Newcastle striker Alan Shearer announced his retirement from football on this day in 2006.

The former England captain confirmed that his career had been brought to a close at the age of 35 after sustaining a knee injury in the Wear-Tyne derby the previous week.

In what turned out to be his final game for the Magpies, Shearer scored a penalty as his side went on to win 4-1 against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

However, he was forced to call time on his playing days after tearing his medial ligament in a challenge with Julio Arca.

News of his retirement came as Newcastle faced West Brom in their efforts to secure European football.

A huge banner was displayed in an act of appreciation at the Gallowgate End of St James’ Park, showing Shearer in his famous goal celebration pose with the message: “Thanks for 10 great years.”

With their talisman sidelined, goals from Nolberto Solano and Shola Ameobi kicked off the post-Shearer era as the Magpies beat the Baggies 3-0 in front of 52,272 fans.

The crowd were sparked into full voice 15 minutes from time when Shearer briefly poked his head out of the dugout.

Shearer arrived back to his native Tyneside in 1996 after transferring from Blackburn, and went on to score 206 goals in his 10 years at Newcastle.

He is regarded as the greatest Premier League striker, scoring a record 260 goals, and won three Golden Boots during his career.

Defender William Saliba knows Arsenal have to win their remaining five Premier League games if they are going to become champions.

The Gunners returned to the top of the table after a 2-0 win at Wolves on Saturday night and are now level on points with Liverpool following their win at Fulham on Sunday.

Both sides could move further ahead of Manchester City, who were in FA Cup semi-final action on Saturday and do not play in the league until Thursday night – by which point they will have two games in hand.

The Gunners could move four points clear of City if they beat Chelsea on Tuesday night and with games against Tottenham, Bournemouth, Manchester United and Everton to come, Saliba says Arsenal cannot afford to drop any more points.

“Of course, anything can happen in the last five games,” the defender said.

“If we want something at the end we have to win. It will be very tough because we are so close to Liverpool and City but we started well today and we have to keep going.

“If we want to put pressure on, we have to win, to win and keep going like this. We know it will be hard but we are prepared.”

The victory at Molineux, secured by goals from Leandro Trossard and Martin Odegaard, was a good response to a difficult week for Arsenal following back-to-back defeats against Aston Villa and Bayern Munich.

“We know it’s really hard to come back after the two last games because we lost but we knew how important this game was,” he said.

“We came back with a win and a clean sheet. We are happy and we have to keep going like this. We have good experience from last year and this season too.

“We know it can be up and down very quickly so we are well prepared.”

Wolves are crippled by injuries, with all of their main attacking options ruled out or not fit enough to start.

But boss Gary O’Neil said Pablo Sarabia and Mario Lemina, who came off the bench against the Gunners, should be able to start against Bournemouth on Wednesday.

“I was trying to pick a team with the rest of the week in mind, trying to juggle it with just 10 available that can complete 90 minutes,” he said.

“It was a tough call but we felt we’d be able to produce that high-energy performance and get a couple of them a bit of a rest.

“Pablo’s groin settled down even further and hopefully it will do them both good not to have gone through 90 minutes and they will be feeling a bit better come Wednesday.”

On this day in 2013, Liverpool striker Luis Suarez attracted criticism after biting Branislav Ivanovic on the arm in a 2-2 draw with Chelsea.

The Uruguay international was at the centre of several of the game’s key moments in an eventful afternoon at Anfield.

Suarez conceded a penalty in the second-half for handling the ball in the box and Eden Hazard converted from the penalty spot.

Stoppage-time was jam-packed with drama as the Liverpool forward sank his teeth into Ivanovic’s arm, but no action was taken by referee Kevin Friend, who missed the incident, and Suarez went on to rescue a point for the Reds with an equaliser in the final minute of added time.

The forward apologised to Ivanovic on Twitter and through a statement issued on the Liverpool website, saying: “I am deeply sorry for my inexcusable behaviour earlier today during our match against Chelsea.

“I have issued an apology and have tried to contact Branislav Ivanovic to speak to him personally. I apologise also to my manager, playing colleagues and everyone at Liverpool for letting them down.”

Three days after the Chelsea game Suarez was hit with a 10-match ban for the bite after pleading guilty to a violent conduct charge.

It was not the first time Suarez had brought controversy to the club – he had been banned for eight matches the previous season after being found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra.

He also had a history of biting at former club Ajax, where he bit PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal and was handed a seven-match ban.

Suarez would go on to reoffend while on international duty for Uruguay at the 2014 World Cup, where he bit Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in their group stage clash.

David Seaman believes a clean bill of health could be the difference between Arsenal winning the Premier League and falling short this season.

The Gunners are two points behind Manchester City after losing to Aston Villa last weekend but can return to the summit if they win at Wolves on Saturday.

The three-way tussle with reigning champions City and a Liverpool side which are losing manager Jurgen Klopp at the end of the campaign promises to be a title showdown for the ages.

The picture shifts after every round of fixtures and, with just six games remaining, the slightest of margins could determine the destination of the trophy.

Both Arsenal and Liverpool slipped up last week to allow City to lead the way, while Champions League quarter-final defeat to Bayern Munich has also hit Mikel Artete’s side.

But, for former Arsenal and City goalkeeper Seaman, Arsenal need to be able to call upon their best players in the closing weeks if they are to win a first league crown in 20 years.

They lost centre-back William Saliba in the run-in last season and were ultimately reeled in by a City side which went on to win the treble.

“Am I confident? Yes, there’s three teams in it and, so long as Arsenal keep their players fit, then we’ve got a great chance,” Seaman said.

“Our squad is not as big as Liverpool’s is and City’s is, but if Arsenal can keep everyone fit and ready, we’ve got a great chance.

“We struggled last year through injuries, but now we’re at a different level at Arsenal, we are contenders whereas before we sometimes celebrated getting in the top four.

“But now we’re in contention every season so that shows the improvement in the team.”

Seaman will once again work with the England goalkeepers as a coach during this year’s Soccer Aid for UNICEF in June.

The 60-year-old collected 75 caps for the Three Lions during his own playing career and has played a role in working closely with current England and Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.

David Raya has been Arteta’s first choice since September following his move from Brentford and, while Seaman insists Ramsdale is “too good” to be a back-up goalkeeper, he has been impressed with the Spaniard.

“When David came in, he found it tough, he came from Brentford to play for Arsenal and that is next-level pressure,” he added.

“Plus, he overtook Aaron who was a fan’s favourite, but he’s found his feet now, his distribution at the back is brilliant and Arsenal have got two really, really good goalkeepers – how you keep them both happy, I have no idea!”

:: Soccer Aid for Unicef 2024 takes place on 9th June at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, with tickets available at

The prospect of five English clubs competing in next season’s Champions League is hanging by a thread after Manchester City and Arsenal were knocked out of the continent’s premier club competition on Wednesday night.

Here, the PA news agency explains the situation.

Why is there an extra place?

From this season, the two countries who collectively perform best in this season’s men’s European club competitions will each gain a European Performance Spot (EPS) for one of their clubs in the following season’s Champions League, which will feature a 36-team league phase from 2024-25 replacing the familiar eight groups of four.

For each of the best-performing countries, the EPS goes to the highest-finishing club in those countries who have not already qualified for the Champions League via their domestic performance. In England’s case, that would be the team finishing fifth – currently Tottenham.

How do the rankings look at the moment?

The rankings – known as the association club coefficient – are led this season by Italy. Germany were already ahead of England in the race for the second spot heading into the quarter-final second legs, but the exits of City and Arsenal – coupled with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund making progress – have widened the gap.

Last Friday – after the Europa League and Conference League first legs had been played – Germany had 16.785 points compared to England’s 16.750, a gap of 0.035. On Thursday morning the gap had grown to 0.767, with Germany on 17.642 and England on 16.875.

How are the points worked out?

Teams gain points for wins (two) and draws (one) from the start of the group phase in all three of UEFA’s men’s club competitions. Teams also earn points for participation in the Champions League group phase and for making progress beyond certain rounds in all three competitions.

The association coefficient is calculated by working out an average score – dividing the total number of points the clubs win by the number of clubs representing that country in Europe. So in England’s case any points won by the Premier League representatives are divided by eight.

Can England still do it?

In theory yes. West Ham and Liverpool could still meet in the Europa League final if they can overturn first-leg deficits to Bayer Leverkusen and Atalanta respectively on Thursday night, and Aston Villa could still go all the way in the Conference League. That, coupled with the remaining German teams stumbling, means there is still very slim hope.

But Germany certainly have the edge and could even end up with six teams in next season’s Champions League. If Dortmund finish fifth in the Bundesliga but win the Champions League, it would be the second of those achievements which would secure them their Champions League place for 2024-25. The EPS would then be awarded to whoever finishes sixth – currently Eintracht Frankfurt.

Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins scored in the final six minutes as Aston Villa stunned Arsenal with a 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium to put a huge dent in Mikel Arteta’s Premier League title hopes.

With Liverpool having gone down 1-0 at home to Crystal Palace earlier in the day, Arsenal stood to move three points clear of Jurgen Klopp’s side but they were left reeling from their first league loss of 2024 by a superb away performance by Villa, who moved three clear of Tottenham in the race to finish fourth.

Arteta’s team were on top during the first half and should have taken the lead when Leandro Trossard met a low cross from close range but saw his effort brilliantly turned away by the foot of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

Moments before, Watkins had struck the inside of a post for Villa who were a constant threat on the counter-attack before taking control in the second half.

Youri Tielemans hit the crossbar just after the break, before two late goals handed the initiative in the title race to champions Manchester City, who lead the way by two points.

At Anfield, Eberechi Eze’s goal after 14 minutes, tapped in from Tyrick Mitchell’s cutback, proved the difference as Liverpool fell to a first home league defeat of the season.

Klopp’s side were guilty of profligate finishing with Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota and Curtis Jones all responsible for glaring misses, while goalkeeper Dean Henderson put in a fine display with a number of key saves.

Wataru Endo hit the crossbar in the first half when Palace failed to clear a corner, but they hung on for just a second victory under Oliver Glasner to leave Liverpool two points off the top.

Elsewhere, Fulham ran out 2-0 winners against West Ham at the London Stadium, Andreas Pereira scoring a goal in either half to damage the home side’s European ambitions.

Cesc Fabregas believes Arsenal could go on to dominate English football in the coming years if they can get over the line in this year’s Premier League title race.

The Gunners currently lead a three-way battle with Liverpool and Manchester City, sitting on top of the table ahead of the Reds on goal difference.

Having fallen away from the title race last season, Mikel Arteta’s side are sticking around and former midfielder Fabregas says the mindset will change by becoming winners this term.


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“Obviously you can imagine what it will mean. More than just winning a title but the belief will be back, the trust between the players and the staff and the fans and the whole club,” the Spaniard, who played over 300 times for the Gunners, told the PA news agency.

“The family that was there when I was there will be back, the moments of ‘we are strong and we know we can win’; at the moment it is a little bit ‘are we ready are we not’?

“If they can manage to win the first one, I believe it could become a constant threat for Arsenal to be challenging for all the top titles.”

Arteta, whose side drew 2-2 with Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final first leg on Tuesday, came under pressure at the start of his tenure as his project took time to come to fruition.

But the Gunners stuck with him and Fabregas, who is now assistant manager at Italian Serie B club Como, says his former club are an example of how to do things properly.

“It is all about Edu and the owners giving him the time and the right tools to prove himself,” he said.

“When this happens, the structure, the vision and the trust comes together and things happen. That is why I am happy.

“I always use them as an example, the first two years of Mikel, in any other club or someone else managing the situation could have just got rid of Mikel and said ‘we are moving to another direction’.

“But they had a clear plan, a clear process, they had the right steps, they invested in young quality players and now you get all the results of these ups and downs of the first two or three years.

“They are there, they have done really well and they are a proper example of how football should be done.”

Fabregas will be donning his boots again as he has signed up to Enterprise’s ‘Rent-A-Player’ campaign, where he will join a lucky five-a-side team in the UK for one night only.

The 2010 World Cup winner knows all about the physicality and passion of English football after long spells at Arsenal and Chelsea, so knows to bring his shin pads.

“For me it will be a great experience, he added. “Talking to people, seeing different views of football. I guess it’s like street football and exchanging stories, thoughts, experiences. It is going to be fantastic.

“I will definitely be taking the shin pads because these games are very competitive, you never know where it might lead.”

:: Entry to Enterprise’s ‘Rent-A-Player’ competition closes on Friday, April 12, with applicants in the UK able to enter via

Rio Ferdinand believes Marcus Rashford may have to leave Manchester United to reignite his career.

Rashford’s form has dipped this season in an inconsistent United side, scoring just eight goals in 36 appearances.

The 26-year-old’s off-field lifestyle has also come under the spotlight after he went to a party following October’s derby defeat by Manchester City and reportedly spent an evening at a Belfast nightclub in January before missing the following day’s training due to illness.

Former United defender Ferdinand feels Rashford, whose place in the England squad for Euro 2024 this summer could be in jeopardy, needs to look at the people he surrounds himself with and possibly make a fresh start elsewhere.

“I think it’s a pivotal moment in his career now, he’s not a kid anymore,” Ferdinand told Sky Bet’s Stick to Football podcast.

“I think there’s a big decision to make, from him. He’s got to look at who’s around him, who are the external people? Are they the right people?

“Are they enabling him to make excuses for himself behind closed doors? Or are they saying ‘look at yourself and be accountable for what you are doing’?

“He needs to look at that and own that and make big decisions.

“When I left West Ham (for Leeds) I could have gone to Chelsea, that’s probably a club I would have preferred to go to at the time. But the reason I went to Leeds was it was out of London and the external people around me, I needed to get away from.

“He might need to go ‘you know what, I’ll get rid of them and stay in Manchester, or I’ve got leave Manchester and get rid of those people’.”

Former United captain Roy Keane suggested a more old-school approach to get Rashford firing again.

He said: “We make excuses for him. There’s a structure, a team around him. There’s no question mark about his ability but there’s something amiss with him.

“A player can have an off spell, or a dip, but he’s certainly not enjoying his football.

“The people around him, family, the manager, who’s on his case every day? There’s nothing wrong with the old fashioned kick up the a*** and going ‘come on, we need more from you’.

“I don’t think there’s anybody on his case. But that doesn’t mean he can’t produce and start running a bit more.”

Newcastle midfielder Lee Bowyer was fined six weeks’ wages on this day in 2005 for fighting with team-mate Kieron Dyer during a 3-0 defeat by Aston Villa.

Bowyer appeared to be the aggressor in the extraordinary scenes at St James’ Park, resulting in the England midfielder being severely censured by his club and warned as to his future conduct.

Both players were sent off and Bowyer was banned for six games by the Football Association as well as being fined by the governing body, lifting the total amount of fines he paid for the incident to £280,000.

Northumbria Police pressed charges and in 2006 Newcastle magistrates issued a £600 fine and ordered Bowyer to pay £1,000 in costs for the offence of “causing harassment, alarm or distress”.

“A moment of madness. Do I regret it? Of course I do. Nobody wants to do that, especially on the big stage, but it’s passion,” said Bowyer when reflecting on the incident in 2022.

“Obviously people have opinions and it goes from one extreme to another, everyone puts two pence in – all of a sudden it was me and Kieron hated each other, but that wasn’t the case.”

Pep Guardiola has admitted he needed to learn to control his emotions more effectively before guiding Manchester City to the treble last season.

A new club-produced documentary which will screen on Netflix from Tuesday goes behind on the scenes of City’s historic season, and shows the message Guardiola gave to his players at half-time during the Champions League final in Istanbul, when the match against Inter Milan was still goalless.

Guardiola is seen trying to settle the nerves of his players, reassuring them they can improve in the second half, before they went on to win 1-0 through Rodri’s 68th minute goal.

“You’re exceptional players, playing the Champions League final,” Guardiola tells them. “What you feel is normal, yes. But we don’t give up. Go, go, go. That’s why we are here. We adjust one or two things and we’ll be much more effective. Calm, guys, calm. Keep going, we’ll find momentum.”

Speaking in an interview filmed for the documentary, which is called ‘Together: Treble Winners’, Guardiola contrasted that message with the half-time team talk he gave his side during the 2021 Champions League final against Chelsea.

They had just fallen behind to Kai Havertz’s 42nd minute goal and went on to lose 1-0.

“Of course emotion is so important in the final,” Guardiola said. “The big personalities, the characters. How you approach the moment in half-time, how you overcome, how well you overcome if it’s not a perfect first half, because it’s happened.

“People are human beings, they have the desire to do well, to achieve it, win it, to lift it…

“I remember the final against Chelsea at half-time I was more aggressive with some players and it didn’t work…

“In the finals, there is not one player who doesn’t want to win it and do it well. And when that moment came by, OK guys, we have 45 minutes, maybe extra time, stick with what we have. I have to adjust something, we do it. Come on, let’s go.

“I control my emotions much better than when I was younger as a manager.”

The documentary also includes Kyle Walker’s now famous speech in the dressing room before kick-off. The England defender had been left out of Guardiola’s starting line-up for the match, and implored those taking the field to deliver for those on the sidelines.

“I love every single one of you,” said Walker, now City’s captain. “Come and make my dream come true. Please, I beg you. Right, come on boys.”

The six-episode documentary series charts City’s season from the moment of Erling Haaland’s medical ahead of his arrival from Borussia Dortmund through to their historic night in Istanbul and the celebrations that followed.

The issue of the 115 charges laid against the club by the Premier League in February 2023 for alleged breaches of financial rules are dealt with briefly, but without new material, using archive footage from Guardiola’s press conference at the time.

The lowest point of City’s season came in January, when they lost back-to-back games against Southampton and Manchester United.

The abject 2-0 Carabao Cup loss to the Saints was later seen as a turning point and Guardiola’s post-match team talk with his players is telling as he demanded an explanation from them for their poor display.

“Tell me,” he said. “Do you think it’s normal the way you performed? Something happens and everyone’s head is down. There is no one to do something. Do you think it’s normal, what we have done, for this club?

“Do you think it’s normal for the (fans) that travel, who don’t have money to pay for the heater at home and they travel, to come here, to follow us – do you think it’s normal to perform in this way?

“Wow. My team is not like that. We’ll be in trouble. I don’t accept that.”

Defender Takehiro Tomiyasu has signed a new deal with Arsenal.

The Japanese star joined the Gunners in August 2021 from Serie A side Bologna and has made 73 appearances in all competitions.

The PA news agency understands Tomiyasu’s new contract is for two years, with the option of a further 12 months.

Manager Mikel Arteta said: “We are so pleased to have Tomi commit his future with us. Together with his natural ability and strength, Tomi’s attitude, mentality and values are first class.

“Tomi is loved by everyone and has been an integral part of the squad since joining us. The way he trains, with his desire and determination to be the best version of himself every day, is admirable. We look forward to continue working with Tomi in the future years.”

Tomiyasu has made 20 appearances this season, scoring his first goal against Sheffield United in October, but has not featured in 2024 having played for Japan in the Asian Cup and then struggled with a calf injury.

The 25-year-old said: “I’m so happy to extend my contract because Arsenal is one of the best clubs in the world. And it’s a dream to play for this club.

“I’m still learning a lot of things from Mikel, from my team-mates. I still have capacity to improve. So I will try to be a better player and also a better person as well.”

Pep Guardiola admitted he will face a nervous wait to see if all of his Manchester City players come through the international window unscathed ahead of a crucial run of games.

City kept alive the possibility of a second treble as they beat Newcastle 2-0 on Saturday to become the first team in the history of the FA Cup to reach the semi-finals in six consecutive seasons.

But the majority of Guardiola’s squad will now be heading off to play international football before the crunch Premier League fixture against title rivals Arsenal on March 31.

“I will not watch the (international) games, I will rest, and when they arrive on Thursday we will see which players survive and which did not survive,” Guardiola said.

“It’s difficult sometimes in that period to give all the players away for friendly games in a difficult part of the season, but the schedule is the schedule.”

Two deflected strikes from Bernardo Silva were enough for City to ease to victory over outclassed Newcastle, booking the first of what City hope will be three visits to Wembley before the end of the season, with the national stadium hosting the Champions League final on June 1.

“One step at a time,” said Guardiola, who will enjoy a break in his native Catalunya during the internationals. “First we have a final against Arsenal. But now we rest. I don’t want to think too much in the future.

“It’s been an intense period. Now the players change environment, it is always good for their mind. Some will be with their families, the staff will be with their families, and then when we come back we have three games to prepare for the game against Arsenal. Let’s go.”

Speaking immediately after Saturday’s game, Guardiola said he needed Kevin De Bruyne and Jack Grealish to come back fit after the break, and also mentioned Erling Haaland, who missed two months of the season through injury earlier in the season.

But although the Norwegian was unable to add to his eight FA Cup goals in Saturday’s match, bending a shot narrowly wide early in the second half, Guardiola was happy with the striker’s performance.

“This was the Erling I like to see,” he said. “In the moments we didn’t find him a little more with the players behind him…We should have used him a little bit more in the space but sometimes it’s difficult to see during the game.”

Grealish was an unused substitute following a groin injury which saw him left out of Gareth Southgate’s England squad, but Guardiola predicted he would be ready for the Arsenal match.

“Now we have 10 days to train,” he said. “We have a plan for him to train and he will be ready. Every three days we have a game in the final (stages) of the Premier League and the final (stages) of the Champions League. Everyone will be needed.”

Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill has not been surprised by the way Conor Bradley has handled the spotlight after breaking into the Liverpool side with a string of impressive performances.

Northern Ireland fans have long been aware of the 20-year-old’s exciting talent as Bradley has earned 13 caps since making his senior debut in May 2021, a figure that would be much higher had he not missed the bulk of the Euro 2024 qualifying campaign through injury last year.

Since returning to fitness, Bradley has broken into Jurgen Klopp’s side and turned in a series of eye-catching displays, helping Liverpool to lift the Carabao Cup last month.


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O’Neill welcomed back Bradley to international duty when he named his squad on Thursday for the upcoming friendlies against Romania and Scotland, and said Bradley has moved up a gear since recovering from a back injury.


“Conor was a big loss to us in the qualification campaign,” O’Neill told the PA news agency. “But physically he’s come back even stronger than he was prior to the injury.

“Athletically he’s demonstrated that in games – he’s played some extremely intense games, massive games for Liverpool and he’s excelled in those games. He’s not just held his own but in most of the those games people have come away talking about his level of performance.

“That’s something, going forward, we expect and hope he can bring to the international stage.”

Bradley spent last season on loan at League One Bolton, but has made the step up to Premier League and European football look seamless – something O’Neill said comes down to his character.

“The biggest thing for me is Conor’s mentality, to be able to play in those games at such a crucial stage of the season,” he said.

“He’s a very humble lad, he’s not one to get carried away. He takes it in his stride. He’s experienced already some of the ups and downs of football and it’s great to see him play at this level. He’s going to be a very important player for us going forward…

“If you know Conor and his background and his upbringing, how he’s handled it is exactly how I would expect. He’s not one that courts the spotlight, he’s not one I imagine does very much on social media.

“His focus is on his football and his performances. Away from the pitch he prefers a quiet life so he’s got all the traits you need to be a top player in the modern era.”

While Bradley is back in O’Neill’s squad, a number of senior players remain absent, with Jonny Evans sitting out this international window nursing a calf injury.

As expected, it is still too soon for either Stuart Dallas or Corry Evans, long-term absentees, although O’Neill expects to see both players during next week’s training camp in Manchester.

Dallas, 32, has been out since suffering a broken femur in April 2022, having been frustrated by a number of setbacks in his recovery, while Corry Evans, 33, suffered a serious knee injury in January 2023.

“Both lads are coming to see us in Manchester so we’ll probably get a clearer picture then,” O’Neill said when asked about possible return dates.

“Their focus is to get back playing, to get back fit, and then they’ve both got contract situations to deal with as well, so international football is not at the forefront of their minds at this time.”

Kai Havertz may have scored the winning goal in a Champions League final but his late header to seal victory over Brentford and send Arsenal top of the Premier League was also a “dream” moment for the forward.

With title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City facing off 24 hours later, any victory for Arsenal would have taken them to the summit for the first time in 2024.

It looked like they were on course to miss out after returning goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale gifted a goal to Yoane Wissa to cancel out a brilliant Declan Rice header, only for Havertz to convert with four minutes remaining and secure a 2-1 victory.

After a slow start following his summer move from Chelsea, where he netted the only goal of the 2021 Champions League final against Manchester City, Havertz now has four in four league games and was serenaded by the home fans at full-time.

“As a kid, I think you dream that you’re going to have moments like this in your career and Saturday I had something like this,” he said.

“The supporters made it very special to me and I’m very thankful to have this moment. Thank you to all of them.

“You always hope for that (connection with fans). I know maybe it wasn’t from the beginning but I always try to work hard and just not drop my confidence.

“I just give my best every game and I did it so I’m happy now that I’ve had some of those moments now.

“I’m very delighted, it was a big game for us. To play in these games and win it at the end is always very nice and it was a great feeling.”

Havertz’s late goal was controversial as there was a chance he could have been sent off earlier in the game.

After being cautioned for catching Kristoffer Ajer with an elbow, the Germany forward seemingly dived in an attempt to win a second-half penalty.

“Right now, I don’t think momentum is with us,” Vitaly Janelt told Brentford’s official website.

“Everyone expected that Arsenal would win by three, four, five today because of their last results, but everyone knows how difficult it is to play against us either at home or away.

“They didn’t create many chances and, for me, it was a clear yellow and then red to Havertz, it was a clear dive for me. Then he scores the winner, but that’s football.”

Bruno Fernandes says Manchester United need to knuckle down, rack up wins and improve in possession as they attempt to sneak into the Champions League spots.

This has been a season to forget for Erik ten Hag’s side, who put back-to-back Premier League defeats behind them by edging past relegation-threatened Everton 2-0 on Saturday lunchtime.

First half penalties from Fernandes and Marcus Rashford decided the contest at Old Trafford, with the former calling on United to ignore background noise and focus on themselves during the run-in.

Put to the Red Devils skipper that it feels like every match feels like a big game right now, he told MUTV: “It is actually.

“Obviously we know that this season is not being (as) good as we want, so we want to improve as much as we can until the end of the season.

“Improve obviously position-wise because we want to try to get as close as possible to the Champions League spots.

“We know that we don’t depend only on ourselves, but we have to do our job like we did today and win our games.”

United remain sixth after beating Everton and sit eight points behind fourth-placed Aston Villa, who host Tottenham – the team between them – on Sunday.

Fifth could yet prove enough for Champions League qualification but the Red Devils will be relying on other teams to improve England’s UEFA coefficient.

United have 10 Premier League matches remaining and now turn their attention to keeping alive their hopes of ending a season to forget with silverware.

Ten Hag’s men host Liverpool in the FA Cup quarter-finals next weekend, when a repeat of the kind of sloppiness seen against Everton, particularly in the first half, could lead to an ugly outcome.

“No one gives the ball away on purpose,” Fernandes told Stadium Astro.

“So, you miss the pass, sometimes it doesn’t go the way you want.

“Obviously, we need to get high focus in these kind of games (against Everton) because we know they have a really strong counter-press and a really strong counter-attack.

“We know that every ball that they could recover, they will try to get their space and their time to have their chances.

“But I think overall the performance was good, obviously there’s always margin to improve.

“I think keeping more on the ball, more spells with more passes, trying to play higher on the pitch in their half, keep the ball there and then still creating a lot of chances that we create today.”

United take on a Liverpool side whose FA Cup progress led next weekend’s Merseyside derby to be postponed.

That means Everton have three weeks to stew on an 11th successive winless Premier League match, with boss Sean Dyche taking his team on a European training camp next week.

“We want to remind the players of the good side of these performances while putting that demand on the next part of it,” said the Everton manager, whose side return to action at Bournemouth on March 30.

“So, what is it that changes this situation? What is it that occurs when we take responsibility? That’s where we’re trying to get to. That will certainly be part of the demand of these next three weeks.

“We’re all together, make no mistake about that. I lead it. I’ve got no problem with that.

“We’ve got to stay with the consistency of what we’re doing while adding… the only way I can describe it is the will and demand to get hurt to score a goal, where it means that much that you will score a goal.

“When you get tight then, of course, a bit of that freedom can go, but we’re the only ones who can change it.”

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