Pep Guardiola has been heartened to see Aymeric Laporte's return to full training but urged patience over the defender's first-team comeback. 

Manchester City have been without Laporte since August, when he suffered a knee injury against Brighton and Hove Albion.

The France centre-back, who joined from Athletic Bilbao in January 2018, required surgery but is coming to the end of his recovery. 

"He's training every day, he feels good after training and the day after he feels good, that is good news," Guardiola said ahead of City's trip to Aston Villa on Sunday. 

"I don't know when he'll be ready to play some games. He needs a little bit more time but he moves really well.

"The operation was good. We wait for the doctors to say he can start to play."

Guardiola, who allayed fears over an injury to Kevin De Bruyne following his substitution in the 3-1 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg win over Manchester United, is also eager to have Leroy Sane available again.

The Germany star was heavily linked with a move to Bayern Munich before he sustained his injury in the Community Shield against Liverpool, and rumours persist over his future.

However, Guardiola just wants him back in the team, along with Laporte.

"When we need to make movements in behind, Leroy is the best and of course Aymeric for being left footed, playing the left side and how good and how quick he settled in this league since he arrived," said Guardiola.

"Of course it's important for us, we will have to respect the process and when both will be ready, I will have to be thinking about to use them, we use them when I believe they must be used."

Tottenham appear close to landing a replacement for Harry Kane, while Thomas Lemar could also be set for the Premier League.

Kane needs surgery on his left hamstring and is not expected to return to training for Spurs until April.

It seems the Premier League club are nearing a move for Milan forward Krzysztof Piatek, although there are contrasting reports over the status of the deal.

And, Atletico Madrid midfielder Lemar could also be heading to London.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS CLOSE TO LANDING PIATEK AS KANE REPLACEMENT

Tottenham have agreed a deal worth £28million (€32.95m) for Piatek, according to The Sun.

However, the Mirror reports Spurs have had a loan bid for the 24-year-old Poland international rejected, although talks are continuing.

After netting 11 times in 21 games for Milan last season following a January move from Genoa, Piatek has four goals in 18 this campaign.

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea and Tottenham are both trying to sign Atletico's Lemar on loan until the end of the season, according to The Telegraph. Lemar is linked with an Atletico exit after just nine LaLiga starts this season.

- While Christian Eriksen's possible Spurs exit will dominate headlines this month, it appears the midfielder will not be heading to Old Trafford. Sky Sports reports Manchester United have ruled out making a bid for the Denmark international this month.

- Searching for a right-back, Tottenham are keen on signing Barcelona's Nelson Semedo, according to the Mirror. The position has been a problem for Spurs since Kieran Trippier's off-season move to Atletico.

- Javier Hernandez's stay at Sevilla could be coming to an end. Marca reports the club could let the forward, who has one goal in nine LaLiga games this season, leave amid apparent interest from LA Galaxy.

- Leicester City are trying to sign Juventus defender Merih Demiral, according to the Mirror. Manchester City and Everton are also reportedly interested in the Turkey international.

- Piatek aside, there may be other moves at Milan. La Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira says Roma are interested in Suso and Cengiz Under could be heading to San Siro, while Milan are still eyeing Inter's Matteo Politano.

- Could David Moyes and Marouane Fellaini reunite for a third time? Sky Sports reports Moyes' West Ham are interested in signing the Shandong Luneng midfielder, who played under the Scot at Everton and Manchester United.

Manchester City Women boss Nick Cushing will end his six-year reign next month to become assistant manager of New York City FC.

Cushing said it was "incredibly difficult" to reach the decision to leave, as he prepares to join the City Football Group's Major League Soccer outfit.

Appointed at the end of 2013, Cushing led City as they joined the Women's Super League, bolstered by new signings Steph Houghton, Karen Bardsley, Jill Scott and Toni Duggan.

Those England stars helped Cushing establish City as a major force when they were handed a place in a new-look WSL for the 2014 season, prominent among clubs spearheading the move to full-time professionalism.

City won the WSL title in 2016 and added FA Cup victories at Wembley in 2017 and 2019, also reaching the Champions League semi-finals in 2017 and 2018, losing to Lyon both times.

Now 35, Cushing will become assistant to former Celtic manager Ronny Deila at MLS side New York City.

His last match with Manchester City Women will be the WSL home match against Arsenal on February 2.

Cushing said: "Making the decision to leave MCWFC has been incredibly difficult given the fantastic players and staff that we have here and the incredible success that we have achieved together - it isn't one that I have taken lightly.

"We've had an amazing six-and-a-half seasons and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with everybody – I will be extremely emotional to leave, but I'm very excited for my next role within the City Football Group.

"Linking up with New York City and Ronny (Deila) is a brilliant opportunity and I'm really looking forward to working in the MLS."

City said Cushing's assistant, Alan Mahon, would take charge of the women's team on an interim basis.

Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick has asked for January signings and the club are working to fulfil his request, but Hasan Salihamidzic confirmed Leroy Sane will not join this month.

Sporting director Salihamidzic addressed the media as Bayern take part in a mid-season training camp in Doha, Qatar.

He revealed Bayern are working with Flick, installed as coach at least until the end of the season following Niko Kovac's sacking in November, on moves for the present transfer window.

Salihamidzic had previously said of January: "I don't think much will happen."

However, at a news conference on Thursday, Salihamidzic told reporters: "Hansi Flick has assessed the current situation and has come to the conclusion that we need to strengthen. Hansi and I are in constant contact.

"We are considering every option, but it is difficult to strengthen our squad during the winter break."

However, Germany international Sane, long linked with a switch from Manchester City, will not be among any new recruits.

Salihamidzic did not deny Bayern would renew their interest at the end of the season but, with Sane still sidelined following a serious knee injury, a January deal was ruled out.

"It is not an issue for the winter [window]," he said.

Bayern have this month already agreed to sign Alexander Nubel, who will leave Schalke on a free transfer at the end of the season, seemingly putting star goalkeeper Manuel Neuer under pressure.

But Salihamidzic has assured there is an understanding with Nubel, 23, that Neuer will remain first choice for the start of the next campaign.

"Alexander Nubel will be a huge asset for FC Bayern," he said. "He is ambitious and a top character.

"Alexander knows that Manuel Neuer is our number one. He is looking forward to working with Manu."

Nicolas Pepe earned his first inclusion of the season in FIFA Ultimate Team's Team of the Week thanks to his eye-catching display against Manchester United.

The reported £72million signing from Lille endured a difficult first few months in an Arsenal jersey, struggling to recapture the form he showed in France over the previous two campaigns.

But in the 2-0 win over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men, Pepe opened the scoring and was a constant livewire, troubling United's backline with his trickery, movement and general unpredictability.

With some European leagues enjoying a mid-season break, the latest FUT selection is rather Premier League-dominated, with five players from the division in the starting XI, while there are another six England-based representatives among the substitutes and reserves.

Joining Pepe in the starting XI are the likes of Real Madrid's Raphael Varane, Alejandro Gomez of Atalanta and Lazio's Ciro Immobile.

Below, we take a look at the entire squad that is set to be available online.

TEAM OF THE WEEK

GK: Salvatore Sirigu (Torino) – 86

RB: Jesus Corona (Porto) – 84

CB: Domenico Criscito (Genoa) – 82

CB: Raphael Varane (Real Madrid) – 87

RM: Nicolas Pepe (Arsenal) – 85

CM: James Maddison (Leicester City) – 84

LM: Gerard Deulofeu (Watford) – 83

LW: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – 84

CAM: Alejandro Gomez (Atalanta) – 87

ST: Ciro Immobile (Lazio) – 89

ST: Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City) – 84

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Odisseas Vlachodimos (Benfica) – 83

CB: Mouctar Diakhaby (Valencia) – 81

CDM: Mark Noble (West Ham) – 81

CAM: Marko Livaja (AEK Athens) – 81

LW: Ricardo Horta (Sporting Braga) – 82

ST: Enes Unal (Real Valladolid) – 81

ST: Nicky Maynard (Mansfield Town) – 81

RESERVES

GK: Paul Farman (Stevenage) – 72

CM: Uros Racic (Famalicao) – 79

RM: Tyrese Campbell (Stoke City) – 75

ST: Nahki Wells (QPR) – 78

ST: Matt Godden (Coventry City) – 75

Fernandinho is close to signing a new deal with Manchester City, the 34-year-old has revealed.

The Brazil international, who joined the Premier League champions from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013, is out of contract at the end of this season.

City boss Pep Guardiola has spoken of his desire to keep Fernandinho at the Etihad Stadium and he appears set to get his way.

"When I renewed at the end of 2018, we put a clause that if I reached certain goals, my contract would be renewed automatically," the player told ESPN Brasil.

"Conversations have already started, we talked about it last month. I am close to reaching those goals and renewing the contract, but we can only confirm it after signing."

With City suffering injury problems in defence this season, Fernandinho has often operated at centre-back, which he has been happy to do.

"It's good as long as you can be at the highest level," he said. "Playing in a different position opens up the range of learning.

"In defence, I see the game in a different way. It has been very cool and the guidance I have received from Pep has been very good.

"At 34, playing in the Premier League is a source of pride. Many, many players wanted to be experiencing what I am experiencing."

Fernandinho played the full match in City's 3-1 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg win over rivals Manchester United on Tuesday and is likely to feature at Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday.

Marcus Rashford has called on Manchester United to draw inspiration from last year's stunning Champions League comeback in Paris as they look to pull off a similar revival against Manchester City.

United were outplayed in a 3-1 defeat to their bitter rivals in the EFL Cup semi-final first leg at Old Trafford on Tuesday, leaving them with a mountain to climb at City in three weeks' time.

There are parallels with the situation Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side found themselves in last March, when they headed to face Paris Saint-Germain in a last-16 tie after losing 2-0 on home soil.

On that night in the French capital, Rashford's last-gasp penalty secured a 3-1 win and sealed progress on away goals.

And Rashford, who wore the captain's armband and scored against Pep Guardiola's City, wants United to rediscover that magic when they travel to the Etihad Stadium.

"It is a different game with different players, but what we found in Paris we have to find that within us again," he told the club's official website.

"We have to go there, score goals and win the game. I think we are capable of doing it. But let's just focus on [Saturday's Premier League game against] Norwich for now and hopefully we can put this result behind us to bring the positivity back."

Rashford was proud to lead his team out for the first time and is closing on a landmark 200th United appearance, with only one more needed to get there, but the England forward is only concerned with results.

"It is obviously a nice feeling [to be captain], but at the end of the day it is the result that matters and we didn't manage to get the win," Rashford said.

"We will look ahead now to the next game, put this one behind us and go again.

"To be honest, the games have all come thick and fast. You don't notice the numbers going up so much.

"It is my 200th game and obviously it is going to be a good night for me. It is definitely a proud moment to play 200 games for this club.

"But if we don't get the three points then for me it doesn't mean a thing. We have to make sure that we win the game and put on a positive performance."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt Manchester United's first half against Manchester City in the EFL Cup on Tuesday was the worst they have played this season.

City dominated the first leg of the semi-final at Old Trafford, where Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez scored before Andreas Pereira's own goal.

Marcus Rashford struck in the second half for United, to give them a glimmer of hope heading to the Etihad Stadium on January 29 despite the 3-1 loss.

Solskjaer was unhappy with the way his side started, lamenting their first half – particularly after Silva's fine 17th-minute opener.

"From their goal until half-time it's the worst we've played," he told a news conference.

"Before then, it could've gone either way, a goal, but that doesn't matter now.

"We've just got to focus on Saturday, Norwich [City]. After that second half we've got something that we can believe in."

Solskjaer said his message to his players was clear after they trailed 3-0 at half-time and looked in danger of being thrashed.

"Pride is one word that you speak about at half-time," he said.

"Make sure you win the second half and you're in the tie and of course it's a difficult task that we've got in front of us.

"But that second half at least gave us something to hang onto."

Pep Guardiola remains wary of a Manchester United comeback in their EFL Cup semi-final despite Manchester City's 3-1 win at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

City were largely dominant as Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez scored before an Andreas Pereira own goal in the first half.

Marcus Rashford struck in the second half for United, who will head to the Etihad Stadium for the second leg on January 29.

But Guardiola pointed to United's comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in last season's Champions League – when they recovered from a 2-0 first-leg home loss in the last 16 – as a warning to his team.

"I've played many times against United, not just here, but when I was in Munich and especially Barcelona, and two finals of the Champions League. Of course I have incredible respect for this club and its history," he told a news conference.

"This club helps this Premier League in England and in Europe, to make our game a better place to be. Of course it's an incredible stage to come, an incredible scenario, and to try to play good like we did in the last times we've came here is an honour.

"But that is not three points, that is not done. Last season they lost 2-0 to PSG and after they went to France and you know they qualified.

"Anything can happen in football and I know after what happened in the second half that they are a dangerous team. Hopefully now in front of our people, they can support us like Man United support their team, and again, qualify for the final."

After City dominated the first half, United grew into the game in the second and found a goal through Rashford.

Guardiola was pleased with his side's opening 45 minutes, while praising United's response.

"We played good in the first half, we played really good. In the second half they changed to a diamond [formation] and we struggled more to press and they found [space] behind our holding midfielders," he said.

"[Mason] Greenwood, we could not press because they have two weapons up front with [Daniel] James and Rashford, so it's difficult for central defenders controlling these situations.

"And of course they have pride, they are United so that's normal the reaction they had in front of their people.

"I take note about what happened in the second half for the second leg in three weeks, but it's a good result tonight for us."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is uneasy at the thought of letting players leave Manchester United following rumours Inter have expressed an interest in Ashley Young.

United lost 3-1 at home to bitter rivals Manchester City in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final on Tuesday, with the visitors outclassing Solskjaer's men for most of the match.

The defeat highlighted the glaring deficiencies in United's squad, with Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof coming in for criticism for their respective performances.

Shortly after the match, rumours began to emerge claiming Serie A leaders Inter are in advanced talks for Young, who has been used as a back-up option for the full-back positions over the past few seasons.

Despite the 34-year-old being out of contract at the end of the season, Solskjaer seemed reluctant to let Young leave this month.

"Tonight's not the time to talk about players leaving, because we need the players we have in the squad and we've got a few months left of this season," Solskjaer told reporters.

"You've got to ask Ash, to be fair. For me it's about focusing on the next game and tonight [City]."

United return to Premier League action this weekend at home to Norwich City.

Pep Guardiola insists the EFL Cup semi-final has not been settled despite Manchester City's dominant 3-1 win over Manchester United on Tuesday.

City raced into a 3-0 lead by half-time at Old Trafford, Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an Andreas Pereira own goal doing the damage against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

United were simply unable to handle City in the first half as the visitors sprung a surprise by playing without a recognised centre-forward, although they did improve after bringing Nemanja Matic on at half-time and Marcus Rashford's goal offered a glimmer of hope for the tie.

Solskjaer pointed to last season's second-leg win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last 16 as proof his side cannot be written off, and Guardiola is not prepared to consider the Red Devils incapable of a similar comeback.

"The first minutes were tight, they had one or two counter-attacks, but the first shot or second shot was an outstanding goal from Bernardo," the City manager told Sky Sports.

"After, we played really good, with a lot of passes, arriving from behind. In the second half, they changed the shape, the diamond 4-4-2 and we struggled a little bit more to keep the ball.

"But yeah, a good result. It's not over, because it's United, and we see how many times, last season was a good example against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. They are able to score goals.

"Hopefully, with our fans, we can make a good game and reach the final again."

Guardiola said he set up his side to avoid the kind of counter-attacking damage United did in their 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League last month.

"It's always difficult to control Rashford and all the people in front because they are so fast, and that was the main target today, with a lot of passes. We feel comfortable with the ball and we did it," he said.

Guardiola also bristled at the suggestion City invited United back into the contest by relaxing too much after half-time.

"Always we have to accept the result. We played against United – what do you expect? One, zero-seven here, or what?" he added.

"They played good, they changed their situation and we could not control quite as well, especially [Mason] Greenwood between the lines, we struggled a little bit with that, but in general it was an incredible performance.

"We played at Old Trafford, against our rivals, in a semi-final, and it was a fantastic result for us."

Bernardo Silva suggested Manchester United were lucky to only be losing 3-0 at half-time in Tuesday's EFL Cup semi-final first-leg defeat to Manchester City.

City claimed a 3-1 win at Old Trafford, with their rampant first-half display seeing them comfortably claim victory and put one foot in the final.

Silva opened the scoring with a wonderful long-range effort, before then setting up Riyad Mahrez to make it two. An Andreas Pereira own goal, engineered by Kevin De Bruyne, effectively put the game beyond United before the break.

Marcus Rashford pulled one back for the hosts in the second half, but that goal came from a rare moment of incisiveness as United were well beaten.

Silva told Sky Sports: "I think we could have gone to half-time winning by four or five because we missed a few chances, then the second half was very hard for us.

"They started pressing higher, trying to control the game and getting on the ball. We got a bit tired, but I think overall it was a good performance and we're happy with this win.

"It's never easy to come here to Old Trafford against one of the best sides in England, in Europe, and to win 3-1.

"When you play a derby and you play Man United, you cannot always win. We were disappointed because losing at home [to United in December] is not normal for us. Coming here, in a way it makes it up to our fans, who once again were unbelievable in helping us get this win."

Pep Guardiola sprung something of a surprise with his team selection, opting against using a striker and instead loading the midfield and frontline with creative players, and Silva gave the move his seal of approval.

"I enjoyed it a lot, especially because we won and because it worked," he added. "I think Pep wanted one more man in the middle and that's why he put me there. Happily, it worked."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping for another famous comeback in the EFL Cup semi-finals despite admitting Manchester United players shirked their responsibilities in the 3-1 defeat to Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola's side were torn apart in the first half of United's 2-1 Premier League win at the Etihad Stadium last month, but the tables were turned in a one-sided encounter at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an Andreas Pereira own goal put City 3-0 up at half-time as United wilted against their local rivals.

Marcus Rashford got a goal back in the second half as City eased back to conserve fitness, leaving Solskjaer to hold out hope of the kind of comeback they produced against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last season when they won 3-1 in the second leg after losing 2-0 at home.

"From their first goal, especially from their second goal, we struggled to get to grips with them," he told Sky Sports.

"Good reaction second half, that's more like it, but first half, until they scored, it was there and back, there and back, no one really dominated. After they scored, we didn't cope with that setback well enough.

"We didn't deal with [their tactics] well enough. We know that they can play that way, we've seen them do it a few times, I went to see them last year against Chelsea play that way and win 5-0 at the Etihad, so that's not a surprise.

"They're good at what they're doing. The first goal, there's nothing we can do about it; second goal, it's a bit sloppy, and the third, we just didn't recover from those goals.

"At half-time, we could get into their heads a little bit and we did well second half.

"We've shown before that we've been down from a home tie and turned it around, last year against PSG is the latest example for us, so we've just got to believe when we go to the Etihad and hope we can put a performance on."

Solskjaer brought on Nemanja Matic for the anonymous Jesse Lingard at half-time in an effort to get better control against a City side who played without a recognised centre-forward.

The United boss felt too many of his players were not taking enough responsibility on the ball before Matic was introduced.

"With Nemanja, with his experience, [we had] more presence, but it was more about wanting the ball, believing, taking the ball, passing forward - the first half was too many square and back passes," he said.

"We just passed the buck to the next one. Someone needed to take responsibility and we did that second half."

Solskjaer's selection was influenced by injuries, with Harry Maguire unavailable after getting a knock against Wolves, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay sidelined and Anthony Martial fit enough only to appear as a substitute.

"It was a decision made very late on in terms of who was fit and who wasn't, but that's no excuse," Solskjaer said. "We have the players we have, and we put a team out there believing we could get a result."

"Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, we want you to stay," came the chant from the stands late in the first half of Tuesday's EFL Cup semi-final first leg at Old Trafford.

With Manchester United trailing 3-0 to bitter rivals Manchester City, it was an endearing show of support… or at least it would have been were it not coming from the away fans.

It was a damning indictment of just how bad United had been before the break, as they failed to register a single shot on target and found themselves essentially kissing goodbye to another competition.

Just 39 per cent possession and not a single clear-cut opportunity to show for 45 minutes of football at home, United were utterly humiliated. A Bernardo Silva stunner, Riyad Mahrez's straightforward effort and Andreas Pereira's own goal put City in complete control at the interval, and it would have been so much worse were it not for Raheem Sterling fluffing his lines a couple of times.

United's problems were all too predictable.

With Pereira and Fred filling the deep-lying midfield roles the Red Devils drew 3-3 at Sheffield United in November, when for much of the game they just could not cope, and were held by Aston Villa in their next outing at home.

Pereira's hopelessness in the position against the Blades was glaring, to the extent where it seemed he would never be afforded the responsibility to play it again.

Yet, here he was again, starting against a City side blessed with supreme ability through the middle. The result? Pep Guardiola's men streaming forward almost unchecked right through the centre of the pitch.

The other common denominator from the clash with the Blades – when United were 2-0 down until the 72nd-minute – was Phil Jones, who looked completely sapped of confidence when called into action on Tuesday.

Solskjaer failed to learn from his mistakes – Guardiola did not.

When the two sides met exactly a month earlier in the Premier League, City were stunned by United's effectiveness on the counter, with Solskjaer's front four sitting unusually deep to make the most of their pace on the break.

United won the game 2-1 and probably should have gone into half-time 4-0 up, but virtually every sniff of a United counter was snuffed out early on this time around.

City's defence started deep to restrict space in behind, while Guardiola opted against using a striker, resulting in Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Sterling chopping and changing between themselves.

As such, United looked lost without an out-ball, while the fluidity of City's midfield and frontline allowed them control in the centre and plenty of creativity in attack without compromising their defence, for the most part.

The unpredictability of City's set-up was at its most effective for the second and third goals. Firstly, it was Silva feeding Mahrez straight down the middle, and then De Bruyne found himself doing the damage to make it 3-0, beating Jones with ease and seeing his effort bounce off David de Gea and ricochet in off Pereira.

Unfortunately for City, Nicolas Otamendi switched off for a split second after a wayward De Bruyne pass in the second half and United exploited that – Marcus Rashford pulling one back for the hosts following Mason Greenwood's throughball.

But that was a solitary moment of incisiveness from United when City were already well on their way to their 3-1 victory.

United's hopes of reaching the EFL Cup final and claiming a first trophy under Solskjaer now rely on them being able to outmanoeuvre City on the counter at Etihad Stadium.

But on the evidence of this first leg, Solskjaer is a one-trick pony and Guardiola has got him figured out.

Manchester City have one foot in a third consecutive EFL Cup final after dispatching Manchester United 3-1 in the first leg of the semi-final at Old Trafford.

Beaten 2-1 by their local rivals in the Premier League a month ago, Pep Guardiola sprung a tactical surprise by starting with no recognised striker in a strong-looking line-up.

The move proved inspired as City tore through a United defence that was missing the injured Harry Maguire, with Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an Andreas Pereira own goal putting them 3-0 up at the break.

Marcus Rashford got a goal back to give United a glimpse of hope ahead of the second leg in three weeks, but a first final since they won the competition in 2017 already looks beyond them.

After a cagey opening, Silva put City ahead in emphatic fashion, driving away from Fred and unleashing a ferocious strike from 25 yards that left David de Gea with no chance.

United had City on the ropes in the first half-hour of the league meeting at the Etihad Stadium, but Guardiola's side were firmly in control and largely untroubled by the threat of the counter-attack.

Their grip on the tie was strengthened 33 minutes in, when Victor Lindelof could not cut out Silva's throughball and Mahrez had time to round De Gea and finish.

A miserable first half for United got worse five minutes later, when the ball deflected off Pereira and into the net after Kevin De Bruyne left Phil Jones on the turf.

De Gea had to make a smart save with his right foot to stop Mahrez from adding a fourth, although City mostly eased off after the restart, and that relative complacency did allow United a lifeline.

De Bruyne's loose pass to Rodri was closed down by Angel Gomes, Mason Greenwood raced forward and played in Rashford to slot the ball beneath Claudio Bravo, giving the Red Devils something to hold onto ahead of the second leg.

What does it mean? Final beckons for City, but there is only more scrutiny on Solskjaer

United were outthought and outplayed in the first half and only a minor miracle in the second leg will see them turn the tie around and reach the final.

The home fans stuck by their team admirably in the second half but, with arguably their best chance of a trophy this season all but gone and with performances in 2020 far from adequate, how much longer will Solskjaer be given to implement his long-term vision?

Bernardo sets tone with blockbuster

Silva's goal was spectacular, but his assist for Mahrez was of an equally high quality. United simply did not know how to keep him in check.

Pereira out of his depth

Injuries mean United's midfield options are down to the bare minimum, but Pereira may have played anyway given the trust he has been given by Solskjaer. Such was his display here, his manager's faith may not last much longer.

What's next?

These two meet in the second leg on January 29. More immediately, United host Norwich City in the Premier League on Saturday, while City head to Aston Villa a day later.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.