The United Kingdom government has strongly criticised plans reportedly driven by Manchester United and Liverpool to overhaul the Premier League and English club football.

A report on Sunday by The Telegraph detailed a set of proposals called "Project Big Picture", which would cut the number of teams in the Premier League from 20 to 18 and abolish the competition's one-club, one-vote principle - handing greater power to the nine longest-serving teams in the division.

That number includes all of the so-called "big six", who would have effective veto power on a range of issues, including potential new owners taking control of a rival club.

The plans also focus upon supporting the wider league system amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with a £250million rescue package to be allocated to the English Football League (EFL) and a £100m gift to the Football Association.

EFL chairman Rick Parry - the former Liverpool chief executive and a key figure in the Premier League's breakaway from the Football League in 1992 - has publicly backed the plans, which would see 25 per cent of the Premier League's annual revenue diverted to the EFL and lead to the EFL Cup and Community Shield being scrapped.

However, the Department for Media, Culture and Sport joined the Premier League itself in condemning the mooted changes, decrying Liverpool and United's alleged involvement in "backroom deals".

"We are surprised and disappointed that, at a time of crisis when we have urged the top tiers of professional football to come together and finalise a deal to help lower league clubs, there appear to be backroom deals being cooked up that would create a closed shop at the very top of the game," a statement read.

"Sustainability, integrity and fair competition are absolutely paramount and anything that may undermine them is deeply troubling.

"Fans must be [at the] front of all our minds and this shows why our fan-led review of football governance will be so critical."

The Premier League, which has come in for criticism over recent days after the announcement of a pay-per-view television model to run while fans are not allowed into stadiums, urged its members to contribute to ongoing restructuring talks "through the proper channels".

"English football is the world's most watched, and has a vibrant, dynamic and competitive league structure that drives interest around the globe," its statement read.

"To maintain this position, it is important that we all work together.

"In the Premier League's view, a number of the individual proposals in the plan published today could have a damaging impact on the whole game and we are disappointed to see that Rick Parry, Chair of the EFL, has given his on-the-record support.

"The Premier League has been working in good faith with its clubs and the EFL to seek a resolution to the requirement for COVID-19 rescue funding."

In a statement published on the EFL's official website, Parry confirmed talks around Project Big Picture had been ongoing for some time but insisted the financial pressures of the COVID-19 crisis had sharpened the need for transformative action.

"Now is the time to address both the long-term health of the game and the most challenging short-term crisis it has ever faced," Parry said.

"Project Big Picture provides a new beginning which will revitalise the football pyramid at all levels. This new beginning will reinvigorate clubs in the lower leagues and the communities in which they are based.

"The whole of English football has been negatively impacted by this pandemic and the English football pyramid as a whole is only as healthy as those at its base.

"Through this proposed restructuring we aim to strengthen those who need it most at a time when they need it most. This is about building on what is good and making the most of what works well in order to benefit the game as a whole, while simultaneously tackling those issues which trouble all of us.

"This is a blueprint for the future of English football and for everyone who cherishes it."

Mikel Arteta praised Arsenal's "exceptional" performance against Liverpool in their EFL Cup last-16 tie and says winning at Anfield is a big step forward for his side.

Three days after losing 3-1 at the same venue in the Premier League, Arsenal prevailed on penalties in Thursday's match following a goalless draw after 90 minutes.

It is the third time Arteta has got the better of Jurgen Klopp in four managerial meetings this year, two of those victories coming via a shoot-out following August's Community Shield success.

And while acknowledging Arsenal still have a long way to go before reaching Liverpool's level, Arteta was delighted with his much-changed side's display on Merseyside.

"I am really happy with the performance. I think the boys were exceptional. We corrected a few things from Monday and it was superb," he told Sky Sports.

"We competed much better, the level of aggression we had, the way we pressed them really high was exceptional.

"To come here and play with the determination and courage is a big step forward for the team. They are on the right path.

"The gap towards Liverpool is still big. We will keep improving to try and reach their level."

Bernd Leno was the hero for the visitors as he made seven saves in normal time and kept out penalties from Divock Origi and Harry Wilson in the subsequent shoot-out.

Arsenal allowed Emiliano Martinez to leave for Aston Villa last month and Arteta is glad that his faith in Leno has paid off.

"Leno was really good. When we needed him we had him," he said. "You need a top individual performance to win at Anfield and that is what we had tonight.

"I really have belief in Bernd. I know him really well and what he can give us. We didn't want Emiliano Martinez to go but it was probably the right thing for both parties to do."

Leno, one of three players to keep their starting spot from Arsenal's league defeat at Anfield earlier this week, is grateful to have been given the full support of his manager.

"The club has always given me the feeling I was the number one, I am the number one and will be the number one," he said. 

"My job is to prove it every week and I feel I have done that tonight.

"It is not easy to come to same place with a big disappointment from Monday. We analysed the game and the manager found the right words to lift us."

The quarter-final draw took place shortly after full-time, with Arsenal paired against holders Manchester City in the last eight.

Arteta spent three seasons as assistant to Pep Guardiola during an unprecedented period of success for City and knows exactly what to expect in December's home tie.

"I was waiting and enjoying the victory and then we have to play Manchester City. It is what it is," he said. 

"There are a lot of tough teams left in the competition and we will prepare for it."

Xherdan Shaqiri appears to be on his way out of Liverpool after Jurgen Klopp confirmed he was left out of the EFL Cup defeat to Arsenal on Thursday because something had happened "in the background".

The Switzerland international was expected to start the clash with Arsenal at Anfield after impressing in last week's third-round clash with Lincoln City, in which he scored a stunning free-kick. 

Harry Wilson was selected in his place, however, with Klopp saying after the game - which the Gunners won 5-4 on penalties after a 0-0 draw in normal time - he had no option but to leave the former Stoke City man out of the squad. 

When asked about Shaqiri's absence, Klopp told Sky Sports: "Some were not involved. It is the time of the year when some things happen in the background and you have to react. That is what we did."

Liverpool were much changed from their 3-1 win over Arsenal in the Premier League three days earlier and, despite the defeat, Klopp saw plenty in the performance to be excited about.

"If there would have been a winner in 90 minutes it should have been us but we are not in dreamland," he said. "You have to score.

"I liked a lot of parts of the game. We mixed it up a lot and I saw a proper performance. A penalty shoot-out is tricky, everyone knows that.

"I really liked how the boys did it. There were a lot of good individual performances.

"It could have been a Premier League game but here or there we lacked the last pass. There were not a lot of chances in this game because there was a lot of work from both teams closing each other down."

Bernd Leno saved two penalties as Arsenal progressed to the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup with a 5-4 shoot-out victory over Liverpool after a goalless draw at Anfield.

Both sides were much changed from Arsenal's 3-1 defeat at the same venue three days earlier and a different outcome followed in what was a far quieter contest on Thursday.

Takumi Minamino wasted the best opportunity of the game in the first half and there was no change to the scoreline after the interval.

Arsenal beat Liverpool on penalties in August's Community Shield and they held their nerve once again here, with Leno saving efforts from Divock Origi and Harry Wilson after Mohamed Elneny had been denied by Adrian for the visitors.

Joe Willock squeezed the winning spot-kick under Adrian to make it three victories in four for Mikel Arteta over Jurgen Klopp since his appointment at Emirates Stadium late last year.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has suggested Donny Van de Beek could feature prominently on the left side of Manchester United's midfield due to being such a "clever mover".

Van de Beek joined United as their only pre-season signing earlier this month, costing the club a reported £35million (€39m) from Ajax.

The 23-year-old had made his name in Amsterdam as an attack-minded midfielder who was also capable of playing a box-to-box role, given his useful combination of stamina and technical proficiency.

Upon joining United it seemed as though he would most likely be used as back-up to Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, an assessment since lent credence by the fact that pair started both of the club's first two Premier League matches while Van de Beek was left on the bench.

He came on as a substitute in each top-flight game, though that was not enough to spare United from criticism courtesy of his impatient agent.

But in the EFL Cup Van de Beek has made two starts and set up Juan Mata with a clever flick in Wednesday's 3-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion shortly after being pushed into an advanced role on the left to make room for Pogba after he replaced the ineffective Daniel James.

"He's got very high footballing intelligence and, tactically, he's gone through the Ajax system. Dutch football is tactical, he knows football, he's got his head screwed on," Solskjaer said when asked if Van de Beek could play more regularly from the flank.

"He's a different type of left-sided player compared to Dan James and Marcus Rashford, but coming inside and finding good pockets, why not? He can play loads of different positions, which sometimes is a strength for a player.

"I remember myself sometimes, right-wing, left-wing, centre forward, No. 10 – Donny is one the coach will always look to have in a squad."

Regarding the recent outburst of Van de Beek's agent, who specifically drew issue with the fact the Dutchman only came on in stoppage time during the dramatic 3-2 Premier League win over Brighton, Solskjaer was unconcerned and adamant the Netherlands international will see plenty of football.

"We know how many games we're going to play and he's going to be vital," Solskjaer added. "He's proved in every game he's been a part of that he's got high quality, he's such a clever mover.

"He plays the game simply but effectively, with high quality. He's knocking on the door."

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti hailed "on fire" Dominic Calvert-Lewin after the striker scored his second hat-trick in the space of four matches.

Calvert-Lewin made it eight goals from five games this term with his treble in Wednesday's 4-1 EFL Cup last-16 victory over West Ham at Goodison Park.

The 23-year-old opened the scoring in the 11th minute and added two more late on after team-mate Richarlison had cancelled out Robert Snodgrass' equaliser.

Ancelotti suggested Calvert-Lewin is deserving of a first call-up to the England squad when Gareth Southgate names his side on Thursday.

"He's doing a fantastic job in the moment. He's really on fire and scoring a lot of goals," said Ancelotti of Calvert-Lewin, who also bagged a hat-trick against West Brom in the Premier League 11 days ago.

"He's in a very good moment. Whether he's the best [English striker] I don't know, but I don't care. For me, for us, he is."

Calvert-Lewin, who has scored more goals than any other Premier League player in all competitions this term, is hopeful that he has done enough to win over England boss Southgate.

"I've said many times before that it's my dream to play for England but I can't control that so I'm taking care of business at the moment to give myself the best chance to make the next step," he said.

"I'm enjoying my football, which is the main thing. You look at the chances being created and they are there for me so it's my job to put them in the back of the net and I'm obviously enjoying being able to do that at the moment."

Former Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez set up Richarlison for Everton's second goal and has now created 15 chances in four games since joining the club.

"We've got players who are capable of scoring from different areas of the pitch which is very important," Calvert-Lewin added. "When you've got that, it's a helping hand from everyone on the pitch. 

"A lot of my goals have been one-touch finishes so it's about getting in the right areas and being the man to put them in the back of the net."

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders described the abuse levelled at young Reds defender Neco Williams as "wrong" as he called on supporters to back the teenage full-back.

Williams came under fire on social media following his performance in Liverpool's 7-2 victory over Lincoln City in the EFL Cup, with comments prompting the Wales international to black out his Twitter account.

Lijnders hit out at those who criticised the 19-year-old defender and insisted that his approach to the game is what Jurgen Klopp and the Liverpool backroom staff are looking for.

"It's not for me to comment on social media," Lijnders told reporters ahead of Liverpool's EFL Cup clash against Arsenal on Thursday. "The only thing I can say is that abuse is wrong, whether it is on social media or on the street. It's wrong.

"You are not a Liverpool supporter if you don’t support.

"First of all – and this is the most important thing to understand – Neco is a doer. And a doer makes mistakes.

"We don't want safe play, we don't want a player who doesn't take risks. Our game is based on everyone taking initiative from each position. That's what we want."

Williams made six Premier League appearances to help Liverpool win the title in 2019-20 and, after signing a long-term contract at Anfield, he scored for his country as Wales beat Bulgaria in the Nations League in September.

Lijnders backed him to come through the difficulties he is experiencing, urging him to not let the comments affect his game.

"One of the most important lessons for a young boy coming through, or any player, is that it is a weakness if you get caught up with praise or criticism," said Lijnders.

"I think he dealt with it really well. We had players speaking with him, we had our manager speaking with him.

"It's a phase he must go through, but getting caught up in praise or criticism, you cannot do. Neither will help you as a young player."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is "never surprised" to see Juan Mata take control of matches after the midfielder scored one and set up another in Manchester United's 3-0 EFL Cup victory over Brighton and Hove Albion.

Mata picked out Scott McTominay from a free-kick for United's opener in Wednesday's last-16 tie before profiting from a brilliant Donny van de Beek assist to bring up his 50th goal for the club.

The 32-year-old also scored in the third-round win over Luton Town and has now been directly involved in 13 goals in his last 15 starts for United.

He has not been part of Solskjaer's squad for the opening two rounds of Premier League fixtures, but the United head coach is happy with the Spaniard's latest contribution in the cup competitions.

"It was a great performance by Juan Mata," Solskjaer told Sky Sports. "He was the one who got on the ball and calmed us down. He was composed. 

"He more or less creates the first goal himself. I am never surprised when he plays like this.

"He has been around the block and knows football. He does his work and is at the back stick to shield the ball from Dan Burn at a corner in the second half."

Victory for United was their third in a row in all competitions, four days on from snatching a last-gasp 3-2 win over Brighton at the same venue in the Premier League.

Paul Pogba rounded off the scoring for United 11 minutes after being brought off the bench in a morale-boosting win for Solskjaer's side following some below-par performances to begin the campaign.

"We needed the first 20-25 minutes to get our confidence and get on the ball. We have worked on set-pieces. You keep a clean sheet and this is important for a back four," he said.

"We wanted to bring on Pogba for 25-30 minutes for a workout. The game was there for him. Paul and Marcus [Rashford] found some good positions."

United continue to be linked with Jadon Sancho - left out of Borussia Dortmund's squad for Wednesday's 3-2 DFL-Supercup loss to Bayern Munich because of illness - with five days of the transfer window to go.

And while remaining tight-lipped on speculation that United have had another bid knocked back, Solskjaer is confident his bosses are doing all they can to bring in additional quality.

"I can't give you any news," he said when asked directly about the Sancho situation. "We are working with what we have got. We have a big squad. 

"We changed 10 players from Saturday. If there is any update, we will let you know. I don't comment on other teams' players. I can't concern myself with other clubs. 

"I know the club is working well and hard to have a strong squad as possible. Sometimes speculation is there and we can't control that."

Juan Mata hailed Donny van de Beek for his "very clever" assist in Manchester United's win against Brighton and Hove Albion and says he loves playing in the same side as his new team-mate.

Van de Beek, signed from Ajax last month in a deal rising to £49million, played in Mata for United's second goal in Wednesday's EFL Cup last-16 tie with a delightful backheeled pass.

Having also teed up Scott McTominay for the visitors' first-half opener at the Amex Stadium, Mata has now been directly involved in 13 goals in his last 15 starts for the club.

The Spaniard was named as the sponsors' man of the match but he was quick to praise Van de Beek for his part in what proved to be a routine victory for United.

"It was a very clever assist. He's a very clever player," Mata told Sky Sports. "I love playing with him because he finds pockets and spaces. 

"He understands football in a way that I like, which is playing one-twos, passing and moving, and the goal was like that."

United were fortunate to grab a late 3-2 Premier League win at the same venue four days ago but this victory was far more straightforward come full-time, with substitute Paul Pogba adding a third goal via a deflected free-kick.

Dean Henderson was called into action to keep out Leandro Trossard with a top-class save at 1-0, though Mata was pleased with his side's overall display on England's south coast.

"They have a great manager who tries to play attractive football. They also change the system in the game, so you have to be alert," he said. "Today I think we played really good. 

"We created chances in the second half, we had even more chances to kill the game. So we're happy today."

Pep Guardiola compared Manchester City's teenage midfielder Cole Palmer to Phil Foden after the 18-year-old made a strong debut in a 3-0 EFL Cup win over Burnley.

Manchester-born playmaker Palmer, who has been at the club since joining City's under-8s, slotted into Guardiola's midfield alongside Kevin De Bruyne and showed his creative abilities while attempting two shots of his own.

A Raheem Sterling brace and Ferran Torres' first goal for the club put City into the quarter-finals of the competition they have won in three straight years, but Guardiola picked out Palmer for praise, comparing his finishing prowess to that of first-team regular Foden.

"He started a little bit shy, but that's normal," Guardiola told the club's official website.

"He is an incredible young lad in the training sessions. Since two months ago he has showed us a lot of things. He has a good future in this club.

"He is a humble guy. He is a guy with incredible finishing, like Phil. He had his chance to score. His debut in this competition against a Premier League side, it will be good for his future.

"Again, thank you to the academy for these players. We get players from the academy's work."

Guardiola handed a second start to £20.9m (€22.1m) winger Torres at Turf Moor and the 20-year-old rewarded him with a well-taken goal.

The Spain international joined City from Valencia in August and has since featured twice in the Premier League.

Guardiola praised his performance at Burnley while offering constructive criticism, saying: "He is a young player and still needs a little bit of time to understand what we want to do.

"He's clever in the final third, with his passes. He doesn't cross to cross, he passes the ball."

On City's overall performance, which came after a 5-2 home defeat to Leicester City on Sunday, Guardiola said: "It was good. This competition is special for us.

"Two games, this one and Leeds before the international break. After our result [against Leicester] it was important to win."

Paul Pogba scored as a second-half substitute to seal a 3-0 win for Manchester United over Brighton and Hove Albion in Wednesday's EFL Cup last-16 tie at the Amex Stadium.

United required a 100th minute penalty to claim an undeserved 3-2 win at this ground in the Premier League on Saturday but found things a lot easier in this latest encounter.

Pogba found the net via a deflected free-kick 10 minutes from time after being brought off the bench with United toiling at the time, albeit a goal to the good through Scott McTominay's first-half header.

Juan Mata set up that opener and was also on target with the visitors' second goal of the game before Pogba took over, sealing a third win in a row for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men in all competitions. 

Bruno Fernandes, the scorer of United's dramatic goal at the same venue four days ago, was left out of the squad as Solskjaer made 10 changes, compared to nine for Brighton.

Those mass changes perhaps explain the disjointed nature of the first half, with McTominay finding a way through a minute before the interval from the only real opportunity.

Mata sent in a teasing free-kick from the right and McTominay was left all alone five yards out to head past Jason Steele - his first goal since the Manchester derby in March.

United were grateful to the reactions of back-up goalkeeper Dean Henderson for keeping them level with 67 minutes played, getting down to his left to tip Leandro Trossard's effort wide of the post.

The visitors used that warning wisely by scoring an all-important second goal six minutes later through Mata, who controlled Donny van de Beek's delightful backheeled pass and picked out the bottom-right corner.

Pogba, introduced along with Marcus Rashford, made certain of a place in the quarter-finals with a free-kick from 20 yards that took a telling deflection off the wall on its way past Steele.

Manchester City bounced back from their Premier League humbling by Leicester City with a 3-0 EFL Cup victory over Burnley, with Raheem Sterling scoring twice and Ferran Torres netting his first goal for the club.

A 5-2 home reverse on Sunday left Pep Guardiola's men in need of a result and a performance to steady their burgeoning season.

Sterling thrived on the industry of Kevin De Bruyne, Torres and teenage debutant Cole Palmer throughout a one-sided match and scored with neat finishes in either half at Turf Moor.

Guardiola, who is aiming to win the competition for a fourth successive time, saw his £20.9m (€22.1m) signing from Valencia make it 3-0 with a cool finish in the 65th minute as City reached the quarter-finals.

Burnley found themselves under pressure from the outset and Sterling volleyed a Torres cross narrowly wide from six yards out.

The Clarets had goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell to thank for keeping them in the game, the Northern Ireland international twice getting down quickly to save low shots from Sterling.

There was no stopping the England winger when Benjamin Mendy's low pass from the left found him 12 yards from goal and he slammed the ball into the corner of the net with no hesitation.

Sterling doubled City's lead three minutes into the second half, neatly turning Torres' cross into the bottom corner of the net from close range after De Bruyne's surging run carved Burnley open.

Less than 10 minutes later Riyad Mahrez's pass was touched on by Sterling into the path of Torres, who carried the ball into the box before rattling it low into the far corner of the net from 18 yards.

Jose Mourinho has implored national team managers to heed Tottenham's packed schedule and protect his players during next week's international break, after which he expects Son Heung-min to return to fitness.

Son suffered a hamstring injury in Spurs' controversial 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on Sunday, forcing his withdrawal at half-time as Mourinho's side were ultimately undone by a penalty awarded thanks to a contentious late handball call.

The controversy relating to the spot-kick overshadowed Son's injury, but at the time Mourinho did confirm he expected the forward to be out for a few weeks.

Spurs were in action again on Tuesday, a little more than 48 hours after the Newcastle match, as they fought to a 1-1 draw with Chelsea and eventually progressed to the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup in a penalty shoot-out.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg – they still have two more matches to play before the international break begins at the start of next week, with Maccabi Haifa visiting in the Europa League on Thursday and a trip to Manchester United following that on Sunday to end a run of five games in 11 days.

As such, Mourinho is urging national team bosses to use his players sparingly.

"I expect to have [Son] back after the international period," Mourinho began. "And this gives me the opportunity to speak about it [the international break].

"I hope the national team coaches have their data and they realise how many minutes Tottenham players have played this week.

"I hope they care about the players and they protect them because Tottenham players this week they have an incredible amount of minutes and work and it's very, very dangerous.

"What I did today with Eric Dier [playing him two days after his previous game] is very, very dangerous."

It's fair to say not many viewers think Manchester United deserved to beat Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend. 

Aside from Bruno Fernandes scoring a penalty after the initial full-time whistle, the Red Devils were largely outplayed and outfought by Brighton, who hit the woodwork a record five times and still contrived to lose 3-2. 

Aaron Wan-Bissaka had a more difficult game than most. It was his error that led to Neal Maupay opening the scoring from the penalty spot and he was nowhere to be found when Solly March scored in the 94th minute to make it 2-2. 

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was keen to deflect the blame away from Wan-Bissaka, saying United need to do more collectively to prevent crosses, adding: "Every player in this league has got strengths and weaknesses. We all know Aaron's strengths. One of his strengths is he wants to learn and wants to improve." 

And yet, the criticism of Wan-Bissaka has been building quietly in 2020. Unquestionably a good one-on-one defender, the £50million signing from Crystal Palace has been questioned over what he does when he actually has the ball at his feet, both in his own half and the opposition's. 

But is this criticism justified? As United prepare to face Brighton again in the EFL Cup, we delve into the Opta data to find out.

 

ALL FOR WAN, WAN FOR ALL

Simply put, United have been better at defending since Wan-Bissaka's arrival.

His fee was sizeable for a player with just two seasons of senior football behind him, but United were desperate for a specialised right-back after years of using converted wingers Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young. Wan-Bissaka was an investment for the present and the future.

His impact – and that of Harry Maguire, of course – was immediate. Having conceded 54 goals in the Premier League in 2018-19, United let in just 36 last term, the best record after Liverpool and Manchester City. Their clean sheet tally jumped from seven to 13 and they faced 389 shots compared to 496 the season before.

Wan-Bissaka missed just three league games last season, against Arsenal, Newcastle United and Burnley, and United only won one of those (Burnley away).

 

A WINGER'S NIGHTMARE...

We all know Wan-Bissaka loves a tackle – and he's good at them, too.

Since his United debut, no Premier League defender has attempted (132) or won (83) more tackles than him. His success rate in challenges is a more modest 62.9 per cent, but that's still superior to Kyle Walker (61.3), Ben Chilwell (60.5) and Andy Robertson (58.9) over the same period.

He has won back possession 183 times for United in the league and only been dribbled past 24 times, committing 23 fouls (interestingly, his much-maligned team-mate Victor Lindelof has been dribbled past three times in the same period, the joint-best record in the whole division for a defender).

Similarly, Wan-Bissaka has won 231 duels for the Red Devils, the ninth-best tally among defenders since the start of last season, which gives him an average success rate of 59.5 per cent – not outstanding, but comfortably within the top half of defenders to play at least 20 times since the start of 2019-20.

...BUT A NIGHTMARE WINGER?

Winning the ball back comes easy to Wan-Bissaka, then – but what about using it?

Possessional passing is a problem, for one thing. Since the start of 2019-20, he has averaged an 80.4 per cent completion rate on passes in his own half. Only 14 defenders to play in at least 20 games in that period have a lower number.

Interestingly, his passing accuracy rate jumps to 82 per cent in the opposition half – the ninth highest in the league for defenders – and he is sixth for success rate for passes ending in the final third (78.9 per cent).

Wan-Bissaka is also far better running at players than perception suggests. Since the start of 2019-20, he has completed 54 dribbles – the third highest for a defender – at a success rate of just under 60 per cent.

However, it's how he uses the space he creates for himself that is a cause for concern at times. For a player with such high completed dribble numbers, 14 completed crosses is a poor return. In fact, his success rate of 13.59 per cent is the worst of any defender to complete at least eight crosses since the start of last season.

It follows that he has created only 25 chances in that time, fewer than Matt Targett and Ryan Fredericks, and has just four assists – one more than he managed in 42 league games for Palace, but well behind league leader Alexander-Arnold on 14 since August 2019.

Solskjaer sees in Wan-Bissaka a player who is keen to learn, and he has already improved in his relatively short time at Old Trafford. He is certainly a more rounded full-back than some might think, but there is a long way to go before he reaches an elite all-round level.

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard praised Edouard Mendy following his debut for the Blues in their EFL Cup loss to London rivals Tottenham as Kepa Arrizabalaga watched from the bench.

Mendy made his first Chelsea appearance after leaving Rennes in a reported £20million deal last week and impressed, despite Tuesday's 5-4 penalty shoot-out defeat in the round of 16.

Starting ahead of embattled team-mate and the world's most expensive goalkeeper Kepa, who was dropped for the 3-3 Premier League draw at West Brom as Lampard turned to Willy Caballero, Mendy produced a good save to thwart Sergio Reguilon in the second half.

Discussing Mendy's performance at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Lampard told reporters: "I thought he was very good. I think he made a couple of good saves, one particularly good save.

"He came and caught a few balls, even the one he comes for and doesn't catch, the idea that he wants to and be positive isn't a bad thing. Very, very pleased with every part of his game really."

Erik Lamela's equaliser cancelled out Timo Werner's first-half opener for Chelsea in normal time as penalties were needed.

Werner – a high-profile signing from Bundesliga side RB Leipzig – struck his first Blues goal 19 minutes into the contest before Tottenham's Lamela drilled past Mendy with seven minutes remaining.

The first nine penalties of the ensuing shoot-out were converted before Mason Mount clipped the outside of the left post with the 10th, allowing Spurs to progress.

"Listen, I don't think 'a shattering blow' is what it should be, I know it was a disappointing night to get knocked out of the Carabao Cup," Lampard said. "Mason will have many more nights for this club and for his country where he'll play in games of huge importance and he'll be the deciding factor in a positive way.

"So no, Mason's got my support at all times, and the team's, and everybody around it. You miss a penalty, it's a collective when you get this far in a game like this."

Lampard added: "We were dominant and you want to score more goals at that point because of the amount of possession and chances. Callum [Hudson-Odoi] had a good chance for us in the first half.

"I think probably Tottenham would have felt that, they would have felt that hard and they changed their game and went longer in their build, which meant our press, which had been fantastic in the first half, wasn't so relevant up the pitch. They turned us round and made us run backwards rather than being able to press forwards. And then it becomes really difficult, to be fair to the lads.

"We could have been better in the second half and maybe dealt a bit better with that physical nature of Tottenham's game but it slightly changed the case of the game but I think even so, they had some chances second half and so did we and at 1-0, one more goal finishes it for us and we didn't get that."

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