Philippe Coutinho's move to Arsenal is seemingly getting close.

The Brazil international has been on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona in 2019-20, but is expected to leave Camp Nou permanently.

A return to the Premier League has been mooted.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL DEAL FOR COUTINHO IS 'ADVANCED'

A deal sending Coutinho to Arsenal from Barcelona is "more advanced", according to Sport.

The former Liverpool star would head back to England less than three years after leaving Anfield.

Coutinho has scored nine goals in 34 games for Bayern in 2019-20.

 

ROUND-UP

- There could be good news coming for Barcelona. Mundo Deportivo reports Marc-Andre ter Stegen has agreed to extend his deal at the club for five years, but there is still no financial agreement between the parties.

- Jerome Boateng's Bayern Munich future seems uncertain. Sport Bild reports the Bundesliga champions want to sell the defender, who would like to extend his contract beyond 2021.

- Takefusa Kubo looks set for another loan spell away from Real Madrid. AS reports Kubo will join Villarreal on loan for 2020-21, having spent this season at Mallorca.

- Are Liverpool looking for a back-up for Andy Robertson? The Athletic reports the Premier League champions value left-back Jamal Lewis at £10million, but Norwich City will not even enter talks for less than £20m.

- Contracted at Manchester United until 2022, Tahith Chong could be heading elsewhere to gain experience. Sport Bild says Werder Bremen are in talks with United over a loan deal for the attacker.

- After losing the Championship play-off final, Brentford may also see a star depart. The Guardian reports Crystal Palace are battling with Aston Villa to sign Ollie Watkins, who scored 26 goals in 49 Championship games in 2019-20.

Wilfried Zaha is proud to see the likes of Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford being vocal in the fight against racial discrimination but believes social media platforms must do more to tackle abuse.

Crystal Palace winger Zaha has long been targeted by racist trolls online, revealing he was first sent abusive messages approximately 10 years ago.

With social media platforms growing in popularity over the past decade, it has become something of a regular occurrence to see top-level athletes sharing screenshots of abuse they have received.

England internationals Sterling and Rashford have both found themselves in such scenarios, while Zaha took similar action earlier in July – with a 12-year-old boy arrested on that occasion.

The current generation of players are taking a stand, highlighting abuse in hope of creating change, and Zaha is glad to be witnessing such action.

"Yes, we are [aiming to effect change]," he told CNN Sport. "I'm so happy when I see these other young black players just not having it anymore.

"I'm proud to see it because it's been too long. You can't just sit back and accept it. Enough is enough.

"How are you cheering me when I'm scoring? Then if I'm not doing what you're happy with, I'm a monkey again? How does that make any sense?

"So, I'm proud to see Raheem and Marcus speaking up and making a change."

But Zaha is convinced social media companies must take greater responsibility with respect to eliminating racist abuse.

"Even after the 12-year-old, I reported 50 accounts that I was racially abused from that week," Zaha added. "What happens? Those accounts get blocked then they just make a new one straight afterwards?

"With everything that we register for these days, we have to give some sort of I.D. Why is it not the same for Instagram, or Twitter? Because that's where people tend to say what they really feel about people, no matter how hurtful or racist it is.

"I've gone through my Instagram account and there's a section where you can block certain words.

"I've had to go and write racist words that I don't want to see on my account - the monkey sign, 'black this', 'black that'. All of it. I've tried myself because the social media platforms are obviously not doing enough.

"I know I speak for the majority of people going through this. I've seen Ian Wright and Raheem speak about it. It's not okay. Things have to be done. Words are not enough now. No more statements.

"You can register as a nine-year-old on Instagram and they [the company] wouldn't know. What age is it to register? Thirteen. The boy who abused me is 12. How does he even get on there? What checks are they making?"

Following the Premier League's resumption in June, the competition supported the Black Lives Matter movement, which gained traction after George Floyd – an African-American man – died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Club jerseys were adorned with a 'Black Lives Matter' patch, while all players and officials took a knee at the start of every match until the end of the season, but Zaha is bemused that such lengths have to be taken in 2020.

"We shouldn't have to put Black Lives Matter to show that we matter on the back of our shirts," he continued.

"It's 2020. Why is it even in dispute? We shouldn't still be sat here saying we matter and giving reasons why.

"So, yes, it's nice to see this effort now being put towards it, but I hope that pressure is sustained. There's no point me having a full-blown interview here and then going back to racial abuse on my phone again."

Juventus could be getting closer to landing Arkadiusz Milik, while Arthur may have played his last game for Barcelona.

After winning a ninth straight Serie A title, Juve are linked with several forwards.

They may have taken a step closer to bringing one in.

 

TOP STORY – JUVENTUS AGREE TERMS WITH MILIK

Juventus have agreed preliminary terms with Napoli forward Milik, according to Gianluca Di Marzio.

However, the report says Juve are yet to reach an agreement with Napoli, who are said to have expressed an interest in Federico Bernardeschi.

Milik, 26, has scored 14 goals in 33 games in all competitions for Napoli this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- One player heading to Juventus is Arthur. The midfielder was expected to finish the season with Barcelona, but Sport reports the Brazil international does not want to play for the LaLiga giants – who are still in the Champions League – again and wants to join Juve at the end of August.

- Manchester City are seemingly getting closer to signing Valencia attacker Ferran Torres. Goal and SPOX report Torres has agreed to a five-year deal with City, but the clubs are yet to agree to a fee.

- Coming out of contract at season's end, Willian was expected to leave Chelsea. However, Sky Sports reports the winger could agree to a new deal with Chelsea before the end of the week after a breakthrough was found.

- Chris Smalling's future remains uncertain. CalcioMercato reports Manchester United want €20million (£18.3m) from Roma for the defender, who has been on loan at the Serie A club. Tottenham are also reportedly interested in Smalling.

- Arsenal are seemingly still trying to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey. Get French Football News reports Arsenal attempted to include Matteo Guendouzi in a part-exchange deal for Partey, but the offer was rejected.

- Bayern Munich could be set to make a surprise signing. Sky Sport Austria reports the Bundesliga champions are interested in Norwich City right-back Max Aarons.

- Wilfried Zaha looks likely to be at the centre of transfer speculation once again. The Mirror reports Crystal Palace are set to listen to offers for the attacker, with Everton said to be interested.

The Premier League's longest season yet concluded on Sunday with Liverpool champions for the first time.

The Reds were comfortable in ending a 30-year wait for a top-flight title, but there was drama until the closing minutes of the final day.

Manchester United and Chelsea can celebrate Champions League qualification as the division's strugglers reflect on their contrasting fortunes.

Meanwhile, with the help of Opta data, we look at some of the quirkiest numbers from the 2019-20 campaign.


5 - David Luiz conceded five penalties in the Premier League this season, the most a player has ever given away in a single season in the competition.

167 - Jack Grealish was fouled 167 times in the 2019-20 Premier League, the most fouls won by a player in a single campaign on record (since 1998-99).

24 - Scott McTominay now has the fastest Premier League yellow card on record. He was booked just 24 seconds into Manchester United's December home win against Newcastle United.

2000 - It was a season of milestones for McTominay, who scored Manchester United's 2000th Premier League goal against Norwich City in October. They became the first club to the landmark.

27 - The Norwich class of 2019-20 became the only side not to record a single point from a losing position in Premier League history. They lost all 27 matches in which they fell behind.

4 - Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard's fourth-placed finish is the highest finish for an English manager in their debut Premier League season since Frank Clark's Nottingham Forest came third in 1994-95.

2 - Lampard's season ended well, but September's 2-1 defeat to Liverpool made him just the second Chelsea boss - after Bobby Campbell in 1988 - to lose his first four home matches in all competitions.

33 - At the age of 33, Jamie Vardy became the oldest player to win the Premier League Golden Boot, scoring 23 goals in 2019-20.

5 - Virgil van Dijk became just the fifth outfield player to play every minute for a Premier League title-winning side, following Gary Pallister (1992-93), John Terry (2014-15), Wes Morgan (2015-16) and Cesar Azpilicueta (2016-17).

2013 - Anthony Martial's June hat-trick against Sheffield United was Manchester United's first in the Premier League since Robin van Persie scored three against Aston Villa in April 2013.

7 - Martial and Marcus Rashford assisted one another a combined seven times in this season's Premier League, the most of any pairing in a single edition of the competition for Manchester United.

49 - All 49 clubs to have played in the Premier League have conceded at least one hat-trick after Raheem Sterling's three-goal haul against Brighton and Hove Albion in July.

14 - Manchester United won 14 penalties in the 2019-20 season, the most a team has ever won in a single Premier League campaign.

29 - Harry Kane is the only player to face more than one club in the Premier League and score against them all, with Sheffield United the 29th he netted against.

15 - Kevin De Bruyne ended the season with a joint-record 20 assists - tied with Thierry Henry - but he became the first player to set up 15 goals in three separate Premier League campaigns.

93 - Tottenham went a record 93 games without a goalless draw before they were held 0-0 by Watford in January.

Jose Mourinho is looking to improve Tottenham's squad ahead of next season after finishing 2019-20 on a high by qualifying for the Europa League.

A 1-1 draw with London rivals Crystal Palace proved enough for Spurs to finish above Wolves, beaten 2-0 by Chelsea elsewhere on the final day, in sixth place.

And after winning four and drawing two of their final six games, Mourinho feels his side are capable of finishing in the top four next term with a bit more luck on the injury front and some new faces.

"When all the players are available we showed in this last period where we belong," he said at his post-match news conference. 

"After lockdown we finished third or fourth in the table. That is where we belong. I want to have my team, my players, not a medical room full of players, a pitch full of players. 

"We want to keep our very good players and after that improve the squad. Are we going to buy 10 players. No? Are we going to pay £100million for a player? No.

"But let's see. The market is very strange. I don't know if we will start working pre-season with any new players or something that is going to go through the whole period.

"We are going to keep the structure of the team because we have absolutely no interest in selling our best players.

"I enjoy working with [chief scout] Steve Hitchen and we are very connected with [Daniel] Levy and the board.

"We're going to do what is possible and hopefully next season we can give the fans a very good season."

Harry Kane's fifth goal in three matches gave Tottenham the lead inside 13 minutes at Selhurst Park, only for Palace to hit back through Jeffrey Schlupp early in the second half.

Mourinho concedes that his side were not at their best in Sunday's clash, which he puts down to the gruelling nature of an elongated campaign that has spanned 12 months.

"The game was hard," he said. "We didn't play well at all. I understand though that to play an entire season in one game is difficult. 

"There was a lot of pressure. The players deserve it. I also have to say that Palace did very well. They played with incredible professionalism. This is England.

"I think it is down to pressure and the typical fatigue of a season of 12 months. 

"People can say 'oh for two or three months you didn't play' but those months were probably even harder, to be at home, closed in and training on Zoom. 

"It's a 12-month season so really, really difficult. It's an accumulation of things.

"I also have to say that Palace did very well. They played with incredible professionalism. This is England. This is England, I repeat."

After four successive years in the Champions League a season of Europa League football now awaits for Spurs, but Mourinho is focusing on the positives.

"I am quite happy that next season we play in Europa League," he said. "It's just a question of motivating ourselves for that competition and motivating the fans to support us and try to do something beautiful.

"Of course everybody that one day plays in the Champions League doesn't want to go back and play Europa League but it was the only thing possible after such a difficult season for the club, for the players and in my case also for myself."

Manchester United and Chelsea claimed the final two Champions League qualification spots on the Premier League's final day, while Watford and Bournemouth were relegated to the Championship. 

Frank Lampard's side beat Wolves 2-0 while United grabbed the other Champions League berth thanks to a 2-0 victory over Leicester City, who missed out on a top-four finish despite spending most of the campaign in the table's upper reaches.

A 1-1 draw at West Ham saw Aston Villa retain their top-flight status, with Bournemouth's 3-1 victory over Everton not enough to prevent them and Watford - beaten 3-2 by Arsenal - joining Norwich City in being demoted.

 

FOXES MISS OUT ON CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RETURN

Brendan Rodgers' men were 14 points clear of United as recently as January but Bruno Fernandes' 71st-minute penalty and substitute Jesse Lingard's stoppage-time strike meant Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side finished above Leicester after 38 games.

A draw would have been enough for Leicester to finish fourth had Chelsea been beaten by Wolves, but first-half goals from Mason Mount and Olivier Giroud ruled out that possibility early on.

Jamie Vardy, who won the golden boot with 23 goals, headed against the crossbar in the second period before Fernandes converted United's record 14th penalty of the campaign and Lingard added another to ensure a return to Europe's premier club competition, with Leicester's misery compounded by Jonny Evans' late dismissal.

 

VILLA SURVIVE DESPITE LATE DRAMA

Villa captain Jack Grealish's 84th-minute strike looked to have been enough to preserve their Premier League status - and, though Andriy Yarmolenko's deflected effort brought West Ham back level moments later - Dean Smith's team held on to avoid going straight back down at the first attempt.

Instead it was Bournemouth - a Premier League club since 2015 - who went down despite their win at Goodison Park.

Watford, who were promoted five years ago too, were also relegated having fallen 3-0 down to Arsenal inside 33 minutes, with goals from Troy Deeney and Danny Welbeck not enough to save them.

 

SPURS SEAL EUROPA LEAGUE SPOT

A 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace ensured Tottenham sealed a top-six finish and the final qualification place for next season's Europa League, as Wolves dropped down to seventh on goal difference.

As well as scoring twice, Kevin De Bruyne also equalled Thierry Henry's Premier League assist record with his 20th of the season as Manchester City thrashed Norwich 5-0 to reach 102 goals for the season.

Champions Liverpool came from behind to beat Newcastle United 3-1, Brighton and Hove Albion won 2-1 at Burnley and Southampton defeated Sheffield United 3-1.

Tottenham sealed sixth place in the Premier League and European football next season with a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

The point lifted Spurs above Wolves, beaten 2-0 by Chelsea, into a second-qualifying round Europa League spot by virtue of a better goal difference.

On the final day of the league season, in-form striker Harry Kane gave Tottenham the lead with his fifth goal in three matches, but Jeffrey Schlupp struck back with a powerful strike eight minutes into the second half.

That goal - Palace's first against Spurs in eight league meetings - denied the visitors a fourth straight win, though events elsewhere ensured it was a good day for Jose Mourinho's side.

Kane gave Spurs the lead after 13 minutes with a clinical finish into the bottom-left corner, the striker showing quick footwork to control Giovani Lo Celso's pass and pick his spot.

Spurs almost snatched a second before half-time when Lucas Moura knocked the ball past Vicente Guaita but failed to squeeze it over the line from a tight angle.

But Palace hit back through Schlupp's strike from eight yards early in the second half after Jordan Ayew helped on Scott Dann's cushioned header into a dangerous area.

Palace had lost seven games in a row ahead of this match but dug deep and nearly edged in front as Joel Ward's cross flicked off Harry Winks' boot and clipped the post.

Knowing that Wolves required two goals against Chelsea, Tottenham seemed content to sit on a draw and achieve their target of finishing sixth, resulting in a subdued end to the game.

What does it mean? Europa League football for Tottenham

Spurs had to better Wolves' result against Chelsea on the final day to overtake Nuno Espirito's men in sixth place.

That could yet become an automatic place in the group stage if Chelsea beat Arsenal in next weekend's FA Cup final.

Clinical Kane concludes campaign on a high

Kane's classy early strike was his seventh goal in six final-day appearances in the Premier League - only Andy Cole (9), Les Ferdinand (9) and Matt Le Tissier (8) have more.

The Englishman ends the season with 18 top-flight goals in all - not bad considering he missed three months of the campaign with a hamstring injury.

Dann outdoes Dier

Spurs' defending for Palace's equaliser was poor, with Dann easily outjumping Dier at the back post and Toby Alderweireld and Ben Davies making a mess of clearing the loose ball.

Dier, returning to the side after a four-game suspension, will have to be more alert if he is to make it as a centre-back.

What's next?

The Premier League announced earlier this week that the 2020-21 campaign will begin on September 12, giving both clubs seven weeks to recover before doing it all again.

Jose Mourinho insists he does not need to prove his worth but highlighted Tottenham's strong run of form as "the champion of the last five matches".

Former Chelsea and Manchester United manager Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino as Spurs head coach in November.

Tottenham have subsequently improved under the Portuguese, yet he has not been able to rescue a top-four spot and Europa League football is far from assured.

Mourinho has been the subject of some criticism at times, with his side enduring a seven-match winless run either side of the season's suspension and later suffering a costly 3-1 defeat at Sheffield United.

But the coach is looking towards next season with optimism and suggests recent results show his credentials.

Spurs have taken 13 points from their past five matches, the best haul in the league over this spell as they have beaten Everton, Arsenal, Newcastle United and Leicester City.

"If you think I need to show [my worth], okay, im going to try," Mourinho told reporters. "If this is about individuals and an individual approach, lets go for an easy one.

"I'm fourth in the league [since arriving]. I arrived 14th, eight points from Arsenal, 12 from a Champions League position. But if the league starts only for me, if you want to go in that direction, I'm fourth in the league.

"If you think that's bad, that's your opinion. If you want to laugh with me, I'm the champion of the last five matches!

"I try to do my best all the time, I'm not worried about proving [anything]. My most important match is the next one, the most important season is the next one.

"It's not what you think, anything that can come from outside, that can motivate me more or less. It's just my nature; I don't need that. I look forward to next season."

Mourinho added injuries were to blame for Tottenham's earlier issues, with talismanic striker Harry Kane among those out for an extended period.

The two-time Champions League winner claims any rival manager would similarly struggle in such a situation.

"I think in this last period it was very clear that Tottenham with all the best players available can be a very good team," he said.

"You look to the season: they lost [Hugo] Lloris for a long time, then Kane. Now with everybody together, you a see a difference in performances and results.

"In case we have a similar situation, we are trying to protect the squad against unpredictable things. Let's try to have a better squad to be ready to face a dramatic situation.

"I was telling Brendan [Rodgers, Leicester manager] to lose Ricardo [Pereira], [Caglar] Soyuncu, [Ben] Chilwell, [Christian] Fuchs... Can he do a miracle?

"It's very difficult. It's difficult for everybody. It was very difficult for Tottenham.

"Do we think next season we are going to be less unlucky? Yes, we do think that. But at the same time, we have to protect ourselves and build a better squad, with more balance."

Jose Mourinho is not expecting swift transfer business but believes Tottenham are moving in the right direction and will end the window with a "better, balanced squad".

Spurs have endured a tumultuous campaign with long-term manager Mauricio Pochettino sacked in November.

Former Chelsea boss Mourinho was appointed as head coach in Pochettino's place and has inspired an upturn in form, but Tottenham are still facing a battle to qualify for the Europa League.

Mourinho's side are seventh heading into the final day of the Premier League season, a position that would only mean European competition if rivals Arsenal failed to win the FA Cup.

But the Spurs coach is optimistic for the future, with the transfer window opening after this weekend's matches and the club ready to act.

"A new player on Monday would be amazing news, but I think it's just the opening of the window," Mourinho told reporters ahead of Sunday's clash with Crystal Palace, where Dele Alli will be fit to feature.

"I think we are going in the right direction, very calm, organised, thinking well, measured. I think we are going in the right direction.

"We know what we can and cannot do, we know which directions we can and cannot go. We must not be reactive. We are very balanced, together, and have no doubts about what we need and about what is possible.

"Step by step, we will end with a better, balanced squad. Of course, keeping the great players that we have is a very important thing."

Tottenham ensured one key man would remain at the club this week as Eric Dier signed a new contract.

At the end of a season in which Christian Eriksen left in a cut-price transfer and uncertainty has loomed over the futures of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen at various times, Mourinho suggested sorting Dier's deal swiftly was vital.

"It's really important," he said. "We look to the situation of last season where Spurs started the season with a few players going into the last years of their contract, with question marks on their future - like Christian.

"It's very important for us that Eric is not in this situation, that he's committed to the club, he's happy with the contract and his prospective future as a player here. We are very happy."

Vertonghen is still to agree a contract of his own, signing an extension only until the end of the season, but Mourinho would not be drawn on the issue.

"I think after eight years at the club, it's for Jan to be the man to speak about his future, not me," he said.

Teenage right-back Nathan Ferguson has joined Crystal Palace following the expiration of his West Brom deal. 

Ferguson's contract was up at the Hawthorns at the end of June and he passed up the opportunity to sign an extension with the promotion-chasing Championship side. 

The 19-year-old, who made 21 appearances for West Brom this season prior to a knee injury, has instead committed to Palace, signing a deal that runs until 2023.

"I do appreciate the attention and I appreciate the hierarchy wanting me to be here," Ferguson told Palace's official website. "It's great to be here and to be wanted as well."

"For any young player that’s leaving home, it'll be very tough. But I'm willing to make sacrifices for the game that I've been playing since I was very young."

Wolves moved a step closer to sealing Europa League qualification thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Monday.

Nuno Espirito Santo's side broke the deadlock at Molineux just before the half-time interval, Daniel Podence heading in from close range for his first goal since joining from Olympiacos in January.

Palace - who lost defender Mamadou Sakho to injury midway through the first half - fell further behind in the 68th minute.

Jonny Castro Otto capitalised on the opportunity to turn and shoot past visiting goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, making sure of a victory that moves them above Tottenham into sixth place in the Premier League table.

Wolves travel to Stamford Bridge to take on third-placed Chelsea on the final day of the season, while Palace host Spurs at Selhurst Park.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted Manchester United were "raring to go" again ahead of their FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea.

Goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial saw United past Crystal Palace 2-0 on Thursday as they continued their top-four push in the Premier League.

United have a short turnaround ahead of playing Chelsea and Solskjaer had questioned why Frank Lampard's team were afforded 48 hours more rest.

But the United manager said his players were ready to go for the clash at Wembley.

"We're fine, we're fit and the players are raring to go, want to play again," Solskjaer told a news conference.

"Of course, anyone can hold their hands up at any moment and say, 'I want to sit out this one'.

"We've got players on the bench desperate to join in, but it was forced with Brandon [Williams] and Luke [Shaw] not being available today.

"Timothy [Fosu-Mensah] did great and Scott [McTominay] has been fantastic. He took a shift for Nemanja [Matic].

"We've got the players who've had the chance over this period to take players off, being three goals up in many games after 60 minutes. We've been fortunate in that respect."

United are fifth in the Premier League table, a point behind Chelsea and level on points with fourth-placed Leicester City with two games remaining.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has called on Manchester United to "step up and show personality" as they aim to hunt down a place in the Champions League.

United's 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Thursday – which came courtesy of strikes from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial – lifted the Red Devils back level on points with fourth-placed Leicester City, who had defeated Sheffield United earlier on.

Manchester City's successful appeal of their European ban for a breach of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations means only the top four in the Premier League will qualify for next season's Champions League, and the race looks set to run to the wire, with United facing Leicester in their final league game.

Solskjaer believes his side put in a cagey display at Selhurst Park, and wants more confidence from United, who are unbeaten since January, heading into the final two matches of their Premier League campaign.

"It was a tight game, didn't get the rhythm in our passing but two fantastic goals won it for us," he told BT Sport.

"We need to smile, we need to go into this like we've earned this right. Nobody thought this in January, that we were in with a shout of the top four.

"We've done fantastic since the restart. We've got to smile, got to enjoy it, these are the games that matter at Manchester United. You've got to step up and show your personality."

Solskjaer was delighted with the play for both of United's goals, though again called on his attackers to offer more moments of such quality.

"The finish was great but also the build-up with some quick, interchanging passing, but we didn't do it enough, and we don't do it enough, because they are a handful to play against," Solskjaer added.

"I'm glad I'm not a defender playing against them – they need to trust themselves to do that more.

"We needed the second goal, that's when they started strutting about as well as they can."

The match was not without controversy, with Palace denied what appeared to be a valid shout for a penalty when Victor Lindelof went in on Wilfried Zaha prior to Rashford's opener before Jordan Ayew had a goal disallowed by VAR for a marginal offside.

Palace have now suffered six straight losses, but Roy Hodgson does not believe his team deserved to lose on Thursday.

"I thought we could so easily have been leading in the game, so to find yourselves on the wrong end of a result like that against a team of Man United's quality is very hard to take," he told BT Sport.

"There were decisions which could have gone our way that didn't. I thought the referee on the field could have given a penalty, he didn't.

"The people in the office somewhere, they didn't give that one as well. Apparently the [offside] is one of those hairline decisions. We're used to football without VAR – when the ball was crossed into the six-yard box and someone scores, I don't remember those goals ever been ruled out for offside.

"Now we have to come to terms with the reality that you're celebrating, think you've scored a good goal and then you have it taken away from you by a fine decision. 

"It's tough for the players, I feel really sorry for them, because if there's ever a game that I should be congratulating them on the performance and result, tonight was the night."

Manchester United continued their push for Champions League qualification as Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial secured a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace.

After a draw with Southampton ended their four-match streak of Premier League victories, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side returned to winning ways to keep the pressure on fourth-placed Leicester City, who had beaten Sheffield United earlier on Thursday.

Their victory came in somewhat unconvincing fashion, however, with Rashford providing a moment of quality to open the scoring in first-half stoppage time.

Palace fell foul of some contentious VAR decisions either side of the opener yet United had the final say -  despite a glaring miss from Bruno Fernandes - when Rashford turned provider for Martial to wrap up the points and leave the Champions League race perfectly poised with two matches remaining.

Following a sluggish start, United finally clicked into gear on the half-hour mark, but Mason Greenwood scuffed wide from Martial's lay-off.

Victor Lindelof dived in on Wilfried Zaha just before half-time, yet Palace's penalty appeals fell on deaf ears, and their frustration was compounded three minutes later – Rashford finishing in style after getting the better of Van Aanholt.

Jordan Ayew thought he had restored parity 10 minutes after the restart, only for VAR to deem the striker was offside as Zaha released his cross.

Fernandes struck the post with half of the goal to aim at with 16 minutes remaining, but he soon atoned for that, combining brilliantly with Rashford to set up Martial, who tucked in his 10th top-flight goal since the turn of the year.

In the process of scoring, Martial collided with Van Aanholt, who had to receive lengthy treatment and oxygen before being taken off as a difficult day for Palace ended on a worrying note.

 

What does it mean? Champions League race set to run to the wire

United and Leicester go head-to-head on the final day of the season and it looks set to be a straight shoot-out for a spot in the Champions League, though third-placed Chelsea are still very much in the mix.

In-form Rashford rolls on

United forward Rashford has enjoyed a fine week, having been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Manchester for his work in the community, and his effort took him onto 17 league goals for the season – the same as in his two previous campaigns combined.

VAR controversy frustrates Palace

Lindelof seemed to make contact with Zaha in the box when the Palace forward powered through shortly before half-time, yet VAR did not instruct referee Graham Scott to reassess his decision, despite the replays showing there was indeed a touch from the United defender.

Palace were dealt a blow by the technology again in the second half, when Ayew's goal was disallowed. 

What's next?

United turn their focus to the FA Cup on Sunday, with Chelsea their semi-final opponents on Sunday. Palace, meanwhile, face Wolves in their penultimate league outing.

Ayoze Perez and Demarai Gray gave Leicester City a 2-0 win over Sheffield United which boosted their Champions League ambitions, while Aston Villa's Premier League survival hopes were dented after a 1-1 draw at Everton.

Leicester's victory was only their second since the restart, having seen their grip on a top-four place weaken in recent weeks.

But the win left the Foxes are a point behind third-placed Chelsea, although they have tough matches against Tottenham and fellow Champions League hopefuls Manchester United to come.

Ezri Konsa gave Villa a 1-0 lead against Everton but Theo Walcott's 87th-minute equaliser for the Toffees left Dean Smith's side three points adrift of 17th-placed Watford having played a game more.

Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers was critical of his players after a 4-1 thrashing by Bournemouth in their last Premier League outing, but his side were much improved against the Blades.

Perez put Leicester ahead shortly before the half-hour mark when he controlled a fine pass from Luke Thomas, who caught the eye on debut, and guided a shot through John Egan's legs and into the bottom corner.

Premier League top scorer Jamie Vardy struck the post while Harvey Barnes brought two fine saves out of Blades goalkeeper Dean Henderson as the Foxes went for the kill.

They had to wait until 11 minutes from time to wrap up the points, though, when substitute Gray received the ball from Vardy and coolly finished off a counter-attack with an angled finish.

Villa suffered late heartbreak at Goodison Park and remain mired in the Premier League relegation zone with two matches left to play.

Konsa put Villa ahead in the 72nd minute when he showed quick reactions inside the box to get on the end of Conor Hourihane's free-kick.

However, Carlo Ancelotti's side levelled three minutes from time when Walcott headed in despite Konsa's attempted acrobatic clearance.

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