Manchester United claim Alan Shearer disputes amid Newcastle Europe race

The race for sixth place in the Premier League is heating up, with Newcastle United and Manchester United going head-to-head for a place in the Europa League next season.

Eddie Howe’s Magpies can still finish fifth, of course, but that would take something of a collapse from Tottenham in the final few games. Much could depend on the Old Trafford clash between the two sides on May 15, with the Magpies looking to keep the pressure on in games at Burnley and at home to Brighton before then.

Manchester United head to Crystal Palace next Monday night and then have the small matter of a home clash with title contenders Arsenal to deal with. Manager Erik ten Hag remains upbeat despite their 1-1 draw with second-bottom Burnley last weekend, telling Match of the Day: “We are one of the most dynamic and entertaining teams in the league at this moment. We are creating loads of chances by playing good football. Every team gives up opportunities but when it is up to us, it is weird.”

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That is a claim Newcastle legend Alan Shearer was quick to dispute on this week’s The Rest is Football podcast. Having already beaten the Red Devils twice this season – including a 3-0 Carabao Cup win at Old Trafford – Newcastle will travel with confidence, and Shearer has seen little evidence to back up Ten Hag’s claim.

“No, they’re not,” he said of Ten Hag’s comments. “You just don’t know what team is going to turn up. They get a decent result one week and they’re hopeless the next, you don’t know what you’re going to get. But that’s not true.

“Burnley played really well at Old Trafford and sliced through Man United with ease, although that’s not difficult these days. If they had taken their chances they could have scored five or six goals.”

Manchester United could yet qualify for the Europa League by beating Manchester City in the FA Cup final later this month, a result which could impact Newcastle’s hopes.

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