Belgium's Pro League has voted to end the season and crown Club Brugge as champions.

A General Assembly met virtually on Friday and clubs ratified last month's decision from organisers to end the 2019-20 season, which has been halted since March amid the coronavirus pandemic.

All 16 teams in the top-flight had played 29 regular-season matches before the campaign was stopped, with Brugge 15 points clear of Gent at the top of the table.

The league season has now been declared over and no play-offs will be played to determine final positions, as is usually the case in Belgium's top division.

It is Brugge's third title in the past five seasons and they will directly enter the group stage of next season's Champions League.

Gent go into the third qualifying round of Europe's premier club competition by virtue of being one point clear of third-placed Sporting Charleroi when the league was halted.

Despite the league being brought to an end, the general assembly concluded they would "try to play" the Belgian Cup final "during the last weekend authorised by UEFA and before the start of the regular competition for the 2020-21 Pro League season".

Antwerp are fourth in the league but will gain automatic entry to the Europa League instead of Charleroi if they are able to play, and win, the final against Brugge.

If Brugge triumph in the final or the match cannot be held, Antwerp will instead have to go through Europa League qualifying along with fifth-placed Standard Liege, with Charleroi going straight into the group phase.

Waasland-Beveren are relegated, as they sat two points adrift of KV Oostende in the standings.

The transformation of Barcelona under Johan Cruyff took an important step forward on May 10, 31 years ago.

The Catalans won their first trophy since the great Cruyff's return to his old club, beating Sampdoria to claim the Cup Winners' Cup.

Liverpool became European champions for the second time on this day in 1978 as they defended the trophy by defeating Club Brugge.

More recently, May 10 has brought about historic achievements from Stephen Curry and Rafael Nadal.

 

1978 - Liverpool defend European Cup

Liverpool became the first English team to retain the European Cup in 1978 – and they did so at the national stadium, too.

A solitary goal from Kenny Dalglish in the second half secured a 1-0 victory over Club Brugge at Wembley in a game that was a far cry from the thrilling 4-3 aggregate win for Liverpool against the same opponents in the UEFA Cup final two years earlier.

The Reds will not have cared too much, though. It was their second European Cup triumph, following on from 1977's 3-1 defeat of Borussia Monchengladbach, and they would go on to lift the trophy twice more in the next six years.

 

1989 - Barcelona win Cup Winners' Cup to kick-start Cruyff legacy

Johan Cruyff was a legend as a Barcelona player, but he returned as coach during a time of real strife at his old club.

Within a year, he had secured his first trophy in charge, as the Catalans claimed a 2-0 victory over Sampdoria to lift the 1988-89 Cup Winners' Cup.

Goals in each half from Julio Salinas and Luis Lopez Rekarte were enough to seal the win and kick-start the sustained success of Cruyff's fabled 'Dream Team'.

By the end of the 1993-94 season, Barca had won four LaLiga titles in a row, a Copa del Rey, three Supercopas de Espana, the UEFA Super Cup of 1992 and the European Cup of the same year, where they beat Sampdoria again.

 

2016 - Curry becomes first unanimous NBA MVP in history

Stephen Curry led the Golden State Warriors to a historic 73-9 in a regular season in which they seemed to break records at will, only to lose the Finals 4-3 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Still, there was little argument against Curry being named MVP for the second year in a row. In fact, it seems there was no argument at all.

He swept all 131 first-place votes to become the first unanimous winner of the award in history, with Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs a distant second.

2018 - Nadal breaks McEnroe record for consecutive set wins on single surface

Rafael Nadal is quite good at tennis on clay courts, if you were not aware.

Two years ago, he reminded everyone just how imperious he can be on the red dirt (if 12 French Open singles triumphs since 2005 was not proof enough).

By beating Diego Schwartzman 6-3 6-4 at the Madrid Open, Nadal broke the record for winning consecutive sets on a single surface. He reached 50 set wins in a row on clay, surpassing the 49 on carpet set by John McEnroe in 1984.

Remarkably, the run ended in rather meek fashion in his next match, as Dominic Thiem won their quarter-final 7-5 6-3.

Belgium's Pro League have pushed back the date for a meeting to decide whether or not the 2019-20 season should be cancelled.

Last week, organisers recommended rendering the season void, with the coronavirus pandemic having seen all but a handful of sporting competitions across the world put on hold.

The unprecedented move would have seen Club Brugge declared champions and Waasland-Beveren relegated.

UEFA later insisted that any such decision was premature and that cancelling the whole campaign must be seen as "a last resort" by all member associations.

A Pro League general assembly had been called for April 15 to discuss the findings of a working group tasked with assessing the sporting and financial implications of declaring the season over.

However, a statement on Thursday confirmed the assembly has been delayed until April 24, when all Pro League clubs will be invited to attend.

"The members of the working group appointed by the board of directors are now continuing their duties," the statement added.

Belgium's Pro League has recommended calling an end to its 2019-20 season and accepting current positions as the final standings.

In what would be an unprecedented move in response to the coronavirus pandemic, current leaders Club Brugge stand to be named as champions.

A working group will now assess the potential sporting and financial implications of the board of directors' decision, with a general assembly to convene on April 15 and discuss the findings.

The Belgian top-flight has one regular-season round of fixtures remaining, which would normally precede a play-off competition to determine the winners and qualifiers for the Champions League and Europa League.

Brugge, who finished second in 2018-19, are 15 points clear and look set to benefit from Thursday's directive, while Waasland-Beveren – two points from safety at the foot of the table – are facing relegation.

A league statement read: "The Pro League board of directors met today by conference call. The most important item on the agenda was obviously the issue of continued competition in the context of the coronavirus crisis.

"The current situation, particularly precarious, in which our country finds itself has as a consequence that sport is not and cannot be considered as the first concern, however entertaining and relaxing it may be.

"In this context, it is the responsibility of the Board of Directors to make a recommendation, taking into account public health, the interests of all stakeholders and the wishes of the majority of clubs. to not resume competition."

It remains to be seen whether the final of the Belgian Cup, originally due to take place on March 22 between Brugge and Antwerp, will still go ahead later in the year.

Football and sport in general has been put on hold in the vast majority of countries around the world as governments attempt to combat the spread of COVID-19.

Euro 2020 has been pushed back to 2021, as have the Olympics, with UEFA also postponing this year's Champions League and Europa League indefinitely. 

The top leagues in Europe are still on hiatus, with finishing the season still a priority, although UEFA chairman Aleksander Ceferin has acknowledged it may prove impossible to do so.

Odion Ighalo has vowed to seize his opportunity to impress with Manchester United, stating "I will give my blood" to make the most of his time with the club.

Signed on deadline day in January on loan from Shanghai Shenhua until the end of the season, the 30-year-old striker has already made an impact for the Red Devils.

Having appeared as a substitute in Premier League wins over Chelsea and Watford, Ighalo marked his first start for United with his first goal in Thursday's 5-0 defeat of Club Brugge at Old Trafford in the second leg of the Europa League last-32 tie.

The Nigerian is likely to be involved in Sunday's game against Everton, with Marcus Rashford still sidelined with a back injury and Anthony Martial facing a late fitness test on the muscle problem that kept him out of the Brugge game.

Ighalo, who has enjoyed his short time with United so far, has promised to give his all if he is handed another chance in the team.

"Of course. This is what I am working for. This is what I dream of and what I dreamt of when I was a kid. Now it is in my hands, so I have to fight for it. I will give my blood to get it," he told United's website.

"I am still working hard in every training session and doing some extra to make sure I get up to the level. When I'm called upon, I will give my best."

He continued: "It's been great here. The lads are all great guys. It's a happy dressing room. The coach and everyone around the club make me feel at home. I'm really enjoying my time here.

"We have quality players in the team. Martial is on fire, scoring goals. Bruno [Fernandes] is doing well, [Daniel] James too, everybody from the goalkeeper to the top is working really hard. So, I think this is very good for the team. We need to keep the momentum going and keep winning games and fighting in every match, to make sure we get our objectives at the end of the season."

Ighalo, who expects "a tough game" against Everton, got a goal on his Premier League debut for Watford at Goodison Park back in 2015.

"It was 2-2 and I played my first game in the Premier League – and scored a goal! I was happy," he recalled. "If I have the opportunity to go back again there, it will be very good.

"Every game, from now on, is going to be tough for United because it's the second half of the season.

"Some teams are fighting to stay in the league, some are fighting to go to the Champions League and some into Europe. Every game is going to be tough from now on. But this team is a big team. We have what it takes to win games, to win games home and away."

Odion Ighalo has promised to help Manchester United step into a brighter future after admitting the post-Alex Ferguson problems have left him "angry".

The striker, a deadline-day loan signing from Shanghai Shenhua last month, scored his first goal for the Red Devils on his full debut in Thursday's 5-0 Europa League thrashing of Club Brugge at Old Trafford.

A boyhood United fan, Ighalo described it as a "dream come true" to find the net in front of supporters who have quickly taken to a player signed as emergency cover in attack.

Ighalo has watched United go nearly seven years without winning the Premier League since Ferguson retired in 2013, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are alarmingly adrift of rivals Liverpool and Manchester City in this season's title race and facing a battle even to secure Champions League football for next term.

Ighalo has found it difficult to endure United's relative struggles from afar and is now determined to help them return to the top, even if his loan deal, which runs until the end of this season, does not turn into a longer-term arrangement.

"It feels great, at Old Trafford, hearing the fans singing my name. I'm very grateful for this moment. It's a moment I will cherish for the rest of my life," he said after his goal helped secure a 6-1 aggregate win in the last 32.

"The fans see me as one of their own because I came to this team because I want to play and because I supported them since I was young, and I want to do my best to help the team to move forward. They appreciate that and I appreciate them. From the first day I set foot in Manchester, they have been behind me. I promise them I'm going to give my best: win, lose… I don't care about the circumstances. I'll keep giving my best.

"There is transition in life in everything you're doing. It's difficult sometimes when the team is losing games; as a fan, you get angry. Now, in the club, I have to give my best to make sure we are winning and getting results. Some games, it's going to be difficult because other teams are spending more money in the Premier League and in Europe, so it will be more difficult, but this team has young players and, working this way, I think we have a better future."

Ighalo admits he is short of 100 per cent fitness, with his last appearance in China coming on December 6, but he is eager to impress his manager after admiring him as a player.

"I watched him when I was young," Ighalo said. "I watched quite a lot of them: Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Ole, Teddy Sheringham. Playing for him now is great for me. I'm very happy.

"I'm just one of the team. We have to work together. I'm here to contribute.

"I'm getting better. The league is faster, sharper, I need more strength. I'm getting better every day but I'm not 100 per cent fit."

United managing director Richard Arnold boasted in an investor call that the signing of Ighalo was the top trend worldwide on Twitter, overshadowing Brexit and Donald Trump, and Ighalo expects to have received plenty of messages after his display against Brugge.

"I'm happy because I know a lot of supporters on social media were waiting for this moment, for me to get my first goal," he said. "I've not seen my phone yet but I know messages have been coming in, so I will thank everyone. Now, the work starts again. I have to keep pushing."

Ighalo celebrated his goal by paying tribute to his sister, who passed away a little over a month before his move to Old Trafford was finalised.

"I lost my sister in December," he added. "She's a Man United fan. I prayed for this moment but unfortunately she's not here to see me doing that. I promised I'd dedicate it to her if I scored and I'm happy I did that. Wherever she is, she's happy."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes his players demonstrated signs of their ongoing improvement after an emphatic Europa League victory over Club Brugge.

The Red Devils booked their place in the last 16 of the competition with a 5-0 second-leg win over 10-man Brugge at Old Trafford to progress 6-1 on aggregate.

A Fred brace and goals from Bruno Fernandes, Odion Ighalo and Scott McTominay inspired United on Thursday, although Brugge played most of the game with 10 men after Simon Deli was sent off for deliberate handball.

Nevertheless, Solskjaer was pleased to see United head into Friday's draw on the back of a comprehensive victory with several impressive individual displays.

"I think there are loads of players out there who have improved," Solskjaer said in his post-match media conference after United extended their unbeaten run to seven matches across all competitions.

"Scott McTominay is back and I think he’s improved. Fred, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be alive for the next time he was going to score! 

"Fred's had so many attempts. One with his right and one with his left. It’s been an on-going joke between us, of course, but he got those goals and I’m very pleased for him.

"Obviously, we're in a moment now that we rotate a bit, players are getting games. But when you score goals and you play like this, you're going to get more confidence.

"When we got 1-0 and they had a man sent off it helps, but you're still playing against players in and around the box, our imagination there was good."

Solskjaer praised the willingness of Ighalo after the Nigeria striker – on loan from Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua – scored his first goal for United on his full debut.

He added: "I think, as a fellow striker myself, I know important that first goal is and he’s been close a couple of times. 

"You can see he sniffs goals, he wants to be there, where it sometimes hurts. 

"That goal, he was sharp in his head and, as that ball is played over to Juan, he spins and was on the six-yard line when Juan puts it there. That’s a natural striker."

Brugge goalkeeper Simon Mignolet said Deli's sending off made United's task significantly less taxing.

"United deserved to go through," he said. "It was a little easier for them after the red card, but we can have no complaints with the result."

Emotional Odion Ighalo said he fulfilled a lifetime dream after the boyhood Manchester United fan marked his full debut with a goal, even though it was tinged with sadness

Ighalo scored United's second goal in a 5-0 Europa League second-leg round-of-32 win over 10-man Club Brugge at Old Trafford on Thursday.

The 30-year-old Nigeria striker celebrated by lifting up his United shirt to reveal a t-shirt which paid tribute to his sister Mary, who died in December.

Ighalo had taken a pay cut to secure a shock deadline-day loan move to United from Chinese Super League club Shanghai Shenhua.

He told BT Sport: "It's a big dream for me, yes. A great moment.

"I have been waiting for this, played three games, though I didn't play much and no goals.

"There has been a little bit of pressure, but now I got a goal to start my Manchester United goal career and it is a team I have supported since I was young, so it is very good. 

"I am very happy and I am grateful to God."

Ighalo netted with a close-range finish from Juan Mata's cutback after Bruno Fernandes had scored from the penalty spot.

Scott McTominay gave United a 3-0 half-time lead before midfield colleague Fred put a gloss on the result with two late goals.

Ighalo added: "The confidence was high and we spoke about that before the start. We pushed from the first minute and went all out playing our style.

"The red card was difficult for them with us attacking, and we worked hard until the last minute."

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Ighalo's penalty-box prowess post-game.

"He does exactly what it says on the tin," he said. "He plays up front, he can play with his back to goal and the goal was a good example of what you want of him. He can hold up the ball and he is what we have been lacking a little bit.

"If we hadn't had Odion tonight then Mason Greenwood would have had to play and we have a game on Sunday and that would put us in a tired position. We knew what we got when we signed him."

United are now unbeaten in seven games in all competitions and Solskjaer believes Ighalo and fellow new boy Fernandes have helped boost confidence in the dressing room.

He added: "Today we played attacking football and players combined well. The players had a swagger, confidence and a smile on their faces. The new lads have brought that."

There were times last month that Odion Ighalo thought his Manchester United move was not going to happen. In fact, there were times on deadline day itself that the deal appeared dead in the water.

"It was quiet on Thursday and then I got the impression that nothing would happen. Suddenly, in the middle of the day on Friday, things started to move," said agent Atta Aneke.

"It was then 11pm in the evening in Shanghai. It was hectic phone business. Everyone had to stay awake until five am or six am in Shanghai."

Ighalo, a boyhood United fan, was prepared to stay up as late as necessary to get the loan of his dreams. A peculiar transfer it might have been, but, after his performance against Club Brugge on Thursday, it was worth the frantic phone calls.

With Marcus Rashford's back injury likely to keep him out for much of the season's remaining weeks, the news before kick-off against Club Brugge that in-form Anthony Martial had sustained another muscle problem was most unwelcome for all of a Red Devils persuasion. Except Ighalo, perhaps.

Thrust into the floodlights for his full Old Trafford debut, and with the Europa League last-32 tie still in the balance after the 1-1 draw in the first leg, this was not a moment for indulgences. Ighalo was not in the team because Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt a sudden surge of generosity, but because United needed a strong presence and a goal threat leading their attack. Ighalo gave them both.

There were barely 20 seconds played when Ighalo raced in behind the Brugge back four to endanger Simon Mignolet's goal. It sparked the game into life: Juan Mata was denied, Bruno Fernandes hit the post, and Brugge threatened once again from a simple goal-kick, the kind from which they scored last week.

Fernandes and Mata were pulling the strings - they might have been joined by one, such was the quality of their interplay - but Ighalo was piecing things together. The ball was fizzed and thumped into him repeatedly, to feet, chest and head, and he found a team-mate with three out of four passes in the final third.

Once Fernandes had scored his second Old Trafford penalty in succession after Simon Deli had been sent off for a flying save to deny Daniel James - he, apparently, wasn't convinced Mignolet's form would continue - the tie was practically under United's control. A second goal was needed to be certain; when it came, it brought the loudest cheer of the night.

Fernandes and Mata combined again, the Spaniard cut the ball back, and there was Ighalo, still wide awake, still ready to arrive at just the right time. It was a goal he would once have never thought possible, and one he dedicated to his sister, who died a month before he came a United player.

Scott McTominay and Fred added further goals - the latter netting a brace - and 5-0 was no less than United deserved. This was the kind of bold, accomplished display they will need in this competition when the grander teams come calling.

Ighalo will have a major part to play in those latter rounds, particularly if Martial joins Rashford on the sidelines for long. His performance here showed he could be a valuable asset - and that it pays to keep your phone switched on.

Odion Ighalo marked his full Manchester United debut with his first goal for the club as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side swaggered into the last 16 of the Europa League with a 5-0 second-leg win against Club Brugge at Old Trafford.

January loan signing Ighalo came into the side in place of the injured Anthony Martial on Thursday, and the new striker grabbed the second goal in a dominant display against 10 men.

Bruno Fernandes had put United ahead from the penalty spot following a deliberate handball from Brugge defender Simon Deli, who was sent off, dealing a mighty blow to their hopes of building on a 1-1 home draw.

Ighalo netted soon afterwards, before Scott McTominay - in the starting XI for the first time since December - got in on the act. There was time for an unlikely late Fred brace, too, as United coasted through.

Brugge goalkeeper Simon Mignolet made fine early saves from Juan Mata and Fernandes in a portent of what was to come.

United were awarded a penalty when defender Deli dived to his left and turned a Daniel James shot past the post with his hand, although referee Serdar Gozubuyuk observed a lengthy VAR check before confirming the red card as Mignolet appeared poise to make a stop behind his team-mate.

Despite the wait, Fernandes kept his composure and confidently sent Mignolet the wrong way with a low spot-kick following a trademark stuttered run-up.

Fernandes was instrumental in United's second as he teased the Brugge defence and clipped a clever pass towards Mata, who crossed low for Nigeria striker Ighalo to bundle in.

The Portugal midfielder then won possession in the left corner before Fred teed up McTominay to drive home the third from the edge of the area.

Luke Shaw and Mason Greenwood both went close after the break, before Fred belatedly extended the lead with eight minutes remaining as he tapped in Jesse Lingard's cutback.

The Brazilian improbably then got a fifth with the final kick of the match, placing a left-footed shot past Mignolet to cap a fine United outing.
 

What does it mean? United breeze into last 16

United desperately want a return to the Champions League next season. They trail fourth-placed Chelsea in the Premier League by three points, but winning the Europa League provides another route into the continent's premier club competition. On this form, with Fernandes pulling the strings, they look a threat for any potential opponent in Friday's last-16 draw.

Fabulous Fernandes provides finesse

"Bruno, Bruno," chanted the United fans as Fernandes was substituted in the second half following a heavyweight display. His craft and guile provided the X-Factor that Solskjaer claimed the player would bring to United. His signing looks to have brought some much-needed impetus to the Red Devils.

Daft Deli decision decisive

Quite what was going through Deli's mind when he saw James line up a shot, only he will know. A burning desire to showcase his goalkeeping skills, perhaps? His moment of madness and dismissal completely changed the tone of the tie, setting up an easy day for the home side.

What's next?

United return to Premier League action on Sunday with a trip to Everton, while Brugge will look to bounce back against Genk.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed he is not sure how long Anthony Martial will be out for after the Manchester United forward suffered an injury in training.

Martial has scored 15 goals in all competitions this season, with three of those coming in United's past three matches.

However, the 24-year-old was not included in Solskjaer's side to face Club Brugge – against whom Martial netted in a 1-1 away draw last week – in the second leg of United's Europa League last-32 tie at Old Trafford on Thursday.

January loan signing Odion Ighalo instead came in for his full debut.

Solskjaer subsequently confirmed Martial had sustained an injury during a training session on Wednesday, and United's manager was unsure of the severity of the Frenchman's issue.

"He didn't feel right after the training yesterday or [rather] he walked off during training and he's injured," Solskjaer told MUTV.

"So, hopefully it won't be too bad, but I don't really know yet how long he'll be out."

Martial's form has coincided with an upturn in results for United, who sit fifth in the Premier League and visit Everton on Sunday.

The club are still without Paul Pogba, whose future remains in doubt, and Marcus Rashford.

Odion Ighalo will make his first start for Manchester United in Thursday's Europa League clash with Club Brugge.

The striker, signed on loan until the end of the season from Shanghai Shenhua in January, comes into the team in place of Anthony Martial, who scored United's goal in the 1-1 first-leg draw of the last-32 tie but is not in the squad for the return match at Old Trafford.

There is also a first start since December 26 for Scott McTominay, who returned to action in the 3-0 Premier League win over Watford last weekend after recovering from a knee injury.

Eric Bailly returns to the centre of defence for his first appearance in Europe of the season, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka is in at right-back, having spent the first leg among the substitutes.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has made seven changes overall from the first leg, with Victor Lindelof, Brandon Williams, Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard dropping to the bench and Andreas Pereira and Diogo Dalot not in the squad.

Sergio Romero starts in goal instead of David de Gea, as he did in Belgium.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has conceded Manchester United could begin to suffer financially if they fail to qualify for next season's Champions League.

United missed out on this term's Champions League, instead progressing into the Europa League, with the Red Devils hosting Club Brugge at Old Trafford in the second leg of their last-32 tie on Thursday.

On Tuesday, the club released their latest financial figures, with revenue in the six months to December falling by nearly 12 per cent as a result of their absence from the Champions League. 

Following an upturn in form, Solskjaer's side have risen to fifth in the Premier League, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

Though fifth place may be enough to ensure qualification for Europe's elite club competition - depending on Manchester City's appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over their two-year suspension from European competition - Solskjaer knows pushing for a top-four finish has to be a priority.

United's manager acknowledged the club must find a way back into Europe's top tier if they are to maintain their financial clout.

"We're a big club and we've got good finances but the longer you're out the more you suffer, so it's an ambition to get back into the Champions League," Solskjaer told a news conference.

"For footballing reasons and financially it will help the club. We've got to focus on this competition, then the league on Sunday and then FA Cup.

"I think we need to take one game at a time. Both [routes into the Champions League through the Europa League and Premier League] are possible. In a cup competition, you never know. It might be a bad day.

"You can't rely on winning this. There are some good teams in it and we need to get past Brugge. We're looking forward to the game."

United head into Thursday's encounter with the Belgian side having drawn 1-1 away from home in the first leg.

Bruno Fernandes has added a new dimension to Manchester United's play, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who believes the Portugal international provides an "X-factor".

Fernandes – a long-term target for United – arrived late in the January transfer window from Sporting CP in a deal worth £46.5million (€55m) up front and up to £21.1m (€25m) in add-ons.

Since signing, Fernandes has made three Premier League starts, netting his maiden United goal in a 3-0 victory over Watford at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The 25-year-old's impact has delighted Solskjaer, who has previously compared the playmaker to former United players Paul Scholes and Juan Sebastian Veron.

"We feel we've added some X-factor quality with Bruno," Solskjaer told a news conference ahead of United's Europa League clash with Club Brugge on Thursday.

"Scott [McTominay] has developed, Nemanja [Matic] and Fred have done well. The addition of Bruno gives us a bit of a different flavour.

"He likes to play forward passes and take risks, which a Man United player should do.

"His imagination and his overview of the picture is a couple of seconds ahead of many players. It is one of his strengths that he knows what he wants to do. He can change his mind in a split-second. That composure has been important.

"I think Bruno will only improve by coming here to a stronger league, stronger opponents and stronger team-mates, getting used to us.

"We want to develop that X-factor. He's come in and impressed everyone but we don't want to put a limit on what he can do."

While United are still without Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial is hitting form after missing a chunk of the season through injury, and results have started to pick up for the Red Devils, who are unbeaten in six matches across all competitions and sit fifth in the Premier League.

However, Solskjaer insists the hard work has only just begun as his side push to qualify for next season's Champions League.

"You need many many attributes to play the perfect game or be the perfect team," Solskjaer added.

"We want the swagger, the confidence, to believe in ourselves, but you still want your players to be humble.

"I want my team to be one of the hardest working teams in the league. But that's not an attitude thing. That's what you're supposed to do. 

"You can blossom more with confidence, and speaking to the manager, getting them free. You want them to be free. Play with courage, bravery and you want bit of fear in you. It is a fine balance between arrogance, confidence and being humble.

"The squad has coped really well with that amount of games. I've said that the character and personality of them is improving, and December and January were really hard months.

"Now we're getting players back and we're looking sharp."

Luke Shaw says you must be prepared to take criticism at Manchester United after he was asked about his mixed form this season.

Ahead of United's Europa League last-32 second-leg clash with Club Brugge at Old Trafford on Thursday, Shaw accepted he still has much to work on.

But at the age of 24, the defender feels like he still has plenty of room to grow and revealed how he blocks out most of the critiques about his performances.

"I'm still quite young and I've got a lot to improve on," Shaw told reporters. "I want to improve as a player day in, day out, and keep working hard.

"I don't need to pay too much attention to what people say in the media, it's sometimes good and sometimes bad. So, I've got to focus on myself and the people that matter.

"I've had a lot of stick and if you come to Manchester United you need to take that.

"People are always ready to criticise you. It is completely different to other clubs and everyone knows when you sign that piece of paper how different it is going to be.

"You have to be able to deal with it. If you are not strong mentally and confident you will struggle to deal with it.

"There are only high standards here, so we need to be strong. I'm feeling really good and can't wait to get back out on the pitch."

Appearing alongside manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who joked Shaw had now become "dad" to emerging young full-back Brandon Williams, the England international is enjoying competition on the left side of defence.

Shaw said: "I have to be [a senior player now]! Me and Brandon play in the same position but a few times we've played together and I've enjoyed it.

"Although we are both in the same position and we want to be playing, I want to help him and push him to be a great player that he can be.

"We'll keep pushing each other in training, he's pushed me more than I have been in the past. It's good for the boss to have that competition for places."

Shaw was injured when United beat Ajax to secure Europa League glory in 2017 but the occasion gave him a taste of continental success, with his side one of the favourites to win this year's competition.

"It is a massive ambition for me," he said, with the Brugge tie sitting level at 1-1.

"I was there for the Europa League final, and the feeling, even though I wasn't on the pitch, was a feeling I have not felt and I wanted more of. I wasn't involved and that is what is pushing me on even more to get into this final."

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