Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Dean Henderson after the goalkeeper kept another clean sheet as the Red Devils eliminated Milan in the Europa League.

Paul Pogba returned from a 10-game injury absence to lead United into the quarter-finals on Thursday, his goal within three minutes of being introduced at half-time securing a 1-0 win over Milan at San Siro.

Henderson's late error gifted Milan an away goal and 1-1 draw in last week's opening leg in Manchester but the Englishman – deputising in the absence of regular number one David de Gea – redeemed himself in the return fixture, producing a close-range save to thwart Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Vying with De Gea for a starting berth, Henderson has now kept 11 clean sheets in just 18 appearances for United in all competitions this season, one more than the Spanish star has registered in 29 games (10).

"It's a save he should have made last week. It's very similar," Solskjaer said with a smile after being asked about Henderson's confidence.

"No, very pleased for him, of course. Great save. The team is always giving us everything. It starts from the front four with the pressing, really high energy pressing, and then of course the back six and the keeper, we know what they can do.

"Very happy with our defensive foundation. That gives us the platform to go and win games."

United joined Arsenal, Roma, Ajax, Dinamo Zagreb, Slavia Prague, Villarreal and Granada in the Europa League last eight.

The Premier League giants have only lost one of their past 20 knockout-stage matches in the Europa League (W12 D7), a 2-1 defeat to Sevilla in last season's semi-final.

Asked if there is feeling that United can go all the way and claim silverware in 2020-21, Solskjaer replied: "Let's see who we get in the next draw.

"Of course, we're really happy because we've beaten a fantastic, historically fantastic club and a very good team, that is on the way up. "Very pleased with everyone. Of course, we want to go all the way. It was hard to lose in the semi-final last season."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes Paul Pogba can give Manchester United a "big boost for the rest of the season" after he made an instant impact on his return from injury.

Having not featured in United's previous 10 games, Pogba scored within three minutes of coming on as a substitute against Milan in the Europa League, his goal securing a 1-0 victory in the second leg at San Siro.

The result was enough to see the Premier League side progress 2-1 on aggregate, meaning they will be in Friday's quarter-final draw.

Solskjaer was delighted to have the France international available again, particularly as he had been in such outstanding form prior to suffering a thigh problem against Everton in early February.

"We've missed Paul. He's been out for over two months and any team would miss a player like Paul Pogba," Solskjaer told BT Sport.

"He was just getting into his best form. He's very important for us and will give us a big boost for the rest of the season. Today, he made a very, very big difference."

United had conceded a late equaliser in the first leg at Old Trafford, yet this time they held firm to keep a clean sheet against their Italian opponents.

Goalkeeper Dean Henderson produced an excellent save to deny Zlatan Ibrahimovic an equaliser, while Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire excelled in defence for the visitors.

The centre-backs both made five clearances, plus the same number of interceptions each, though Solskjaer was pleased with how the whole team had worked so hard to keep Milan at bay.

"You give yourselves a chance to win games of football [with clean sheets]," the Norwegian said.

"Dean had a fantastic save towards the end, from the big lad (Ibrahimovic). I'm very pleased with everyone and their defending, right from the front.

"Dan James, Mason [Greenwood], Marcus [Rashford] and Bruno [Fernandes] - the front four pressing like they do.

"We always know that the back six – with Scott [McTominay], Fred and the back four – always give everything."

Solskjaer felt United should have had an early penalty following Fikayo Tomori's challenge on James, the referee's decision to refrain from awarding a foul ultimately not costly.

But Solskjaer said it demonstrated just how cup ties can hinge on key decisions.

"You've got to be spot-on in cup competitions. Anything can happen," the United boss said.

"Today, I think it's a penalty on Dan James in the first minute, or five minutes, whatever. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don't. If you get that against you, anything can happen in cup competitions.

"We are through, we're confident and we're looking forward to the draw."

The Red Devils have an FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester City to come at the weekend, their last fixture before the international break.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes success in the Premier League will be the ultimate barometer of whether Manchester United are "back".

The 20-time English champions have not lifted a trophy since Jose Mourinho led them to EFL Cup and Europa League glory in 2016-17.

United are back in Europa League action against Milan at San Siro on Thursday, with a place in the last-16 on the line after a 1-1 draw in last week's home leg.

Solskjaer, who succeeded Mourinho midway through the 2018-19 season, would love to bring silverware back to the club he played for in such decorated fashion.

However, he feels United's position in second place in the Premier League – and as the only team to beat leaders Manchester City in their past 32 matches – stands as the best measure of their progress, irrespective of whether there is an new addition to the Old Trafford trophy room at the end of the campaign.

"I've been here two-and-a-half of those [trophy-less] years now. I felt a big rebuild had to be made," he told a pre-match news conference.

"It's in the league position where you see if there's been any progress. That's the bread and butter of the season. You see how capable you are, coping with ups and downs.

"A cup competition can give you a trophy but sometimes it's more of an ego thing – we've finally won something!

"We need to see progress and if we progress and perform well enough the trophies will end up at the club again.

"But it's not like a trophy will say that we're back. It's about the gradual progression and consistency of being in and around the top of the league.

"Sometimes a cup competition can hide the fact that you're still struggling a little bit."

One United player who is struggling is Anthony Martial, who will be absent as he recovers from the hip injury he suffered during last week's game against Milan.

David de Gea is back in contention following paternity leave, although Dean Henderson has been Solskjaer's first choice for Europa League matches this season.

Edinson Cavani, Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek are all back in contention after returning to training this week, although Solskjaer did not wish to discuss speculation over the future of the latter midfielder after an underwhelming maiden campaign at Old Trafford to date.

"There's always speculation here," he said.

"As we've said they've been involved in the training session, so let's see if there's any reaction or not.

"Donny has been working really hard to get back available for the final stages of the season."

Loanee Diogo Dalot is set to feature once more for Milan against his parent club but Solskjaer insists the Portuguese full-back has a future at United.

"Yeah, the plan was always for Diogo this season to get fit. He never managed to be fit for a long spell when he was here, unfortunately," he explained.

"Now he's kept fit all season. He's playing at a big club with big expectations and a great history. It's been a good year for him.

"He's our player and we're looking forward to getting him back."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to win a trophy this season to demonstrate how Manchester United have made real progress, according to Gary Neville. 

United further enhanced their chances of a top-four finish in the Premier League with a 1-0 win over fifth-placed West Ham on Sunday, courtesy of an own goal from Craig Dawson in the second half. 

The victory, following on from their derby triumph over runaway leaders Manchester City a week earlier, sees Solskjaer's squad sit second in the table. 

However, former Red Devils defender Neville feels finishing as the closest team to Pep Guardiola's title winners is not enough, citing the importance of securing silverware ahead of a potentially pivotal transfer window. 

United have an FA Cup quarter-final at Leicester City coming up, though before then they face Milan in the second leg of a delicately balanced Europa League tie, the teams having drawn 1-1 at Old Trafford last Thursday following a dramatic late equaliser from the Italian side. 

"The FA Cup has become critical to this football club this season. The League Cup and FA Cup has been the starting point for Manchester United teams over the last 15 to 20 years," Neville said on his podcast for Sky Sports. 

"If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is going to be successful at this club, he not only needs to finish second in the Premier League, but he has to win a trophy. That would be seen as real progress. Then you're attracting players next season to try and catch Manchester City. 

"I think it's a brilliant week. Beating Manchester City the way they did, and winning on Sunday.

"If you'd have said to Solskjaer at the start of the week you'll beat Manchester City, beat West Ham and draw 1-1 with Milan, he'd have snapped your hand off. Going into that Manchester derby, they were under real pressure."

As for the fight to finish in the top four in the league, Neville feels the current situation – with Leicester and Chelsea sitting behind the two Manchester clubs – will be the same at the end of the campaign. 

West Ham only sit three points behind Chelsea with a game in hand over their London rivals, while those below them – Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool – have failed to show signs they can put a run of results together to mount a genuine challenge. 

"Leicester are the one team you'd be most nervous about, because they did blow up last season. But I think there's just enough this year," the ex-England international said. 

"I don't see West Ham catching Leicester, and the teams below them are so inconsistent and seem to be all over the place. I'm not sure which one of them is going to put a run together.” 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes to have four or five players back from injury when Manchester United face Milan in the Europa League last-16 second leg on Thursday.

United manager Solskjaer expects forwards Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial to be fit, the former having missed seven of United's last eight matches and the latter having limped out of the 1-1 first-leg draw against Milan with a hip problem.

Donny van de Beek, who has been sidelined since February 22, may also be ready to return, while Paul Pogba – who last played in the 3-3 Premier League draw with Everton on February 6 – could also be back in the squad.

With Marcus Rashford having returned from ankle trouble in the 1-0 Premier League win over West Ham on Sunday and David de Gea now free to return after self-isolating, United could look in much better shape for the return fixture at San Siro, where the tie is poised at 1-1.

"Injury-wise, I hope that we have four or five players back for that game," Solskjaer said after the win over West Ham. "We hope, or it's very likely that Edinson and Anthony are fit. Donny, hopefully as well. Paul even might make the trip. David is back from isolation.

"That's more numbers. Today, we even had two goalkeepers on the bench, so we need them back."

United's hard-fought win over the Hammers, earned through a second-half own goal from Craig Dawson, lifted the Red Devils back into second in the Premier League table.

While they are 14 points behind leaders Manchester City with a game in hand, they now have a nine-point cushion to West Ham in fifth, putting them in a strong position at least for a top-four finish.

Solskjaer was delighted with the attitude his players displayed three days on from conceding an injury-time equaliser to Milan, even if the performance was not quite up to scratch in attack.

"It's been a big week for us. We're starting to build some momentum in the league. We've opened the gap further to West Ham, which was important to us," he said.

"We want to improve on last season. We want to get to a final, we want to move up the table. This week was always going to be massive. The reaction after the late equaliser that Milan scored was really good because you never know how that can affect you.

"It looked like everyone wanted to show what they could do, the first 15, 20 minutes, maybe a little bit too eager, lacked a bit of composure. The attitude was spot on, When we got the composure, we built more and more pressure and momentum.

"We had to readjust a little bit. After 15, 20 minutes, there was a break in play and we just had to get to grips with our composure. We kept firing passes into each other and couldn't find a red shirt whatsoever.

"We've had four clean sheets now [in a row] and that's always the foundation. We want to score goals, we're creating big chances. I feel we're getting back to what we can. It's only a week ago we beat City 2-0, so I don't want to be greedy. Nobody can score four or five goals in every game in the Premier League. You've got to earn it. We always back our players to score enough goals."

Mason Greenwood performed well as the central striker but was unable to end his goal drought, with Lukasz Fabianski making a fine save to deny him in the first half before he smashed a shot off the post in the second.

The 19-year-old has only scored once in 23 league games this season, having managed 10 in just 12 starts in 2019-20, but Solskjaer is not concerned.

"His performance was really good, he deserved a goal," said the United boss. "He's played really well lately. He linked the play well for us, he held it up for us, and he had our two best chances, a great save by Fabianski and unfortunately, he hit the post on the second one.

"He kept creating chances for others as well. I'm very pleased with Mason at the moment."

United have kept four straight clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time under Solskjaer, last doing so in January 2018 when Jose Mourinho was at the helm.

Solskjaer's United have only lost one of their last 23 Premier League games (W14 D8), this after suffering three defeats in their opening six games of the season.

Paris Saint-Germain is homing in on Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba.

Pogba has been linked with a move away from United since his agent Mino Raiola said he had no future at the club in December.

The 27-year-old has been at United since 2016 but struggled for impact over the past two seasons.

 

TOP STORY - POGBA'S PARISIAN PLAY

PSG have made contact with Pogba's agent and placed him on their list of transfer targets, according to Foot Mercato.

The report claims PSG sporting director Leonardo has recently been in touch with Raiola.

The 27-year-old World Cup winner has never played in Ligue 1 in his native France.

ROUND-UP

Manchester United goalkeeper uncertainty persists with the Daily Star claiming the Premier League giants have added Burnley's Nick Pope to their transfer list, although Tottenham are interested too.

- The Sunday Mirror is reporting United are set to offer manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a new deal.

Tottenham are lining up Southampton's Jannik Vestergaard, according to the Sunday Mirror too.

- Football Insider claims that a deal for Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum to go to Barcelona this close season is "95 per cent done".

- Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer is hot property right now and Algerian publication Competition claims Paris Saint-Germain are leading the race for his signature, ahead of Manchester City.

- TeamTalk has reported Arsenal and Everton are interested in Fulham centre-back Ibane Bowat.

Arsenal and Tottenham are both keen on Sheffield United's Sander Berge, according to Jeunes Footeux.

Manchester United are in talks with Eric Bailly over a new contract, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed.

The centre-back, who played in his 100th game in all competitions for the Red Devils as they drew 1-1 with Milan in the Europa League last-16 first leg on Thursday, sees his deal expire next year.

Bailly joined for a reported £30million from Villarreal in 2016, making him the club's first signing under Jose Mourinho, but persistent injury troubles mean he has started just 27 league matches in the past four seasons.

The Ivory Coast international, who turns 27 next month, has largely impressed when called upon this season, with United keeping eight clean sheets and conceding 12 goals in the 15 matches Bailly has played.

Indeed, since his debut in August 2016, United have won 65 per cent of matches with Bailly in the starting line-up compared with 53 per cent without him. They have also averaged more points per game (2.1 compared to 1.8) and fewer goals against (0.8 compared to 1.0).

Solskjaer is expected to pursue the signing of a new central defender in the transfer window but he appears keen to keep Bailly at the club regardless of potential incomings.

"We've started talking to Eric and Eric's representatives," Solskjaer said. "Eric's been keeping fitter for longer and you can see Eric's performances as well. I've been very happy with him.

"His playing style has sometimes made him lose too many games because 100 games is not enough for the period he's been here. He's getting more and more robust, so he's one we're talking to."

United host West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday hoping to build on last weekend's 2-0 derby win at Manchester City, while also moving nine points ahead of David Moyes' side in fifth.

While he accepts the gap to league leaders City is perhaps too big to bridge - Pep Guardiola's men are 14 points clear, having played a game more - Solskjaer is keen to strengthen the grip on second spot.

He is also happy not to have to face in-form Jesse Lingard, who has impressed on loan at the Hammers since his January move but is ineligible to play against his parent club.

Solskjaer said: "For Jesse, it's really worked out; for David [Moyes], it's really worked out. And for us as a club as well, because we know that Jesse's position is a 10 and we've got Bruno [Fernandes] there.

"For me, it was a no-brainer to get Jesse the chance to prove himself and play some football again. He's really been bright for them. He's finding back to himself.

"I think they've been brilliant. We played them in the FA Cup not long ago as well. We went to extra time, it was a tight, even game, he's got players who score goals, creative, defend really well, really difficult on set-plays, and David's done a tremendous job that we know he's capable of.

"We're very happy for him and we know this is a big game for us. It's maybe too far ahead to City, so we need to consolidate our place in the top two or three, hopefully."

United have something of an injury crisis for the match. Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek and Juan Mata may not be fit before the international break in the final two weeks of March, while goalkeeper David de Gea may still need to quarantine for a few more days after returning from Spain following the birth of his daughter.

Forwards Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani are also unlikely to be fit, meaning 18-year-old Amad Diallo, who scored his first goal for the club as a substitute against Milan, could be called upon again.

"It's a big change for him, he's moved over here by himself but he's coming into training every day, he's working really hard, he knows he's got a lot to learn," Solskjaer added.

"He's an exciting talent, of course, but he'll have to get used to the tempo and the quality of the level he's playing at now.

"He didn't play much for Atalanta, either, so we're gradually giving him more and more, but he's been hungry to learn. His appetite in training has been spot on."

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."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer conceded Manchester United fell well short of the standards set against Manchester City at the weekend as Simon Kjaer's late header secured a 1-1 draw for Milan in their Europa League last-16 first leg. 

United were in fine form on Sunday as they brushed aside Premier League leaders City on their own ground, yet the Red Devils were well off the pace against Stefano Pioli's side at Old Trafford on Thursday. 

Amad Diallo became the youngest non-British player to score for United in major European competition (aged 18 years and 243 days), netting with his first ever attempt for the Red Devils in the 50th minute, but Kjaer scored a vital away goal for the Rossoneri deep into stoppage time.

It was the first Europa League goal United have conceded in the 90th minute or later, while they have been eliminated from six of their past eight ties in European competition when they have failed to win the first leg at home, most recently against Barcelona in the 2018-19 Champions League.

United could not complain Milan's leveller was undeserved, though, the visitors having enjoyed 15 shots to their hosts' seven, and Solskjaer could not hide his disappointment.

"I'm very disappointed to concede with one of the last kicks of the ball," he told BT Sport. "That makes it harder, of course, but it was always going to go down to the second game.

"We were a long way [from the performance against City]. Possession-wise, 50-50, we were a bit too slow with the possession, though.

"It's sometimes hard, on the back of a game like we had, but that's the learning we have to get into ourselves. We have to perform every single week because we're playing against good teams and these are definitely a good team."

While Solskjaer accepted a draw was a fair result, Harry Maguire and Daniel James were guilty of shocking misses for United.

"The one with Dan James, second half, it happens at times, you don't connect with the ball as you want to," Solskjaer added. 

"We could have scored one or two more, but they had loads of attempts, especially the header second half [from Rade Krunic], back stick, could have gone in. Probably, a draw is a fair result."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Stefano Pioli have proved critics wrong to earn the right to be at Manchester United and Milan, Massimo Taibi says.

United host the Rossoneri on Thursday in the first leg of the Europa League last 16 in what will be their 11th competitive meeting but the first outside the European Cup or Champions League.

Since they last faced one another in the Champions League last 16 11 years ago, when United won 7-2 on aggregate, each club has fallen far from their previous positions at the top of English and Italian football.

Milan's last Scudetto triumph came in 2011, while United have not won the Premier League since Alex Ferguson's final season in charge in 2012-13.

There have been signs of recovery under Solskjaer and Pioli, however. United are second in the league this term, 11 points behind leaders Manchester City after their 2-0 derby win, while Milan are above champions Juventus in Serie A and only six points behind leaders Inter.

Taibi enjoyed only brief spells as a keeper at each club, with high-profile mistakes leading to rather perfunctory exits, but he went on to make more than 550 club appearances in Italy in a respectable career.

The 51-year-old therefore knows only too well the way the Red Devils and Rossoneri can be magnets for criticism, and he thinks Pioli and Solskjaer deserve immense credit for the work they have done in restoring respectability at two of the world's grandest clubs.

Taibi told Stats Perform News: "If these two managers have managed Milan and United for a while now, it is because they deserve it.

"In football, there are no presents, let alone at such big clubs who are always in the eye of the critics' storm. They very well deserve the clubs they are managing now. They started off in sceptical environments but they proved them wrong with results.

"I spent a few months with Solskjaer and I was impressed how easy it was for him to score, even coming from the bench. I remember they called him the 'angel-faced killer' because he looked like a decent kid but in front of goal was ruthless like a killer.

"I remember he was one of the many people in Manchester who tried to help me settle. Because he was a superb player, a champion who managed to carve out his shining space among Andy Cole, Dwight York and Teddy Sheringham and ended up scoring the winning goal in 1999 final versus Bayern Munich.

"A man who started humble and became great as a player and a manager."

Milan will be without a host of key names for the visit to Old Trafford, including former United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Taibi thinks their true strength lies in their collective endeavour.

He believes Solskjaer has fostered a similar ethos at United, with star names such as Bruno Fernandes lifting a squad of Europa League quality to a higher standing.

"Milan's strength is the collective Pioli managed to create, just like United. In these two squads that are Europa League level, I dare say, there are some individuals who are added value and lift the quality to Champions League level.

"At Milan, you have Ibrahimovic despite being 39 years old, or [Gianluigi] Donnarumma, real world-class players who would play in any club aiming at winning the Champions League.

"The same goes for my ex-colleague, because I played with Solskjaer, who can boast Bruno Fernandes and the great striker [Marcus Rashford] or [David] De Gea, a keeper I like a lot.

"Solskjaer, just like Milan, managed to create a good group with some individual talent that brings that extra bit of quality you sometimes need.

"They are both having great seasons in their respective leagues. United have just won their derby, which is always a nerve-racking game, although I guess City are destined to win the title... just like Inter, I reckon.

"Both Milan and United have started the season to become more solid, to secure Champions League berths, and to me, they are working very well.

Despite some infamous errors against Southampton and Chelsea in his short-lived United career, Taibi still holds the club close to his heart – and even still fits into his old training shirt.

"Of course, watching this match is special for me. I spent two years at Milan and only some months at United but it is not down to length of time, it is about feelings and memories that settled in.

"I still feel a link to Milan and even to United, although I didn't stay long. As you know, you just called me while I was training. And I was training with this 1998 United training kit, the only one big size I have now for my fat belly. All the other shirts don't fit anymore!"

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised the two appointments made by Manchester United in a major restructure at the club.

United installed former player Darren Fletcher as technical director and promoted John Murtough to the new role of football director in an announcement on Wednesday.

Fletcher, who won five Premier League titles as a United player over the course of 12 years, returned to the club as a youth coach in October before being promoted to the first-team setup in January.

He now has a new role in the structure to support Solskjaer, who was pleased to see the former Scotland international moved into a senior position along with Murtough.

"I am very happy we have made this decision and appointment," Solskjaer said ahead of United hosting Milan in the Europa League last-16 first leg.

"I have known John since I came and it is now more of a formal role. He has been working well behind the scenes - he is a cultural fit.

"Very happy with what we have. Continuity and fresh ideas.

"A few months back when we were making a final decision there were other things in pipeline for Fletcher.

"One thing I was sure of was we could not lose Darren. He has got fresh ideas. He has a bright eye for football, a really keen eye.

"Now a little bit less coaching [for him] and more influence on the other side - go speak to players and sell Man United as the club he knows."

Solskjaer was asked about how the changes would affect United's activity in the transfer market at the end of the season.

The United boss added: "It will be an interesting window.

"Of course everyone in world football is affected by the pandemic.

"The process of our recruitment is still going to be the same with new roles. Work we have been doing for years now anyway.

"The communication is very good and we are always looking to add quality to the squad."

A blockbuster tie against Milan will be the 11th meeting between the two teams, but the first to take place outside of the Champions League.

United have been eliminated from four of their five knockout ties with Milan, but go into the contest at Old Trafford on a high after their stunning 2-0 win at Manchester City in Sunday's derby.

Captain Harry Maguire senses a strong belief within the squad amid a gruelling fixture calendar.

"When you win the big games against the top teams it gives us confidence that we know we can beat anyone," he said. "We have felt that for around a year now.

"Of course you are expected to win trophies at this club. It is really important. We are playing for three competitions.

"If I need a rest I will speak to the manager, but I am used to it now. I feel good physically and the more we win the better I will feel mentally. I'll rest when I'm retired!"

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is running out of superlatives to describe Erling Haaland after the Borussia Dortmund striker sent Champions League records tumbling.

Haaland scored twice in Tuesday's last-16 second leg against Sevilla at Signal Iduna Park to help Dortmund through 5-4 on aggregate in a thrilling tie.

In doing so, Haaland became the first player to score twice in four successive matches in the Champions League as he took his tally in the tournament to 20 goals in 14 games.

That is the quickest time a player has reached 20 goals and, at 20 years and 231 days, he is the youngest player to net in six straight games in UEFA's flagship competition.

Another record was also broken as the former Salzburg star ousted Solskjaer as Norway's all-time leading scorer in the competition.

And Solskjaer, who is now in charge of Manchester United, is not surprised the player he formerly managed at Molde is continuing to reach new levels.

"It was just a matter of time before he scored more goals than me in the Champions League," he said at a news conference on Wednesday previewing United's Europa League tie with Milan.

"There are not many more superlatives to use. Whatever I want to say I will say in Norwegian directly to him."

Asked about his own scoring accolades as a player, Solskjaer said: "Unfortunately I can't play football anymore and Erling can only work on improving and keep on scoring.

"My focus is only on improving Man United so I'll gladly give away all my records to improve what I'm doing now.

"Now it’s you're the first manager to do this to win this and my focus is always on improving and getting better." 

Of Haaland's 20 Champions League goals, 15 have been scored with his stronger left foot, four with his right and one via his head, coming from 45 shots in total.

No player has found the net more times than the Norwegian since he made his debut in the competition for Salzburg in September 2019, with Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (19) next on the list and Kylian Mbappe third with 10 goals.

Manchester United will be without Marcus Rashford for the first leg of their Europa League round-of-16 tie against Milan at Old Trafford.

Rashford limped off during the second half of Sunday's 2-0 derby victory over Premier League leaders Manchester City having suffered an ankle injury.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not counting on the England forward for Thursday's showdown and believes he remains a doubt for the weekend visit of West Ham.

"I don't think he will be available," said Solskjaer. "He didn't join in training today.

"I think he is out of [the Milan game] and still a doubt for the weekend."

Rashford has 18 goals in all competitions this season, while his 10 assists are already the most he has managed in a campaign for United.

Although it ultimately had unfortunate consequences, Solskjaer felt the sight of the 23-year-old sprinting back to dispossess City winger Riyad Mahrez when incurring the injury demonstrated his overall value to the Red Devils' cause.

"That 60- or 70-yard recovery run showed the hunger, appetite, desire and humility in the team, so it was worth it, but you never like to lose players to injury," he said.

Edinson Cavani is also a doubt, having sat out the Manchester derby.

Quotes from the Uruguay striker's father emerged this week, suggesting he has decided he does not want to stay at Old Trafford beyond the end of this season and has his heart set on a move to Argentinian giants Boca Juniors.

But Solskjaer was not keen on being dragged into the debate.

"I can't comment on what has been said. I can only say that we are very pleased with Edinson when he is here. Day in and day out," Solskjaer said.

"He is proving his personality, his professionalism. He is really helping the young kids - as we wanted him to.

"He will make his decision. He knows we are very fond of what he has given to the club even if he has played less than he wanted to."

Milan arrive in Manchester with a depleted squad, without the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Hakan Calhanoglu and Theo Hernandez through injury.

It looks like Solskjaer will have to contend with similar selection headaches, after revealing Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw are nursing knocks after their starring roles in the derby victory.

Midfielders Donny van de Beek and Paul Pogba remain sidelined by muscular complaints, while David de Gea is absent once more having returned to Spain for the birth of his child. Dean Henderson is set to continue in goal.

Edinson Cavani's father has claimed his son is unhappy at Manchester United and wants to leave at the end of this season, with Boca Juniors his preferred destination.

Uruguay international Cavani has proved a popular addition to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad this term, scoring seven goals and supplying two assists across 25 appearances in all competitions.

Solskjaer recently said an extened stay at Old Trafford was possible for the 34-year-old, but Cavani's father Luis told TyC Sports that a return to South America could be on the cards.

"My son is not happy in England and wants to return nearer his family. He wants to play in South America.

"I want Edinson to play for a team which fights for important trophies. He has had many conversations with [Boca vice-president Juan Roman] Riquelme and would like to play for Boca.

"At the halfway point of the year, he'd like to return to South America. My son’s idea is not to continue there [in Manchester]. He wants to return.

"I think he's going to come back in June this year."

Cavani Sr cited his son's punishment by the Football Association for using a racially insensitive word in a social media post as a factor in his unhappiness.

Cavani was handed a three-game ban for bringing the game into disrepute by the Football Association (FA), although CONMEBOL and the Uruguayan FA came out in defence of the player.

"There are things which sometimes annoy us as humans, as people. The whole ban issue annoyed him," Luis Cavani added.

"That has been playing on him, sometimes players can't find form either. These things can weigh heavy on you. Sometimes mentally you can get dragged down."

It remains to be seen what impact this development has upon Cavani's future, with Solskjaer having previously stated United were open to taking up an option of a further 12 months with the former Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli star.

"I can only say Edinson has done well," the United manager said. "I've been impressed by him, he's really gelled in the group and we’ll sit down and speak with him in the near future to see his plans and our plans.

"It's a good discussion to have. We always speak to the players, and with his contract situation at the moment we’re very pleased with what he’s done."

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire paid tribute to the "brilliant" job Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is doing as manager, adamant he has overseen an improvement in their fortunes.

Maguire is in his second season at United, having joined in 2019 in a reported £80million deal, making him the most expensive defender of all time.

Solskjaer guided United back into the Champions League last term, though their third-place finish with 66 points was still seen as somewhat underwhelming given the significant amount of money spent on the team and the fact title-winners Liverpool ended up with 99 points.

Although the Red Devils failed to get out of their Champions League group, with Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig going through instead, United do look likely to improve significantly on their haul of 66 points – after 28 Premier League games, they have 54 following the weekend win over leaders Manchester City.

That 2-0 victory probably came too late in the season to do any real damage to City's march towards the title, with Pep Guardiola's men still 11 clear at the summit, but Maguire believes there are clear signs of progress under the Norwegian.

"We have a great relationship," Maguire told UEFA about Solskjaer ahead of Thursday's Europa League last-16 first leg visit of Milan.

"I feel he's done brilliantly – he's cool, calm, but he's also got the side of him where he can turn when he needs to and when the players need a little telling-off.

"We're close. We speak a lot before training, before games. I give my ideas to him and how I feel the group is and the mentality of the group and what we can improve on and where we can go as a club, and he's exactly the same.

"We've definitely improved. I joined two years ago, and people didn't think we'd get in the top four. We got in the top four, and then you start the next season and people don't think you'll get in the top four [again].

"But then when you find yourself, let's say, sitting second in the table, people then say: 'Well, Manchester United should be second in the table; they should be challenging for the top.' So, everything… it's just the demands, the demands, the demands.

"The mentality has changed. We're more consistent now. Obviously, it was disappointing to get knocked out in the Champions League, but we've found ourselves in a position in the Premier League where now we've got to kick on."

United are in the knockout phase of the Europa League for the second successive season – in 2019-20 they made it to the semi-finals but were beaten by Sevilla.

The omens are not great for United this time around, either – they have been eliminated from four of their five knockout ties with Milan, with no team knocking them out of European competitions more often.

Nevertheless, Milan's recent record in the last 16 of European tournaments is poor, being defeated at this stage in six of seven previous occasions they have gone this far into a continental competition.

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