Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Bruno Fernandes' performance against Chelsea and said the Manchester United midfielder's set-pieces were "top class".

Fernandes' superb corner was headed in by Harry Maguire in the second half of United's 2-0 Premier League win over Chelsea on Monday.

Solskjaer was delighted with the midfielder, who arrived at United for a reported £47million in January, and hailed his set-piece ability.

"He's a top player, he wants to get on the ball," the United manager told a news conference.

"But at set-ball delivery he's top class, one of the better ones I've seen. And Harry, we know if he can get a run on the ball he's dangerous and he got the goal."

The win, set up by Anthony Martial's first-half header, moved United into seventh and within three points of fourth-placed Chelsea.

But Solskjaer still wants to see more from his team, who visit Club Brugge in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday.

"Of course we want to be in the Champions League next year, and we've given ourselves a chance by this result, but we know that we need to improve," he said.

"On creating chances, scoring goals. We showed a clean sheet again today, a foundation to build from.

"We're going to work hard, recover now because we've got a game on Thursday. So thanks for the help, all the recovery we get in Europe."

Chelsea's season has to "start now" according to Frank Lampard, whose side wasted chances and endured VAR frustration as they lost 2-0 at home to Manchester United.

The Blues, who face Tottenham next, have now won just one of their past six Premier League matches after Monday's defeat at Stamford Bridge, with their place in the top four under serious threat.

Manchester City's ban from the Champions League – should it be upheld – will mean fifth place could be enough for a Premier League side to qualify for Europe's top-tier competition for next season.

However, just seven points separate Chelsea and Arsenal in 10th in what has become a congested race for Europe.

Lampard felt aggrieved that VAR was not on Chelsea's side against United, with Harry Maguire escaping a possible red card for a clash with Michy Batshuayi and the Blues seeing two goals disallowed in the second half, but he again pointed to his side's profligacy in front of goal as a factor in their defeat.

"It's tough to take on lots of levels, some footballing, some others," Lampard, who was without leading scorer Tammy Abraham due to injury, told Sky Sports.

"It's frustrating, but that's life. I'm not upset with the work ethic or input. Their heads are down in there and I have to correct that. It's not a 2-0 game but the reality of football is that it is a 2-0 game because of moments. 

"We have a feeling of Groundhog Day, whatever you want to call it. There are footballing things, which get clearer every week.

"There's always work to do every day. At the minute, we're fourth and the season starts here. There are things I can criticise; I'm not soft. If we're not going to have productivity to finish, it's very difficult to win games."

Anthony Martial gave United a half-time lead but Kurt Zouma thought he had restored parity early in the second half, only for the goal to be ruled out for a foul by Cesar Azpilicueta, who was deemed to have pushed Brandon Williams.

Olivier Giroud's header was then disallowed for offside after Maguire had made it 2-0 from a Bruno Fernandes corner.

"Maguire should get a red card and then he scores the second goal, and the game changes off that," Lampard, who also confirmed N'Golo Kante had suffered an adductor injury, said in a news conference.

"That's a major part of what VAR was for. The referee can't see all the angles and if you're not going to use the monitor, I don't understand it.

"The Zouma goal should have stood. Azpilicueta gets shoved in the first place. It's certainly not clear and obvious. It's just a wrong decision, isn't it, which is harder to take with the presence of VAR than it would have been before.

"Love it or hate it, if something happens and they don't make the right decision, it's very confusing to say the least. Everyone I've spoken to has said the same thing."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not intend to speak to Paul Pogba over Mino Raiola's comments on social media.

United defeated Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Monday, with Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire on target in a win which took Solskjaer's side to within three points of the Blues.

Pogba, who is still out injured, was once again not involved, though his agent Raiola caused a stir prior to kick-off when he took a swipe at Solskjaer on social media.

"Paul is not mine and for sure not Solskjaer's property, Paul is Paul Pogba's. You cannot own a human being already for a long time in the UK or anywhere else. I HOPE Solskjaer DO [sic] NOT WANT TO SUGGEST THAT PAUL IS HIS PRISONER," Raiola wrote in response to the United boss saying he was sure the France star was "our player and not Mino's".

Solskjaer dismissed the possibility of discussing the comments with Pogba, while also saying he would speak to Raiola directly rather than through the media.

"Probably not!" Solskjaer told Sky Sports when asked if he would speak to Pogba. "No. That's not my area. Paul and Mino have their conversations.

"I don't have to comment through the media on Mino and what he says. I can probably speak to him myself.

"You know the media and you cannot control that anyway. Anyone has a voice and an opinion. There's things being said about us where you want to comment, but you would rather not. And it's more clever you don't comment on many different things."

Raiola said last week he and Pogba would decide whether the World Cup winner will remain at Old Trafford at the end of the season, having stated the midfielder would be open to a return to Juventus.

The 26-year-old has made just seven Premier League appearances this season and has been sidelined with an ankle injury since December.

Gary Neville and Roy Keane have called for Manchester United to stop doing business with Mino Raiola and let Paul Pogba leave the club following the agent's latest comments.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said ahead of the Premier League clash with Chelsea the midfielder was "our player and not Mino's".

Those comments prompted a response from Raiola shortly before United's 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge.

With the Red Devils struggling in the race for Champions League qualification prior to a precious victory, the agent said Solskjaer "has other things to worry about".

In their roles as pundits for Sky Sports, former United favourites Neville and Keane were each asked about Raiola and the situation with Pogba, who has been sidelined by an ankle injury since December amid repeated talk of a move away from Old Trafford.

They each expect Pogba to depart, with Neville saying: "It will end with Paul Pogba leaving Manchester United.

"What needs to happen is that club taking a stance on that agent. That agent has messed them around now for years with Pogba and other players.

"Why they allow themselves to be played by him I'll never know. He's a serious thorn in the side for them. Manchester United should just stand strong and say, 'If you're represented by him, we won't deal with you'."

Keane added: "If it's not right for the club and people are almost laughing at you, these agents, let these lads go.

"Look at the bigger picture. We're talking about a great club like Manchester United. Don't go chasing after these agents and these players who, I think, the bottom line, don't really want to be at the club.

"The agents don't want them to be there, I don't think Pogba wants to be there. Just shake hands and say, 'Off you go'.

"He'll go this summer. He'll go in the summer, 100 per cent."

Harry Maguire has explained he did not intend to kick Michy Batshuayi after an incident in the first half of Manchester United's 2-0 win over Chelsea.

Maguire scored United's second goal at Stamford Bridge on Monday, heading home from Bruno Fernandes' corner as the visitors moved to within three points of Frank Lampard's side.

However, Chelsea were angered midway through the first half when Maguire avoided any punishment after appearing to kick out at Batshuayi as both tumbled over the sideline.

There was a VAR check for violent conduct, but Maguire was not penalised and the England international claimed he had not intended to hurt the Chelsea forward.

"I can see why [it could be seen as a kick]. I knew I caught him," Maguire told Sky Sports.

"I thought he was going to fall on me, my natural reaction was to straighten a leg, so if he was to fall on me, it was to hold him up. It probably looks worse than it was.

"It wasn't a kick out, there was no intent, it was just my natural reaction to straighten my leg and if he was going to fall on me, to hold him up. I did catch him, I knew at the time but I think it's the right decision.

"I didn't have an intent to hurt him or kick him. It was just a natural reaction to straighten my leg, it wasn't a kick. I've got studs on my boot, makes it a little bit worse. I apologised to him but it was nice the referee has seen sense."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was also adamant his captain was innocent.

"You want the right decision to be made and you're happy that they are made and they weren't made without that help and it's been shown a few times that we needed that help," Solskjaer told Sky Sports when asked of the major officiating calls, with VAR also ruling out two Chelsea goals.

"I wouldn't think [it was a red card]. I think he's just protecting himself there, looks like he's getting a lad over him and he's put his leg where it does hurt."

United are up to seventh, with the race for Champions League qualification becoming increasingly congested, and Maguire stressed the importance of carrying on their form.

"This season we've been far too inconsistent," he said. "We won at Manchester City, beat Chelsea at home, got a point against Liverpool.

"But we've let ourselves down against the teams when the pressure is on to break them down. Next Sunday we've got Watford at home, we're not getting carried away because it's a massive game and we need to get the three points."

As Manchester United got off the coach and made their way into Stamford Bridge for a huge Premier League clash with Chelsea on Monday, the Paul Pogba saga took its latest twist.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last week rose to the bait so frequently dangled out by Pogba's agent Mino Raiola, who once more told the media of the World Cup winner's interest in returning to Juventus.

The United boss' response that "Paul Pogba is our player, not Mino's" clearly did not sit well with Raiola. Prior to kick-off he fired back in scathing fashion on social media.

"Paul is not mine and for sure not Solskjaer's property, Paul is Paul Pogba's. You cannot own a human being already for a long time in the UK or anywhere else. I HOPE Solskjaer DO NOT WANT TO SUGGEST THAT PAUL IS HIS PRISONER," Raiola wrote.

He went on to suggest that Solskjaer turn his attention to other things and, on the evidence of United's 2-0 victory over Chelsea, it is advice that may well be worth heeding.

Why get involved in an unbecoming game of tit for tat with Raiola over Pogba's future when United already have Bruno Fernandes excelling in the position the France international covets?

United received criticism for taking two transfer windows before finally prising Fernandes away from Sporting CP in a deal worth up to €80million – €30m less than the package they agreed to bring Pogba back from Juve in 2016.

After an encouraging debut against Wolves, Portugal international Fernandes appeared to have thoroughly benefitted from a training camp with his new team-mates in Marbella during the mid-season break.

Operating in the hole behind Anthony Martial – who headed in the opener on the stroke of half-time – and Daniel James, he displayed great energy, be that looking for a quick pass to knit the play together or running beyond the strikers.

Fernandes got involved all over the pitch and, after going close to opening his United account with a free-kick that struck the base of the post, delivered his first assist for the club with a corner that was headed home by Harry Maguire in the 66th minute.

Solskjaer has an exciting, creative talent that appears more than capable of providing with the sort of ingenuity it was hoped Pogba would bring. What's more, Fernandes is clearly happy to play for him and has had a positive impact on the atmosphere at the club.

"It's a difficult game against Chelsea, a great team and we needed a win to keep fighting. We need to keep working in this way," Fernandes told Sky Sports after the match.

"I think we can do much better on the ball, but it was a good game against a good team. We played our game. I feel good, obviously. I play for the biggest club in England, I'm really happy, it's a dream come true."

Maguire said of Fernandes: "You can see [the difference] he's made, the quality on the ball, his technical ability. He's a presence as well. He demands off players, he's a leader and he's nice to have around the dressing room. Long may it continue."

The victory over Chelsea lifted United into seventh and closed the gap to fourth-place Chelsea to just three points – a two-season European ban for Manchester City may open up fifth position as a route into the Champions League, of course – which could prove significant for Solskjaer.

Talk of a replacement being lined up will fade further into the background if the Red Devils can build on this result and put together a good run in the Premier League and Europa League, where Club Brugge await in the last 32.

The Pogba situation will linger for the rest of the season, but in signing Fernandes United have ensured they will be in a decent position should the France star finally get his wish for a new challenge.

Sixth seed Benoit Paire secured safe passage through to the last 16 of the Open 13 Marseille in one of three main-draw matches on Monday.

Paire was drawn against compatriot Gregoire Barrere in a battle of two home hopefuls, but the more established player triumphed in straight sets.

The 20th-ranked star broke in the third game of the opener and protected his advantage in straightforward fashion.

There were no breaks in the second, but Paire dominated the tie-break to claim a 6-4 7-6 (7-1) victory.

Barrere was not the only Frenchman to exit the competition, as former world number seven Richard Gasquet went down 6-3 3-6 7-5 to Mikael Ymer.

Ymer will now meet Stefanos Tsitsipas, the defending champion and number two seed, who was granted a first-round bye.

In the final match of the day, Alexander Bublik defeated Marton Fucsovics 6-4 7-5.

Manchester United closed ground on the Champions League places as Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire struck to claim a vital 2-0 win over Chelsea, who were twice denied by VAR.

Despite heading into Monday's meeting at Stamford Bride having taken just four points in 2020, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side moved to within a win of their opponents as they completed a Premier League double over Chelsea for the first time.

Martial continued his excellent form against Chelsea to get United off the mark, with the Blues denied an equaliser through Kurt Zouma by the video review system.

United made their luck count in the 66th minute with captain Maguire – who was perhaps fortunate to be on the pitch after an earlier clash with Michy Batshuayi – heading in Bruno Fernandes' corner and United held firm to secure valuable points after Olivier Giroud also saw a goal disallowed.

Chelsea were inches away from taking a sixth-minute lead when Reece James lashed wide, but Frank Lampard's side were dealt a blow when N'Golo Kante was forced off through injury in the 12th minute.

Maguire was lucky to go unpunished for kicking out at Batshuayi, who subsequently squandered a brilliant chance after terrific work from Mason Mount.

Yet for all Chelsea's threat, it was United who had the lead when Martial headed in Aaron Wan-Bissaka's excellent cross.

Chelsea thought they had equalised when Kurt Zouma tucked home from a corner, only for VAR to disallow the goal for Cesar Azpilicueta's push on Brandon Williams.

And, after Fernandes had struck the woodwork with a superb free-kick, Chelsea's frustrations were compounded as Maguire headed beyond Willy Caballero.

Giroud's header seemed to have set up a grandstand finish, but VAR again came to United's rescue. Mount then hit the post as the Blues' efforts proved fruitless, with Caballero preventing substitute Odion Ighalo netting a debut goal in stoppage time.

 

Ante Rebic scored his sixth goal of 2020 as Milan claimed a first win in four in all competitions and climbed to eighth place in Serie A with a 1-0 victory over Torino on Monday.

In-form Rebic found his opportunities limited earlier in the season but has now scored in three consecutive games after strikes against Inter and, in the Coppa Italia, Juventus.

Unlike in those matches, Milan this time held onto their lead to secure a victory that boosts their hopes of a Europa League place.

Torino, who rarely threatened at San Siro, have a five-point cushion to the relegation places but have now suffered four consecutive defeats.

Diego Simeone says Atletico Madrid are optimistic heading into their Champions League clash with Liverpool, where Diego Costa is in line for a return.

Atleti are enduring a tough campaign and have a battle on their hands in LaLiga to secure qualification for next season's elite European club competition.

Simeone's side should be boosted by Costa's first appearance since November following neck surgery, though.

The former Chelsea striker is in Atleti's 19-man squad to play Liverpool in the first leg in Madrid, although neither Kieran Trippier nor Joao Felix are fit.

Simeone told a pre-match news conference on Monday: "[Costa] is improving, growing, training enthusiastically.

"He is among the 19 players in the squad and has the opportunity tomorrow to play the game."

Atleti have won just one of their past seven games in all competitions, losing the Supercopa de Espana final and crashing out of the Copa del Rey to minnows Cultural Leonesa in that time.

But Simeone insists the mood in the camp is positive ahead of a meeting with the European and world champions.

"I do not see pessimism. I see optimism, emotion," he said. "There is going to be a stadium ready to burst.

"The players really want the match to come, and I see what I like best, which is optimism."

Indeed, Simeone hopes the Wanda Metropolitano can provide the same inspiration for Atleti as Anfield so often does for Liverpool.

"They have a vibrant stadium that will make us suffer when we go there," he said. "But tomorrow, the same thing will happen at the Wanda, and I trust my players a lot."

N'Golo Kante's injury-hit campaign continued after the Chelsea midfielder was forced off early on against Manchester United on Monday.

Kante, who was out with a hamstring problem in January and missed several games earlier in the season with groin and ankle issues, made way after 12 minutes at Stamford Bridge. 

It was not clear what the problem was for the 28-year-old, who has made 18 Premier League appearances for Frank Lampard's team and was replaced by Mason Mount.

The injury comes ahead of important fixtures for Chelsea, who face Tottenham on Saturday and Bayern Munich in the first leg Champions League of their last-16 tie three days later.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be worrying about things other than Paul Pogba, according to the player's agent Mino Raiola.

Raiola said last week he and Pogba would decide whether the World Cup winner will remain at Old Trafford at the end of the season, having stated the midfielder would be open to a return to Juventus.

Solskjaer responded by saying he was sure the 26-year-old, who has been sidelined by an ankle injury since December, still wanted to play for United. He added: "Paul is our player, not Mino's."

Raiola hit back at the Red Devils manager on social media, suggesting he focus his attention elsewhere amid reports United are lining up potential replacements as manager.

"Paul is not mine and for sure not Solskjaer's property, Paul is Paul Pogba's. You cannot own a human being already for a long time in the UK or anywhere else. I HOPE Solskjaer DO NOT WANT TO SUGGEST THAT PAUL IS HIS PRISONER," Raiola wrote.

"BUT BEFORE Solskjaer makes comments about things I say he should inform himself better about the content of what has been said.

"I am a free citizen who can think and express my thoughts. Until now I was maybe to [sic] nice to him. Solskjaer should just remember things that he said in the summer to Paul.

"I think Solskjaer may be frustrated for different reasons and is now mixing up some issues.

"I think that Solskjaer has other things to worry about. AT LEAST IF I WAS HIM I WOULD."

Kim Clijsters took solace in feeling like she had periods of dominance against Garbine Muguruza, who ensured the four-time major champion's comeback began with a defeat.

Making her first appearance on the WTA Tour since the 2012 US Open, former world number one Clijsters fell to a 6-2 7-6 (8-6) defeat against Australian Open finalist Muguruza in the first round of the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The 36-year-old dropped her first two service games in the second set but managed to get things back on serve and force a tie-break, something she was proud of despite her early exit.

Clijsters said: "I felt obviously the second set was a big difference compared to the first set. My timing in the first set, my footing, just kept looking for it.

"I felt a few times it was there, then it would be off a few points. At times I felt like I was close. I was seeing the ball clear. Just started reading her game better, as well, getting used to her pace a little bit.

"Yeah, second set I felt I was really in the match. I felt like for a while I was dominating some of the points.

"I think that's a good feeling to have, knowing the way I started the first set and then the way I was able to get back into that second set, with the type of tennis I played, it's something that is the positive about this match. I'll take that with me for the next matches.

"I had a good feeling out there. I do feel a little bit of, I'm not going to say relief, but a feeling that the pace I can handle."

Muguruza accepted she went into the match completely unsure of what to expect, with Clijsters representing something of an unknown quantity, though she is now anticipating the Belgian to cause problems for plenty of players.

"I think she played very well, especially in the second set at the end," Muguruza said. "It was very tight.

"I think this is just special because I didn't know how [Clijsters was] going to play. I know she can play incredible - she did at some point play [at an] incredible level. I haven't seen her play in so long, so it's like, 'Okay, what's going to happen?'

"I'm sure she's going to get better and better, for sure, [and] give us a lot of trouble."

Clijsters' fellow Belgian Elise Mertens was in action earlier in the day and had significantly fewer issues, cruising past Wang Qiang in straight sets.

Mertens needed a little over an hour to secure her progression, ultimately running out a comfortable 6-3 6-0 victor – winning the second set in just 25 minutes.

World number 18 Alison Riske suffered a shock 7-6 (7-3) 1-6 6-3 defeat at the hands of Ons Jabeur, who set up a second-round clash with Simona Halep.

The Tunisian, who is ranked 45th in the world, eventually came out on top and owed much to her ability to hit a winner, outscoring Riske 28 to 11 in that metric as she claimed a seventh career win over a top-20 opponent.

Barbora Strycova came through a lengthy encounter with 18-year-old Amanda Animisova, beating the American 6-3 (7-3) 2-6 6-4 over two hours and 33 minutes, taking advantage of her opponent's proneness to errors.

Marketa Vondrousova was the highest-ranked player in action on Tuesday, and she dispatched Anastasija Sevastova with relative ease, winning 6-3 6-2.

Jurgen Klopp is expecting a stern test from Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday and does not believe their 2019-20 season has been as bad as suggested.

Atleti have been contenders for European football's top club prize in seasons past but come into this week's clash with Klopp's Liverpool as underdogs.

Diego Simeone's men are fourth in LaLiga, battling to qualify for the Champions League again next season, and are expected to struggle against runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool.

Klopp is not so sure, though, suggesting a transitional season at the Wanda Metropolitano following the departures of Antoine Griezmann, Diego Godin and Lucas Hernandez has been solid enough.

"Playing Atletico is one of the most difficult things in the life of a football player," the Liverpool manager told a pre-match news conference on Monday.

"They are really well organised, a result machine, squeezing results out of each game if possible.

"Yes, people tell me this year is not exactly like that, but it's a transition period – that's normal. They're still fighting with all they have. You don't get a lot of chances. It's really difficult.

"What they played so far in the season was not as bad as people say and has nothing to do with what happens tomorrow, obviously.

"The team that will play better tomorrow and the next game, who fights more, who wants more, will go into the next round – not the team who plays the better Premier League or LaLiga season. It's as easy as that.

"But we are here, and nobody doubts that we are pretty ambitious. We will give it a proper try."

Klopp is not interested in suggestions Atleti play an unattractive style, pointing out it is "successful" and therefore appeals to him.

"I have nothing to say to these people, to be honest," he said. "Attractive football is what is successful. For me, it's attractive.

"It's very intense. It's speed, it's aggressive, it's a clear plan, it's a clear philosophy.

"I know we are in Spain, the country of tiki-taka – maybe people say it because of that – but I am from Germany. I admire things like that. For me, I don't have that discussion."

Klopp expects this intensity to cause Liverpool problems if they slip below their high standards.

"If there's a team where you have to be at your absolute best in all departments, it's Atletico," he said. "There are no presents tomorrow, absolutely no presents.

"If you work hard, as hard as possible, then you have a chance. If you don't do that, you don't even have a chance. That's it."

This attitude extends to Simeone on the touchline, with Klopp adding: "People say I'm emotional at the sideline. If I'm on level four, I would say Diego's on level 12.

"It's like I'm the kindergarten cop against him. It's really impressive. It's over all these years. Eight years, really long, having still this emotional level, wow.

"His teams are always world-class organised. That makes him one of the best."

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