Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given Manchester United a solid base for an encouraging future, according to Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe.

Scrutiny on Solskjaer's position as United manager has intensified during a mostly disappointing start to the new season.

While he has been praised for promoting academy players into the first-team picture, problems with goalscoring and a failure to replace Romelu Lukaku and Ander Herrera in the transfer window has led many to fear Solskjaer's long-term plan for the club will come at too great a cost in the short term.

However, a draw with Premier League leaders Liverpool and three subsequent away wins - the most recent a 2-1 defeat of Chelsea in the EFL Cup on Wednesday - has helped to restore confidence in Solskjaer's methods.

Howe has certainly been impressed with the way Solskjaer has begun to reconstruct the team with a view to turning the 13-time Premier League champions back into title-challengers.

"Certainly, looking at their last few games, which I have in great detail, I think they have played very well," Howe said on Friday. "The game against Chelsea was a very strong performance.

"They'll be pleased with their attacking play and defensive structures. Then, looking back at Norwich City, playing them away is a tough game and I thought they were very professional, did the job and got a really good [3-1] win.

"There's positive signs for them. They've got quality players, a very good manager who has given them real stability. He's working to the future to build a new Manchester United.

"I imagine it is [hard to work under that level of pressure]. I think he's handled himself really well and done an excellent job to this point."

United face Bournemouth on Saturday looking to extend a seven-game unbeaten run against the Cherries.

Their most recent visit to the Vitality Stadium was only settled by a 92nd-minute Marcus Rashford goal, though, and Howe is confident they can give United another stern test.

"Last year was a really tight game. It swung their way in the last few seconds, but we gave them a good match," he said.

"The game we won here in our first Premier League season, that was a historic moment for us. That gave us real confidence in a time when we needed it.

"We've had some tough games at Old Trafford, some difficult moments, but here [at home] we've been pretty good against them.

"We need a good start, we need the crowd absolutely with us and we really want this ground pumping."

Jurgen Klopp is open to fielding two entirely different teams in the EFL Cup and Club World Cup next month but says Liverpool's star men would be in Qatar.

The European champions are due to play a Club World Cup semi-final on December 18 - the day after a scheduled domestic quarter-final at Aston Villa.

Klopp suggested after Wednesday's remarkable last-16 victory over Arsenal that his side may have to pull out of the EFL Cup altogether, but an alternative solution may yet be found.

The Liverpool boss made 11 changes against Arsenal and, in a bid to fulfil nine fixtures in December, he might consider leaving a young squad of fringe players behind to face Villa.

"We have discussed it already," Klopp said at Friday's news conference before playing Villa in the Premier League. "We have to because there's not too much time to make that decision. 

"There's not a final decision yet but, if we would play while we are in Qatar, it would be two different teams. We cannot leave any [senior] players at home for the EFL Cup - we have two games [in Qatar] in a very busy period. 

"It's not that we can go there with 11 players and say these 11 guys play the two games in Qatar and the other [senior] guys play at home in England against Aston Villa. We have to make a decision and we will make a decision but not yet."

Klopp also criticised the scheduling of Liverpool's festive fixtures last year and has previously taken aim at UEFA for putting further demands on his international players with the introduction of the Nations League.

When asked if there is a concern his players are being pushed too far, Klopp offered an impassioned reply as he highlighted some issues with the English football calendar.

"Let's have a look how they deal with it," he said. "If you see the schedule that's coming up, it's all okay.

"The Premier League, what a competition, sensationally cool; then the EFL Cup, nice competition, what a game we had on Wednesday night. 

"But then at the end of January, after a very busy schedule in December, there are two semi-finals. It's an easy decision for me to say if you keep that competition then why don't you make just two semi-finals?

"We still have, in February, March and April, FA Cup games at the weekend.

"I'm four years in and, before I knew about it, people discussed it already. That's the difference to other countries - Italy has 20 teams as well.

"England is the only country where nobody wants to touch it, or maybe wants to touch it - the FA wants to touch the League Cup, the Football League wants to touch the FA Cup - but nobody really wants to discuss it. 

"Then, on top of that, UEFA decides to make the Nations League to give the boys who are already pretty busy - some very successful players, good players - another couple of intense games. 

"I said it before and it always sounds like it's my problem. I'm not involved in Nations League games, I don't play international games at all. I have a couple of days off, it's not my problem. I only discuss from the same perspective that you should discuss it but you don't."

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola backed Klopp's stance on fixture congestion and called on the relevant governing bodies to do more to protect players.

"I completely agree," he said. "How do we pay bigger squads? We need less fixtures, less competitions, more recovery. We play [December] 27 or 29 in winter time.

"In UEFA meetings, always they talk about it. I'm with Jurgen when he makes these kind of statements about too many games."

Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri thinks "something has changed" mentally for Gonzalo Higuain since his difficult loan spell with Chelsea.

Higuain joined the Blues on loan in January but could not offer consistent form in front of goal, scoring just five times in 18 appearances in all competitions.

The striker's long-term future at Juve seemed to be in doubt when Sarri took charge in Turin, but the Argentina international has looked rejuvenated in the early months of the season.

The 31-year-old has managed a modest three goals in 11 appearances but has generally performed well alongside Cristiano Ronaldo or Paulo Dybala in attack.

Sarri thinks there has been a significant change in Higuain's mentality since a worrying moment during his final few months in charge of Chelsea.

"Gonzalo is a great player who had spent a difficult season," Sarri said of the former Napoli forward, who is expected to have recovered from a head injury in time to face Torino on Saturday.

"This summer, I saw him train with an exceptional level of motivation. In London, I had heard some comments by him that I hadn't liked at all, but now it's all to the contrary, which meant something had changed in his mind. And when he has high motivation, he is a very important player."

Sarri, who is unsure whether midfielder Aaron Ramsey will be fit for the derby, watched his side stay a point clear at the top of the table thanks to a 2-1 win over Genoa on Wednesday.

Ronaldo scored the winner from the penalty spot in the 96th minute having seen an earlier goal disallowed for offside following a VAR review.

There was greater controversy in Napoli's 2-2 draw with Atalanta, when the visitors' 86th-minute equaliser at the San Paolo was allowed to stand after VAR decided not to award a penalty to the home side.

Head coach Carlo Ancelotti was sent off for his protests and Sarri admits he is also not a fan of the way the technology is being used in Italy.

"I've honestly never thought or spoken about it very much. I prefer it when referees make their own decisions on the pitch. This is a strictly personal opinion," he said.

"Rules are different now and not all of them are agreeable, including, for instance, the latest specifics on handball, about which, to be honest, despite trying to read many times, I don't much understand.

"We have to comply with these rules. Even in everyday life, there are many rules I consider absurd, but I can't make myself go to prison by violating them. These are rules we have to respect.

"If you ask me if I like it, I'd say no. It was brought in to right macroscopic wrongs, but if you need VAR four times per game, I guess it's impossible to make four big mistakes per match. In the rest of Europe, VAR usage is much more limited."

Mauricio Pochettino believes Dele Alli will recapture his best form but feels the "massive" pressure on the player is sometimes unfair.

The Tottenham attacking midfielder has been criticised for his performances during 2019, most recently by former Manchester United captain Roy Keane, who accused the England international of losing his "hunger".

Pochettino accepts Alli has not been playing at his best, but the Spurs manager has warned people not to expect too much from a player who is still in the early part of his career.

"We need to remember that Dele is so young and the demand, the pressure on him is massive," Pochettino told reporters on Friday. "Everyone expects big things: he's English, he's an international, but he's still 23 years old.

"He was fantastic, and of course he dropped a little bit in his performance, but we need to help and to back him, not to pay attention too much and try to improve and be strong again."

Pochettino's side head to Everton on Sunday having won only three of 13 matches in all competitions since they beat Aston Villa 3-1 on the opening day of the Premier League season.

They took an early lead against Liverpool last weekend but could not withstand the pressure from the leaders, eventually losing 2-1 to drop to 11th in the table.

However, Pochettino is calling for his players to be positive as they look to get their season back on track.

"It was an important week to recover feelings after a tough game against Liverpool," Pochettino said. "It was important again to create that atmosphere that you want. It's a situation that only we can fix, winning games.

"We need to be positive – that positivity makes us believe we can beat any team. At the moment, we struggle a little bit, we drop a lot in our confidence. The most important thing is how we're going to finish. It's not nice to see yourself in the middle of the table, but that is our reality and we need to accept it. If you do not accept reality, you're going to struggle.

"In our minds, we know very well we need time, to be strong, be solid, and start winning because that's going to be the best thing for us."

Giovani Lo Celso came on as a substitute against Liverpool and will hope for more minutes at Goodison Park as he continues to recover from a hip injury sustained on international duty in September.

The midfielder was called up to the Argentina squad for this month's matches against Brazil and Uruguay, and Pochettino admits he is "not happy" at the prospect of him being involved.

"In general, always managers want players at home," Pochettino said. "For him, it's going to be tough because, again, when he's nearly fit to start again, he needs to go away and changing the dynamic of the training session, something can happen.

"Being honest, I am not happy, but I accept [it] because I always defend the national team and I always back the decision of the national team. I was a player – I know how it feels to play for your flag. What can I do? Nothing, only to show or describe my feelings."

Ryan Sessegnon may also hope to be involved against Everton, having yet to feature since his move from Fulham, but Pochettino is wary of rushing him back from a long-term hamstring problem.

"We are assessing all the players. We'll see. We have training tomorrow and we travel to Liverpool. We'll see if he can be involved or not," the Tottenham manager said.

"I cannot say he is complete in the way that you'd say, 'OK, we can trust him to play 90 minutes', but we have a big squad and sometimes it's difficult to give the possibility. He has to work hard: he's still young, it was a big injury, but for sure he's going to have the possibility to play in the future."

Frank Lampard doesn't hold much stock in FIFA 20 stats.

Chelsea centre-back Fikayo Tomori claimed he was "fuming" at only being rated 80 for pace on the video game, making him slower than team-mate Callum Hudson-Odoi (85).

Mason Mount backed up Tomori's claim, stating the centre-back is the fastest player in the dressing room at Stamford Bridge.

Asked if he could provide a definitive of the answer on the issue, Lampard said: "I don't know about clearing it up. I'm surprised at Tomori, he is fast.

"I remember FIFA cards when I was about 37 years of age and my pace was 35, so I was actually slower than my age which was really strange.

"So I take those rankings with a pinch of salt, so should Tomori. The best thing for him to do would be to show it every game he plays, which he has done so far."

Pressed on whether he was faster than Hudson-Odoi, Lampard said: "I'm not getting involved in those arguments!"

Frank Lampard denied Antonio Rudiger is fit to return for Chelsea, revealing the Germany centre-back is set to see a consultant on Monday.

Rudiger was forced off at half-time in Chelsea's 5-2 victory over Wolves on September 14, which remains his only appearance for the first team since sustaining a knee injury in April.

The 26-year-old was widely reported as saying he was "itching" to play after returning to fitness following the groin issue suffered against Wolves.

However, Lampard insisted Rudiger will not be available for Saturday's meeting with Watford and there is no timetable for his return.

"He's not fit. I saw the quotes, whether there was a miscommunication I don't know," said the Chelsea head coach.

"He's going to see a consultant on Monday because he's got an ongoing issue in the pelvic area. We'll have to wait for the appointment to see how long he'll be out. I was surprised by the quotes because he's not fit."

Lampard had more positive updates on N'Golo Kante and Ross Barkley, both of whom he said could "possibly" return to face Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday.

"Every player in the squad that's not available is disappointing but it comes with the territory. [Rudiger] and N'Golo have had a domino effect in injuries from last season," said Lampard. "N'Golo's close, he's working with the team now.

"Ross Barkley is still not quite right and he's another possibly answer, but he's not far away. Andreas Christensen is pretty much fit as well. It's the finishing touches now."

Watford are winless at the bottom of the Premier League this season but Lampard warned the Blues, who saw a run of seven straight victories end with a 2-1 loss to Manchester United in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, against complacency.

Asked if the circumstances made the meeting with Watford more dangerous, Lampard replied: "Without a doubt. I'm very much of that mindset.

"First, I look at us, and since we've been on the winning run, the game became more dangerous because of the idea of overconfidence.

"We saw what Watford did last year and the personnel are very similar. We cannot underestimate a team that will be hurting because they haven't won for a while."

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola offered sympathy to beleaguered Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka following his confrontation with Gunners fans, acknowledging an understanding of the midfielder's emotions.

Arsenal were held to a 2-2 draw by Crystal Palace on Sunday in their most recent Premier League match, throwing away a 2-0 lead, but the match was marred by a second-half incident that saw Xhaka react angrily when fans ironically cheered – and then booed him - as he was substituted.

Xhaka sarcastically encouraged the jeering by throwing his arms up and cupping an ear, before shouting expletives at the crowd and taking his shirt off as he headed straight for the tunnel.

Coach Unai Emery, who said Xhaka was wrong to react in such a way, left him out of the squad for the EFL Cup clash with Liverpool and the upcoming Premier League visit of Wolves.

It remains to be seen if Emery keeps Xhaka as his captain, or indeed if he ever plays for the club again, but Guardiola sympathised with the Switzerland international, who revealed on Thursday he and his family have received abusive messages for months.

"We have to respect our supporters," Guardiola told reporters. "But it is not easy for the players sometimes.

"I understand Xhaka, the emotions, the moment. I don't know what's going on inside, but maybe I'm not the right man to say, because sometimes I cannot control my emotions, but you have to try it.

"At the end, it's just a game, to have fun, to do their best, and I'm sure all the players, Xhaka included, do their absolute best for Arsenal, do the best for his mates and for winning games. He is the captain because he has something special in the locker room.

"It's happened because sometimes you lose control. It will be forgotten, they'll move forward and hopefully the fans can forgive Xhaka and he can show what an incredible player he is."

Granit Xhaka will not be involved for Arsenal in Saturday's Premier League match against Wolves, head coach Unai Emery has confirmed.

The meeting with Nuno Espirito Santo's side will be the Gunners' first at Emirates Stadium since Xhaka clashed with fans in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace last week.

The club captain appeared to swear loudly and cupped his hand to his ear as sections of the home fans booed him when he was substituted after Arsenal had let a two-goal lead slip.

Xhaka was then left out of the thrilling EFL Cup encounter with Liverpool on Wednesday and later released a statement to explain his outburst, revealing he has received abusive messages online that include death threats made against his family.

The Switzerland international called on supporters to "move forward positively together" but Emery will keep him out of the firing line this weekend.

After confirming Xhaka would not play, Emery told reporters on Friday: "He is training. He didn't play at Liverpool. For me, he is continuing; above all, [we are] focusing on tomorrow.

"The first is the person. The human, like everyone, feels. Xhaka's issue last week is one issue that needs time. He needs time to recover the normality in him.

"He said sorry. He gave apologies to the supporters and everybody. Now, the focus on tomorrow's match."

Arsenal, who lost to Liverpool on penalties after an extraordinary 5-5 draw, are fifth in the Premier League table after 10 matches.

Emery's side have won only once in their past four matches in all competitions and have only beaten Wolves once in their four most recent Premier League meetings.

Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Liverpool will be without Joel Matip for "a few weeks" more due to his knee injury, meaning he is expected to miss the potentially vital clash with Manchester City.

Matip began suffering from discomfort in the win over Sheffield United at the end of September, though he managed to feature in the 1-1 draw at Manchester United on October 20.

Despite that return, the 28-year-old defender did not look completely sharp at Old Trafford and has missed the Reds' three matches since.

Before the next international break later this month, Liverpool face Aston Villa, Genk in the Champions League and then Manchester City, their biggest threat in the Premier League title race.

While Naby Keita's situation appears less certain after he sustained a minor strain in the EFL Cup clash with Arsenal, Matip looks set to miss the next three matches, meaning Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren are likely to be called upon.

When asked about the fitness of Keita and Matip, Klopp told reporters: "Naby, I don't know yet, we'll see.

"And Joel, he is not ready for the next few weeks, unfortunately. A couple is two [weeks] – a few is more than three [weeks]. He needs more than a couple."

Meanwhile, Klopp is contemplating the idea of resting midfielder Fabinho against Villa on Saturday due to the Brazilian being one booking away from missing the City clash through suspension.

The German said: "I don't know yet. I will have to see. I know he is [one booking from suspension]. No challenges at all!

"It's not possible to play against Aston Villa and play without making tackles, we know that. We have to deal with this information, either him or me with the line-up."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer agrees Scott McTominay has become a leader at the club.

McTominay's form has been one of United's major bright spots during a difficult first three months of the season, in which the Red Devils have won only three Premier League matches.

The 22-year-old midfielder produced another standout display in the 2-1 EFL Cup success at Chelsea on Wednesday to help United to a third away win in succession, with Solskjaer's side having shown signs of recovery since their 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Old Trafford.

Some supporters have begun to discuss the prospect of a future captaincy for McTominay, who was brought into the first team by Jose Mourinho and even given a special 'manager's player of the year' prize at United's end-of-season awards in 2018.

When asked about the prospect of McTominay wearing the armband, Solskjaer told reporters on Friday: "He's been excellent. Him and Fred, they're working a good relationship, they have played well together.

"They did that last season: Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, there were quite a few games where they played together when we had some injuries. Now they're working as a pair.

"But Scotty has been excellent. He's a leader, he's a Man United boy, he's come through the ranks – you can see he's been a striker with the goal he scored against Norwich [City], on the half-turn – but he's developing into a very good midfielder."

United's win over Chelsea was secured by two goals from Marcus Rashford – a penalty and then a stunning free-kick.

The England international has now managed four goals in his past four appearances in all competitions, and Solskjaer is happy to see him thriving alongside fit-again Anthony Martial.

"Anthony's come back, Marcus has flourished as well, blossomed," he said. "He is probably happier facing goal, being direct, driving at people, taking players on, instead of being a target man with back to goal.

"But Marcus wants to master all the skills in the end. He's only 22, just turned 22, so I'm sure we'll see him up front as a number nine if he'd like, maybe as a two with Anthony, maybe now as a three like we did against Norwich, or wide like we did against Chelsea… there are different ways of playing with Marcus.

"It was important for him and for me that he stepped up and took that penalty against Chelsea."

United face Bournemouth on Saturday seeking to triumph in a fourth match in a row for the first time since the eight-game winning run they enjoyed when Solskjaer was named caretaker manager last December.

Solskjaer believes a combination of good work in the most recent international break, the return of some stars from injury and the boost from a positive performance against Liverpool have all contributed to their recent upturn in form.

"The international break came at a great time for us," he said. "We did some work and prepared well for the Liverpool game.

"When you get a decent performance and result against the league leaders, that gives you a bit more energy, and from then on the boys have just… they were happy with the work we did, maybe the change of system helped, so the coaches have done a great job.

"Every new game is an opportunity to show what you can do. I didn't play every game, so every game I played for this club was a chance for me to show the manager that I should play the next game. That's what these boys feel like as well now because we're getting players back – we don't just have the 11, 12, 13 fit ones.

"At the moment, the boys look like they're playing on instinct than having that extra split second to think, which I spoke about a few weeks ago."

Manchester United could be without Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof for Saturday's Premier League trip to Bournemouth.

All three players sustained knocks in the 2-1 EFL Cup victory at Chelsea on Wednesday, a result that stretched United's winning run away from home to three games in all competitions.

Rashford, who scored a penalty and then a stunning free-kick to seal the win, was seen with an ice pack on his knee after being substituted at Stamford Bridge, while Lindelof was replaced by Anthony Martial 66 minutes in and Maguire was seen limping in the closing stages.

When asked for an update on the trio on Friday, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told a news conference: "It's still early. Hopefully we can get them back on the pitch tomorrow.

"They had some treatment yesterday, a little more treatment today, a light session. Hopefully, they're ready. I can't tell you exactly now."

United will also be without Luke Shaw, Axel Tuanzebe and Nemanja Matic against Bournemouth, with Solskjaer not expecting them to be available until after the next international break.

"They are not ready for tomorrow. That's the update," he said. "[They will be back] Probably after the international break. That's always the risk, if you push them back too early.

"But if we have the two extra weeks, after the international break, they should be ready for then."

United head into the match in seventh place in the Premier League, ahead of Bournemouth on goal difference.

A win will move them to within four points of the top four before Chelsea's match away to Watford.

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold admitted he was guilty of underestimating Manchester United star Marcus Rashford and consequently experienced his most difficult outing.

Rashford was deployed wide on the left by Jose Mourinho and scored twice in the first 24 minutes when Liverpool visited Old Trafford and suffered a 2-1 defeat on March 10, 2018.

Alexander-Arnold was making just his 15th Premier League start and had a torrid time against the United attacker but was not replaced until the 80th minute.

The 21-year-old right-back has since lined up against teams including five-time Ballon d'Or winners Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo but that battle with Rashford remains his most testing appearance.

"[That match against United was] the toughest in terms of a direct opponent and someone getting on top of me in professional football. I'd say I underestimated him," Alexander-Arnold said of Rashford to The Athletic.

"It was a massive learning curve for me. It was something that I hated happening. As a Liverpool player it's probably the worst game of the season to perform like that. But when things like that happen you have to learn from them.

"It was a wake-up call. You hate days like that. You don't want to experience that. You remember how it felt and that makes you try everything you possibly can to ensure you don't have another one like it."

Alexander-Arnold was key to Liverpool's Champions League success and Premier League title challenge last season, when they finished just one point behind Manchester City. 

Having already conquered Europe, the defender says the Reds have their sights set on dethroning City and ending a 30-year wait for a top-flight crown.

"I want to help this club achieve as much success as I possibly can. We had a taste of it in Madrid and now we want more," said Alexander-Arnold.

"If there was one trophy that would mean the most to the fans it would be the Premier League. It's been too long. It's something all of us are desperate to achieve and hopefully that's the next step for this team. We've put ourselves in a strong position. Now we need to kick on."

City and Liverpool look primed for another two-team tussle for Premier League glory in 2019-20.

Asked if the rivalry with City is bigger than in games against United and Everton, Alexander-Arnold replied: "Traditionally, no, because of all the history with United and Everton. But in terms of intensity, quality, concentration and tempo, they're probably the biggest games of the season now.

"You know that if you step one foot out of line against City you'll get punished. You need to be bang on all the time. The two games last season were so marginal. The 0-0 at home and then the 2-1 defeat away when one went in off the post and one was cleared off the line. Tight as you like. Those sort of games can define a season these days.

"Last season City away was probably the one game when we looked back with disappointment and thought if we had done better there things would have been different [in the title race]."

Burnley boss Sean Dyche claims he has been told by "prominent managers" to stop talking about diving because it will affect his career.

Dyche has never hidden his disdain for simulation and was last weekend outspoken on the issue once more when Callum Hudson-Odoi was shown a yellow card for going to ground too easily after a VAR review in Burnley's 4-2 loss to Chelsea at Turf Moor.

In a radio interview this weekend, the Clarets boss called out "blatant diving" in the Premier League and stated he considers a booking to be insufficient punishment.

Despite suggestions from colleagues that his complaints could have an adverse impact on his future prospects, Dyche plans to stick to his guns.

"We've got a meeting coming up with the Premier League and it is one of the talking points, so that could be interesting. I'm not backward in coming forward," said Dyche.

"I've been told by other prominent managers to stop going on about it because it will affect my career.

"I said, 'Sorry, not my bag'. You have to be true to yourself and able to look at yourself in the mirror.

"A couple of managers said it could affect me. I'm the bad guy, don't forget.

"But at the end of the day, it was a passing comment over a chat, and I said it wasn't my thing."

Dyche has particular concerns about the amount of diving he has seen in youth football.

He said: "Bear in mind I've been in football all my life, I've watched it all my life, at every age group, from seven, which my lad Max played in, through every age group … and people are going down with nothing wrong with them, and all that.

"And somehow I end up coming out of it the bad guy. I can't fathom it at all.

"I keep meeting people – unless I only happen to meet the only people who don't like diving – fans who've caned us, but then saying, 'By the way, you were right though about diving'.

"I don't know how it happens, people factually diving, feigning injury – which is even worse than diving – and I mention it, and people say I'm making excuses.

"Eh? I've been making excuses for five years? How's that then, we're still in the Premier League, what excuses am I making?

"They all see it with their own eyes, yet it's, 'No, I don't think so, he touched his earlobe with his breath'. That makes it all right then.

"If your kid cheats at a maths test, do you tell them, 'Well done'?"

Gabriel Jesus is happy to occupy a wide position for Manchester City while continuing to learn from "legend" Sergio Aguero.

Pep Guardiola made the rare decision of starting the two forwards together for the 3-1 home victory over Southampton in the EFL Cup on Tuesday, although Jesus was shunted out onto the flank as Aguero played through the centre.

The 22-year-old was initially deployed on the wing when he made his breakthrough at Palmeiras and featured from the right in Brazil's triumphant Copa America campaign this year.

Jesus, who has been named in Guardiola's starting line-up just seven times this season, would not be averse to featuring in that role more regularly for City, and with Southampton visiting the Etihad Stadium again in the Premier League on Saturday he may get another opportunity to do so.

"I like this position and I know always I'm going to respect the manager's decision," said Jesus.

"Since the Copa America I've played for Brazil as a right winger. I like it.

"I started with the position in Brazil in my old club and after I got to play like a striker, but I like to play both positions. It's very important you can play more than one.

"It was my first game as a winger with five at the back for Southampton, so it's difficult when you dribble past one defender and have another one.

"So it's more difficult, but I like to play like a winger and I like it as a striker as well. I don't have a preference."

Aguero has scored 12 goals in as many appearances in all competitions this season and Jesus acknowledged there is plenty he can glean from City's all-time leading marksman about being a clinical a finisher.

"It's difficult to describe Sergio. Sergio is the top scorer of the club and every game he shows us why he is the top scorer," said Jesus.

"I have to learn from him because he's a legend. Every game he scores. I want to score every game but I think it is different, me and Sergio.

"I'm 22 years old, I have to improve my football, practise my finishing and I have to learn from Sergio.

"This is City, the competition is very high, but I think City has good players and an amazing team, so whoever is playing I think is going to do a very good job."

Barcelona are planning for life after Luis Suarez.

With Suarez now aged 32, the clock is ticking on his career at Camp Nou.

Barca are identifying potential replacements and have their sights on an Argentina international setting Serie A and Europe alight.

 

TOP STORY – MARTINEZ INTERESTS BARCA

LaLiga champions Barcelona are interested in Inter star Lautaro Martinez, reports Mundo Deportivo.

Ernesto Valverde's Barca are looking for a long-term replacement for Uruguay forward Luis Suarez, who turns 33 in January. 

And the front page of Friday's newspaper says Argentina international Martinez fits the bill for Barca amid reported interest from Manchester United.

 

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Roma have opened talks with Manchester United about signing Chris Smalling permanently, according to the Express. Smalling is on loan from United and the English defender scored his first goal for Roma during the week. The Red Devils are reportedly seeking £17.2million (€20m).

- Remaining at Old Trafford and Sport Italia claims Paul Pogba was close to joining Paris Saint-Germain during the previous transfer window. Pogba was heavily linked to LaLiga giants Real Madrid and former club Juventus .

- Tuttosport says Juventus are ready to make another attempt to sign Real Madrid midfielder Isco. The Spain international has struggled for regular game time and Madrid are reportedly holding out for €70m. The Italian champions have also been linked to Manchester United teenager Tahith Chong, who is out of contract at the end of the season, via the Daily Mail.

- Barcelona's Arturo Vidal is ready to snub the Chinese Super League in favour for a move to Inter, says InterNews. Vidal continues to be heavily linked to a reunion with former Juve boss Antonio Conte at Inter, while Chinese giants Shanghai SIPG are reportedly interested.

United could be set for a raid on Juve. Tuttosport claims the Old Lady will allow Emre Can to leave in January as United, Bayern Munich and PSG eye the Germany international.

- According to the Daily Mail, former Manchester United and Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is the front-runner to replace Unai Emery at Arsenal. Emery is under mounting pressure in London.

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