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Vieira’s Palace message, Klopp’s Mane and Salah verdict and Fernandes fitness latest



Here are the latest Premier League headlines for Monday, April 18.

Vieira message to Palace squad

Patrick Vieira has told tearful Crystal Palace defender Tyrick Mitchell he will be a better player for Sunday’s painful experience in the FA Cup semi-final. The left-back, who has been a model of consistency for the Eagles this season, was at fault for Chelsea’s crucial opening goal after he lost possession to Cesar Azpilicueta deep inside his own half in the 65th minute, resulting in Ruben Loftus-Cheek breaking the deadlock at Wembley.

Mason Mount added a second 11 minutes later to secure a 2-0 win for the Blues and leave Palace to reflect on what might have been following their first appearance at the national stadium in six years. Brent-born Mitchell made his England debut at Wembley last month, but this experience was less sweet and he had to be consoled at full-time.

“He will be okay,” Vieira said of the defender, who had been a doubt for the last-four clash with a calf injury. “These kinds of games will build him and teach him how to manage his emotions. The more games he plays like that, the better it will be for him and the rest of the young players that we have.”

READ MORE: Incredible Elliot Anderson stat only Liverpool signing has bettered

Palace now head to Newcastle on Wednesday night in the Premier League, with Vieira eager for his young group to experience more occasions like this.

“We work and aim for it,” he added. “Players smelling and tasting this kind of game where we are really close to a final, these kinds of moments the players want to play in more often. You look at the fans and they were excited for us. They support us in the competition, in the league and there is a excitement around the fans and the football club.

“This is why it is important for us to build from this kind of platform that we are putting in place at the moment. Yes, it is an exciting period for the football club but we have to keep going.”

Klopp verdict on Salah and Mane

Liverpool forwards Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah’s goalscoring form is currently at completely opposite ends of the goalscoring spectrum but manager Jurgen Klopp is happy with both of them. Mane’s two goals in the FA Cup semi-final victory over Manchester City at Wembley took his tally to four in as many matches, while his team-mate has now gone six games without a goal and his last from open play was in mid-February.

While Salah’s position on the right side of attack is virtually guaranteed every fixture, Mane has seen winger Luis Diaz arrive in January – while he was away winning the Africa Cup of Nations – and have an immediate impact on the left flank which has traditionally been the unopposed domain of the Senegal international. Klopp, however, believes Mane’s current resurgence has less to with the £37.5million Colombian and more to do with Mane’s attitude and having recovered from a draining six weeks with his national team.

“I have known Sadio nearly six years, as far as I know he never needed any kind of competition to try to be the best version of himself,” he said ahead of the visit of arch-rivals Manchester United. “He played for a long time pretty much all games when he was fit and performed on an incredibly high level consistently.

“Bringing in Luis, I am not sure it affected that part of his game, I don’t know. That was not the reason for bringing in Luis. No, I don’t think Luis is the reason Sadio scored four goals but somehow, maybe because Luis obviously can keep a last line pretty busy that then opens up gaps for other players.

“Sadio as well had some physical struggles since he came back (from the Africa Cup of Nations); he didn’t feel it but we could see he could not use his immense physicality week in, week out or every three days – that was the problem. I really felt before the game against City ‘OK, that looks like Sadio physically’ and that is why he could play the game he played. He was super-difficult to defend and very helpful and incredibly important in our defending because the first goal he scored, you only can score if you try to get there and he did that and you only do this run if you feel fresh enough to do it.”

Bruno available to Man United

Interim manager Ralf Rangnick remains without a number of key players but Bruno Fernandes is available following a car crash on the eve of the “underdogs” Manchester United’s trip to rivals Liverpool. All eyes will be on Anfield as the old foes meet on Tuesday, when Jurgen Klopp’s men will attempt to move top of the Premier League – if only for the night – and the Red Devils look to bolster their top-four hopes.

Man United’s Champions League qualification chances received a huge shot in the arm on Saturday, when their hard-fought 3-2 win against Norwich came as Tottenham and Arsenal fell to shock losses. Rangnick admitted straight after the win that his players had to raise their game if they are to stand any chance against Liverpool, but he believes they can get a positive result at Anfield.

“It’s up to us,” the interim manager said. “We definitely will travel there tomorrow and try to get the three points. This is what it’s all about. It’s not about the situation they’re in, it’s about our own situation.

“After last weekend’s results, we are still in the race for number four but in order to stay in that race we have to win almost every game. To start with, tomorrow. Although we might be the underdogs for most people, we still know that if we raise our level, if we play a top performance ourselves, we have a chance to get three points there and this will be our ambition and our goal for tomorrow.”

Potter hails Brighton’s best

Brighton boss Graham Potter believes Saturday’s win at Tottenham was their best display in his three years at the club – but he has told his players they will need to be even better at Manchester City. A week after the Seagulls beat Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, they repeated the trick across north London thanks to Leandro Trossard’s 90th-minute winner.

The fixtures do not get any easier, though, with Brighton heading to Manchester to take on Pep Guardiola’s Premier League pace-setters on Wednesday night. “I was really proud of the players,” said Potter. “It was a really good performance, probably one of the best, if not the best, in my time at the club.

“You have to have that level of performance if you are going to get a result at Tottenham. Historically it’s not easy for us to go there and get a win. The players gave everything on the day, and that gives you a chance to get a result. Our supporters were brilliant and it was a really good day for the club.

“It gives you confidence, I guess. We’ve played some good games this season, we’ve taken a step forward I think. But the past is the past and you have to start again, against an absolutely fantastic side. I would say we’ll have to be even better than we were against Spurs. That’s the challenge. It’s very rare you get the opportunity to play against the very best in sport, so while it’s an incredible challenge it’s also exciting. We’ll go there and do our best.”

Hammer time for top four

Aaron Cresswell insists West Ham will keep fighting for a top-four finish until the end of the season. The Hammers missed the chance to climb to fifth in the Premier League after they were held to a 1-1 draw by lowly Burnley on Sunday.

Nevertheless, these are heady days for West Ham, who are in the Europa League semi-finals and still challenging the big guns domestically.

“The expectation comes from where we are now,” full-back Cresswell told West Ham TV. “We’re in the Europa League semi-finals, fighting for fourth to sixth spot and we want to be up there fighting to finish as high as we can. We’re going to give everything we’ve got, everyone knows that’s what we do. The last two years have been incredible and we’re going to fight until the end.”

The draw with Burnley was marred by a sickening injury to Clarets midfielder Ashley Westwood, who was taken to hospital after his leg buckled under him as he collided with Nikola Vlasic. Burnley gave an update on the 32-year-old’s condition on Sunday night, tweeting: “Ashley Westwood suffered a serious injury to his ankle. He is doing well and with the club doctor and will be assessed by a specialist in the coming days. Everyone at the club wishes him a speedy recovery.”

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