Newcastle United have defended owner Mike Ashley in the wake of criticism from UK politician Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour leader Corbyn singled out Ashley as one of many "bad owners" who "put their business interests ahead of everything else, marginalise supporters and even put the financial security of clubs at risk".

Corbyn was speaking to Labour supporters to outline his party's commitment to banning zero-hour contracts and introducing a higher National Living Wage for staff at all Premier League clubs.

Ashley has long been unpopular with Newcastle fans but, despite reports of interest from several prospective buyers in recent years, the club remains under his ownership.

However, a statement released by Newcastle on Tuesday criticised Corbyn for voicing "damaging and misinformed opinions" about Ashley and his running of affairs at St James' Park.

"In overlooking existing governance and regulation, as well as the hugely positive impact Newcastle United and other professional clubs have in their communities, Mr Corbyn has demonstrated a surprising lack of knowledge about our national game," the club said.

"Financially, other than sums provided to the club on a short-term, interest-free basis and repaid to him as intended, we would like to make it clear that Mike Ashley has not taken a penny out of Newcastle United in interest, salary or dividend, as is customary at many clubs.

"As stated on numerous occasions before, every penny Newcastle United has will continue to be available to it. In this financial year, the club will use an overdraft facility to manage its cashflow following a significant spend on talent in the summer. As a well-run, responsible club, that amount will be repaid in full and on time and our other regulatory obligations will be met.

"We will not apologise for being financially sustainable, but we will push the boundaries of our budgets as far as possible to maximise the impact on the team.

"We agree with Mr Corbyn that 'a football club is more than just a club; it is an institution at the heart of our communities'.

"That is why our vast work across the local community will continue, with Newcastle United Foundation providing services and support to tens of thousands of people in our region each year who truly need them.

"Often, Newcastle United Foundation's projects fill in significant gaps that the public sector sadly cannot stretch to, particularly at a time when government cuts are so prevalent.

"We would like to invite Mr Corbyn to visit one of these initiatives to experience at first hand the incredible work that is being undertaken by the Foundation in our local community every day."

Marco Giampaolo's time at AC Milan could already be over and the Serie A giants are considering replacements.

Milan overcame Genoa for their third win in seven league games this season, but they are still struggling in 13th in the table.

Giampaolo's stint at the helm at San Siro may be over already after just over three months in charge.

 

TOP STORY – MILAN CONSIDER GIAMPAOLO'S FUTURE WITH PIOLI, SPALLETTI FAVOURITES

Milan are leaning towards sacking Giampaolo despite the win over Genoa, according to CalcioMercato.

SempreMilan reports the club almost sacked Giampaolo at half-time, when the side were trailing before fighting back.

According to Sky Sport, former Inter coaches Stefano Pioli and Luciano Spalletti are favourites for the Milan job.

 

ROUND-UP

- Looking to strengthen in January, Manchester United sent scouts to watch Lyon forward Moussa Dembele against Saint-Etienne on Sunday, according to the Daily Mail. Dembele came off the bench for struggling Lyon in the 1-0 loss.

- Juventus and Inter look set to battle for the Serie A title and they could be fighting elsewhere too. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports the Italian giants are set to fight to sign Fiorentina forward Federico Chiesa and Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali.

- Leicester City are looking for a replacement for Ben Chilwell as they prepare for clubs to bid for the left-back, according to The Sun, which links Manchester City and Chelsea with £50million moves for the England international.

- Out to improve their defence, Arsenal are targeting Wolves centre-back Willy Boly, according to The Sun. A France youth international, Boly joined Wolves from Porto, initially on loan before the move was made permanent last year.

- Newcastle United could make a move for Nottingham Forest centre-back Joe Worrall in January, The Sun reports. Worrall, 22, is coming out of contract at season's end and the Premier League club could land him on the cheap in early 2020.

Could we have seen a potentially decisive weekend in the Premier League title race?

Liverpool opened an eight-point lead over Manchester City at the summit as James Milner's last-gasp penalty secured a precious 2-1 win over Leicester City on Saturday.

The Reds moved eight points clear with the last-gasp triumph – and City were unable to cut into it as they slipped to a shock 2-0 defeat at home to Wolves on Sunday.

As for Manchester United, their torrid recent form continued with a 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United, while struggling Tottenham were on the end of a resounding 3-0 loss at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Our Premier League Data Diary sheds some light on the detail behind the big stories of this weekend's top games.

 

REDS LEAVE IT LATE TO MAINTAIN PERFECT START

Victory over Leicester means Liverpool have now won their past 17 Premier League games, just one short of Manchester City's top-flight record of 18.

They have also become just the seventh side in history to win each of their opening eight matches in an English top-flight season.

The Reds forged ahead through Sadio Mane's 50th league goal for the club in what was his 100th appearance in the competition for Jurgen Klopp's side.

James Maddison gave the Foxes hope of a point, though, with their first and only shot on target.

However, Milner stepped up deep into added time to seal yet another win for the hosts. It marked the 34th time they have scored a winning goal in a Premier League match in or after the 90th minute, which is at least nine more than any other team

TRAORE DOUBLE DOWNS INSIPID CITY

City were failed to respond to Liverpool's victory, slipping to just a fourth home league defeat in 61 matches under Pep Guardiola.

It was the first time they have lost a Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium without scoring since March 2016, when they were beaten 1-0 by neighbours Manchester United.

Wolves were indebted to a superb double from Adama Traore inside the final 10 minutes to claim their second league win of the season. Remarkably, he had failed to score in his previous 32 Premier League matches.

The result marked the first time Wolves have beaten City away from home in a top-flight fixture since December 1979.

LONGSTAFF PILES MISERY ON SOLSKJAER

United's woeful start to the season reached a new low on Sunday. The sorry defeat at Newcastle means they have won a mere nine points from their opening eight games – their lowest total at this stage since the 1989-90 campaign.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's beleaguered squad are now winless in their last eight away league games – their longest such run in the top flight since September 1989, when they went 11 games without victory.

Under-pressure Newcastle boss Steve Bruce, meanwhile, can celebrate after registering his first ever win as a manager against the club he served as a player, doing so at the 23rd attempt.

Victory came courtesy of Matty Longstaff's drilled effort 18 minutes from time, the 19-year-old becoming the youngest player to score on his Premier League debut for Newcastle.

SEAGULLS SWOOP TO TAKE ADVANTAGE

Tottenham's defeat at Brighton means they have now lost 17 games in all competitions in 2019 – more than any other top-flight side.

Brighton went ahead after just three minutes, Neal Maupay nodding in after Hugo Lloris fumbled a cross - injuring himself in the process. Only Asmir Begovic (21) has made more errors leading to goals than Lloris (18) in the Premier League since his debut in the competition in October 2012.

Nineteen-year-old Aaron Connolly then added two more either side of the interval to seal a memorable win for the hosts. The Irishman is the first teenager to start a Premier League game for Brighton and also the first to score in the league for the Seagulls since Jake Forster-Caskey in April 2014.

The win equalled Brighton's biggest margin of victory in a top-flight game and meant they scored more than once in a league home game for the first time in 16 matches.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer acknowledged Manchester United are already facing a monumental task to challenge for Champions League qualification in the Premier League.

United slumped to their third Premier League defeat of the season as Matty Longstaff's debut goal earned Newcastle United a 1-0 win at St James' Park on Sunday.

The Red Devils have now made their worst start to a league campaign since 1989-90, with Solskjaer's side managing just two wins from their eight matches so far.

Things do not get any easier for United, who welcome league leaders Liverpool to Old Trafford after the international break on October 20.

Solskjaer, however, believes United – who could be boosted by the return of Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba from injury – can use the Liverpool fixture as a chance to push on, though he acknowledged his team need to start picking up points swiftly.

"Very symptomatic of where we are at the moment. We don't create enough chances to deserve to win a game of football, that's the short version," Solskjaer, who has taken just 17 points since taking permanent charge of United, told a news conference.

"We have given ourselves a very tough task to get into the top four. We need points straight away, get on a run. We need momentum.

"I can't tell you what is acceptable, every game should be one you need to win at this club but at the moment we can't win games, especially away from home.

"But we have the perfect opportunity to get players back and get supporters' mood up with Liverpool at home.

"We're unhappy with the results, they bring down the mood in everyone. I've got to say sorry to the fans that we're not winning games but that is down to starting a rebuild.

"This is not a similar situation to when I was sat after a [4-0 defeat at] Everton last season, when I felt people had given up. These boys give everything they have got for the shirt and we'll get there again."

Harry Maguire should have given United the lead before half-time, only to head wide from six yards out - a miss which Solskjaer believes sums up the club's current form.

"I missed bigger chances. If you're 2-0 up and your team's winning every game, he'd close his eyes and score," Solskjaer said.

"At the moment it's just not going for us. He knows and we know it's a big opportunity in the game. I've talked about these moments many times over the last month, we have to grasp the moment when it's there. We didn't and we need to clear our heads and get ready for Liverpool."

Steve Bruce has backed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to "turn it around" at Manchester United following Sunday's 1-0 loss to Newcastle United.

Matty Longstaff scored the only goal of the game to inflict a third defeat on Solskjaer's men in their last six Premier League matches, leaving them 12th in the table.

The Red Devils are winless in their last eight away league matches – their longest such run since September 1989 – and have won only three of their 11 games in all competitions this season excluding the penalty shoot-out defeat of Rochdale in the EFL Cup.

United were without a number of key men at St James' Park, including Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, Victor Lindelof, Jesse Lingard and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and former United defender Bruce is expecting Solskjaer to get the club back on track once they return to fitness.

"They've got horrific injury problems and until they get them all back, the Premier League can be unforgiving," he said at his post-match news conference. "They've got a lot of injury problems but I'm sure Ole will turn it around.

"I can understand – I've seen the difference in my team when two or three players have got back fit."

While more questions will be asked of Solskjaer's suitability for the United job following his side's latest abject performance, Sunday's victory relieves some of the growing pressure on opposite number Bruce.

Bruce registered his first win over United as a manager at the 23rd attempt and felt the victory was a perfect response to those who this week questioned his tactical nous.

"I don't think you can manage 400 games in the Premier League, 550 in the Championship, play 980 times and not be a little bit organised," he said. 

"So, people say if you're not good enough, that's fine. But to be critical of tactics, this that and the other, is always the thing that bares with me more than anything."

Bruce handed Longstaff his Premier League debut and the young midfielder responded with the winning strike 18 minutes from time.

"It's quite fantastic to see, isn't it? A local kid, playing alongside his brother – and what a goal," Bruce said. "To score on your debut like that against Man United – come on, it's quite fantastic for the kid. 

"It's quite ironic – Matty has beaten them in his first game and I've been going 20-odd years! I'm delighted for everybody concerned and the response is the great thing."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer acknowledged the responsibility for Manchester United's poor form rests on his shoulders after they went down 1-0 away to Newcastle United.

Solskjaer's side fell to a third Premier League loss of the season and are 12th in the table, only two points clear of the relegation zone, having scored just nine goals.

United have only taken 17 points from 16 games since his permanent appointment in March after he initially impressed as Jose Mourinho's successor on a temporary basis, with Solskjaer accepting he needs to turn things around.

"We're disappointed. We did lack quite a few key players but that's no excuse," Solskjaer - denied the services of Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw due to injury - told Sky Sports after Matty Longstaff's debut goal inflicted their latest loss. 

"The players worked hard and ran their socks off but at the moment we're in a place we're not used to. Some of the boys lack a little bit of composure and we don't create enough chances to win a game of football. They stay together as a team but we don't create.

"Luckily for us it's now the international break. We get time to evaluate what's gone on over these eight games. We will sit down, hopefully we'll get a few players back.

"It's my responsibility. I need to sort their heads out. Young boys lacking confidence - they need some help from experienced players and staff.

"They're human and they want to do well. They need to see the results of their hard work and we're not getting those results, so that's going to affect them.

"The first half was the sloppiest we've been. In the second half we dominated but we didn't create.

"We've not changed a lot. We've played the same way and stuck to our principles. The players are working hard.

"We've had six out from the Chelsea game [a 4-0 win on the opening weekend] and that's going to affect results. But we'll work hard and get the quality back."

United's next game, following the international break, is at home to leaders Liverpool who have won 17 straight Premier League games.

"It will take however long it will have to take," Solskjaer said of turning around United's situation.

"It's a journey we've started on and the culture is getting there. I can't give you any time but we're getting there. We've given ourselves a big, big uphill challenge to get among the top four, but it's tight and we need to get a run together.

"We've come together and discussed the direction we're going. If you only work on sunny days you'll never get to your destination. We'll have these days but we know where we want to get to."

A nonplussed David de Gea believes Manchester United are enduring their "most difficult time" since his arrival in 2011.

The Red Devils suffered a third defeat in six Premier League matches on Sunday, as they went down 1-0 to Newcastle United at St James' Park.

Matty Longstaff's second-half strike proved the difference between the two sides, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men mustering just three shots on target.

United, who have scored only twice in their past five games in all competitions and are enduring their worst start to a league season in 30 years, have still not won away from home since beating Paris Saint-Germain in March.

The initial upturn in results after Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho last December have long since subsided, and De Gea, who endured difficult times under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Mourinho, cannot remember a tougher period for the club.

Asked what was missing from their performance against Newcastle, De Gea told Sky Sports: "Everything. A lot of things to improve. They were the better team today.

"I don't know what to say, really. Just keep trying, fighting, improving every day. It's a hard moment for us.

"It's probably the most difficult time since I've been here. I don't know why, what is happening. We cannot score even one goal in two games.

"It's difficult to say something. Sorry to the fans. We will keep fighting for sure, we will come back, but at the moment we are in a difficult situation.

"We defended quite well. It's true they had good chances to score but, come one, we conceded a goal from our corner. That cannot happen.

"It's not acceptable, not just this game, the whole season. Keep fighting and see what happens in the next games."

United's next match is against arch-rivals Liverpool after the international break on October 20.

Steve Bruce's wait for a win over Manchester United is finally over, with Matty Longstaff's debut goal seeing Newcastle United down Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side on Sunday.

Bruce – in charge for his 400th game as a manager in the Premier League, making him just the seventh coach to reach that milestone - secured his first ever league victory over the Red Devils at the 23rd attempt.

Longstaff, who hit the crossbar in the first half, hammered home in the 72nd minute at St James' Park as the visitors' run without an away win in the league stretched to eight games, their longest such streak in the top flight since September 1989.

The teenage midfielder's strike saw him become the youngest player to score for the club on his Premier League debut at 19 years and 199 days.

Defeat leaves United with nine points from their opening eight games - their worst start to a league campaign in 30 years. Indeed, since Solskjaer was appointed permanently on March 28, his side have taken just 17 points in 16 matches, the fourth-worst tally among the 17 ever-present teams in that time.

A year to the day since their stunning 3-2 comeback at home to Newcastle United eased the pressure on then-boss Jose Mourinho, Manchester United continued what appears to be a slow, painful march into mediocrity against the same opposition on Sunday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer initially sparked a turnaround in United's fortunes as he lifted the gloom around Old Trafford, breathing life into the club following the end of Mourinho's reign.

Since March's VAR-assisted comeback win at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, though, United have been abysmal and Solskjaer's days appear increasingly numbered. Perhaps only a lack of viable alternatives is keeping him in the job.

There are extenuating circumstances. At St James' Park there was no Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof or Eric Bailly, all injured.

With so many regulars missing most teams would struggle, but United's lack of squad depth is of their own making. They failed to sign any attacking reinforcements after allowing both Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to join Inter, a decision signed off by Solskjaer.

Of those players remaining, Marcus Rashford's confidence has never looked lower, the initial spark provided by Wales winger Daniel James has fizzled out and David de Gea no longer looks among the world's best goalkeepers.

Few Premier League teams would find any use for Fred, a below-average midfielder who only gets selected as an alternative to the static Nemanja Matic. Andreas Pereira's inability to provide little creativity whatsoever is partly due to being fielded on the wing rather than his preferred central position, but mostly because the Brazilian seems out of his depth at this level. Juan Mata, despite a continued sureness of touch, ceased to be an elite playmaker several years ago. To describe Scott McTominay as an enigma would be kind.

At Newcastle, against a team hammered and humiliated by Leicester City last time out, Solskjaer's side created almost nothing from open play – they managed three shots on target – although how Harry Maguire failed to convert Ashley Young's corner when given a free header from five yards out will forever be a mystery.

There was no surprise when Newcastle, whose under-fire boss Steve Bruce was marking his 400th Premier League game as a manager, broke the deadlock in the rain 72 minutes in.

Matty Longstaff rattled the crossbar in the first half, Miguel Almiron wasted two clear sights of goal and Andy Carroll headed an inviting centre wide before De Gea was finally beaten from outside the box.

Longstaff, making his Premier League debut alongside older brother Sean in the Newcastle midfield, then sent a true drive fizzing into the net, much to the delight of the home fans.

Beating United is no longer that special, though. This season they have already lost to Crystal Palace and West Ham in the league. They needed penalties to get past Rochdale in the EFL Cup. Ex-United centre-back Bruce had overseen 22 matches against United without recording a single victory.

Newcastle moving out of the bottom three will buy Bruce some much-needed goodwill and time, which are both rapidly running out for Solskjaer. Top four? They're not even in the top half of the table.

A modest Matty Longstaff admitted his winning goal against Manchester United on his Premier League debut for Newcastle United was "hit and hope".

The teenage midfielder earned the Magpies a 1-0 victory at St James' Park on Sunday to lift his team out of the bottom three.

Steve Bruce's side had been battered 5-0 at Leicester City last time out but the ex-United centre-back was able to celebrate his first win as a manager against his old club in his 400th Premier League game in charge.

For Longstaff, who hit the crossbar in the first half but buried a shot from the edge of the box past David de Gea with 18 minutes to go, it was difficult to put his match-winning impact into words.

"Last night you go to bed dreaming of it, but you never think it will happen. I'm over the moon, speechless," he told Sky Sports.

"I found out I was in the team yesterday after training, the butterflies started going and I looked forward to it ever since, I was buzzing.

"It was hit and hope rather than a placed shot but it's in the back of the net. You can't describe the feeling, running away to the fans. It was surreal.

"I thought my first-half shot was in, but it hit the bar. That was a bit disappointing but to get the goal in front of the Gallowgate, it's that little bit special."

Longstaff shone playing alongside his older brother Sean, who was thrilled for his sibling.

"I'm over the moon. I know how hard he's worked," said the 21-year-old, who has been linked with a move to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

"He's been the best player in training. He was a breath of fresh air. I couldn't be prouder of him.

"It was great. Look how lively he was – he made my job a lot easier.

"He was really quiet last night, he's usually bouncing around the house shouting. I've never heard him so quiet."

Manchester United's dismal form continued as Matty Longstaff's debut goal earned Newcastle United a 1-0 Premier League victory and piled the misery on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Having rattled the crossbar in the first half, Matty Longstaff - partnering his older brother Sean in midfield - fizzed in the winner with a superb 72nd-minute strike at St James' Park.

Things would have been different had Harry Maguire converted a simple chance before the break, while Fabian Schar denied Marcus Rashford a tap-in just prior to Newcastle's goal.

But it was 19-year-old Matty Longstaff who had the final say as Steve Bruce, on his 400th Premier League game as a manager, secured a first win over the Red Devils, whose winless run on the road has stretched to 11 matches in all competitions.

Matty Longstaff sparked the match into life in the 28th minute, rattling the crossbar with a dipping long-range effort.

Sean Longstaff turned provider with a fantastic pass for Miguel Almiron soon after, only for the Paraguayan to hesitate when one-on-one with David De Gea - Maguire charging back to make a vital block.

Maguire should have made Newcastle pay for Almiron's profligacy but failed to direct a free header on target from six yards out.

Almiron wasted no chance in getting his next shot off, though failed to direct his effort anywhere near the target after latching onto Allan Saint-Maximin's pass.

Bruce introduced Andy Carroll with over half-an-hour to play and the change almost paid dividends when he connected with Matty Longstaff's cross, but turned his header over.

Schar made a vital intervention to prevent Rashford tucking home Daniel James' cross and Newcastle swiftly made his good work count.

Saint-Maximin led the charge, with Jetro Willems, who had been played onside by Andreas Pereira, supplying the cut-back for Matty Longstaff to hammer home his first goal and secure a vital win to lift Newcastle out of the bottom three.

What does it mean? Solskjaer in deep trouble

United's worst start to a Premier League season was confirmed with Monday's draw to Arsenal and the season seems to be quickly spiralling out of control for Solskjaer, whose side have the small matter of facing Liverpool to come after the international break.

The Red Devils sit 12th on nine points, their lowest points tally after eight games since 1989-90, while Newcastle's win has seen them leapfrog Everton and Southampton into 16th.

Longstaff arrives on the big stage

Sean Longstaff was heavily linked with United in the off season but, though he had a fine game in midfield, it was his younger brother Matty who grabbed the headlines.

The teenager proved his strike in the first half was no fluke when he raced onto Willems' pass, sending a crisp, composed finish beyond De Gea to become the youngest player to score on their Premier League debut for Newcastle.

Rashford cuts a lonely figure

If one player epitomises United's struggles, it is Rashford. The England forward hardly had a chance throughout, with his only half-opportunity coming when Schar beat him to James' cross.

Shouldering the responsibility of carrying United's attack in the absence of Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba, Rashford – who started the season so well – seems to be crumbling under the pressure if recent performances are anything to go by.

What's next?

Chelsea await Newcastle at Stamford Bridge after the international break, while United welcome league leaders and fierce rivals Liverpool to Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer maintains he can turn Manchester United's fortunes around - but only if he is given sufficient time at the helm.

The Red Devils head to Newcastle United on Sunday after a disappointing nine points from their first seven Premier League games of the season.

United were held to a dour 0-0 draw by AZ in the Europa League on Thursday to compound a poor run of games in which they have lost to West Ham, drawn with Arsenal and required penalties to get past Rochdale in the EFL Cup.

They head to St James' Park on a seven-game winless run away from home in the top flight, their worst such sequence since 1989.

United's struggles are in stark contrast to the optimism around Solskjaer's impressive run as interim boss, which has mostly evaporated since his appointment as full-time manager in March.

However, the Norwegian insists the tide will turn if he is allowed time to implement his plan at Old Trafford.

"My career has had loads of ups, but some downs as well, both as a player and as a coach. In Molde and in Cardiff [City], I've had tough times," he said.

"I don't worry if it's United, Molde or Cardiff, I do the same job I believe in and in the end it's turned out to be good if you get time.

"This is a period where there’s some fine lines going against us. Sometimes you don't get what you deserve but within you still feel okay.

"There's once this season where we didn't really deserve to get too much out of the game. Apart from that, there's been margins: Arsenal, we should have had a penalty for handball; on [Thursday] we should have had a penalty. There are things working against you, but it will turn."

Injuries have caused a huge headache for Solskjaer and left him short on options given their relatively thin squad.

Paul Pogba will not feature against Newcastle as he continues to nurse an ankle problem, while Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard are expected to miss out with muscle injuries.

Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones and Angel Gomes have also been struck down by muscular issues despite Solskjaer having put a specific focus on improving player fitness in pre-season.

United are reportedly ready to appoint Celtic physio Tim Williamson as part of a restructure of their sport science section, and Solskjaer admits it is an area they need to improve.

"If you're going to survive in modern football you have to be fit and they had to be fitter than they were when I came in," he said. "We're working on it and they'll get there.

"There's lots of different reasons players get injuries. It's something we look at. We're working to improve every department at the club."

Ryan Giggs says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is "unfortunate" to be managing in the same era as Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, but he wants Manchester United to give his former team-mate time to turn the club's fortunes around.

United will go in search of their first away win in eight Premier League matches when they travel to Newcastle United on Sunday, and Solskjaer is under pressure to deliver an improvement following a string of drab performances.

The game comes at the end of a week in which Solskjaer's side looked flat as they drew 1-1 at home with Arsenal and 0-0 away at AZ Alkmaar, failing to muster a shot on target in the second match.

Speaking at the Cardiff Breakfast Club, Giggs came out in support of the man with whom he shared 11 glorious years as a player at Old Trafford.

"It's a tough job at the moment," said Giggs.

"What Manchester United have had in the last four to five years is a mix of Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho players.

"Ole is trying to get back to what Manchester United used to be, picking young hungry players - like Dan James, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire.

"But he's unfortunate in a way to be in the same era as Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola."

Solskjaer's only previous stint in Premier League management came in 2014 when he lasted just nine months in charge of Cardiff City.

The former Norway striker was at the helm as the Bluebirds were relegated from the top flight and was dismissed following their poor start to the 2014-15 season in the Championship.

After 10 months as United boss, Solskjaer's managerial credentials remain the subject of heated discussion among the club's supporters, but Giggs feels it is too soon to judge the 46-year-old.

Giggs pointed to the patience shown with some of the Premier League's most successful managers in recent seasons, saying: "Klopp is in his fourth year at Liverpool. Pep established Man City during that time. Mauricio Pochettino has had six years with Spurs.

"Ole has to be given time, too. You need that time to mould your team into the way you want them to play, although whether managers always get that time in this day and age is another thing."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer accepts Manchester United are in a "different era" to their glory days of the 1990s after failing to break down AZ.

United failed to have a shot on target in Thursday night's drab goalless draw in the Europa League, continuing their stuttering start to Solskjaer's first full season in charge at Old Trafford.

They have taken 49 points from their 28 Premier League games under Solskjaer, two fewer than they did in their final 28 under Jose Mourinho before his sacking last December.

United have not been genuine Premier League title contenders since the retirement of managerial great Alex Ferguson, with Solskjaer accepting teams do not respect or fear the Red Devils as they once did.

"We're not in the nineties now. It's a different era, a different team and group we're building," Solskjaer said.

"We know there's going to be ups and downs and I'm ready to see these boys blossom. There are not many clubs with our stature that play the young players like we do. They'll have a chance to come through and we're sure some of these will be part of a successful team.

"I don't know what the opponents think of us but I know sometimes, when you walk off games, that we're not doing bad, sometimes there's a gap and I've felt that at times but not very often.

"I can't think about what others think about us, we're working to improve and that's what we want to do."

United travel to Newcastle United on Sunday with the Magpies' new head coach Steve Bruce under pressure after a 5-0 defeat at Leicester City last time out.

Bruce and Solskjaer played together at United but a familiar face in the opposition dugout will change nothing for the Norwegian, whose side are winless in 10 consecutive away games in all competitions.

"You know as managers you don't want to give anyone any favours when we play each other," Solskjaer said. 

"Brucey is going to set up a team to win, I'm going to set up a team to try to win, so we're going there - it's a great stadium to play at - and we're looking forward to the game.

"Hopefully we've got many players fresh for Sunday."

Paul Pogba is highly unlikely to play at Newcastle United on Sunday but Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggested he could return to face Premier League rivals Liverpool.

Pogba was absent from the United squad that limped to a goalless draw with AZ in the Europa League on Thursday due to an ongoing foot injury.

He has been left out of the France squad by coach Didier Deschamps, who said the midfielder could be missing for three weeks.

That would leave Pogba a massive doubt for United's key clash with league leaders Liverpool at Old Trafford on October 20.

United are already without Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones and asked if his injured stars could return to face struggling Newcastle this weekend, Solskjaer said: "Probably not, let's see on Saturday morning, probably not.

"There's an international break as well and that might be a time for us to give them 10-14 days extra to be ready for Liverpool."

Thursday's stalemate in the Netherlands saw United fail to record a shot on target, with Solskjaer hoping to have avoided further injuries on an unfamiliar Astroturf surface.

"There's a few backs hurting, it's a hard surface, very hard, hopefully they'll be okay," he added.

"We'll travel home and they'll have a couple of days of recovery and be ready for Newcastle. No excuses whatsoever."

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