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."

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.

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."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists his Manchester United side are on the right track despite another underwhelming result.

United drew 0-0 with AZ in the Europa League on Thursday, following on from a frustrating display in a dismal home draw with Arsenal on Monday.

Solskjaer was left fuming with the referee's failure to award Marcus Rashford a penalty in the second half, while a late injury to substitute Jesse Lingard further compounded the visitors' frustrations.

However, Solskjaer remained upbeat, stating his belief that United can consider the draw a well-earned point rather than two dropped, adding better results, and big moments, will follow if United maintain their current level of performance.

"Very happy with the boys," Solskjaer told a news conference.

"We came away with a good performance, it should have been three points of course because it's a nailed-on penalty. You can't even discuss it.

"[AZ] are a team who have beaten Feyenoord 3-0 away from home. This is a good performance and a good point against a good opponent on a bad surface.

"I couldn’t believe what I saw [with not getting a penalty], same as Arsenal with the handball.

"It's frustrating getting these little things. The boys deserve so much more. It's going to turn at one point and we'll get the decisions and then they'll get the results we deserve.

"If you get your draws away from home and win the home games, you'll be fine."

Solskjaer also confirmed Lingard, who was taken off in the first minute of stoppage time after pulling up with a hamstring injury, will miss Sunday's trip to Newcastle United in the Premier League, furthering United's injury woes, with Paul Pogba ruled out and Anthony Martial also doubtful.

"He tweaked his hamstring, so he didn't feel like he could risk it. But hopefully it's not too bad," Solskjaer added.

"Probably not Newcastle, but [he should] be ready for Liverpool [on October 20]."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt Marcus Rashford clearly should have been awarded a penalty during the 0-0 Europa League draw against AZ.

In a game of few chances at the Cars Jeans Stadion, United substitute Rashford went to ground under a clumsy challenge from Stijn Wuytens during the closing stages.

After the match, Solskjaer bemoaned a familiar theme of a sapping week – recalling how claims for handball in the box against Arsenal defender Sead Kolasinac similarly fell on deaf ears during Monday's 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

"It's a penalty 101 times out of a 100," Solskjaer told BT Sport.

"How many times this season have we not got penalties? Against Arsenal that would be 2-0, tonight would have been 1-0.

"It would have topped off a very good performance away from home against a very good team. We've come here and should have won."

United goalkeeper David de Gea repelled their Eredivisie opponents with a couple of sharp saves and reported Rashford was convinced he should have been awarded a spot kick.

"From my position it's really difficult to see that," he said.

"We asked Marcus and he said 100 per cent it's a penalty.

"I didn’t see well from my position but it's probably a penalty."

As it was, United did not manage a shot on target during the contest, but they have four points from two outings in the Europa League and Solskjaer was keen to focus on the positives.

One of those was an assured full debut from 19-year-old left-back Brandon Williams.

"Top class. You don’t see a better full debut from a full-back anywhere," Solskjaer added.

"The boy is just going to improve and improve."

Manchester United's injury problems increased as Jesse Lingard was forced off with a hamstring issue in the Europa League draw against AZ.

Lingard, who missed out on a call-up to Gareth Southgate's England squad on Thursday, came on as a 77th-minute substitute in the goalless stalemate, replacing Mason Greenwood.

However, his cameo lasted just 14 minutes before he had to be withdrawn after pulling up, with the midfielder clutching his right hamstring as United ended the match with 10 men.

The injury compounds another frustrating performance for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, who were already shorn of Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial.

"I think [Lingard] just felt his hamstring there. It's not nice, but that's what it is," Solskjaer told BT Sport.

Marcus Rashford – who returned from a short injury lay-off against Arsenal on Monday – also came on as a substitute and was unfortunate not to win a penalty, with referee Gediminas Mazeika dismissing United's seemingly valid appeals.

It now seemss unlikely Lingard will be available for selection on Sunday, as United aim to end a seven-match winless streak in away league fixtures at Newcastle United.

Manchester United's struggles in front of goal continued as they laboured to a 0-0 Europa League draw away to AZ.

Half-chances before the break for youngsters Mason Greenwood and Angel Gomes were the best Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men could muster as their high-flying Eredivisie opponents brought most of the attacking creativity to the contest.

Playing on the artificial pitch of the Hague's Cars Jeans Stadion due to roof damage their AFAS Stadion in Alkmaar, AZ were unfortunate to find David de Gea in assured form.

United should have had a late chance to steal victory when referee Gediminas Mazeika waved away a strong penalty appeal from Marcus Rashford, but the stalemate remained intact.

Myron Boadu headed home Fredrik Midtsjo's 11th-minute cross but was correctly flagged offside before David de Gea sharply kept out Oussama Idrissi's drive.

It amounted to a familiarly listless opening from Solskjaer's men, although they almost led as the half hour approached when veteran defender Ron Vlaar made a vital block to deny Greenwood from Daniel James' cutback.

Diogo Dalot lost Boadu in the 32nd minute, with the AZ striker unable to contort himself and head effectively goalwards.

There was better work from Dalot shortly afterwards when Gomes' shot from his teasing right-wing cross was blocked.

AZ resumed on the front foot, firing balls into the United box and seeing a couple of penalty shouts against Dalot and full debutant Brandon Williams waved away.

Solskjaer introduced Rashford for James after the hour but the hosts continued to look most likely to breakthrough as De Gea pawed away a swerving Owen Wijndal drive.

Idrissi fizzed a half-volley narrowly wide from Boadu's lay-off and saw De Gea fist a powerful 77th-minute shot to safety.

The lack of VAR spared Stijn Wuytens when he clumsily challenged Rashford, while fellow substitute Jesse Lingard endured a painful end to the game the day he was dropped by England – lashing a good chance wide before pulling up with an apparent hamstring injury.


What does it mean? Same old story for United

Solskjaer's commitment to giving youth its head is admirable but whatever configuration he throws out, United simply do not score enough goals or look like doing so. Since the rousing 3-1 victory at Paris Saint-Germain that sealed the job on a full-time basis for the Old Trafford hero, his side have neither won nor scored more than once in any away game. They failed to register a single effort on target here.

Dave saves

Manchester United's number one has seen his once peerless reputation take a battering over the past year, with a series of high-profile mistakes staining his body of work. But in difficult conditions operating behind a confidence-shorn team, De Gea's handling was sure and his shot-stopping sharp. United would have lost without him.

Dread the Fred

When it starts to feel surreal that United have such a thin, uneven and flawed squad despite spending so much money, you can remind yourself Fred cost £52million. The artificial playing surface hindered both sides to an extent. The Brazilian midfielder sometimes looked like he was trying to pass a football on the surface of the moon.

What's next

United must try and win a first Premier League away game since February when they travel to struggling Newcastle United on Sunday, when AZ will pursue a fifth consecutive Eredivisie victory at Willem II.

Paul Pogba is a serious doubt to be fit for Manchester United's date with Liverpool on October 20 after Didier Deschamps claimed the midfielder will be sidelined for another three weeks.

World Cup winner Pogba returned after a month out with an ankle injury in an EFL Cup tie against Rochdale last week and was involved in the 1-1 draw versus Arsenal on Monday, but United left him out of their squad for Thursday's Europa League clash with AZ.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described the issue as requiring "further treatment and rest" but Deschamps has suggested it is a "new" concern that could rule him out for close to another month.

Pogba has not been included in the France squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Iceland and Turkey.

"It's a new worry with his ankle," Les Bleus coach Deschamps said on Friday.

"He played in the [EFL] Cup, he played again on Monday against Arsenal. He again has a problem that's going to keep him out of action for three weeks.

"I'd prefer he was there like all the available players but unfortunately he isn’t in a physical state to be present."

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