Antonio Conte insisted Champions League candidates Tottenham can stomach any sickness crisis as they bid to avoid a crisis comparable to 2006's 'lasagne-gate' on the final day of the season.

Gary Lineker raised concerns among Tottenham fans when he wrote on Twitter that he had heard of "a food poisoning outbreak" at the club ahead of Sunday's trip to Norwich City.

Former Spurs striker Lineker, now a respected television presenter, added: "No, I am not joking."

It then emerged that Harry Kane had reported feeling unwell on Friday and pulled out of an event he was due to attend at a London museum.

The speculation sparked concerns there might be a repeat of the 2005-06 season-ending drama when food poisoning hit Tottenham hard on the final weekend. Then, a string of stars were left stricken and played their game against West Ham despite vomiting in the changing rooms before kick-off.

Tottenham lost 2-1 and were overtaken by north London rivals Arsenal, who snatched the fourth Champions League place thanks to a 4-2 win over Wigan Athletic. The episode was quickly branded 'lasagne-gate', given the choice of pre-match dinner of several of the Spurs players, as conspiracy theories abounded.

This time around, Tottenham hold a two-point advantage over fifth-placed Arsenal, who slumped to a dismal 2-0 defeat at Newcastle United on Monday, and Spurs will be virtually assured of fourth with a draw due to their considerable goal difference advantage over the Gunners.

Conte said on Friday: "If you remember the last game, the game against Burnley, we had three, four cases of a stomach problem.

"In this week, to be honest we had a couple of cases about this, but we overcame the situation. Members of the staff for one day they were not feeling so good, I don't know why, but last week and also this week, we faced this kind of situation.

"But in this moment, this virus is the last of our problems, because we are very close to reaching a big achievement for the club, for our fans and for the players.

"We are totally focused on the game, and the situation of the players and the availability is the same as for the last game against Burnley."

Asked whether he expected Kane to be available, Conte said: "For sure. For sure Harry doesn't want to miss this type of game, and this game it means a lot for everybody.

"The whole season is behind this game. We can reach something amazing for us, because I think no one can imagine Tottenham in the top four this season. 

"This must be a big push for us because we've worked very hard and deserve to be in this position. Everything is in our hands. For this reason, we want to get it."

Told about the saga which unfolded 16 years ago when Martin Jol's sickly Spurs surrendered fourth place, Conte said: "I don't want to know this story, it is not good. It is not a lucky story."

Norwich have already had their relegation confirmed, so Spurs will be facing a side with little incentive other than to finish a gloomy campaign on a high at Carrow Road, but Conte is not taking anything for granted.

"In England there are no easy games," Conte added. "I remember in my experiences as a player that I had in the last game lucky situations and unlucky situations. For this reason, we have the right focus, and we are understanding very well the importance of the moment."

Norwich have won just one of their last nine league games against Tottenham (three draws, five losses), a 1-0 home victory in February 2014. The Canaries have conceded at least twice in each of their last five against Spurs (one draw, four defeats).

That loss is also the only defeat Spurs have suffered in their last 10 trips to Norwich, winning six and drawing three in that stretch.

One concern for Tottenham, however, may be their record against teams already relegated from the Premier League on the final day of the season.

Surprisingly, they have lost more of those games (three) than they have won (two), beating Wolves in 2003-04 and Hull City in 2016-17, but losing against Leicester City in 2001-02, Burnley in 2009-10, and Newcastle United in 2015-16.

Should Spurs claim a result at Carrow Road, Conte will become the fifth manager to finish in the top four of the Premier League with two different clubs, after Kenny Dalglish, Rafael Benítez, Claudio Ranieri and Jose Mourinho.

Norwich City full-back Brandon Williams has claimed he was followed and subjected to taunts and abuse by Canaries supporters in the aftermath of the defeat to West Ham.

A Said Benrahma double and strikes from Michail Antonio and Manuel Lanzini condemned the already relegated Norwich to a 4-0 hammering at Carrow Road on Sunday.

Manchester United loanee Williams started at left-back for Dean Smith's side after Norwich fans gathered outside the stadium prior to kick-off to protest against owners Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones.

Williams suggested he had been followed after the game, posting on Instagram: "For the people that followed me, he's always awake", and a stream of laughing face emojis.

The 21-year-old has since released a statement, claiming he was followed by some Norwich supporters, who only stopped once they realised he had noticed them.

"Yesterday after leaving the stadium I was taunted and abused by fans surrounding the stadium whilst I was in my car," Williams posted on Twitter.

"After the abuse I was followed by individuals who only stopped following me once they became aware I had noticed them.

"However passionate fans are it is not right that a small minority abuse players or, in this case, follow them.

"Since arriving at Norwich I have played for the club as if I were a permanent member of the team. It is unfortunate that a small number of fans behave like this."

Williams posted a photo of a raised middle finger with the caption "What a beautiful day. Easy up Norwich City", with a location marker for "Suffolk" after the loss. Both Instagram posts were subsequently deleted.

Reports suggested Norwich had opened an investigation into Williams' social media activity, but the defender assured that is not the case.

"There is no club investigation into my conduct as incorrectly reported in the media," he added.

"I would like to thank those fans who have sent me messages of support at this unsettling time.

"I would also like to thank Norwich City and their staff for the support they have given me in the past two days and for their concern."

Manchester City edged closer to the Premier League title, while there was significant change at the bottom of the table on Sunday.

City were eliminated from the Champions League semi-finals in dramatic fashion by Real Madrid in midweek, but saw their domestic hopes boosted when Liverpool dropped points against Tottenham on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola's side subsequently breezed past Newcastle United to move three points clear of the Reds with three games remaining, while West Ham hit relegated Norwich City for four.

Elsewhere, Arsenal continued their charge for Champions League qualification with a narrow victory over 10-man Leeds United, who ended the day in the relegation zone after Everton triumphed at Leicester City.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the pick of the Opta data from the day's top-flight fixtures.

Manchester City 5-0 Newcastle United: Sterling provides as title charge continues 

Raheem Sterling was at the double as City strengthened their grasp on top spot with a 5-0 rout of Newcastle at the Etihad Stadium.

Sterling and Aymeric Laporte struck in the first half, with Joao Cancelo teeing up the England international's opener as the full-back became the fourth of Guardiola's players to reach 10 assists in all competitions this season (also Kevin de Bruyne with 13, Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus - both 11).

City are the only team in Europe's big five leagues to have four or more different players reach 10 assists in all competitions this campaign, and Guardiola's men furthered their advantage after the interval.

Rodri then scored following a corner, as Laporte did in the first half, as City managed their 19th and 20th goals from set-piece situations this term in the league, excluding penalties. They have conceded just once from set-pieces themselves, with their plus-19 differential the best figure recorded in a single season in the Premier League since such records are available (2006-07 onwards).

Foden added a fourth before Sterling capped a fine victory with his 51st Premier League goal at the Etihad, becoming only the second player to pass 50 strikes for City at home in the competition after Sergio Aguero (106).

City have beaten Newcastle 28 times in the Premier League (D8 L8), more than they have any other side in the competition. In their league history, they have only beaten Everton (72 times) more often than the Magpies (68 times).

Meanwhile, Eddie Howe has lost all 12 of his Premier League meetings with City – 10 of those against Guardiola – the worst 100 per cent losing record a manager has against a single opponent or against another boss in the competition.

Arsenal 2-1 Leeds United: Ill-tempered Whites fall into relegation zone

An Eddie Nketiah double kept Arsenal on course for Champions League qualification as they triumphed 2-1 against 10-man Leeds, who dropped into the bottom three for the first time since October 30.

Nketiah fired the Gunners into a 2-0 lead as he became just the second Arsenal player to score twice in the opening 10 minutes of a Premier League game after Kanu (versus Sunderland in October 2002).

With Alexandre Lacazette out of favour, Nketiah has stepped up as Mikel Arteta's talisman, scoring four goals in his last four league games – just one fewer than he had managed in his first 52 top-flight appearances.

Luke Ayling was then dismissed for a mindless two-footed lunge on Gabriel Martinelli after 27 minutes, Leeds' earliest red card in the competition since April 1998 (when Lucas Radebe saw red after 17 minutes against Everton).

Tempers continued to flare before the interval as Leeds picked up their 95th and 96th yellow cards of the season, setting a new record for the most bookings for a club within a single Premier League campaign.

Diego Llorente offered Jesse Marsch's visitors brief hope as he poked home with Leeds' first shot on target, which marked the first home league goal Arsenal have conceded from a corner since February 2021 (also against Leeds).

However, Arsenal held on for victory to move four points clear of fifth-placed Tottenham, who they face on Thursday knowing victory will secure Champions League football next campaign.

Leicester City 1-2 Everton: Toffees move out of bottom three

Mason Holgate's second-half header proved the difference as Everton climbed out of the relegation zone with a battling 2-1 victory at Leicester.

Before this game, Leicester had won eight of their last nine top-flight matches against sides starting the day inside the relegation zone (D1), but the Foxes were caught cold by Vitalii Mykolenko's early volley.

That made Mykolenko the first Ukrainian to score a Premier League goal for Everton, the 39th different nationality to find the net in the competition for the Toffees, the sixth most of all clubs.

Patson Daka restored parity five minutes later, with all five of the striker's Premier League goals coming at the King Power Stadium – only Jamie Vardy (6) has netted more often at home for the club in the top-flight in 2021-22.

Holgate delivered the decisive finish in the 30th minute with his second league goal in his last five matches, one more than he had managed across his previous 109 top-flight appearances beforehand (one).

Brendan Rodgers will be left frustrated by the nature of Holgate's goal, given it was the 15th Premier League strike Leicester have conceded from a corner this campaign – the most by a side in a single campaign since Brighton and Hove Albion in 2017-18 (16).

Victory marked the first away league win in 15 games for Everton, ending a seven-game losing streak on the road as Frank Lampard's side moved a point clear of Leeds and Burnley having played one game fewer.

Norwich City 0-4 West Ham: Bowen and Benrahma on song to down Canaries

Said Benrahma scored twice as West Ham responded to Thursday's Europa League semi-final heartbreak by cruising past relegated Norwich 4-0 at Carrow Road.

Benrahma struck after 12 minutes before Michail Antonio ended his joint-longest goal drought in the top-flight with his fifth Premier League strike against the Canaries, only against Tottenham (six) has he scored more in the competition. 

Algeria international Benrahma doubled his tally before the interval, taking him to 21 direct goal contributions in the competition (nine goals, 12 assists). Since his debut in 2020, Jarrod Bowen (30) and Antonio (28) are the only other Hammers to register 20+ top-flight goal involvements.

Bowen assisted both of Benrahma's strikes as the former Hull City man became just the second player for West Ham to register at least 10 goals and 10 assists in a Premier League season, and the first since Paolo Di Canio in 1999-00 (16 goals, 13 assists).

Indeed, only Harry Kane (32) has been involved in more goals among English Premier League players in all competitions than Bowen this season (27 – 16 goals, 11 assists).

Manuel Lanzini's second-half penalty rounded off the victory as West Ham won a Premier League away game by at least a four-goal margin for just the third time, while it was the first time the Hammers have put at least four goals past a side in consecutive league visits since doing so against Tottenham in November 1966.

Meanwhile, Norwich have failed to score in 20 different league games this season, becoming the first side to do so in at least 20 matches in three different Premier League campaigns (also in 1994-95 and 2019-20).

The Premier League witnessed drama at both ends of the table on an absorbing Saturday, as Manchester City and Liverpool continued to trade blows in the title race.

Jurgen Klopp's men downed in-form Newcastle United thanks to Naby Keita's first-half strike, before City responded by cruising to a 4-0 thrashing of Leeds United at Elland Road.

At the other end of the table, Norwich City were condemned to a record sixth Premier League relegation at Aston Villa, and Watford look destined to join them after Burnley continued their incredible upturn in form at Vicarage Road.

After another frantic day of action, Stats Perform looks at some of the key Opta facts from Saturday's contests.

Newcastle United 0-1 Liverpool: Keita continues Reds' run

Liverpool's bid for a remarkable quadruple faced a tough test when they travelled to Eddie Howe's in-form Newcastle in the first clash of the day.

However, Naby Keita's 19th-minute goal proved the difference in a competitive encounter, and was Liverpool's earliest winning goal in a 1-0 Premier League victory since December 2016, when Georginio Wijnaldum netted after eight minutes against Manchester City.

Klopp's side had chances to extend their lead, with home goalkeeper Martin Dubravka making nine saves, his highest tally in a single Premier League match. Since 2003-04, when Opta data began, the only Newcastle goalkeepers to make more saves in a Premier League game are Tim Krul (14 against Tottenham in November 2013) and Karl Darlow (11 against Tottenham in September 2020).

However, a 21st clean sheet of Liverpool's league campaign was enough to move them to the top of the table - only in 2005-06 (22) have the Reds kept more shutouts in a single Premier League campaign.

Liverpool have now picked up 40 points from the last 42 on offer in the competition, and the win turned up the pressure on City ahead of their trip to Leeds later on Saturday.

Leeds United 0-4 Manchester City: Visitors draw on set-peice prowess to reclaim top spot

The Reds were not top of the table for long, however, as City claimed a 4-0 win over relegation-threatened Leeds at Elland Road. Goals from Rodri and Nathan Ake both came from set pieces, meaning City have now scored 18 set-piece goals (excluding penalties) this season, their most in a Premier League campaign since 2013-14 (22).

Pep Guardiola's men have also kept five consecutive away league clean sheets, the best such sequence in the club's history.

After Gabriel Jesus had made the points safe, Fernandinho stuck a superb fourth goal late on, becoming the club's oldest ever Premier League goalscorer at 36 years and 361 days old, overtaking Frank Lampard in 2015 (36 years and 338 days old).

Leeds, meanwhile, are looking over their shoulders after another heavy defeat. They have conceded a remarkable 20 league goals against the two Manchester clubs this season (11 against City, nine against Manchester United) – a new top-flight record for goals conceded against the duo in a single season.

Watford 1-2 Burnley: Clarets' revival continues after Cork ends barren run

Elsewhere, Burnley continued their incredible revival by coming from behind to defeat Watford, making Mike Jackson the first Clarets boss to win three of his first four league games in charge since Jimmy Mullen won his first four in 1991.

After James Tarkowski's own-goal put Watford ahead, Jack Cork ended his run of 84 Premier League games without a goal with his first strike since December 2018 (against Liverpool), before Josh Brownhill scored a late winner.

The Clarets are now five points above the bottom three after winning three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since April 2019, having won just three of their previous 21 games.

Roy Hodgson's Watford, meanwhile, look destined for relegation after becoming the first side in English top-flight history to lose 11 consecutive home league matches.

Aston Villa 2-0 Norwich City: Canaries suffer another relegation at Villa Park

Burnley's win had other ramifications, contributing to Norwich suffering their sixth relegation from the Premier League – the most of any club in the competition's history – after the Canaries were beaten at Villa Park.

Remarkably, Norwich have been relegated in each of their last four Premier League seasons (2013-14, 2015-16, 2019-20 and 2021-22). They are only the second side in English league history to suffer relegation in four consecutive campaigns in the top-flight, after Crystal Palace (1992-93, 1994-95, 1997-98 and 2004-05).

 

Dean Smith's men saw their fate sealed after becoming the first team to concede 70 Premier League goals this season after just 34 games, representing the earliest point in any league campaign they have reached 70 concessions since 1956-57 (in their 34th game in the old Third Division South).

Ollie Watkins set the tone for Villa's win with his first-half strike, and he has now scored at least 11 more goals than any other Villa player since his September 2020 debut (25 goals in all competitions).

Norwich City's relegation from the Premier League has been confirmed after the Canaries fell to a 2-0 defeat at Aston Villa and Burnley beat Watford.

The Canaries' tame loss to manager Dean Smith's former employers, coupled with Burnley recovering from a goal down to stun fellow strugglers Watford 2-1, condemned Norwich to an immediate return to the Championship, which they won last season.

Norwich have now been relegated from the Premier League on six occasions, more than any other side in the competition's history, with Smith and predecessor Daniel Farke overseeing just five wins in 34 league outings this term.

Meanwhile, the Canaries have been relegated in each of their last four Premier League seasons (2013-14, 2015-16, 2019-20, and 2021-22), becoming just the second club in English football history to suffer that fate in four consecutive top-flight campaigns (after Crystal Palace in 1992-93, 1994-95, 1997-98, 2004-05).

Fellow promoted side Watford look destined to join Norwich in making an immediate return to the Football League after throwing away a one-goal lead in their home defeat to Burnley.

Late goals from Jack Cork and Josh Brownhill mean Burnley's caretaker boss Mike Jackson is the first Clarets manager to win three of their first four league games in charge since Jimmy Mullen won his first four in 1991.

Burnley look to be battling Leeds United and Everton to avoid taking up the third relegation spot, having been reinvigorated since making the shock decision to sack Sean Dyche earlier this month.

Ralf Rangnick says Manchester United cannot afford to rely solely on Cristiano Ronaldo despite his match-winning hat-trick against Norwich City.

Ronaldo hit the 50th treble of his club career against the Canaries, guiding United into a 2-0 lead before sealing the victory with a free kick after the visitors had fought back to level the contest.

The legendary forward has hit 15 goals in 26 Premier League appearances this season, accounting for 28.8 per cent of the Red Devils' goals during a frustrating campaign.

Despite Ronaldo's treble moving United to within three points of fourth-placed Tottenham after both they and north London rivals Arsenal suffered surprise defeats, Rangnick was frustrated by his team's continued reliance on the 37-year-old.

The interim manager also expressed his annoyance at United's defensive display after Keiran Dowell and Teemu Pukki's strikes threatened a stunning turnaround at Old Trafford.

"It was the second time now [that Ronaldo hit a match-winning treble] like against Spurs with the same result, 3-2 like today," Rangnick told BBC Sport.

"But we should not only rely on him. 

"In general, offensively at times we played pretty well at times today, although in the first half sometimes we slowed the game down and didn't make use of the overlap situations on the wings, so even there we could have made more out of it.

"In general, in possession today was okay, a pretty good game, but defensively I was not happy at all."

Ronaldo has now hit 20 or more goals in all competitions in each of his past 16 club seasons, a run which began in 2006-07 during his previous spell at Old Trafford.

Meanwhile, his set-piece winner represented the 58th direct free-kick goal of his career, and means only David Beckham (18) and James Ward-Prowse (13) have more such goals in the Premier League.

United's quest for Champions League qualification sees them face tough-looking fixtures against Liverpool and Arsenal during the coming week, and Rangnick asserted that his side would not get away with another poor defensive performance against a higher quality of opponent.

"After we scored the second goal, it should have made life easier for us," he added. "But it didn't, we lost our structure, we weren't aggressive enough. 

"Even before they scored their first goal, they had two or three transitional moments where they outnumbered us, which should not happen if you are 2-0 up.

"This is also a question of being clever, of being smart in moments like this. All of a sudden, it was 2-2 and David de Gea kept us in the game with a brilliant save, and with that brilliant free-kick from Cristiano we managed to get the three points.

"But we have to raise our game against the ball in the next three games."

With Manchester City and Liverpool facing off in the FA Cup on Saturday, the Premier League's attention turned to the race for a top-four spot.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Manchester United beat Norwich City 3-2, with the Red Devils taking full advantage of 1-0 defeats for Tottenham and Arsenal against Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton respectively.

Elsewhere, Watford's slim survival hopes were dealt a blow as they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Brentford.  

Stats Perform takes a look at some key Opta facts from the day's games.

Manchester United 3-2 Norwich City: Ronaldo racks up yet another treble

Ralf Rangnick's side delivered another disjointed performance at Old Trafford, yet they did enough to secure a 13th win in their past 16 Premier League games against the Canaries.

Ronaldo was the star of the show, the Portuguese superstar plundering the 60th hat-trick of his professional career for club and country.

The 37-year-old has now scored 20 or more goals across all competitions in each of his past 16 seasons at club level – a run that started in the 2006-07 campaign during his first spell at United.

His first goal was teed up by Anthony Elanga, who is 17 years and 81 days younger than Ronaldo. It is the greatest age gap between a United goalscorer and the player who assisted him in Premier League history.

Teemu Pukki had given Norwich hope of a memorable result when he pulled the visitors level at 2-2 from 2-0 down, the Finland international becoming the first Canaries player to score 10 or more goals in two different Premier League campaigns (11 in 2019-20 and 10 in 2021-22).

As is so often the way, though, Ronaldo had the last word.

Tottenham 0-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Seagulls leave it late to edge out blunt hosts

Spurs missed the chance to strengthen their grip on fourth position as they suffered a third home defeat in their past six home Premier League games – as many as in their previous 14 on home soil.

Despite starting with the in-from trio of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski in attack, Spurs did not manage a single shot on target. It was the first time they had failed to do so in 21 Premier League games, since November last year against Everton.

Brighton's winner came in the 90th minute through Leandro Trossard, who has now scored six goals in the top flight this season – his best-ever season return in the competition.

Graham Potter's side have now won consecutive away league games for the first time since September 2021 and are unbeaten in three Premier League games, winning the last two, after losing each of the six before that.

Southampton 1-0 Arsenal: Wasteful Gunners punished by Saints

Arsenal missed the chance to pull level on points with Tottenham after a third consecutive Premier League defeat, having lost just two of their previous 13.

The Gunners dominated at St Mary's, taking 23 shots and enjoying 76 per cent possession. There have been 11 instances of a team failing to score having taken 20 or more shots in a Premier League match this season, with Arsenal responsible for three of those.

They were undone by Jan Bednarek's goal on the stroke of half-time, the first they have conceded from a corner situation in the top flight this season.

Bednarek has now scored four goals in 27 Premier League games this season, which is one more than he scored in his previous four campaigns combined (three in 100 appearances).

Watford 1-2 Brentford: Hornets' miserable home run continues

Pontus Jansson's 95th-minute winner for Brentford meant Watford became only the third team to lose 10 consecutive top-flight home games in a row, after Birmingham City in February 1986 and Sunderland in August 2005.

Alongside Birmingham, they are only the second to do so within a single season.

That run means Hornets boss Roy Hodgson is the first manager to lose his first five home Premier League games in charge of a club since Chris Ramsey with QPR in 2015.

Brentford, meanwhile, have won five of their last six Premier League games (L1) and have won three top-flight games in a row for the first time since September 1946.

Ralf Rangnick hit out at the Manchester United supporters who hurled abuse at Paul Pogba during Saturday's victory against Norwich City.

The France international was substituted in the 74th minute, replaced by Marcus Rashford moments before Cristiano Ronaldo completed a hat-trick to secure a 3-2 win at Old Trafford.

Interim boss Rangnick said he did not immediately hear the chants of "F*** off Pogba" that came from the stands, but he said fans should not isolate individuals.

Pogba, a World Cup winner with France, is expected to leave United at the end of the season when his contract expires.

That will bring to an end a largely underwhelming six-year stint back at the club where he began his professional career prior to spending four years at Juventus.

Pogba cupped his ear to the United fans at one point and appeared to hear their taunts as he returned to his seat among the substitutes and club staff, even if his manager had his focus elsewhere.

"I didn't hear it myself, but I was informed after the game," Rangnick said. "I can fully understand the fans are frustrated, so are we, but I don't think they should take on individual players. I don't think that is right or correct."

Rangnick was delighted with Ronaldo for scoring the 50th hat-trick of his club career, and his third across two spells with United. An incredible 44 of those trebles came for Real Madrid, with the other three arriving during his Juventus career. Ronaldo's second goal, a header, and his third, a long-range free-kick, were described as "brilliant goals" by Rangnick.

But Rangnick warned United must improve significantly if they are to take anything from their next two games, which come away from home at Liverpool on Tuesday and at Arsenal on Saturday.

The German boss complained about United's defending, which allowed Norwich to battle back from two goals down to draw level early in the second half.

Ronaldo's salvage operation, on a day when Tottenham and Arsenal both lost, meant United suddenly find themselves firmly back in contention for fourth place and a spot in next season's Champions League.

However, Rangnick told MUTV: "With a draw, it would have been a disaster for us, not only in the table but also with regard to the atmosphere in the locker room.

"We have to focus on our own performance. The result was good and should lift the momentum and the confidence of the team, but we have to be realistic; with that kind of performance it would be almost impossible to get something out of the away game against Liverpool and also away at Arsenal, and at home against Chelsea [on May 15] it will be difficult.

"We're still in the race, but we have to lift our performance and our level."

Goalkeeper David de Gea said the result was "massive for us" and commended Ronaldo, saying on NBC: "Sometimes people just count goals, but I think he's playing very well and he scored three important goals for us again."

Like his manager, De Gea is not taking a blinkered view of United's performances.

"We are conceding a lot of chances," De Gea said. "I think Norwich played a great game. But I think it's more us. We are not playing well. We should control the game more, especially against Norwich at home, but in the end we got three goals from Cristiano and the three points.

"We are happy, but we know we have to improve a lot."

Cristiano Ronaldo promised Manchester United would keep "fighting until the end" for fourth place in the Premier League after his 50th career hat-trick at club level sank Norwich City at Old Trafford.

The 37-year-old put United two goals to the good early on, but the hosts were out of sorts for large parts of the game and allowed Norwich to get back on level terms by the 52nd minute.

Ronaldo completed a hat-trick in the 76th minute when his 25-yard free-kick was too hot for Tim Krul to handle, the goalkeeper only able to help the ball into the back of the net.

When international football is added to the count, Portuguese star Ronaldo has 60 hat-tricks to his name.

Amid a torrent of praise, United's hero of the hour attempted to quash the significance of his personal milestone, putting emphasis on the significance of the win that boosts United's hopes of playing in next season's Champions League.

It is fourth place that is therefore the target, and defeats for Tottenham and Arsenal on Saturday have allowed United to get back into that mix.

They sit fifth now, three points behind Tottenham and ahead of Arsenal on goal difference; however, United, who face title-chasing Liverpool next, have played one more match that the Gunners.

Ronaldo wrote on Instagram: "Very happy with this win and for getting us back on track in the Premier League.

"Individual achievements are only worth it when they help us reach our goals as a team, and the 60th hat-trick in my career is so much more important because it brought us the 3 points.

"Well done, lads, tremendous effort from everyone. We're not giving up, we're fighting until the end!"

Cristiano Ronaldo's 50th club career hat-trick dug Manchester United out of a hole against lowly Norwich City as the under-par Red Devils won 3-2 at Old Trafford.

The 37-year-old's treble was his second in his past three Premier League appearances and took him to 21 goals for the season, going through the 20 barrier for a 16th consecutive campaign.

Ronaldo moved to 99 Premier League goals in his career, and United could only thank him for sparing them a potentially embarrassing afternoon.

He put United two up early on, but Norwich hit back through Kieran Dowell and Teemu Pukki, only for former Real Madrid and Juventus star Ronaldo to lash a free-kick winner through the grasp of Tim Krul in the 76th minute.

David de Gea sprinted from his line to expertly block Pukki's attempted dink over the goalkeeper in the third minute, and Norwich would soon regret failing to take that golden chance

Ronaldo saw a fizzing 20-yard shot saved by Krul in the seventh minute, but seconds later the United man did better, with Anthony Elanga dispossessing Ben Gibson in the penalty area and squaring for an easy close-range finish.

United kept pressing against opponents who at that point appeared ripe to be picked off, and Ronaldo got their second in the 32nd minute when he headed a corner from the right by Alex Telles past Krul.

Norwich surprisingly got one back in first-half stoppage time when Pukki's cross from the left was nodded in at the far post by an unmarked Dowell.

Incredibly, having been outplayed for so long, Norwich got level after 52 minutes when Pukki tucked past De Gea after Dowell played him in and the striker stayed just onside.

United lacked coherence in attack and were out of sorts throughout, with De Gea having to save well from Milot Rashica to keep the hosts on level terms, but then up stepped Ronaldo from 25 yards to save the day.

Cristiano Ronaldo extended his astonishing streak of scoring at least 20 club goals in a season when he netted twice before half-time for Manchester United on Saturday.

The Portuguese superstar's double before the break against Norwich City took him to 20 for 2021-22, and he has now reached or passed that mark in 16 consecutive seasons.

His sensational run began during a first spell at United, with Ronaldo first breaking the 20-goal barrier when he scored 23 for the Red Devils in the 2006-07 campaign.

He hit 42 in 2007-08, and during a subsequent nine-year stint at Real Madrid, where he became the club's record scorer, Ronaldo exceeded 50 goals in six consecutive seasons from 2010-11 to 2015-16.

Ronaldo left Madrid in 2018 and remained a clinical finisher for Juventus in Italy, scoring 101 goals across three seasons with the Turin giants before being tempted back to United last August.

While 37-year-old Ronaldo stretches his remarkable record, it seems likely his former LaLiga rival Lionel Messi will see his sequence of 20-goal seasons come to an end.

Argentine great Messi managed 20-plus goals in 13 consecutive seasons for Barcelona, but he has struggled to score with the same regularity during his first year with Paris Saint-Germain. Messi has netted only eight times so far this season for PSG, who have just seven Ligue 1 games remaining.

Manchester United supporters staged a fresh protest against the club's owners on Saturday ahead of the 17-year anniversary of the takeover by the Glazer family.

Many supporters marched to Old Trafford ahead of the Premier League game against Norwich City, some carrying banners as others held lit smoke flares.

With a large police presence, there were no reports of major trouble, although the protesting continued as supporters arrived at the stadium.

A large number heeded calls to boycott the opening 17 minutes of the match, instead staying on the stadium concourses and leaving seats empty.

An early goal from Cristiano Ronaldo, to give United the lead, was followed within minutes by supporters chanting "stand up if you hate Glazers" and "we want Glazers out".

United supporters have been unhappy with the Glazer business model at United since the early days of their ownership. While the club have been commercially successful, results on the pitch in recent seasons have been poor by the club's previous high standards.

The Glazer family, then headed by Malcolm Glazer, established a controlling stake in the Red Devils in May 2005.

The protest came on the day neighbours Manchester City and fierce rivals Liverpool – firmly established as the current top two teams in England – were contesting an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

United lost early in that competition, and in the EFL Cup, while they were beaten by Atletico Madrid at the Champions League last-16 stage and came into the Norwich game sitting seventh in the Premier League.

Their last Premier League title came in 2012-13, with United having not won a major trophy since landing the EFL Cup and Europa League titles in the 2016-17 campaign.

Interim Ralf Rangnick has guided United through the second half of this season after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became the latest manager to struggle to deliver success.

Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag is widely seen as the favourite to become the next permanent boss.

Ralf Rangnick provided a frank assessment of a Manchester United squad that he believes is "not easy" to manage and potentially contains several players who cannot cope with the pressure of playing for the club.

United head into Saturday's clash with relegation-threatened Norwich City having won just one of their previous five Premier League matches.

The most recent of which was a dire 1-0 defeat last weekend to an Everton side that had lost six of seven top-flight games beforehand.

United's performance in that loss led to even greater concern among the fanbase about the collective mentality and attitude of the squad, with a small group of supporters staging a protest outside the training ground on Friday.

Another larger demonstration is expected at Old Trafford on Saturday, and Rangnick accepts there could be certain individuals in the team who are not equipped to handle the expectation on Man Utd players.

"I don't know if this is the case, but it might be, at least with one or two or three of our players, it seems to be like that," Rangnick said.

"That the level of expectation is high and that some of the players seem to struggle with their own performance with that.

"Again, no alibis, no excuses, we have to be ready to cope and deal with it for [Saturday], for sure I am fully aware of that, and I’m also convinced and very positive that all of the players know about this.

"This is a test of character tomorrow and mentality in this game. We are playing against the bottom team. Yes, I know they won against Burnley last week and we know that Everton lost against Burnley the week before and we also thought we should be psychologically in a better position than Everton, but we have to show it on the pitch.

"Whatever we talk about right now, whatever kind of speculation we have and whatever you think, or I think might be reasons for the performance at Everton, we have to be able to, in our own house, beat a team like Norwich and show the best possible performance. This is what it’s all about but the truth, the reality, is on the pitch, whatever we talk about right now."

Reports this week have suggested United are close to appointing Ajax boss Erik ten Hag as their new permanent manager, and on the evidence of 2021-22, the Dutchman will be presiding over a massive rebuild.

Rangnick was hired in an interim capacity in November, with United hopeful he could get them back on track for a top-four finish – that now appears beyond them, though the German insists he has no regrets even as he gave a fairly damning summary of his squad.

"No, I have no regrets whatsoever that I took that role. I would do it over and over again," he continued. "You have to see the situation that we had in December, and I don’t regret that at all.

"As a manager, I always think you have to question and ask yourself what could I have done better. Could you maybe have played with a different formation in this game, or could you have made this substitution earlier on? This is what is always happening.

"We always question and ask ourselves what we could have done better but in general, I think we are all aware that this is not an easy squad.

"That the whole situation was not easy, otherwise I wouldn't even be sitting here, and Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] would probably still be here.

"But again, I think we have shown in the past, in the last couple of months that we were able to raise the level but in the same sustainable way that I would wish it to have happened. And that's the reason why I am not happy at all with what we have done and achieved so far."

Ralf Rangnick insisted motivation should not be a problem for players at a club like Manchester United amid a disappointing run of form.

A 1-0 defeat at lowly Everton condemned United to their second loss in four Premier League games, as many as they suffered in their previous 15 top-flight games following the dismissal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

That leaves Rangnick's side six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with seven league matches left, as United appear set to miss out on Champions League qualification this season.

The Red Devils will look to get back on track when they host Norwich City on Saturday at Old Trafford, where protests against United owners, the Glazer family, are planned to happen before kick-off.

Rangnick expressed his understanding for the frustration of the supporters as he suggested motivation should not be a factor at United.

"We had spells in games where we played well where we showed the team would be able to play on a higher level, for example, against Crystal Palace, West Ham, Tottenham, away at Leeds, until the 70th minute at Aston Villa," he told reporters.

"I would have thought we would have been able to play sustainably on a higher level. I'm not happy about that for sure, but we have to recover.

"I can imagine what the reasons are for the problems and of course, without using it as an excuse, we have lost a few players since the West Ham game, we lost three of our strikers that were part of that game.

"The goal against Everton I was not happy with at all, the unforced error in midfield from Fred's pass and Nemanja Matic's response, but even after that there were 12, 15 seconds we could have defended better.

"This is the problem we are having, we are not keeping clean sheets. Again, motivation shouldn't be a problem at a club like Man Utd. They should always have an eternal level of motivation to compete."

He added on the planned protests: "We all know that football is a game of passions and emotions and we can all understand.

"I can understand the supporters being disappointed about where we stand in the table and the performance against Everton.

"I still believe our supporters are one of the best, if not the best in England, as long as they do the protest in a peaceful way and as long as they still support the team in the stadium.

"They have the right to express their opinion. Emotionally, I can understand them being disappointed."

There are continued reports that Ajax coach Erik ten Hag has agreed to take charge at United next season when Rangnick turns to a consultancy role at the end of his short-term deal.

But the former RB Leipzig head coach insists all of the focus is on the game against Norwich, following suit after Ten Hag reiterated his commitments remain with Ajax.

"I don't know if it's a done deal," he added. "My reply is the same as Erik ten Hag's was. My focus is on the game tomorrow.

"Again, we all know he is a good manager, that he has done a good job at Ajax and also at former clubs, but right now it doesn't make sense to tell you what I think about any other coach."

Manchester United must forget about reports surrounding their next manager and focus on fixing their season, according to left-back Alex Telles.

Ralf Rangnick was appointed on an interim basis until the end of the campaign following the dismissal of United great Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the German to then take up a consultancy role at Old Trafford.

United initially showed promise under the former RB Leipzig coach, but have lost two of their last four Premier League games, having lost one of their last 15 top-flight games following Solskjaer's departure.

That has left Rangnick's side seventh in the league, six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, and with United already out of all cup competitions, pressure continues to mount.

Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag has reportedly agreed to take charge at United next season, beating Paris Saint-Germain's Mauricio Pochettino to the role, but Telles is not interested in that speculation.

"No, I don't think it influences us because we know what we have to do," he told Sky Sports.

"There are people at the club working on the new manager – but that's for next season. And next season depends on what we do in these remaining games, so we need to stay focused.

"We can't think about who the next manager will be, we need to think about working hard in our next game.

He added: "If I didn't believe we can still rescue the season then I shouldn't be here.

"We know the duty we have to meet our objectives. We can't think of the games further ahead, we have a 'final' against Norwich City [on Saturday] in front of us first."

The United squad has come under significant scrutiny, with the future of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba questioned, while Harry Maguire has been regularly cited as an issue in defence.

United supporter group The 1958 are planning to display their disapproval with the side and the off-field ongoings with a protest against current owners, the Glazer family, ahead of the clash with Norwich.

But Telles insists all the players in the dressing room are attempting to pull in the right direction amid distractions off the pitch.

"Everyone in the dressing room really wants to win," he continued. "No player at this club doesn't have this desire. We know about our responsibilities – we have families, we have dreams, we have objectives.

"We want to do the work, not talk and turn this situation around. We know the quality we have, we know the expectation the fans and the club have of us and we need to be prepared to do our best to change things for the better."

United will look to get their top-four push back on track against Norwich, who they have defeated 12 times in their last 15 league meetings, and Telles suggested consistency will be key for Rangnick's team.

"We need more consistency. We've started games really well, but there are moments where the opponents have been on top and then we've lacked solidity, which has affected results," he said.

"We need to keep it up for 90 minutes. We know how quickly things can change in football and the team that concentrates best and really focuses will be successful."

However, consistency may not be the only issue given United have to face Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea in their final seven games as they fight for Champions League qualification.

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