Marcus Rashford appeared to take a stance against the European Super League as he shared a famous Matt Busby quotation.

Manchester United star Rashford posted an image on Twitter of a banner at Old Trafford adorned with words uttered by club legend Busby, who said: "Football is nothing without fans."

The England international has been a vocal supporter of social causes, campaigning for free meals during school holidays for underprivileged children in the United Kingdom, and speaking out against racism.

His post comes in the wake of Sunday's announcement of a breakaway league, with United among the six Premier League clubs involved, joined by three from Spain and another trio of Italian teams.

The response has been one of widespread criticism from all quarters, with supporters from across the spectrum outraged at what would constitute a seismic and largely unwanted shift in the football landscape.

Comments from current managers and players have been thin on the ground and generally guarded, but it has been reported that Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is seeking to organise a meeting of Premier League skippers to agree on a course of action.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp had his say on Monday, while midfielder James Milner was direct in his criticism, declaring: "I don't like it and hopefully it doesn't happen."

Meanwhile, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola expressed reservations over any closed-shop competition that would remove the relationship "between effort and success", adding that "this is not sport".

Governing bodies such as UEFA and the Premier League have warned that member clubs will face sanctions if they proceed with the plans.

Former Manchester United star Chris Smalling has spoken of the "harm and distress" his family felt after an armed burglary at their home in Rome.

Now playing for Roma, who will face United in the Europa League semi-finals, the 31-cap England international had his home raided in the early hours of Friday.

According to reports in Italy, Smalling handed over three Rolex watches, jewellery and money to the three men who entered the property in the Appia Antica district of Italy's capital.

Police were called after the terrifying incident, and 31-year-old Smalling wrote on Twitter on Saturday: "I'd like to thank everyone for your well wishes and support! My family although very shaken up are luckily unharmed!

"Hoping these people can find a more meaningful way to live their lives without causing such harm and distress to others."

Former United team-mate Marcus Rashford sent a message of support to Smalling on Friday, saying he was "so sorry" to hear of the break-in.

Rashford added: "Thinking about you @ChrisSmalling and your lovely family. Can’t imagine how you're feeling but I hope you're ok."

Smalling has been injured recently and did not play on Thursday when Roma edged past Ajax to reach the Europa League last four.

Marcus Rashford is a doubt for Manchester United's Premier League clash with Burnley on Sunday, boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed.

The England international did not make it off the substitutes' bench during United's 2-0 win over Granada on Thursday, a result which sealed a 4-0 aggregate victory to book a Europa League semi-final against Roma.

Rashford – who is suffering from an ongoing foot injury – took his tally to 20 for the season in the first leg, making him the first United player to hit double figures in consecutive campaigns since Wayne Rooney 11 years ago.

The 23-year-old has missed just three games for United this season and Solskajer said he will give Rashford as long as he needs to prove his fitness. 

"It's a big bonus that he didn't have to put any pressure on his foot [against Granada]," Solskjaer told a media conference. "I have got to hope he can be available and not make it worse. That is the decision I have got to make, so fingers crossed.

"He wasn't due to be on the bench really. He didn't train yesterday [Wednesday] but, just in case, he put his hand up and said 'if needed, I could do a job'. 

"So, it is a decision I have got to make on Sunday morning. But he is important for us. It is a difficult one. You have to go by how Marcus feels in a couple of days."

United host Burnley at Old Trafford looking to win five consecutive Premier League games for the first time since they won their first six under Solskjaer's leadership in January 2019. 

While another three points would take them another step closer to sealing a top-four finish, it is unlikely to help them rein in leaders Manchester City, who have an 11-point lead over their neighbours, having played a game more. 

Solskjaer is not prepared to write off United's title chances just yet, but he does concede it seems improbable that City will drop enough points to allow them back into the race. 

"Of course we'll never give up," he said. "Manchester United will never, ever give up. This club has had too many setbacks and too many great comebacks to have it in our DNA. 

"Is it realistic? No, probably not. When you have a team that is so consistent as Manchester City have been, you don't expect them to lose three games of the last six. 

"As long as we do our job, we want to finish the season strong and go one game at a time."

With a seven-point lead over Leicester City, United look well placed to improve on their third-placed finish last season. 

While Solskjaer is pleased with his side's progress this term, he will not be satisfied until they have won the Premier League title for the first time since Alex Ferguson's last season in charge in 2012-13. 

"You've got to make progress, step by step, that's the reality," he explained. "If we can manage second place and keep winning and get second, if Man City win all games and we win ours, you want to finish strongly. 

"Third last year, second this, close to a trophy. It's progress. It's not the end game; the end game is winning the league. But we are not in the era of Sir Alex and we've had a transformation period since he left.

"But it's progress, step by step, and if we do that well enough, that is when you get trophies and league titles which, of course, is our ambition."

Marcus Rashford sent his support to Chris Smalling after the former Manchester United defender was reportedly a victim of an armed burglary.

Smalling and his family were said to have been at home in the Appia Antica district of Rome when three men with guns broke into the property and demanded a safe be opened.

The burglars reportedly fled with Rolex watches and jewellery and a small sum of cash.

La Gazzetta dello Sport said that a call to police was made by Smalling's wife at around 05:00 local time (04:00 GMT) on Friday, with an investigation subsequently launched.

United striker Rashford sent a message to his former club-mate, writing on Twitter: "Thinking about you @ChrisSmalling and your lovely family. So sorry to wake up to the news this morning. Can’t imagine how you're feeling but I hope you're ok."

Smalling has been injured recently and did not play on Thursday when Roma edged past Ajax to reach the Europa League semi-finals, with United awaiting them in the last four.

Edinson Cavani staying for a second season at Manchester United would benefit not just the team on the pitch but also the development of the club's young forwards, according to Gary Neville.

Cavani scored his seventh league goal of the campaign on Sunday, heading in a cross from Mason Greenwood to put United 2-1 ahead against Tottenham.

Substitute Greenwood added a third in stoppage time to wrap up the victory, with Neville believing the young England international's development - along with that of club and country colleague Marcus Rashford – can only be helped by working regularly with Cavani.

The Uruguayan signed as a free agent and while United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains hopeful the player will remain at the club, speculation has suggested the striker wants to return to South America.

"Tottenham had a throw with two minutes to go, and Cavani was moving between the centre-backs trying to stop the ball from being thrown in, and he's organising where Mason Greenwood should be," Neville explained on his podcast for Sky Sports. "I thought, 'Greenwood needs another year of Cavani being alongside him.'

"It inspired us as young players when you saw great players like Bryan Robson and Steve Bruce and Eric Cantona and Mark Hughes.

"You see the best players in the world, or those who have been the best in the world like Cavani, doing his work like that in the 94th minute, someone like Greenwood, who needs people who are mentors, good standards above him, who can coach him on the pitch, I just thought him and Marcus Rashford need another year of Cavani.

"He's been a really brilliant example. I was a little bit nervous of him coming in, because of [Radamel] Falcao, Alexis Sanchez, showcase signings. This one has been different. He's really applied himself brilliantly and has been a big help to Manchester United.

"He does the right things. The right movements. It's clockwork, that run across the defender, across the near post, the one you're always trying to get young strikers to do."

Cavani has scored eight times in all competitions since his arrival at Old Trafford, averaging out at a goal every 195.5 minutes – only Bruno Fernandes and Rashford have managed more.

However, the former Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain player has a better shot conversion rate (20.5 per cent) than both that pair, demonstrating his value to the side.

Solskjaer made clear after the away triumph at Spurs that he remains hopeful the 34-year-old will be part of his squad for the 2021-22 season.

"He knows my feelings; I know his feelings. He's not made up his mind yet," the United boss told the media.

"I understand that it's been a difficult year for everyone, but for a new lad who doesn't speak English, not to feel the English culture, to go see people, have friends around... it's in the back of your head if this is what you want, you know you can't have your family over.

"Fingers crossed, but if he decides that it's just this season, then we've been very, very fortunate to have him here."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is "pretty, pretty sure" his Manchester United players will be looking to prove a point when they visit Tottenham on Sunday.

United lost the reverse fixture 6-1 at Old Trafford, their joint-heaviest Premier League defeat and worst since another home humbling in the 2011 Manchester derby.

Spurs looked like title contenders while United were marooned in the bottom half of the table, their hapless display - in which Anthony Martial was sent off - described by former captain Gary Neville as "spineless" and "absolutely pathetic".

But United have recovered to sit second in the table, albeit 14 points behind Manchester City, while Tottenham are sixth.

Jose Mourinho's men are desperate for points but will face motivated opponents at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Solskjaer suggested.

"I think the players will remember that game with a lot of pain," Solskjaer said. "Their pride has been hurt, their professional pride. The manner we lost is not ourselves and our team-worthy. We know that.

"We gave ourselves a difficult game by having 10 men, pre-season was short and we were not up to the standard required, but we were so poor.

"I'm pretty, pretty sure we'll see some players wanting to prove we're better than that."

United took the lead in that match through a second-minute Bruno Fernandes penalty, but that was one of just five shots while Spurs attempted 22.

Solskjaer felt his side's early-season fitness issues were a key contributing factor in that October defeat.

"The biggest thing that we've improved on is our fitness levels," he said. "We were way short of what [Tottenham] were at.

"It was our third game, was it? And we didn't look anything like [ready]."

While that is no longer an issue, there are concerns about the status of Marcus Rashford, who played through a persistent ankle problem at Granada on Thursday and scored a vital goal.

Across Europe's 'top five' leagues, no player has made more appearances in all competitions this season than Rashford (47 - tied with Fernandes).

Indeed, the three most-used players all represent United, with captain Harry Maguire third (46 appearances). Aaron Wan-Bissaka is in a tie for fourth (44).

With 3,466 minutes in the tank despite an injury issue that kept him out of the recent international break, Solskjaer was asked if England should be worried about Rashford ahead of the European Championship.

"I don't think you need to be concerned about his fitness, no - of course, barring any injury," Solskjaer said.

"His fitness is really good, he's an athletic boy, a fit boy, a strong boy. When he goes into headers and challenges, he can look after himself.

"But at one point, of course, you hope to get to a position where he doesn't have to play every game, every minute.

"At the moment, we have to take him off because he's a little bit sore. Hopefully that will improve as the season goes on."

Rashford has been relied on so heavily in part due to Edinson Cavani's limited involvement.

Widely linked with a move to Boca Juniors, Cavani has started only 14 games this term, playing 1,474 minutes, although his tally of seven goals is a match for Martial and outperforms Mason Greenwood (six).

"I've kept in touch with Edi, of course," Solksjaer said. "We keep an open dialogue. He's still unsure what he wants to do next season, which I find fine.

"It's not been an easy year either for him or the rest of the world, so he still wants time to make his mind up.

"I'm very sure that we'll get a good version of Edinson for the rest of the season. Hopefully we can keep him fit the next six, seven weeks."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was proud of the battling qualities displayed by Marcus Rashford as he played through the pain to help Manchester United beat Granada.

Troubled by a niggling ankle problem, Rashford opened the scoring at the Nuevo Los Carmenes on Thursday, latching onto Victor Lindelof's long pass before finishing with composure.

The goal took Rashford to 20 for the season in all competitions, making him the first United player to hit double figures in consecutive campaigns since Wayne Rooney 11 years ago.

The England forward, who was taken off 10 minutes after scoring in last weekend's 2-1 Premier League win over Brighton and Hove Albion, battled on against Granada before being substituted with a little over 25 minutes left.

Solskjaer, who hopes Rashford will be fit to face Tottenham on Sunday, was delighted with Rashford's impact against stubborn opposition.

"Marcus, fantastic goal," he said. "Great pass by Victor, great run and the skill to bring the ball down like this, we've seen it a few times before, and it's a top, top quality goal.

"It's the same thing as before, he's not recovered from it. Hopefully, it's not got any worse from this. He lasted 60 or 70 against Brighton, 65 now, so hopefully he's ready. I think he should be ready for Sunday."

When asked if he ever told former manager Alex Ferguson he was fully fit to play when struggling with injury, Solskjaer replied: "Yeah, I probably did! I did a few times. It's not like I couldn't perform, but I probably knew I wasn't at 100 per cent. But when are you at 100 per cent as a footballer? I think that's very rare.

"We know he's someone we have to protect, and he was ready, and he was vital for us today."

While comfortable in defence, United offered little threat of a second goal until Bruno Fernandes scored his 19th penalty for the club after being pushed in the face by Yan Eteki.

The Portugal star, who was struggling with his vision in one eye after the foul, squeezed a shot beneath goalkeeper Rui Silva in the 90th minute.

With Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay suspended for the second leg after receiving yellow cards, Solskjaer was relieved to be heading back to Old Trafford with a more commanding advantage.

"It was an important goal, the second one. A 1-0 lead, losing three players, is not a good position to be in," he said.

"I don't think we deserved those five yellow cards, but that's happened. I'm delighted with the result, of course.

"[The second goal] is so vital away from home and we've created a good starting point for ourselves next week.

"Scoring with one eye is a skill! He drives the team and drives himself. He's got such enthusiasm and hunger to win and to do well. I've played in teams with a lot stronger personalities than that, to be honest.

"That's the way for us to improve and reach the next level: always demand more, and more, and more."

Shaw was taken off at half-time, but Solskjaer added of the left-back: "I had to protect Luke, but I think and hope he should be okay for the weekend."

Marcus Rashford's 20th goal of the season helped Manchester United to a 2-0 win over Granada in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie.

The forward's finish from a fine Victor Lindelof pass in the first half and a late penalty from Bruno Fernandes secured a commanding first-leg advantage in Thursday's clash at the Nuevo Los Carmenes.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side were not particularly inspired in attack but rarely looked troubled by a team who have already eliminated Napoli in an impressive first European campaign.

Chelsea loanee Kenedy was a threat with shots from distance, but Diego Martinez's men were unable to create clear openings against a diligent Red Devils rearguard, particularly with only 33 per cent of the ball.

Rashford, who sustained an ankle problem in the win over Brighton and Hove Albion last Sunday, appeared to be struggling in the early exchanges as United made hard work of breaking down Granada.

The England forward looked fit and sharp 31 minutes in, though, latching onto Lindelof's long ball over the top before prodding a composed finish beyond goalkeeper Rui Silva.

The goal sparked a little life into Granada's attack, Kenedy's ambitious volley from the edge of the area giving the returning David de Gea something to do.

Kenedy twice tested De Gea again from outside the box after the restart but they were comfortable saves for the United keeper, who was otherwise mostly untroubled.

Fernandes had had a quiet game but he squeezed a mishit penalty under Silva's grasp to score a potentially decisive second away goal in the 90th minute after Yan Eteki was penalised for pushing a hand into the Portugal star's face.

What does it mean? Advantage United after timid encounter

It was not a thrill-a-minute contest but it puts United in a good position to progress to the semi-finals for the second season in a row, and there was little offered by Granada to worry them unduly.

However, Solskjaer will want a more committed and creative performance when they travel to Tottenham this weekend if they are to preserve their long unbeaten away run.

United must preserve Rashford for run-in

Rashford's goal made him the first United player to hit double figures in consecutive campaigns since Wayne Rooney 11 years ago.

He came off with a little under half an hour remaining, and Solskjaer will need to manage his ankle concern carefully: their league position, and their chances of winning this competition, could depend on it.

Greenwood goes missing

The matchwinner against Brighton last Sunday, Mason Greenwood offered little attacking threat in Spain and struggled to hold up the ball or link the play.

One such poor use of the ball gave Granada a rare chance to break at speed in the United half, although they could not make use of the opportunity.

What's next?

Before next Thursday's second leg, each side return to domestic action on Sunday. United face Tottenham away in the Premier League, with Granada travelling to Real Valladolid in LaLiga.

Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford were on target as Manchester United came from behind to beat relegation-threatened Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 in the Premier League.

Danny Welbeck returned to haunt United with a deserved opening goal for the Seagulls in the first half at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Second-placed United raised their game after the break, though, and the fit-again Rashford marked his return with a well taken equaliser.

Greenwood, also passed fit after recovering from an injury, headed home the winner seven minutes from time to stun the Seagulls in the absence of Anthony Martial, who could be out for the season with a knee problem.

Victory for the Red Devils strengthened their grip on second place, 14 point behind leaders Manchester City with a game in hand, while Brighton are six points above the drop zone.

Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka have been ruled out of England's World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Poland.

Manchester United forward Rashford and versatile Arsenal teenager Saka missed England's opening 5-0 Group I defeat of San Marino at Wembley on Thursday.

Rashford and Saka will also play no part against Albania in Tirana on Sunday and a home clash with Poland next Wednesday due to foot and hamstring injuries respectively.

A Football Association statement said: "Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka will play no part in England's forthcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

"Rashford reported to St. George's Park with an injury that ruled him out of the 5-0 win against San Marino and, following further assessment, it has been decided he will continue his rehabilitation with Manchester United.

"Saka had remained at Arsenal for further assessment on an ongoing issue with the hope of joining up with the Three Lions but will now not be available for the fixtures against Albania and Poland."

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored twice against San Marino, while James Ward-Prowse, Raheem Sterling and debutant Ollie Watkins were also on target as England started their bid to qualify for the 2022 tournament in Qatar with a dominant victory.

England will be without Bukayo Saka for their opening 2022 World Cup qualifier against San Marino due to a hamstring injury.

Saka has stayed with Arsenal to continue his rehabilitation and a tweet from England's official account said it was hoped the 19-year-old would join up with the squad "later this week".

England host minnows San Marino at Wembley in Gareth Southgate's 50th game at the helm on Thursday.

Marcus Rashford also sat out training on Wednesday as he continues to recover from the foot injury he sustained during Manchester United's Europa League triumph at Milan.

Rashford was absent as United were knocked out of the FA Cup by Leicester City last weekend but he joined up with England despite club boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saying he "wasn't close" to playing at the King Power Stadium.

The 23-year-old, who was laid low by a stress fracture to his back last term, recently dismissed fears over an excessive workload, but he has played more minutes than any forward in Europe's top five leagues this season across all competitions.

Rashford's 3,328 minutes on the field place him ahead of Lionel Messi (3,292), Mohamed Salah (3,257), Harry Kane (3,172) and the England captain's Tottenham colleague Son Heung-min (3,138) among the five most used attacking players.

Saka made his international breakthrough earlier this season and has won all four of his caps playing as a left wing-back.

However, he has truly excelled since switching to a right-wing role at Arsenal.

Since being deployed there in a 3-1 Boxing Day win over Chelsea, Saka has four goals and two assists in 13 Premier League appearances, creating 17 chances during that time.

Marcus Rashford will likely link up with the England squad next week despite a foot injury keeping him out of the FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.

The forward was hurt during Manchester United's 1-0 win over Milan in the Europa League last-16 second leg at San Siro on Thursday.

Rashford struggled to walk on Saturday and United manager Solskjaer confirmed scans showed he has sustained damage, meaning he was unavailable for the clash with Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.

Anthony Martial returned from a hip injury to take Rashford's place in attack, while Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek were also recalled to the starting line-up after only recently regaining full fitness.

Solskjaer said Rashford was never likely to feature against Leicester, but he will not stop the 23-year-old from joining up with Gareth Southgate's Three Lions squad for this month's World Cup qualifiers.

"No, he wasn't close [to playing]," Solskjaer told BBC Sport. "We took him off [against Milan] and he thought he'd be ready but, yesterday, he had no chance of walking on his foot.

"The scans show there's an injury there but, of course, we've got players coming back – Anthony and Donny are back in, so there are positives as well.

"The doctor will speak to the English [national team] but I think he'll travel and report [for international duty]. Maybe he'll be fit for them."

England face San Marino next Thursday before further matches against Albania on March 28 and Poland on March 31.

 

 

Marcus Rashford believes there is a common winning mentality shared by Bruno Fernandes and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – something Manchester United must channel if they are to get back to winning silverware. 

Ibrahimovic is in line to return from an abductor injury when Milan host his former club in the Europa League on Thursday, with the round-of-16 tie all square at 1-1. 

The veteran forward, whose surprise return to international football with Sweden was confirmed this week, joined United on a free transfer in 2016 and was a talismanic figure during his first season in England. 

Across all competitions, Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals - including a brace in United's 3-2 EFL Cup final win over Southampton. 

The Red Devils also lifted the Europa League in that season under Jose Mourinho although by the time of their final triumph over Ajax, Ibrahimovic was sidelined by a serious knee injury. 

He returned to action ahead of schedule but departed to LA Galaxy midway through the following campaign. 

United now frequently look to Portugal midfielder Fernandes for inspiration. 

The former Sporting CP star has scored 35 goals – the most of any Premier League player in all competitions since his United debut on February 1 last year – and provided 21 assists in 65 appearances for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side. 

"Yeah, you could say so," Rashford told reporters when asked whether Ibrahimovic and Fernandes were similar.

"Mentally they're both just winners. They want to win games, win trophies. 

"That's the atmosphere and the culture at this club. We need to start doing it now, winning trophies and taking steps in that direction. 

"The game against Milan is another opportunity for us to get one step closer. 

"Ever since we unfortunately got knocked out of the Champions League the focus has been to win the Europa League. We're not going to be happy with anything less than that." 

Longevity in the sport comparable to Ibrahimovic is something a long way away for the 23-year-old Rashford. 

The home leg against Milan was the first of United's games this season that the England international sat out after a minor injury he sustained during the derby victory over Manchester City, while he is also managing a shoulder complaint. 

Nevertheless, Rashford dismissed any concerns over burnout. 

"I know my body and I know what I can do physically," he said, with his availability an ongoing boost to Solskjaer after Edinson Cavani suffered a reaction in the final training session before the trip to Italy, forcing him to pull out of the travelling party. 

"I take one game at a time. It's the life of a footballer – we can rest when we retire. 

"I recover from games and injuries quite well, so I have no doubts or fears on that. 

"To be honest, I just focus on the next game at hand. That's how I deal with it. My focus is just on being available for games." 

Another player from the United production line that yielded Rashford, Teden Mengi, has signed a contract extension until June 2024. 

Mengi is currently on loan at Wayne Rooney's Derby County. 

Anthony Martial will require a scan to check the severity of a hip injury he suffered in Manchester United's 1-1 Europa League last-16 draw with Milan on Thursday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed. 

Martial was withdrawn at half-time on Thursday, with his replacement Amad Diallo putting United ahead five minutes later to become the Red Devils' youngest non-British scorer in European competition, aged 18 years and 243 days. 

However, Simon Kjaer ended United's run of 503 minutes without conceding a goal across all competitions in stoppage time to give Milan a slight advantage ahead of next week's second leg at San Siro. 

It remains unclear whether Martial will be fit for the trip to Italy, but manager Solskjaer is hopeful Marcus Rashford – who missed the opening clash with an ankle injury – will have returned to full fitness in time. 

"Anthony got a whack on his hip so there's another forward we need to scan and look at," Solskjaer told a media conference. 

"Unfortunately, he got a whack on his hip quite early in the first half so he couldn't go on.

"We definitely hope Marcus is back for next Thursday; we're not sure if he'll make Sunday [against West Ham in the Premier League]. Fingers crossed because we'll need him."

United have been eliminated from six of their last eight ties in European competition after failing to win the first leg at home, most recently against Barcelona in the 2018-19 Champions League.

Despite that poor record, Solskjaer is confident United – second in the Premier League – can seal their quarter-final spot with a positive result in Milan next week.

"We fancy our chances," he added. "We have been exciting away from home, and efficient. Especially in the last round against Real Sociedad [they won the first leg away from home 4-0]. 

"That is the template for how we want to play in games. We go there knowing we need to score at least one and we fancy our chances. 

"Of course it makes it more difficult when you concede at home and you're never happy when you do. 

"Conceding one minute before full time is disappointing but we have got to take that on the chin and go down there next week and go for it."

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