed out to Emerson, 20 yards out, and the full-back launched a rocket past Flekken into the top corner.

Bees substitute Yoane Wissa pulled another back late on and Areola denied Toney in stoppage time as West Ham held on for a win which was almost as impressive as it was unexpected.

Ellis Simms ended Maidstone’s FA Cup fairytale as his first-half hat-trick helped fire Coventry into the quarter-finals.

The striker’s treble and Fabio Tavares’ late double sent the Sky Blues into the last eight for the first time since 2009 after a 5-0 win.

It was a disappointing climax to the Stones’ historic Cup run, which had seen them win seven ties – including knocking out Barrow, Stevenage and Ipswich – to become the first team outside the top five divisions to reach the fifth round since Blyth Spartans in 1978.

George Elokobi’s National League South side became heroes following their fourth-round win at Portman Road but there was never any danger of a repeat at Coventry.

The Sky Blues were determined to avoid suffering the same fate as their Championship rivals, with Mark Robins’ men rampant from the start and 2-0 up inside 15 minutes.

Haji Wright forced Lucas Covolan into early action before Simms fired them into a ninth-minute lead.

Reiss Greenidge’s loose pass was seized on by Liam Kelly and he found Kasey Palmer to slip in Simms, who confidently beat Covolan.

The striker then netted his fourth goal in four games six minutes later, again combining with Palmer to drill in a low angled effort from 15 yards.

Maidstone, who lost 2-0 to Aveley on Saturday to leave them eighth in National League South, were outclassed and outgunned.

A rare Liam Sole effort dropped over but the visitors were contained by their hosts, who had moved into cruise control following Simms’ brace.

As their pace dropped, so did the amount of chances although Tavares dragged wide from 25 yards, until Simms completed his hat-trick 10 minutes before the break.

Again Palmer was the creator when his first-time volley from 35 yards caught out Covolan and the goalkeeper could only parry it into the path of Simms, who rammed in from four yards.

It was game over and half-time substitute Callum O’Hare went searching for another four minutes after the restart only to shoot straight at Covolan.

The goalkeeper turned Palmer’s strike away just after the hour and gathered Josh Eccles’ shot but the game had already begun to lose momentum.

Yet Coventry still found time to score twice late on through Tavares.

The midfielder rifled in from Matty Godden’s pass with two minutes left before he followed up in stoppage time to net after Covolan parried Godden’s effort.

Bayern Munich have confirmed the appointment of former RB Leipzig sporting director Max Eberl to the club’s board.

The 50-year-old – who came through the Bayern youth ranks and made one senior appearance – will start his new role with the Bundesliga champions on March 1 and has signed a contract until June 2027.

Former Germany Under-21 defender Eberl went on to have spells at Bochum and Greuther Furth before signing with Borussia Monchengladbach, where he later moved into coaching and then became director of sport.

Eberl moved to a similar position at RB Leipzig in December 2022, but was relieved of his duties at the club just nine months later.

“I spent my entire childhood and youth at FC Bayern and in Munich, so it’s something special for me to return in a new role to the club where it all began,” Eberl said on the Bayern Munich website.

“The job as board member for sport is a great challenge, which I will approach with a lot of respect and humility, but with even more anticipation.

“Together with everyone here, I want to do everything I can to ensure that FC Bayern continues to be successful in the future and brings joy to its fans.”

Bayern announced the club’s executive board would consist of three positions from July 1 – a chief executive, a chief financial and sales officer as well as a board member for sport, which will be Eberl’s role.

Everton are up to 15th in the Premier League after their penalty for breaching the competition’s financial rules was reduced to six points on appeal, but they face the threat of further sanction with a second case still to be heard.

An independent appeal board set aside the 10-point sanction originally imposed by a commission in November for breaching league profitability and sustainability rules (PSR), with the new reduced penalty lifting the Toffees’ points tally from 21 to 25.

Everton said they were “satisfied” the appeal had resulted in a reduction in the points penalty, but the club are not wholly out of the woods and could have a further points sanction imposed in relation to a second PSR complaint which was laid on January 15.

That one has to be completely concluded before June 1 – the date when promoted clubs receive their Premier League ‘shares’.

It is also unclear whether the club may face compensation claims related to the first PSR breach. A ruling published at the time of the original 10-point penalty said five clubs – Burnley, Leeds, Leicester, Nottingham Forest and Southampton – had 28 days from written receipt of a copy of the decision against Everton to pursue a claim.

None of those clubs confirmed whether they had pursued a claim when contacted by the PA news agency last week. One of them, Forest, have had a PSR complaint lodged against them since the original sanction was issued against Everton.

The reduced six-point penalty for Everton relates to breaching PSR in the assessment period up to the 2021-22 season. The appeal board rejected seven grounds for mitigation put forward by Everton but did find the original commission made legal errors.

The first of those was in relation to club representations to the Premier League in August 2022 over stadium debt, which the original commission said were “less than frank”.

While the appeal board found these representations were “materially wrong”, it accepted that it had never been the Premier League’s case that this was anything other than an innocent mistake by Everton.

Similarly, the appeal board said a breach of Premier League rule B.15, which requires clubs to act in utmost good faith, was never part of the original complaint against the club.

“The first time rule B.15 appeared was in the commission’s decision,” the appeal board ruling stated.

The appeal board also found it was wrong of the commission not to take into account available benchmarks for sanction, such as EFL guidelines.

The appeal board revealed it considered other possible sanctions, such as a fine or a ban on registering players, but concluded a points deduction was warranted.

“The unfair advantage achieved by a breach may include a financial advantage over other clubs, but it is most immediately a sporting advantage and consequently the sanction for breach can legitimately focus on sporting disadvantage,” the appeal board decision said.

The reduction in penalty means Luton are now four points from safety in the Premier League, but their manager Rob Edwards accepted the issue was out of the Hatters’ hands.

Forest drop to 17th, and their manager Nuno Espirito Santo said: “Regarding the hearing and the decision, we are waiting.

“There are people in the club that are taking care of that. So these questions are not appropriate for me.”

Everton released a statement following the publication of the revised sanction.

“While the club is still digesting the appeal board’s decision, we are satisfied our appeal has resulted in a reduction in the points sanction,” the statement read.

“We understand the appeal board considered the 10-point deduction originally imposed to be inappropriate when assessed against the available benchmarks of which the club made the commission aware, including the position under the relevant EFL regulations, and the nine-point deduction that is imposed under the Premier League’s own rules in the event of insolvency.

“The club is also particularly pleased with the appeal board’s decision to overturn the original commission’s finding that the club failed to act in utmost good faith.

“That decision, along with reducing the points deduction, was an incredibly important point of principle for the club on appeal. The club, therefore, feels vindicated in pursuing its appeal.”

The club said they remain fully committed to co-operating with the Premier League in respect of the second complaint, which relates to a PSR breach in the assessment period up to the end of the 2022-23 season.

If clubs breach PSRs in consecutive seasons, they can provide evidence and make submissions to the independent commission hearing their case that any crossover should be treated as a mitigating factor.

Labour MP Ian Byrne, who tabled an early day motion in the House of Commons in response to the initial 10-point deduction, wrote on X: “I was proud to be able to take the fight against Everton’s disproportionate & unfair penalty to Parliament and am pleased to see their points deduction reduced today.”

The midweek FA Cup fifth round fixtures will give several Premier League clubs the opportunity to make up for significant setbacks over the weekend.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag cannot afford another defeat after Saturday’s late drama against Fulham, while Chelsea must respond to Sunday’s Carabao Cup loss to Liverpool.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the talking points around the key fixtures.

United need a response

Saturday’s stoppage-time home defeat to Fulham has put Manchester United under pressure going into Wednesday’s trip to Nottingham Forest. With a trip to the Etihad up next on Sunday, United need a positive result to avoid going into a derby amid another round of crisis talks at Old Trafford. With Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s buy-in now complete and an overhaul of football operations under way, the pressure on Erik ten Hag will only ramp up, and he cannot afford to see their only remaining hope of silverware this season come to an end.

Liverpool to clear their hangovers

There were emotional celebrations for Liverpool and their outgoing manager Jurgen Klopp after Virgil van Dijk’s header late in extra time won the Carabao Cup with a 1-0 win over Chelsea. Victory keeps Liverpool, top of the league by one point from Manchester City, alive in their bid for a quadruple as they remain among the favourites for both the FA Cup and the Europa League. Even with 120 minutes in their legs from Wembley, few would bet against them in a home tie against Championship Southampton.

Chelsea to bounce back

Mauricio Pochettino told his Chelsea players they needed to feel hurt by their Carabao Cup final loss, in which their performance in extra time prompted Gary Neville to call them “blue billion pound bottle jobs” on Sky Sports. Pochettino is yet to get a consistent tune out of his expensively-assembled squad, and Sunday’s defeat means the Argentinian has lost all three major finals he has reached while managing in England. The FA Cup offers an opportunity to put that right and their first opportunity to show a response comes on Wednesday, when they are favourites to see off Championship Leeds at Stamford Bridge.

Guardiola looking forward to intense period

As Manchester City return to Kenilworth Road to face Luton, where they had to come from behind to win 2-1 in the league in December, Pep Guardiola said he was relishing the decisive part of the season as his side look to replicate last season’s historic treble. Few would blame him given City’s enviable habit of reeling off long winning runs at this stage of a campaign. “Tomorrow is a final, like every game in Premier League and of course in Champions League,” Guardiola said. “The decisive part of the season is here ahead of us, in front of us, not far away, and we are going for it.”

Newcastle seeking consistency

Eddie Howe’s side slipped to ninth place with Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Arsenal, a mile off the sort of form that got them into the Champions League last term as a season best described as up and down continues. The best hope of returning to Europe next season may well lie with the FA Cup – a competition Newcastle are desperate to win to end their 55-year wait for major silverware. Although away from home, they should be firm favourites away to a Blackburn side still seeking a first win under new manager John Eustace. “This season can still be very special for us,” Howe said. “But we have to make it happen.”

Pep Guardiola is relishing the decisive phase of the season and has promised Manchester City are again “going for it”.

The treble winners are in strong contention to repeat last season’s glories in the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

March will be a crucial month with a derby against Manchester United followed by clashes against title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal. They will also look to wrap up their place in the Champions League quarter-finals as they host FC Copenhagen leading 3-1 after the first leg of their last-16 tie.

Prior to that comes an FA Cup fifth-round trip to Luton on Tuesday and Guardiola is looking forward to that and the coming weeks.

The City manager said: “So after this game, February is over. Just two-and-a-half, three months to end of the season and we’ve arrived here still being there (in the competitions).

“Tomorrow is a final, like every game in Premier League and of course in Champions League.

“The decisive part of the season is here ahead of us, in front of us, not far away, and we are going for it.

“It’s better to play for this than being 10th in the table and (having) no chance for that. The feeling is that if you lose – bye-bye. It’s so nice.

“The problem is September, October – you see the expectations far, far away. In that moment you don’t think about any titles.

“We don’t even now. I would say how we’ll define the end of March, beginning of April depends on what we have done this next month. Tomorrow and this month will (determine) our options.”

City have close to a fully-fit squad for the trip to Kenilworth Road after Jack Grealish returned to the squad as an unused substitute at Bournemouth on Saturday following a groin injury.

Defender Josko Gvardiol is now the team’s only notable absentee with an ankle problem and Guardiola is hopeful he will return soon.

City needed to come from behind to beat relegation battlers Luton away in December and Guardiola is anticipating another tricky encounter.

He said: “It will be even more difficult. We saw all the games played there against the top, top sides, and the reason why is clear – football goes in the direction Luton play, so, so aggressive.

“It doesn’t matter if you are at top of the league, the bottom or in the middle, (they have) courage to play and face the challenge without any fear.

“And after, it’s not just that. They have played direct channels but at the same time they have the ability. I think they’ve improved a lot since we met them there with their build-up play and the patterns are so clear.”

Everton have had their penalty for breaching Premier League financial rules reduced to six points following an appeal.

The Toffees were hit with a 10-point deduction last November after an independent commission found they had exceeded permitted losses under the league’s profitability and sustainability rules (PSR) by £19.5million over an assessment period ending with the 2021-22 season.

An independent appeal board has now cut that by four points, which moves the club on to 25 points in the table and up to 15th place.

The club face a second PSR complaint for breaching rules over the assessment period running to the end of last season.

The complaint was laid on January 15 and under standard directions for PSR cases agreed by top-flight clubs last summer, the commission hearing in that case must conclude no later than 12 weeks after that complaint, which would be April 8.

Women’s Super League and Championship players will benefit from access to designated female health representatives as part of a new initiative heralded by England boss Sarina Wiegman.

An existing member of staff at each of the 24 clubs will be appointed and receive specialised training to “establish leadership and accountability for embedded and sustainable support of female player health.” says the Football Association.

The FA have also rolled out a further online course which they claim is the “first ever national governing body-mandated training on female-specific health and plan to release new guidelines around pregnancy and postnatal care, menstrual cycle health and pelvic health in 2024.”

Wiegman, speaking in Spain ahead of the Lionesses’ international friendly against Italy on Tuesday, said: “We’re really happy to see that. It’s really good, (and) it’s also very necessary.

“It has been said all the time, there needs to be more research about women in sport and more support too, and this is another step in the right direction in that case.

“I think it’s really good and we have to keep doing research, which will take time with the outcomes of course, but keep supporting it too to make it the best for women’s sport and keep growing the game also.”

England midfielder Keira Walsh, who plays club football with Barcelona, hoped the move would inspire other domestic leagues to take similar action.

She said: “It’s really important and I think, because I play in the Spanish league now, seeing where the FA and the WSL is going and kind of being at the forefront and leading on that is really nice to see.

“Ultimately, I think that the support the FA are showing for women athletes is really good, and hopefully it will continue that way.”

The programme is a partnership with UK-based women’s sport health organisation The Well HQ, whose collaboration with the leagues led to the commissioning of a report entitled ‘The State of Play Project’, which gathered insights from players and support staff in the professional game from 101 player surveys, 34 player interviews, 19 support staff surveys and 41 support staff interviews.

It also follows findings from the independent review into women’s football, led by ex-England international Karen Carney and released last July, that noted the inquiry “received substantial evidence around the gap in research on support for female athletes, both physically and psychologically, in a professional football environment”, highlighting a 2021 study in Women’s Sport and activity journal noting that just six per cent of sport exercise and science research involves only women.

Carney’s review demanded those gaps  “Must be addressed urgently. It is not acceptable that players are exposed to this additional level of risk relating to their physical health, and the game needs to do better to understand why this is the case.

“Failure to address this issue will undermine the credibility and quality of the sport going forward.”

The inquiry, whose  10 recommendations were approved by the government in December, also “identified the need to equip the women’s game workforce with the knowledge and skills to better understand female-specific health issues” and called on the FA to “to continue investing in this research, and to create a centrally funded unit to prioritise the development of even more insight in this space.”

Alex Thomas made an electrifying debut as the head coach of Slingerz FC in Guyana, orchestrating a spectacular 7-0 victory over rivals Monedderlust FC in the opening match of the 2024 Elite League at the National Training Centre on Sunday night.

The star of the show was undoubtedly new signing Marcus Tudor, whose remarkable display saw him net an incredible five goals, leaving Monedderlust FC reeling from the onslaught. The emphatic win served as sweet revenge for Slingerz FC, who had suffered a 1-0 upset at the hands of Monedderlust FC in the Elite League playoffs back in January.

Despite Tudor's stellar performance, Coach Thomas was quick to commend the collective effort of his team, highlighting their adherence to the game plan and flawless execution on the field. Speaking to Sportsmax.TV in the aftermath of the resounding victory, Thomas expressed his satisfaction with the team's performance and expressed optimism for the season ahead.

"The key to the emphatic win tonight was the players sticking to the objective, sticking to the game plan and executing," remarked Thomas, visibly elated by the result. "I want to say congrats to the Slingerz team. It’s good to start out on a winning note, put our best foot forward and plan for the next one. The team was organized and patient with the ball in possession and in transition, those were the key elements."

Singling out Tudor, Coach Thomas praised the young player but emphasized that he will work to make him better as the season progresses.

"His performance  was good last night. He is a youngster and I do not want to put too much pressure on him. Five goals, that is big for him but I will take him one game at a time and help build his mental and physical capacity but kudos to him. He did well for himself last night."

Thomas, 41, assumed the role of head coach at Slingerz FC just over a week prior, following the departure of Charles 'Lilly' Pollard in early February. Pollard, reflecting on his decision to step down, cited difficulties in conveying his message to the players as the primary reason for his departure.

"I think I lost the dressing room for some reason or another because it’s difficult to get my message across to the players, and that’s why I believe that I lost them," explained Pollard to Stabroek Sport. "As a coach, you have to know when to say or acknowledge that I can’t penetrate these players and need to walk away."

In light of Sunday night's dominating performance, it appears Thomas has successfully revitalized the team, with every player back to performing at their best. The victory not only marks a promising start to Thomas' coaching career in Guyana but also sets the stage for an exciting and competitive season ahead for Slingerz FC in the Elite League.

Slingerz FC will play next on March 5 when they take on F/Conquerors FC.

 

 

 

Liverpool beat Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final on Sunday with a side containing a number of inexperienced youngsters due to a host of injuries to senior players. Here, the PA news agency looks at the fresh faces who took the chance to shine at Wembley.

Conor Bradley (starter)

A relatively familiar name among the group having been given an opportunity in the second half of the campaign in the absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold. The Northern Irish right-back, 20, who spent last season on loan at Bolton, has shown promise for his attacking and defensive qualities.

Bobby Clark (substitute)

Another to have been given a handful of opportunities in recent weeks, the 19-year-old is an attacking midfielder or forward. The son of former Newcastle midfielder Lee Clark, he joined the club from the Magpies in 2021 and signed a long-term contract last December.

James McConnell (substitute)

Also 19, the midfielder has featured a handful of times off the bench after making his debut against Toulouse in the Europa League in October. Joined Liverpool as an Under-15s player after catching the eye at Sunderland.

Jayden Danns (substitute)

An 18-year-old forward who only made his first-team debut as an 89th-minute substitute in the 4-1 win over Luton last Wednesday. Has been with the club since the age of eight and is the son of the much-travelled former Colchester, Crystal Palace and Bolton midfielder Neil Danns.

Jarell Quansah (substitute)

Warrington-born defender who has established himself in the first-team squad this season. The 21-year-old, who had a loan spell with Bristol Rovers last season, is a ball-playing centre-half who has come through the ranks at Liverpool after joining them at the age of five.

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