Newcastle United boss Eddie Howe claimed his side were given the spur they needed to beat Fulham by Aleksandar Mitrovic's calamitous double-touch penalty.

Alexander Isak came off the bench to head an 89th-minute winner, with a 1-0 victory sending the Magpies third in the Premier League, after former Newcastle striker Mitrovic failed to capitalise from the spot.

In bizarre scenes, the Serbia international slipped as he took his attempt, illegally hitting the ball twice as he sent his effort into the net, with the goal disallowed and Newcastle given a free-kick as a result.

"The double touch I couldn't see, but I was really pleased to see it go that way," Howe said.

His high-flying team were lifted, and Howe said: "These moments can sometimes do that. Something happens, a flash point, we didn't concede. The crowd were really good for us from that moment on."

Fulham were awarded their penalty in the 66th minute after a challenge by Kieran Trippier on Bobby De Cordova-Reid, with Fulham already demanding a spot-kick after Andreas Pereira was, to their mind, fouled moments earlier.

"I thought the first challenge could have been a penalty. That wasn't given. The second one I didn't think was but was bizarrely given," Howe told Sky Sports.

Newcastle's victory puts them third in the Premier League, level on points with fourth-placed Manchester United who have a game in hand against Crystal Palace to play in midweek.

Fulham head coach Marco Silva felt the match officials gave his team very little "from the first minute" of the game at St James' Park.

"So many things to say about the ref's performance. But first I will say that I am really proud of the players and my team," Silva told Sky Sports.

"We had ambition, quality, desire and showed why we are doing so well this season."

Pointing to the first incident for which Fulham wanted a penalty, as Dan Burn seemed to impede Pereira, Silva said: "It is a clear penalty, red card for the player and the game would be completely different. The fourth official gave it, but the referee made his decision."

Silva added: "Credit to Newcastle, they are a really strong side as well. We missed a penalty, and we should have attacked more. Credit to them for not giving us more chances.

"We knew that we could not press for the full 90 minutes. We were very unlucky this afternoon. Very unlucky the way we lost this game. It went against us."

Aleksandar Mitrovic remains a fitness doubt for the World Cup despite being named in Serbia's 26-man squad, according to Fulham head coach Marco Silva.

The prolific striker has nine goals in 12 Premier League matches for Fulham this season, but he missed last week's 2-1 loss to Manchester City through injury.

That foot issue is expected to rule Mitrovic out of Sunday's home match against Manchester United, with that Fulham's final outing ahead of the World Cup break.

Mitrovic was included in Dragan Stojkovic's squad on Friday, but Silva revealed the 28-year-old still requires more medical checks before being cleared to take part in Qatar.  

"What I can tell you is that it will be a decision made probably in the first days of next week, between the [Serbia] medical staff and our medical staff," Silva told reporters.

"That will help decide what is the best decision for him, and for us as a club as well because he is really important. 

"I'm not the right person to say now whether he will be fit or not to be there. 

"What I know right now is that he wasn’t ready for the last match and will not be ready for the next one, unfortunately for us.

"What I can also tell you is that he cannot be harmed. He cannot be harmed for something that will come from the decision."

Mitrovic has scored 50 goals in 76 appearances for Fulham, including eight in five in his country's successful World Cup qualifying campaign.

Asked what would happen if Fulham recommended to Serbia that Mitrovic should not play, Silva said: "We don't know what will happen. 

"Mitro wants to be at the World Cup. He wanted to be available for Sunday here against Man United, and he wanted to play against City. 

"This is the thing, it is not just because he wanted to be there. You have to wait for the decision from the medical staff. After, together, we'll take a decision."

Serbia are competing at their third World Cup as an independent nation and are in Group G alongside Brazil, Cameroon and Switzerland.

Dusan Tadic will captain the side in Qatar, while the likes of Dusan Vlahovic, Luka Jovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic have also been included in Stojkovic's squad.

Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter is among five nominees for the Premier League's Manager of the Month award as his move to Chelsea draws closer.

The 47-year-old is widely reported to have agreed terms to take charge at Stamford Bridge following the departure of Thomas Tuchel on Wednesday.

Having been nominated for August's Manager of the Month gong, Potter's arrival at Chelsea could coincide with him being rewarded for a stellar start to the season with Brighton.

The Seagulls won three of their five games in August, drawing with Newcastle United and losing to Fulham, and finished the month in fourth place behind Tottenham, Manchester City and Arsenal.

Those three sides have also seen their leaders nominated, with Mikel Arteta, Antonio Conte and Pep Guardiola shortlisted alongside Fulham's Marco Silva.

Arteta led Arsenal to five wins from five matches in August, while Conte and Guardiola did not taste defeat during the month and Silva led Fulham to two wins and two draws.

The nominations for Manager of the Month were released alongside the shortlist for August's Player of the Month, where City's Erling Haaland is the firm favourite to pick up the award after scoring nine goals in five matches.

Arsenal are the only side to have two nominees up for the award, in captain Martin Odegaard and striker Gabriel Jesus, with the eight-man shortlist dominated by players outside of the established 'top six' in the Premier League.

Brighton's Pascal Gross, Fulham's Aleksander Mitrovic, Newcastle United's Nick Pope, Leeds United's Rodrigo and Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha are the other nominees.

Jurgen Klopp conceded Liverpool must be happy with a point after "a really bad game" against Fulham.

The Reds, who looked sharp in defeating Manchester City 3-1 in last week's Community Shield, were unable to hit their best form on Saturday as they opened their Premier League campaign with a 2-2 draw at Craven Cottage.

Aleksandar Mitrovic scored Fulham's opener in the first half, but Liverpool hit back through substitute Darwin Nunez's first Premier League goal.

Mitrovic then became the first player to score twice for a promoted team on the opening day of a Premier League season since Steve Mounie for Huddersfield Town in 2017 when he netted from the penalty spot after drawing a foul from Virgil van Dijk.

Yet Liverpool had the resolve to restore parity for a second time, Nunez involved again when he perhaps inadvertently nudged down to Mohamed Salah, who swept home his eighth goal on the opening day of a Premier League campaign, the joint-highest total along with Alan Shearer, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney.

Liverpool have now gained 115 points from losing positions under Klopp in the Premier League, the most of any side since the German took over in October 2015, but he was far from pleased with what he saw in west London.

Klopp told BT Sport: "The best thing about the game is the result, that we got a point from a really bad game for my side. Now the question is how can that happen.

"The energy was not right in the beginning, then we wanted to fight back but it is not easy. The pitch was dry, we played really into their hands most of the time. When we found a bit of direction and ended up in front of their goal, we had the bigger chances.

"The result is fine, I don't think we deserved more than that, the performance… massively improvable.

"We cannot always hug the boys. We do that usually when they deserve it. When you start a game in a specific way that was opposite to how we wanted to start, really completely opposite, we didn't find direction. Everyone was under pressure, we couldn't break the lines, which was a clear message. We never had momentum.

"We could have won the game, we had the bigger chances, but that would probably have been a bit too much today."

Liverpool had some complaints about Fulham's opener, with Jordan Henderson claiming he had been fouled by Joao Palhinha in the build-up, though VAR did not intervene.

"It doesn't have to be deliberate, I think it's that they don't go back that far, that's the thing," said Klopp when asked about the incident.

"This result was not about the referee, but we discussed the situation in a Premier League meeting that the refs don't want to go that far back. I'm not sure how far back it was. If it was a foul, it would have been nice, but he saw it differently."

While Nunez became just the third player in Premier League history to both score and assist off the bench on his debut in the competition, Mitrovic has now scored 45 goals in English league football since the start of last season, 16 more than any other player.

Mitrovic managed only three top-flight goals in the 2020-21 season, but Fulham boss Marco Silva was thrilled with the striker's performance.

"Mitro is not just goals, if someone thinks that, forget [it]," Silva said on BT Sport. "The job he did this afternoon, for the team, his pressure, helping the midfielders, the back line… after that, if you deliver for him, he'll score.

"I have to congratulate him, the work he did without the ball he did was fantastic. He knows that, I demand that from him."

Manchester City have become a shock suitor for disgruntled Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, with his contract set to expire at the end of this season.

Pogba, 29, has previously spoken about regretting his move to Old Trafford, and had been expected to leave the Premier League in the upcoming transfer window, being strongly linked with Barcelona and Real Madrid.

While the Frenchman has highlighted his desire to compete for trophies, he may not have to leave the city to get his wish, with a chance to insert himself into Manchester football folklore if he ditches the red for sky blue.

 

TOP STORY – CITY TO OFFER POGBA FOUR-YEAR DEAL WITH FREE TRANSFER

The Daily Mail is reporting City have interest in bringing in Pogba on a free transfer, while the Guardian claims the French midfielder would like to work with Pep Guardiola, and that the club are willing to offer a four-year deal.

If he makes the move, Pogba would be arguably the biggest name to ever make the switch, rivalling Carlos Tevez, but the Guardian report notes he would be taking a pay cut in doing so.

It is not known if offers coming from Spain would be more lucrative financially, but arguably no team can offer a better chance at European and domestic success than City.

In 154 Premier League appearances since his arrival in 2016, Pogba has scored 29 goals and laid on 41 assists.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Telegraph is reporting Brighton and Hove Albion manager Graham Potter is considered the favourite to replace Antonio Conte at Tottenham if he is to leave at the end of the season. Brighton are said to be seeking compensation of £10million from Spurs in the agreement.

Manchester United are interested in 19-year-old French striker Hugo Ekitike from Reims, according to the Daily Mail.

– Football London is reporting Chelsea are considering a move for Torino defender Gleison Bremer.

– According to Fabrizio Romano, Monaco will not accept less than €70m for Liverpool defender Aurelien Tchouameni.

– The Liverpool Echo is reporting Liverpool have agreed to a £7m deal for Fulham's 19-year-old Portuguese forward Marco Silva.

Fulham earned a third promotion to the Premier League in five seasons with their 3-0 win over Preston North End on Tuesday.

All three goals came in the first half at Craven Cottage in what became a routine game, with Aleksandar Mitrovic opening the scoring in only the ninth minute. 

Fabio Carvalho doubled the margin, before Mitrovic added another before half-time.

The Cottagers have earned a 'yo-yo' reputation for bouncing between the Premier League and Championship in recent years.

They were promoted in 2018 and swiftly relegated, before going up again in 2020 and coming straight back down once more.

Now the elite ranks beckon again, with Marco Silva's team aiming to sustain top-flight status this time around.

Fulham had a 13-season spell in the elite from 2001 to 2014, which was the last time they enjoyed consecutive seasons at the top level.

Their campaign this season has been fuelled by a remarkable goal output from Mitrovic, who has now scored 40 times in the league.

Head coach Silva was appointed before the season got under way, replacing Scott Parker who moved on to join Bournemouth.

The Portuguese has previous Premier League experience from his time with Hull City, Everton and Watford.

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