Rebuilding Manchester United cannot be a quick fix and the club must avoiding reacting to outside noise, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said after a week in which the pressure on the Red Devils boss intensified.

After suffering a 2-0 defeat to Premier League leaders Liverpool at Anfield, United were stunned at home by Burnley, who won by the same scoreline in what marked the Clarets' first league victory at Old Trafford since 1962.

United remain six points adrift of the top four and have yet to make a breakthrough in the transfer window, with negotiations with Sporting CP over Bruno Fernandes reported to have hit an impasse.

Solskjaer, though, continues to try to keep matters at the club in perspective, again insisting that a turnaround in United's fortunes will take time.

He told a media conference ahead of Sunday's FA Cup clash at Tranmere Rovers: "I think our fans know what we have started on, and I've been trusted to do that job by the club. For me that rebuild doesn't go one way all the time.

"It doesn't go 'we're doing great, we're doing great, we're winning games'. I've said it so many times, ups and downs.

"The foundation has to be laid and the culture has to be properly set and laid down. With this group I feel I have a good core of players that believe in themselves and believe in what we're doing and I trust them to be the good lads carrying us forward, with some signings, with some players coming back from injury.

"You don't just take your roof off when you're going to rebuild a house, you need to knock your house down and put the foundation in. You don't start with the roof. For us we've had a couple of rainy days and we wish that roof was on but you can't hide."

Asked why United are apparently unable to spend vast sums of money like neighbours Manchester City, Solskjaer replied: "For me, we do have a way of doing things, you can see other teams have done well.

"You can see [Liverpool manager] Jurgen [Klopp] spent four years building his team and they're doing well now.

"It's not gonna be a quick fix, and it's not eight or 10 players in in one transfer window. We've had one transfer window, proper one, because the Januarys, they are difficult, but we are still trying to do something now."

It was put to Solskjaer that predecessors such as David Moyes and Louis van Gaal were not afforded the time to implement long-term plans, but he has heard nothing to suggest he will not be allowed to continue the rebuild.

"When you start on something you stick to that plan. I'm not going to change six eight, or nine or 10 months after I got the job and start believing in a different way," said Solskjaer.

"I'm gonna stick to what I've been trusted to do by the club and hopefully that'll be good enough and that they can see what we're doing is right. We know how football is nowadays, but all my conversations with the club have been positive.

"We can't react to all the noise outside, there's always going to be criticism, you've got to take the criticism at this club, you've got to be stronger mentally probably than anywhere else in the world.

"I feel I am [strong], the club is strong, the staff I've got with me they're very strong mentally, so we're sticking to what we believe in. I've got full faith in what we're doing."

Manchester United have been fined £20,000 by the Football Association for failing to control their players during the 2-0 defeat to Premier League leaders Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.

Having gone ahead in the 14th minute through Virgil van Dijk's header, Liverpool thought they had a second when Roberto Firmino curled home soon after.

However, the goal was subsequently disallowed following a VAR check, with Van Dijk having been deemed to foul United goalkeeper David de Gea prior to Firmino's strike.

Referee Craig Pawson did not initially blow up for a foul, with United's players - including goalkeeper De Gea, who received a booking - gathering around the official to protest prior to the video review.

The FA has now taken action against United after finding them guilty of a breach of rule E20(a).

"Manchester United FC has been fined £20,000 after admitting a breach of FA Rule E20 and accepting the standard penalty," read a statement.

"The club failed to ensure its players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion during the 26th minute of a Premier League fixture against Liverpool FC on 19 January 2020."

Rebuilding Manchester United cannot be a quick fix and the club must avoiding reacting to outside noise, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said after a week in which the pressure on the Red Devils boss intensified.

After suffering a 2-0 defeat to Premier League leaders Liverpool at Anfield, United were stunned at home by Burnley, who won by the same scoreline in what marked the Clarets' first league victory at Old Trafford since 1962.

United remain six points adrift of the top four and have yet to make a breakthrough in the transfer window, with negotiations with Sporting CP over Bruno Fernandes reported to have hit an impasse.

Solskjaer, though, continues to try to keep matters at the club in perspective, again insisting that a turnaround in United's fortunes will take time.

He told a media conference ahead of Sunday's FA Cup clash at Tranmere Rovers: "I think our fans know what we have started on, and I've been trusted to do that job by the club. For me that rebuild doesn't go one way all the time.

"It doesn't go 'we're doing great, we're doing great, we're winning games'. I've said it so many times, ups and downs.

"The foundation has to be laid and the culture has to be properly set and laid down. With this group I feel I have a good core of players that believe in themselves and believe in what we're doing and I trust them to be the good lads carrying us forward, with some signings, with some players coming back from injury.

"You don't just take your roof off when you're going to rebuild a house, you need to knock your house down and put the foundation in. You don't start with the roof. For us we've had a couple of rainy days and we wish that roof was on but you can't hide."

Asked why United are apparently unable to spend vast sums of money like neighbours Manchester City, Solskjaer replied: "For me, we do have a way of doing things, you can see other teams have done well.

"You can see [Liverpool manager] Jurgen [Klopp] spent four years building his team and they're doing well now.

"It's not gonna be a quick fix, and it's not eight or 10 players in in one transfer window. We've had one transfer window, proper one, because the Januarys, they are difficult, but we are still trying to do something now."

It was put to Solskjaer that predecessors such as David Moyes and Louis van Gaal were not afforded the time to implement long-term plans, but he has heard nothing to suggest he will not be allowed to continue the rebuild.

"When you start on something you stick to that plan. I'm not going to change six eight, or nine or 10 months after I got the job and start believing in a different way," said Solskjaer.

"I'm gonna stick to what I've been trusted to do by the club and hopefully that'll be good enough and that they can see what we're doing is right. We know how football is nowadays, but all my conversations with the club have been positive.

"We can't react to all the noise outside, there's always going to be criticism, you've got to take the criticism at this club, you've got to be stronger mentally probably than anywhere else in the world.

"I feel I am [strong], the club is strong, the staff I've got with me they're very strong mentally, so we're sticking to what we believe in. I've got full faith in what we're doing."

The Christian Eriksen saga could reach an end point as soon as Monday.

Reports in Italy indicate the midfielder's move to Inter is all but complete and a medical has been scheduled.

Eriksen's uncertain future has troubled Tottenham since well before Mauricio Pochettino's departure, with the Denmark international due to become a free agent at the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY – ERIKSEN DEAL AGREED

Eriksen, 27, will undergo a medical in Milan at the beginning of next week, according to various reports in Italy.

CalcioMercato claims Tottenham owner Daniel Levy has accepted an offer from Inter worth €15million (£12.6m), plus €5m (£4.2m) in add-ons.

Eriksen's new contract will reportedly run through to 2024 as the playmaker looks for a fresh start after growing stale in the Premier League.

If the move goes ahead, he will become Antonio Conte's third signing of the January transfer window after wing-backs Ashley Young and Victor Moses.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United could face frustration in their long-running negotiations for Bruno Fernandes, which The Sun says have "collapsed" due to Sporting CP's valuation.

- United, meanwhile, are considering a shock move to bring Boca Juniors striker Carlos Tevez, 35, back to Old Trafford, claims Tuttosport. The Red Devils are in need of attacking reinforcements after losing Marcus Rashford to injury.

- Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has given LaLiga giants Barcelona the green light to begin transfer talks, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- Bayern Munich have commenced "concrete discussions" with Lyon over 19-year-old winger Yaya Soumare, reports L'Equipe. Salzburg and Bayern's Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig are also said to be interested.

- Brazilian attacking midfielder Lucas Paqueta asked Stefano Pioli to be left out of Milan's match against against Brescia because he is keen to leave the club, claims CalcioMercato. Paris Saint-Germain are said to be interested.

Manchester United will face Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday after the League One side defeated Watford 2-1.

With their initial replay called off due to a waterlogged pitch, Tranmere - who came back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 at Vicarage Road - and Watford met at Prenton Park on Thursday - just two days after the Hornets' Premier League defeat to Aston Villa.

Nigel Pearson subsequently made wholesale changes and, though Kaylen Hinds' 68th-minute effort cancelled out Emmanuel Monthe's first-half opener, Watford succumbed in extra-time.

Substitute Paul Mullin, who scored a late spot-kick in the first meeting between the sides, was Tranmere's hero - heading in the winner to set up a mouth-watering tie with 12-time winners United.

Liverpool's march towards the Premier League title shows no sign of slowing down, as the Reds claimed a hard-fought 2-1 win over Wolves.

Manchester United are clinging to a top-six position after they slid to a 2-0 home defeat to Burnley, the latest in a string of wretched results this season that have sparked an angry reaction from supporters.

While United toil, neighbours Manchester City ground out a 1-0 win at Sheffield United that continued their resurgent league form, with a winning combination delivering the goal for Pep Guardiola's side.

Leicester City might have expected a challenge from the big clubs behind them by now, but the Foxes continue to sit pretty in third place, and a 4-1 win over West Ham continued to make them look immovable from the top four this season.

The midweek Opta data offers detailed insights into the stories behind those results, revealing a string of telling trends and match facts.

 

MANE INJURY DOES NOT DERAIL LIVERPOOL'S CHARGE

Liverpool lost Sadio Mane to injury during the first half in Thursday's clash with Wolves, yet Roberto Firmino struck late on to claim the win as the Reds became just the fifth side in English Football League history to go 40 straight matches unbeaten.

Jurgen Klopp's side have amassed 67 points from a possible 69 in the Premier League this season; this is at least five more than any side in English top-flight history has ever previously had after as many games of a campaign.

Raul Jimenez drew Wolves level after Jordan Henderson's opener, and the Mexican's header ended a run of 725 minutes without conceding a Premier League goal for Liverpool since Richarlison scored for Everton at Anfield in December.

Jimenez also became the third Premier League player to net 20+ goals in all competitions this season, after Sergio Aguero (21) and Raheem Sterling (20).

Since the start of last season, Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold has assisted 22 Premier League goals, at least five more than any other player, with 10 of those coming from dead balls, also a league-high.

Firmino, meanwhile, has scored six goals in his last eight games for Liverpool in all competitions, as many as he had in his previous 32 appearances for the club, and all of his 10 Premier League strikes this season have come away from home.

UNITED IN TURMOIL AS CLARETS PUT NEGATIVE SPIN ON OLE REIN

Manchester United may sit fifth, but in terms of points tallies Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's are closer to 14th-placed Newcastle than they are to fourth-placed Chelsea after 24 games.

The league standing is highly vulnerable, given Tottenham, Wolves and even Sheffield United are breathing down United's necks.

Wednesday's 2-0 defeat to Burnley means United now have a negative Premier League win-loss record since manager Solskjaer was given the job on a full-time basis in March.

They had impressed during his caretaker spell, but since Solskjaer went from being a stand-in to the chosen one, their record shows 11 wins and 12 defeats in the Premier League.

United's Old Trafford setback followed their 2-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield, meaning they have suffered back-to-back league defeats for the second time under their Norwegian boss.

Burnley looked to be in freefall just days ago and relegation was becoming a serious concern, but wins over United and Leicester City have lifted them to 30 points - just four adrift of the Red Devils.

PASSPORTS AT THE READY, LEICESTER LOOK BOOKED IN FOR CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RETURN

Catch them if you can! Leicester City had a wobble with defeats to Southampton and Burnley, but Brendan Rodgers' men now sit 14 points clear of fifth place and surely their destiny is a second season in the Champions League.

In the absence of anything approaching a charge from teams outside the top four, it would take a spectacular collapse for the Foxes to miss out, with a 4-1 win over West Ham on Wednesday emphasising their quality.

Leicester have racked up eight wins in 12 Premier League home games so far, their best record at this stage of a season, and the 52 goals they have banged in amounts to their most in the top flight from their first 24 games since the achieved the same tally in 1930-31.

Rodgers and West Ham boss David Moyes were once rivals on Merseyside, in charge of Liverpool and Everton respectively.

While Rodgers eyes success towards the top of the table, Moyes has taken on a relegation battle with a West Ham side who are outside the bottom three on goal difference alone.

Since the start of October 2019, no team have gained fewer points (11) or lost more games (11) in the Premier League than West Ham, and it gets no easier: Liverpool are their next opponents.

At least that game is a home fixture for the Hammers. Moyes' away record in matches against teams starting the day in the Premier League top four is diabolical, winning just one of 50 such games.

KEVIN KEEN TO HELP - DE BRUYNE IS KING OF THE ASSISTS

When Sergio Aguero turned in a cross from Kevin De Bruyne to give Manchester City a 1-0 victory at Sheffield United, it was more than merely two Premier League greats combining to deadly effect.

History, in fact, was made in that motion, with De Bruyne becoming the first player in the Premier League era to provide 15 or more assists in three different seasons.

The Belgian had 18 in 2016-17, 16 the following season, and after an injury-wracked 2018-19 campaign he already has 15 from 23 appearances this term.

The scale of De Bruyne's achievement can be better appreciated by considering the likes of Ryan Giggs, Cesc Fabregas, Dennis Bergkamp and his own City colleague David Silva have been unable to produce at that level so consistently.

Former Wolfsburg playmaker De Bruyne has entered the top 20 of all-time assist providers in the Premier League, and there is no keeping Aguero down either.

Aguero has been directly involved in 43 goals in 43 Premier League appearances against newly promoted teams - scoring 35 goals and assisting in eight more.

It took City until the 73rd minute to make their breakthrough at Bramall Lane, and a lot of the credit for the hosts' resilience went to goalkeeper Dean Henderson, whose first-half penalty save from Gabriel Jesus means he has stopped four of the last eight spot-kicks he has faced in English league football.

Sporting CP have announced the signing of striker Andraz Sporar, while talks with Manchester United over Bruno Fernandes have reportedly collapsed.

The Portuguese side were said to be eager to generate significant income this month, but a deal with United over midfielder Fernandes appears to have been stalling for some days.

According to the latest reports, United co-chairman Joel Glazer has stepped in to make it clear the Red Devils will not match Sporting's asking price of €80m.

Despite their need for funds, Sporting have still invested in Slovenia striker Sporar, who has signed a five-year contract with the club that contains a €60m release clause.

Reports in Portugal say the 25-year-old has joined in a €6m deal from Slovan Bratislava, having passed his medical after arriving in Lisbon late on Tuesday.

Sporar had been linked with Scottish champions Celtic and Turkish giants Besiktas.

Manchester United fans do not need telling that the team is in a rut. The thousands who left Old Trafford early during Wednesday's miserable 2-0 home defeat to Burnley made that abundantly clear.

The loss is United's second in a row in the Premier League – the first time that has happened since last April – and means they have won just twice in all competitions since the turn of the year.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer conceded their performance was not up to scratch but, given their overall from since he took permanent charge, questions are being asked as to how much longer these defeats can be accepted as minor bumps on the road to a more promising future.

United have endured some difficult days since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, but how does the current malaise stack up against those rotten moments under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho? And are there any signs of progress under Solskjaer?

We delve into Opta data to find out...

OLE'S AT THE WHEEL, BUT THE HANDBRAKE IS ON

Nobody can deny the impact Solskjaer had as interim manager. He lifted the gloom around Mourinho's final days in charge and led United to 14 wins and two draws from 17 matches, scoring 39 goals and conceding only 13. That's a win ratio of 82 per cent.

They also took 32 points from 12 league matches, which represents the best haul of any manager in his first 12 games in the competition at a single club.

Such was the lift felt by everyone at Old Trafford that Solskjaer was handed the job on a permanent basis on March 28, since when everything has turned rather sour.

From March 10 last year to January 23 of this year, United have played 48 games, won 18, drawn 12 and lost 18, giving them a win ratio of 37.5 per cent. They have scored 62 goals and conceded 58.

In the Premier League, United have lost more games (12) than they have won (11) since Solskjaer took permanent office – a truly damning statistic in an era of worrying numbers. In that time, eight teams have picked up more points than United (42), while league leaders Liverpool have amassed almost double (85) despite playing three fewer games.

 

THE WORST POST-FERGIE SEASON YET

United are fifth and somehow just six points off the top four, but that should come as scant comfort to supporters.

A return of 34 points from 24 games is their lowest since 1989-1990 (25 points), when they ended up finishing 13th. They have six points fewer after the same number of games than they did under David Moyes in 2013-14 and Louis van Gaal in 2015-16.

It means Solskjaer has the worst points-per-game ratio (1.64) than any of the other three permanent managers in the post-Fergie era, with Mourinho on 1.89, Van Gaal on 1.79 and Moyes on 1.68.

In all competitions, Solskjaer was won 49.2 per cent of games as United manager, which is the worst ratio of anyone in the Old Trafford dugout since Dave Sexton (40.3) between August 1977 and April 1981.

A SIGN OF HOPE?

It might not seem credible given their blunt display against Burnley, but Solskjaer has adopted a more attacking ethos than his predecessors.

Under the former striker, United have averaged 14.8 shots per game in the league, giving them an Expected Goals rating of 1.71 per match. Both of those figures are higher than under Moyes, Van Gaal or Mourinho.

Where Solskjaer's United fall down is in taking their chances. Their shot conversion rate of 10.8 per cent is the lowest since Ferguson's departure, and it means they average 1.6 league goals per game, with only Van Gaal managing worse (1.46).

United's 36 league goals this season is the sixth highest tally in the competition, while their 10.1 per cent shot conversion rate puts them at a lowly 14th. They have also converted only 38.5 per cent of certified 'Big Chances', which is 10th best in the league.

When you consider they are third for total shots (357), fifth for Expected Goals (40.25) and fifth for creating Big Chances (52), that underlines the problem: Solskjaer's United simply aren't clinical enough.

In other words, they need a ruthless goalscorer, which makes the decision to let Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez leave without signing replacements look all-the-more baffling, while Marcus Rashford's serious back injury means those numbers are not likely to improve quickly.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer claimed Manchester United's dreadful defeat to Burnley was not "a fair reflection" of his players as they were "mentally" drained 10 days out from a mid-season break.

United are fifth in the Premier League but remain six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea after slumping to a shocking 2-0 loss to Burnley at Old Trafford.

Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez got the visitors' goals, while United, after passing up promising first-half chances, scarcely threatened a fightback.

Manager Solskjaer does not want United to wallow in the aftermath of the loss, yet he believes his players are struggling.

They face Watford or Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup on Sunday, before an EFL Cup semi-final second leg against rivals Manchester City - who lead 3-1 on aggregate - and a Premier League clash with Wolves.

United can then enjoy a mid-season break before returning to action at Chelsea on February 17.

"For us, we've just got to stick to our values, stick to our beliefs, knowing it's no use feeling sorry for yourself," Solskjaer told a news conference. "You know you've got to go out there tomorrow, the day after, getting ready for Sunday.

"We know we've had X amount of games since the beginning of December and they are very stretched. Some of these have probably played more than they should have and expected.

"More mentally than physically, I think, they need the mid-season break. So we just need to get over that line, get these three games not out of the way but look forward to Sunday.

"FA Cup against who knows who still. There's a chance then to get some belief back."

Solskjaer added United have sporadically been "fantastic" but the Burnley game was an indication of "where we're at" in terms of squad depth, with Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and Marcus Rashford all out.

"I wouldn't say today was a fair reflection on this group and the season they've been through," he said. "They've done fantastic at times.

"Of course, I can't sit here and do anything but hold my hands up and say that's not good enough for Manchester United.

"But that's where we're at at the moment in terms of players. It's not like we had 10 players on the bench we could have rotated. They've played and they've done fantastic."

Rio Ferdinand slammed Manchester United's direction following the "embarrassing" Premier League loss to Burnley at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Goals from Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez condemned a woeful United side to a deflating 2-0 home defeat in Marcus Rashford's absence.

The result left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men six points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea and some 30 points behind leaders Liverpool, who beat them 2-0 at Anfield three days earlier.

Ferdinand, a vocal supporter when Solskjaer was named manager on a full-time basis in March, admitted the Norwegian deserves scrutiny and was scathing in his assessment of the club's transfer market moves since Alex Ferguson's retirement.

"I have played with Ole, he is an ex-team-mate of mine, but the results have not been good enough," the former Red Devils defender told BT Sport.

"He has had some key players get injured but, with the big amount of money spent on this squad, you would expect more in reserve.

"You look at some of the players that have come in – [Marcos] Rojo, [Radamel] Falcao, [Marouane] Fellaini, [Morgan] Schneiderlin, [Memphis] Depay – were these players ever Manchester United players, really?

"Who is buying these players? The manager coming in who wanted them for now, or the club buying for now but also future-proofing?

"£600m roughly has been spent on this squad and the most impressive players this season have been the homegrown talent. That speaks volumes about the recruitment. It tells you how shoddy it has been.

"Look at Liverpool, they buy the best players to fit in their system. It is not a short-term fix. Total opposite end of the scale here."

United have now won just two of their past seven matches in all competitions, and the mood at Old Trafford was summed up by the sight of supporters pouring through the exits before full-time.

"I'm embarrassed. It's embarrassing to be here," Ferdinand continued.

"Not just about the team performing, I don't see what's coming next, I don't see a pathway, I don't see a target being set on the wall and saying we're going to get to that and this is how we're going to get there."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United have started a "clear out" and are "looking to improve" by adding new players this month following a chastening 2-0 home defeat to Burnley.

United produced an abject display against Sean Dyche's men on Wednesday as they lacked a cutting edge in attack without the injured Marcus Rashford, who could be out until April with a back problem.

Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez got the goals for Burnley, who ultimately had little difficulty hanging on to the victory.

United have been strongly linked with Sporting CP midfielder Bruno Fernandes, though media reports continue to suggest the two clubs are well apart in their valuation of the Portugal international.

Solskjaer is adamant United are looking to bolster the squad, though he failed to answer whether he feels appropriately backed by the club's board.

He told BT Sport: "We are looking to improve, we have got our targets. Days like this highlight how well some of them [the young players in United's squad] have done so far this season – some of the results and performances have been fantastic.

"This is our second defeat at home and first since August. I thought we had turned that corner, winning games like this, but we haven't, clearly.

"[Transfers] are always going to be the talk at the moment. We have started a clear out and get-players-in job, now it's the transfer window so I'm going to be answering these questions until it closes. We are working on things.

"For me the most important thing is we have to perform on the pitch. Today wasn't good enough for a Manchester United team."

The defeat left United six points adrift of Chelsea in fifth, level with Tottenham and Wolves on 34 points.

Goals from Burnley's Chris Wood and Jay Rodriguez inflicted an embarrassing 2-0 defeat on Manchester United at Old Trafford, a loss that will surely bring Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's position into question once again.

It was Solskjaer's first home league match as United manager without Marcus Rashford - who is set for a long absence with a back injury - and his absence was telling, as the Red Devils showed little cutting edge in the final third against a Burnley side that was typically set up to frustrate.

Although United dominated much of the first half, the chances they created were wasted and Burnley were far more clinical, going into the break with a one-goal lead thanks to Wood despite having just three shots to the hosts' 11.

United were arguably even worse after the interval. The opportunities they had been crafting dried up and a phenomenal strike from Rodriguez ultimately gave them too much to do, meaning fourth-placed Chelsea remain six points clear of Solskjaer's men.

United were most threatening down the right in the first half, and Wan-Bissaka - routinely given freedom by Burnley - picked out Anthony Martial in the 15th minute, but the Frenchman could not get enough contact with the ball.

Wan-Bissaka again caused trouble in the 28th minute as his low delivery found Juan Mata, only for the midfielder to completely miss his kick as the ball struck his standing leg.

Two more chances soon went begging, with Daniel James' header forcing a save and Martial spurning a decent opening, and Burnley capitalised just before half-time - Wood steering past David de Gea at the near post after Ben Mee's flick-on.

Solskjaer introduced Mason Greenwood for the abject Andreas Pereira at half-time, though it made little difference and United soon found themselves 2-0 down as Rodriguez peeled away from Harry Maguire and lashed a scorching effort in off the crossbar from just inside the box.

United thought Charlie Taylor should have been shown a red card after he hauled Greenwood down on the edge of the box when the substitute would have only had Nick Pope to beat, but referee Jon Moss and the VAR did not agree.

Burnley had little trouble holding on to move to within just four points of their hosts, whose late goal by Luke Shaw was chalked off for a foul on Jeff Hendrick.

 

What does it mean? Reinforcements a necessity for United

Although it has been fairly obvious for a while, it now seems absolutely vital that United make some meaningful purchases in the January transfer window.

Their lack of depth was plain to see without Rashford, and those in midfield were generally hopeless from a creative perspective. Without reinforcements, Solskjaer needs a miracle to get this bunch into the Champions League.

Wood gets the better of United

There are not many strikers in the Premier League more predictable than Wood in some senses - but that does not mean you are guaranteed to stop him. The burly frontman kept United's defence occupied throughout and he proved very effective, as highlighted by his goal and then his assist for Rodriguez.

Pereira not the answer

While there are not many United players who could have avoided criticism on Wednesday, Pereira was - once again - simply not up to scratch. The midfielder saw a lot of the ball but did precious little with it, his four shots causing Pope no issues. He was unsurprisingly withdrawn at half-time.

What's next?

It is back to the FA Cup for these two at the weekend. United go to either Watford or Tranmere Rovers on Sunday, with Burnley hosting fellow Premier League side Norwich City the day before.

FIFA has revealed a record amount was spent on transfers in 2019, with deals for Eden Hazard, Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix topping the bill.

A report issued by world football's governing body on Wednesday revealed $7.35billion (£5.6billion) was spent by clubs in the transfer market in 2019, an increase of 5.8 per cent on the previous year.

The study also confirmed that English clubs spent the most, though the total figure of $1.52billion (£1.14billion) was a 22.1 per cent decrease from 2018.

Joao Felix's €126million transfer from Benfica to Atletico Madrid – who sold Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona for €120m – was the biggest deal of 2019, while Hazard left Chelsea for Real Madrid in a deal reportedly worth €100m.

Harry Maguire became the world's most expensive defender with a reported £80m switch from Leicester City to Manchester United, while Ajax sold young stars Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong to Juventus and Barcelona respectively for an initial €75m each.

There was also a rise of 16.3 per cent in spending in the women's game, with over 800 transfers made in total.

Manchester United's plans to sign Sporting CP midfielder Bruno Fernandes could be in jeopardy after high-profile agent Jorge Mendes said other clubs have been in talks with the Portuguese club over a possible transfer.

Fernandes is reportedly close to signing a £50m (€58.6m) deal to join the Red Devils but Mendes said Old Trafford is not the 25-year-old playmaker's only option.

After scoring eight goals in 16 Primeira Liga appearances this season, Portugal international Fernandes is in demand across Europe and Mendes, who does not directly represent the player, heaped pressure on United with his comments to Sky Sports.

"If he doesn't leave now, he will leave for sure in the summer because Sporting have already spoken with other clubs," said Mendes.

Fernandes played in Sporting's 2-1 Taca da Liga defeat to Sporting Braga on Tuesday and his most recent goals for the club came when he scored a brace in a 3-1 Primeira Liga victory at Vitoria Setubal earlier in January.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has struggled to find adequate cover for injured midfielder Paul Pogba this season and the capture of Fernandes would strengthen the Premier League club's hopes of a finish inside the top five.

Mendes added that a deal will not necessarily be completed before the end of the January transfer window, saying: "Something will happen but I am not sure if now or at the end of the season."

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