Nemanja Matic said he has no problem with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the Manchester United midfielder struggles for game time at Old Trafford.

Matic has found himself out of United's starting XI this season, with the 31-year-old making his first appearance off the bench last week.

An unused substitute in the opening three Premier League matches, Serbia international Matic played the final 22 minutes in United's 1-1 draw at Southampton.

With Solskjaer preferring a central midfield duo of Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay, Matic's future has been thrown into doubt.

Speaking ahead of Serbia's Euro 2020 qualifier against Portugal on Saturday, Matic – who arrived from Chelsea in 2017 – told reporters: "In the first two or three games he determined the team without me.

"I work as hard as I can, we respect the decision, it is mine to show him that he was wrong and to bring me back to where I belong.

"There is no problem. I told him I disagreed with him, but that he had to decide the team."

Matic added: "I have been in football for a long time, I have played almost all the games for all the clubs in the last 10 years.

"In order for me to play, one had to sit on the bench and accept that fact, and so do I now. The coach must opt for the team that will fight for the title, and if he does not win, he bears the responsibility."

Matic is preparing to make his first Serbia appearance since the country's 2-1 win over Montenegro in the UEFA Nationals League in November 2018.

Serbia welcome Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal to Belgrade with the Balkan nation third in Group B, six points behind leaders Ukraine and two clear of Saturday's visitors.

There will also be a new head coach on the sidelines after Ljubisa Tumbakovic replaced Mladen Krstajic, who was sacked after June's 4-1 rout of Lithuania following their 5-0 humiliation against Ukraine.

"We see every success as euphoric, and every failure as a tragedy," Matic said. "We have such a mentality, temperament, it's hard to change that.

"But now let's go to the European Championships. It would be very important for our football, we haven't been there for a long time. Finally, we connect two major competitions."

Harry Maguire wants Manchester United to become more arrogant and imposing on the ball following Saturday's draw with Southampton at St Mary's.

United were forced to settle for a second successive away point after Jannik Vestergaard cancelled out Daniel James' first-half opener.

Kevin Danso's dismissal gifted Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men a numerical advantage for the final 15 minutes but the visitors failed to capitalise on the opportunity.

Their winless run now stands at three matches leading into the international break.

"It's another game we deserved to win," centre-back Maguire told reporters. 

"We created the majority of the chances and we've dropped two points.

"We are playing attacking football but don't get me wrong, we can still improve a lot - especially on the ball.

"We gave the ball away far too much, especially towards the end of the first half and in the second half we need to improve on that and show arrogance on the ball and be confident on the ball.

"We're Man United and we want to control games."

Maguire believes United "did enough" to find a winner amid a series of attempts on goal throughout the closing stages.

Saints goalkeeper Angus Gunn made one particularly smart stop from Marcus Rashford, who was otherwise muted in the absence of injured forward Anthony Martial.

Though he has fired three blanks since the home win over Chelsea on the opening weekend, Solskjaer remains confident England international Rashford can be trusted with key chances. 

"He'll get it. He's getting there," the United boss said.

"We keep on practising them finishes and crosses and if we can build the pressure as we did today I'm sure we'll be okay."

The Premier League table is taking on a familiar look after matchweek four, with undefeated Liverpool and Manchester City setting the pace following comfortable victories.

But there are some unexpected sides among the chasing pack, with Leicester City and Crystal Palace completing the top four after home wins, while Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham sit outside the top six.

At the other end of the table, promoted Aston Villa and Norwich City are struggling to get going and both suffered away defeats, while the division is propped up by last season's FA Cup finalists Watford, who picked up their first point.

A delve into the Opta data on the weekend's action reveals the milestones being passed and records being set as the 2019-20 season unfolds.

FIRMINO REACHES 50 AS REDS MAKE HISTORY

Liverpool's 3-0 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor marked a historic milestone for the Anfield club, who have won 13 league games in a row for the first time in their history.

Those 13 victories have all featured more than one Liverpool goal and the Reds are the first side to achieve that feat since Tottenham's glorious team of 1960.

After Chris Wood's own-goal opened the scoring at Burnley, Sadio Mane doubled Liverpool's lead with his 30th in all competitions since the start of the last season, pulling him level with Mohamed Salah over that time period.

Roberto Firmino's strike 10 minutes from time wrapped up a straightforward victory for the European champions and made him the first Brazilian player to score 50 Premier League goals. He is the ninth player to reach that milestone in the Premier League era for Liverpool, who have more half-centurions than any other club in the division except Manchester United, who have also had nine 50-goal players.

DERBY TURNAROUND DENIES SPURS MUCH-NEEDED AWAY WIN

Tottenham looked on course for their first league win away from home in eight attempts when goals from Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane put Mauricio Pochettino's men 2-0 up over north London rivals Arsenal.

But Alexandre Lacazette pulled one back for the hosts just before half-time and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang drew Arsenal level in the second half to leave Tottenham with a record of two draws and six defeats from their last eight Premier League away games - their longest winless streak on the road since December 2011 to April 2012 (also eight games).

Pochettino's record in away visits to fellow 'big six' opponents is poor, with Spurs having won just three of their 27 such trips since he took over in 2014-15.

Arsenal went behind when Bernd Leno parried the ball to Eriksen's feet - the goalkeeper's sixth error since the start of last season - and Granit Xhaka conceded a penalty for the fifth time since his Premier League debut to allow Kane to make it 2-0.

But Lacazette narrowed the deficit before Aubameyang scored in his seventh successive Premier League start at Emirates Stadium - an Arsenal record bettered only by Thierry Henry, who scored in nine successive starts at Highbury.

AGUERO ONE SHORT OF HOME CENTURY

Sergio Aguero scored twice in Manchester City's 4-0 demolition of Brighton and Hove Albion, taking the Argentinian to 99 Premier League goals at Etihad Stadium.

Only Thierry Henry at Highbury (114) and Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford (101) have scored more goals at a single venue in Premier League history than Aguero, whose second goal was assisted by David Silva.

That came after former Spain playmaker Silva also laid on Kevin De Bruyne's opener, and he has assisted 87 Premier League goals since his City debut in August 2010 - 27 more than any other player.

Bernardo Silva scored the fourth goal as the champions capped a result that leaves Brighton winless in every game they have played away at City, drawing two and losing on eight of their 10 trips.

SOLSKJAER'S SIDE MAKE SLOWEST START IN 27 YEARS

Manchester United roared to a 4-0 win over Chelsea in their season opener but head into the international break with just five points from four games, their lowest total at this stage of a Premier League campaign since 1992-93.

Saturday's subdued 1-1 draw at Southampton extended United's winless run away from home to eight competitive matches, the club's worst in almost five years.

Daniel James, scorer of a sublime opener, continues to be a bright spark and has now netted as many for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side as he did in his final 22 Championship appearances for Swansea City.

But the Wales winger's third of the season was not enough for victory, Jannik Vestergaard forcing a share of the spoils with his first goal for Saints in his 27th league appearance.

Kevin Danso provided the cross for centre-back Vestergaard to equalise, although the Austrian later undid some of that good work by becoming the first Premier League player to be sent off on a home debut since Yannick Sagbo of Hull City in August 2013.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reiterated Manchester United have no intention of selling Paul Pogba to Real Madrid in the closing stages of the transfer window.

Spanish giants Madrid have been strongly linked with Pogba in recent months and have until Monday to finalise their business.

Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has refused to rule out a move for the 26-year-old and, speaking at a news conference on Saturday, said "everything can happen" when asked about any late incoming activity at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Pogba played 90 minutes of Saturday's disappointing 1-1 draw with Southampton to continue his run of starting every game this season, however, and Solskjaer is certain he will remain a United player.

"Paul Pogba will be playing for us," Solskjaer told reporters when Zidane's comments were put to him.

The France international regularly gave the ball away and picked up an injury as United were held to a draw by 10-man Southampton, Daniel James' stunning first-half strike being cancelled out by Jannik Vestergaard just before the hour mark.

Asked about Pogba's underwhelming display, Solskjaer said: "I think we as a team after about half an hour started giving sloppy balls away and Paul was one of them. He wasn't any different to anyone else.

"We as a team didn't play well, but in the last 20 minutes or half an hour he did create loads for us going forward.

"Everyone expects everything from him every game, he has to defend, he has to attack, he has to win headers, he has to dribble past people, he has to make passes. That's just Paul and he'll thrive on that. And he got a bad knock on his ankle.

"He twisted it, I think, but he'll go away and hopefully it's not too bad and he can play for France because I know how much he loves his country and playing for them."

United head into the two-week international break without a win in three matches, having drawn with Wolves and Southampton either side of a home defeat to Crystal Palace.

Despite being a point worse off than at this stage last season when they finished sixth, Solskjaer is remaining optimistic.

"We have a clear plan and we believe in the players and believe in the way we do things," he said. "You can say it's long-term but we deserved to win the last three games as well.

"And the one thing you cannot control in football is results and outcomes. You can control the effort, attitude, what we're doing in training. We're on the right track, we're working and, as I said to the boys, we need to learn to win these games."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Manchester United's form is heading in the right direction despite a third Premier League game without a win.

United were held to a 1-1 draw at Southampton on Saturday, with Jannik Vestergaard's second-half header cancelling out a fabulous 10th-minute opener from Daniel James.

It meant Solskjaer's men ceded a lead for the second away game in succession and were unable to effectively bounce back from the shock 2-1 loss at home to Crystal Palace last weekend.

But, far from denting the opening weekend optimism prompted by a 4-0 thrashing of Chelsea, Solskjaer believes his team's game is in better order overall.

"The strange thing about it is the three games we haven't won were better than the Chelsea one," he told BT Sport.

"Chelsea pressed us and pushed us back. We counter attacked.

"In the other three we have been dominating, creating chances but haven't been clinical enough to win the games.

"We've missed some penalties, we've missed some chances. It's not a dip in form, it's a dip in results."

James' performances have been an undoubted bright spark for United in the opening weeks of the season.

The 21-year-old Wales winger now has three goals in his first four Premier League appearances since joining from Swansea City.

"We know his qualities and coming in off the left he's got a great strike in him," Solskjaer added.

"It's a good goal today and he runs in behind and creates space for other players around him.

"He's really come in and made an impact for us."

Southampton had to weather some pressure after falling behind but grew into the game after half-time and Vestergaard felt they deserved a share of the spoils – having also run Liverpool close in their previous game at St Mary's.

"It's long overdue but I'm happy to final score and help the team. I thought we deserved to get something from this game. We did against Liverpool as well," the centre-back told BT Sport.

"It's nice to get some reward for the hard work.

"They're a quality team but we knew beforehand they probably have more quality in every position. We had to defend them as a team and a unit.

"They scored a beautiful goal but we stuck with it and fought very hard. It's a deserved point."

Southampton were forced to play the final 17 minutes with 10 men after Kevin Danso collected his second booking for a rash challenge on Scott McTominay.

"It's a problem if a defender is booked. Normally I should substitute him, it could be an option for me," Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl told BT Sport.

"He's a young guy and I think did a good job today. The position [left-back] isn't really his best position. It's something you have to learn and he will get that with experience."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reacted to last weekend's loss to Crystal Palace by dropping Jesse Lingard for the Premier League clash with Southampton on Saturday.

England international Lingard makes way as one of three United changes at St Mary's, two of them enforced.

Anthony Martial misses out with a muscle problem and Luke Shaw joins him on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury in the 2-1 defeat to Palace at Old Trafford.

Ashley Young replaces Shaw at left-back, while Andreas Pereira comes into midfield and Juan Mata wins a first start of the season.

United boss Solskjaer has resisted the temptation to include Mason Greenwood in his starting XI, instead naming the teenage attacker on the bench.

Southampton are without the injured Nathan Redmond, who is replaced by Sofiane Boufal.

Romelu Lukaku has hit back at Gary Neville for calling him unprofessional and overweight following the sour end to his two-year stay at Manchester United.

Belgium international Lukaku left Old Trafford for Inter in early August after falling to the fringes of the first team under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The former Chelsea and Everton striker hit 27 competitive goals in his first season with United but the level of his performances tailed off last term amid concerns over his conditioning.

Former captain Neville enthusiastically welcomed his departure, writing "unprofessionalism is contagious" in a social media post referencing Lukaku, who believes the criticism is unjustified.

"Don't question my professionalism," Lukaku told the BBC.

"I live for this game. I am at home all the time. I try to do everything to improve.

"[Neville] can talk about my fitness but he should never say anything about my professionalism, that I don't work hard enough. That is something he cannot say. All the coaches I have had say the same thing about me.

"What did Ole Gunnar Solskjaer say when I was on the training ground? What did he say? That I always work hard and always do my best to try and improve myself.

"Same with Jose Mourinho and Roberto Martinez. Now Antonio Conte will say it."

Lukaku admitted last season was a "bad year" for him but holds no ill towards manager Solskjaer after the pair agreed it was time to part ways.

Negotiations over a proposed move to Inter dragged on until the Serie A side upped their offer to a reported €80million.

"Me and Ole tried to work together but at one point I had to be honest with him. He was also honest with me," the 26-year-old said.

"We found an agreement. I wanted to go. He understood why I wanted to go.

"It is something I will always be grateful to him for. We had a conversation man to man. I told him how I felt and he understood.

"He will always get massive respect from me and massive protection."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed midfielder Fred would stay at the Premier League club.

Fred, 26, has been linked with a move to Serie A outfit Fiorentina just a year after joining United from Shakhtar Donetsk.

However, Solskjaer said the Brazil international was a key part of his squad, insisting Fred would get his chance as the season went on.

"He [Fred] is working hard and at the moment he's just behind Paul [Pogba] and Scott [McTominay] – who has done really well – and Nemanja [Matic], who hasn't been involved," he told reporters.

"August is the most difficult period to manage a big squad because there's only one game a week and everybody's fit because we've had pre-season, and everyone's ready to play.

"In September, October, November – when injuries come – that's when you have most of the games. So, he [Fred] will play plenty of football."

While Fred looks set to stay, there have been changes to United's squad, with Alexis Sanchez joining Inter on loan on Thursday.

Solskjaer admitted the Chilean's exit, and that of Romelu Lukaku – also to Inter – had left him short in the attacking third.

"I said on the way back from tour that we were still looking for one replacement for Romelu if he went," he said.

"We're still one down, but we just didn't get the right one and we didn't get the answer we wanted."

United make the trip to Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.

Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has completed a medical ahead of his proposed loan move to Roma.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed a deal was close on Friday, with Smalling having travelled to Italy to finalise a transfer to the Stadio Olimpico.

Smalling made 24 Premier League appearances last season, though with Harry Maguire's arrival for a record fee, the 29-year-old has been allowed to leave, having not made an appearance so far this campaign.

The move now looks to be nearing completion, with Roma posting pictures of Smalling undergoing his medical on their official Twitter account.

Smalling's departure comes after Alexis Sanchez joined Roma's Serie A rivals Inter on loan, while Matteo Darmian is also set to sign for Parma, though the former Fulham centre-back could still have a future at Old Trafford, according to Solskjaer.

"There haven't been a lot of English players in Italy. I think he'll enjoy the experience and I'm sure he'll come back stronger and better for it," Solskjaer told a news conference earlier on Friday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told Zlatan Ibrahimovic to give him a call if he is serious about returning to Manchester United.

Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals in an impressive first season at United in 2016-17 and said this week he would be happy to re-join the club if given the opportunity.

The departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez have left Solskjaer short of attacking options and Ibrahimovic, who has spent the past year and a half in MLS with LA Galaxy, opened the door for a second spell at Old Trafford.

"I could still play easily in the Premier League," said the 37-year-old. "If United need me, I'm here. But right now ­Galaxy have me and that's what I'm concentrating on."

Solskjaer responded by stating he would be happy to speak to Ibrahimovic - whose time at United was cut short by a serious knee injury - only to then pour cold water on the prospect of a sensational comeback because of concerns over the veteran striker's age. 

"Zlatan had a great time here and he's still doing well," Solskjaer said at Friday's news conference. "It's unfortunate he got his injury here when he did.

"Who knows? He knows my number! If he's serious, I'll always speak to Zlatan."

But further probed about the chances of Ibrahimovic being brought in later this season, Solskjaer added: "I don't think that'll happen. If he was 28 and not 38 [in a month] ... it's a big difference.

"I think he's had his time at the club."

Anthony Martial has been ruled out of Saturday's trip to Southampton with a thigh injury, leaving United with only Marcus Rashford and 17-year-old Mason Greenwood as their recognised centre-forward options.

Solskjaer stands by his decision to offload Lukaku and Sanchez to Inter, however, with the latter's season-long loan move finalised on Thursday.

"I think Alexis needed to go because he's been here for 18 months and it's not really worked out for him," he said. 

"For him as well to restart and get himself playing regularly, get himself scoring goals, that will only benefit everyone in the end.

"For us we are going to watch every weekend now to see Romelu and Alexis playing together."

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed Chris Smalling is set to join Roma on loan with Matteo Darmian likely to follow him to Italy.

After falling out of favour at international and now club level, England centre-back Smalling will seek to rebuild his career in Serie A.

Roma head coach Paulo Fonseca has been on the hunt for a new defender since selling Kostas Manolas to Napoli.

Confirmation of the impending move comes a day after Alexis Sanchez joined Inter but, unlike the Chile international, Smalling could still have a future at Old Trafford.

"It just came up in the last couple of days," Solskjaer said ahead of Saturday's match against Southampton.

"We sat down and discussed it. At the moment we have six fit centre-backs and I couldn't guarantee regular football for Chris. He's on the plane over there.

"There haven't been a lot of English players in Italy. I think he'll enjoy the experience and I'm sure he'll come back stronger and better for it."

Another little-used defender, full-back Darmian, appears poised for a return to his homeland, but Solskjaer ruled out a possible departure for Marcos Rojo.

Neither player has made an appearance in the Premier League this season.

"I can see maybe Matteo [leaving]," the United manager said.

"There has been some interest in Matteo over in Italy.

"Marcos is staying, definitely. We have a squad now less in numbers but certainly big enough and strong enough."

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique believes Harry Maguire can help lead Manchester United back to the top of the Premier League.

Maguire replaced Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk as the world's most expensive defender when he left Leicester City for United before the Premier League transfer window closed.

Not since Alex Ferguson's final season in 2013 have United won the Premier League but former defender Pique backed Maguire to help the Red Devils challenge for silverware.

"It happened before with Van Dijk and before about 10 years ago with Rio Ferdinand [when he joined United from Leeds]," Pique told Express Sport.

"Culturally they invest a lot in good defenders and Harry Maguire is a great defender.

"I hope that they can be at the top again. Manchester United in the last few years they have been fighting to qualify for the Champions League but they have to be trying to win the Premier League.

"I hope with this signing they can return to the top."

United have experienced a mixed start to the 2019-20 campaign in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first full season as manager.

After routing Chelsea 4-0 in their Premier League opener, United drew at Wolves before suffering a shock defeat against visiting Crystal Palace last week.

Pique spent four years at United – where he was in the same squad as Solskjaer – before returning to boyhood club Barcelona in 2008.

The 32-year-old Pique, who won the Premier League and Champions League during his time at Old Trafford, was asked about Solskjaer and he added: "I saw him last year in the Champions League tie and I think he's a great lad and a great guy.

"He is doing a very good job at Manchester United, let's see this season how it goes for him and the team."

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba says racist insults motivate him to inspire change for future generations after he and team-mate Marcus Rashford were subjects of abuse on social media.

Pogba saw a penalty saved by Rui Patricio in Monday's 1-1 Premier League draw with Wolves and racist remarks were subsequently posted online.

United condemned the abuse and pledged to take the "strongest course of action available" ahead of a meeting between the club, Twitter and anti-discriminatory body Kick It Out.

Rashford was then subjected to similar social media discrimination after he too failed to convert a penalty in United's 2-1 home defeat by Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was "lost for words" at the abuse being repeated, but Pogba is using the negativity to push himself and make a difference for younger generations.

The Frenchman wrote on Twitter: "My ancestors and my parents suffered for my generation to be free today, to work, to take the bus, to play football.

"Racist insults are ignorance and can only make me stronger and motivate me to fight for the next generation."

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended Jesse Lingard's poor start to the season, insisting his "energy" is important to the way Manchester United play.

Lingard, 26, struggled in the opening two games against Chelsea and Wolves and was hauled off after 56 minutes in Saturday's dismal 2-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace.

The England international has not scored in the Premier League since Solskjaer's first game in temporary charge against Cardiff City in December, but the United boss is adamant that he will remain an integral part of his side.

When asked if he was concerned by Lingard's form, Solskjaer said: "No. We stick together.

"Jesse's not scored any goals in the last three games, no, but he's been a big part of our team and will continue being an important part.

"The energy he gives us is lively, but we felt Mason [Greenwood] had to come on and create something and we'll see more of Mason."

Alexis Sanchez was once again overlooked amid the possibility of a switch to Serie A side Inter.

Solskjaer concedes the Chile international might well leave Old Trafford but is prepared to use him if he stays.

"Alexis is a quality player and we don't have loads of options," he added. 

"So, if there's an offer good enough for the club and him, maybe he'll go. If not, he's still our player and he's a quality player, no doubt. He's been training well."

Luke Shaw was replaced in the first half by Ashley Young after feeling tightness in his hamstring, although Solskjaer is hopeful he will be fit enough for the trip to Southampton next weekend.

"We will do the scans [Sunday] but he felt something in his hamstring," the manager said. "Hopefully he won't be too bad and will be back for Southampton."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he was "lost for words" after Marcus Rashford suffered racist abuse on social media on Saturday.

Rashford missed a second-half penalty as United suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford - their first loss of the new season.

The Red Devils were trailing to Jordan Ayew's first-half effort when Rashford smashed a spot-kick off the inside of the left-hand post, just five days after Paul Pogba had missed from 12 yards in the 1-1 draw with Wolves.

Pogba was subjected to vile social media abuse after that miss and there were similar posts targeting Rashford after the Palace game.

Solskjaer called on companies such as Twitter to do more to stop abusers "hiding behind fake identities" after Pogba was targeted, and he has again called for action to be taken.

Speaking after the match, Solskjaer said: "It's the same as we spoke about before the weekend: it's unheard of and it needs to stop.

"I'm lost for words. We keep having all these campaigns, and they keep hiding behind fake identities. It's just crazy that we talk about this in 2019."

The abuse was condemned by anti-discrimination body Kick It Out, who tweeted: "This problem will not go away and needs decisive action - that's what we'll be making clear to Twitter when we meet."

United levelled late on through Daniel James only for Patrick van Aanholt to snatch a winner in the third minute of injury time.

Solskjaer's side next face Southampton away from home next Saturday.

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