Mikel Arteta must solve Arsenal's defensive issues if the club want to be regularly competing for trophies, according to Robin van Persie.

The Gunners made it through to the last four of the FA Cup on Sunday, defeating Sheffield United 2-1 at Bramall Lane thanks to a stoppage-time winner from substitute Dani Ceballos.

However, the late goal helped overshadow the shoddy defending that had allowed United to draw level in the closing minutes, Sead Kolasinac's weak clearance hitting Shkodran Mustafi to inadvertently set up David McGoldrick.

Arsenal have conceded 41 goals in 31 Premier League games and, while supporting Arteta's appointment, Van Persie feels reinforcements are required to strengthen a long-standing area of weakness.

"What I believe is it is very important for Arsenal and for Mikel to find a way to fix the set pieces," the former Arsenal and Manchester United forward said while speaking alongside Rio Ferdinand on BT Sport.

"Corners, set pieces, crosses, you're always holding your breath and thinking, 'Arsenal might concede'. You fix that with mental toughness.

"It's like when I played with you [Ferdinand] and Vida [Nemanja Vidic], you would die to save the ball. You would put your head first, you would give everything to block the ball.

"That mentality is needed to compete for trophies. To be honest, I don't really see that now and that's not new either, we talked about this before and it was even an issue in my time there.

"You need to find defenders who want to do absolutely everything to block that ball. They should try to find those types of defenders.

"I'm not saying these guys are bad, but there is another level up if you want to win trophies."

David Luiz made his return to action in the FA Cup following his red card in the Premier League defeat at Manchester City.

The Brazilian centre-back played 54 minutes before going off with an ankle injury - Arteta revealed the player will be assessed on Monday in his post-match interview - after signing a new one-year deal this week.

Van Persie, however, is not convinced, suggesting before kick-off he would be attempting to rough up the defender if he was in the opposing team.

"If you play against him, I would go at him, almost try to bully him and to make physical contact with him and move around him, try to tease him a little bit because he is vulnerable," the Dutchman said.

"The first job you have to do is to defend, be solid and be trustworthy. If you have extra, you can dribble, do some nice passes, perfect. But he needs to focus on his job."

Anthony Martial ended Manchester United's seven-year wait for a Premier League hat-trick against Sheffield United.

The France forward struck twice in the first half against Chris Wilder's men before wrapping up the first hat-trick of his career with a fine goal 16 minutes from time.

Martial is the first United player to score three times in a league match since Robin van Persie did so against Aston Villa in 2013.

That 3-0 win, which featured a spectacular Van Persie volley from a raking Wayne Rooney pass, secured the title for the Red Devils in Alex Ferguson's final season in charge.

Since then, United have failed to win the top-flight title, coming closest in 2017-18 under Jose Mourinho when they finished second behind runaway champions Manchester City.

A total of 21 Premier League teams have scored hat-tricks since the start of the 2013-14 season, including Sunderland - who are now in England's third tier - twice.

Martial's hat-trick took him to 19 goals in all competitions in 2019-20, two more than his previous best haul for the club.

May 19, 2013 was the end of an era. After 1,500 matches over nearly 27 years, Alex Ferguson's time as Manchester United drew to an end in fittingly thrilling fashion.

Perhaps it may have been truer to form if United had seen out Ferguson's tenure with a win, but there was something delightfully satisfying and apt about him overseeing a chaotic 5-5 draw to finish off.

Having already said his farewells to the Old Trafford crowd a week earlier after a 2-1 win over Swansea City, urging the supporters to back his successor David Moyes, Ferguson's champions had one last hurdle to overcome before a new era began.

West Brom were their hosts at the Hawthorns in a match that looked like giving the wily Scot a typically emphatic send-off – but the match action proved memorable for entirely different reasons.

'Crazy. Wonderful. Entertaining. Outrageous'

"If I needed a result to epitomise what Manchester United were about it came in game No. 1,500, my last," Ferguson wrote in his autobiography. "West Bromwich Albion 5-5 Manchester United. Crazy. Wonderful. Entertaining. Outrageous. If you were on your way to watch Manchester United, you were in for goals and drama."

Ferguson – who was given a guard of honour by the players and, amusingly, West Brom's huge mascot Baggie Bird – made plenty of changes to his side, though initially there were few signs of disruption, as with six minutes played Shinji Kagawa was the unlikely recipient of an even rarer phenomenon – an accurate cross from Javier Hernandez.

A Jonas Olsson own goal from a drilled Antonio Valencia cross made it 2-0 soon after, before Tom Cleverly fed Alexander Buttner to deliver a rasping finish – their combination highlighting the extent of Ferguson's rotation.

James Morrison pulled one back just before the break, but it was a change made by Steve Clarke at half-time that ultimately proved most decisive, as Romelu Lukaku replaced defender Liam Ridgewell.

The Belgian beat the unimpressive Anders Lindegaard with a tame effort from distance four minutes after coming on, only for Robin van Persie to steer home another Valencia delivery a few moments later and Hernandez tapped in a Ryan Giggs pass to seemingly wrap up the win.

But United's collapse was remarkable. Lukaku raced on to a throughball to beat Lindegaard again with 10 minutes left, before Youssouf Mulumbu finished off a well-worked move to make it 5-4.

Lukaku completed his first career hat-trick when bundling over the line in the 86th minute, and United were fortunate to hold on to a point.

'David Moyes has just resigned'

"I told them, 'Thanks boys. Bloody great send-off you've given me'," Ferguson wrote later that year. "David Moyes had already been named as my successor; as we sat in the dressing room after the match, Ryan Giggs teased: 'David Moyes has just resigned'."

It was the fifth time in Premier League history United had conceded five times or more in a single match, though the previous four occasions had all been defeats.

The thriller was also the highest-scoring draw in an English top-flight match since 1984 when QPR and Newcastle United also shared 10 goals.

Everything about the match was box-office – an own goal, bad goalkeeping, hapless defending, all-out attack and the old managerial master being pegged back by the hopeful young upstart.

Lukaku was 20 years and six days at the time, making him the youngest player to ever score a hat-trick against United – a record he still holds.

Thankfully for United, the Premier League title was already locked away, safe and secure from the 'noisy neighbours' Manchester City. Had it not been, this day would likely be remembered entirely differently.

The legacy

Ferguson's association with United will probably be remembered as the greatest managerial tenure of all time – many would argue that to be the case now, and with the modern sport rarely allowing for such time and trust, it's difficult to see anyone ever replicating such success or longevity with a single club.

Although he managed clubs for 39 years, 70 per cent of his 2,145 official matches in club management were at United, for whom his 895 wins is, unsurprisingly, a record.

The Scot also won 13 top-flight titles in England, more than twice as many as anyone else, while his 1999 Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup treble is yet to be repeated.

Ferguson's successes continue to hold great weight at Old Trafford. That era seems to have prevalence in many of the decisions the club still makes – from appointing a youth-driven Ferguson 'disciple' in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, to refusing to appoint a director of football to oversee transfers.

That final match provided everyone with a final reminder of both the quality and excitement Ferguson brought to English football, and the greatest acknowledgement of his ideals is United are still trying to build around them.

Is that the right move? Only time will tell, but they are still searching for their first league title since the peerless Scot's departure. 

As elite football around the world is placed on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak, FIFA has stepped up to try and fill the void by delving into its World Cup archive.

Using its official YouTube channel, a number of famous World Cup encounters will be replayed in full for the enjoyment of the football-starved faithful.

Saturday's offering was the unforgettable group stage encounter between Spain and Netherlands at Brazil 2014, where the reigning world and European champions were obliterated 5-1 as Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben turned on the style.

We decided to take a trip down memory lane and watch along.

REPEAT OR REVENGE?

Netherlands were granted a swift World Cup reunion with Spain, opening their 2014 campaign against the nation who inflicted extra-time heartache upon them in the 2010 final.

Andres Iniesta's winning goal in Johannesburg stood as the high-watermark of a glorious era – that ultimate triumph flanked by successes at Euro 2008 and Euro 2012.

Vicente del Bosque's team entered Salvador's Fonte Nova Arena having made a strong case for being the greatest international team in history, with few giving Netherlands – under a Manchester United-bound Louis van Gaal much of a chance.

SPAIN'S ILLUSION OF CONTROL

When the reputations of historically significant teams and players are so entrenched, the mind can play tricks.

A sketchy recollection of this match suggested Spain being ahead, in control and toying with their prey until Van Persie's astonishing goal for the ages. Sure, Iniesta, David Silva, Xavi and the rest certainly had their moments, but in hindsight some of the writing was on the wall.

Van Gaal strung his men out in a 3-4-3, with the defensive and midfield blocks operating conservatively but far enough away from goal to prevent Spain's assortment of magicians from entering those pockets of space in the final third where they can do so much damage.

The Dutch also sought to stretch the pitch against a team craving command of central areas. It was a ploy that paid off and also pointed the way for how Antonio Conte's Italy would end Spain's European reign in Paris two years later.

Robben was frustrated by the offside flag a couple of times in the first half but was clearly intent on damaging a Spain backline that could not match him for pace, while Wesley Sneijder drew an excellent early save from Iker Casillas.

Still, Xabi Alonso put Spain ahead from the penalty spot and Jasper Cillessen just managed to keep out a Silva chip – on the end of an Iniesta throughball you'd ideally woo, take to dinner and settle down with  - proved the game's sliding doors moment.

OHHHH, ROBIN VAN PERSIE

If, in that metaphor, Cillessen kept the sliding doors open, Van Persie launched a gleeful swallow dive through them moments later to sensationally equalise.

The Netherlands' leveller is still a goal that looks a little disorientating. Daley Blind's assist came from barely inside the Spain half on the left flank.

The pass was raking but overhit, not that it dissuaded the hero of the hour. Van Persie, back arched, propelled himself towards the ball and somehow managed a stunned contact. Instead of flying 20 rows back into the stand, the ball gently arced over a helpless Casillas.

From that moment and throughout the Oranje's run to the semi-finals, the imaginations of Manchester United fans were collectively fired. Van Gaal and Van Persie together week in, week out. Oh my, the possibilities…

As it happened, Van Persie had signed for Fenerbahce 13 months later as Van Gaal stoically withstood Old Trafford's pleas to "Attack! Attack! Attack!".

ARJEN BEING SERIOUS?

It truly is hard to square the torpor of Van Gaal's United reign with this visceral dismantling of a beleaguered Spain.

If the first half belonged to Van Persie for his moment of ingenuity, the second was all about Robben's high-octane masterclass.

There were shades of Dennis Bergkamp when he took down a more measured Blind pass with the outside of his left boot, checked inside Gerard Pique with his right and slammed past Casillas to give the Netherlands the lead.

With number five, the Bayern Munich winger brought the house down. Sneijder steered a pass from deep in Dutch territory into his direction and it was a case of run Robben, run as the crowd roared, baying for more blood.

After charging beyond the Spain defence, Robben sat Casillas down and then delayed his shot – seemingly for the satisfaction of making the goalkeeping great scramble around on the floor a little more.

Recalling Robben at the peak of his powers is a reminder of how he is one of a small group of players who must sometimes rue existing at the same time as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. At his best he was one of the very, very best.

LOCALS GUFFAW AT COSTA STRUGGLES

Glorious as Spain's whirring, frictionless football was to behold at times, they were a side who sometimes lacked cutting edge. Fernando Torres' powers had waned and they started all of the knockout games at Euro 2012 without a recognised striker.

Diego Costa's muscular forward play inspired Atletico Madrid to a phenomenal 2013-14 LaLiga success and his decision to switch allegiance to Spain from his native Brazil appeared to solve something approaching a problem.

Not that the locals saw it this way, as Costa's every contribution against the Netherlands received howling boos, including his easy tumble over Stefan de Vrij to win the penalty Alonso dispatched.

That was as good as it got for a man still struggling for fitness after limping out of Atleti's Champions League final loss to Real Madrid. One early attempt to capitalise on a Silva pass had an air of Frankenstein's monster.

For those playing retrospective Diego Costa Bingo, he was fortunate the officials missed an attempted headbutt on Bruno Martins Indi before making way to mass mirth. A stop-start international career that stands at 24 appearances and 10 goals has never fully shaken this humiliation.

EVERYONE REMEMBERS THE SPANISH CAPITULATION

No dynasty, even one built upon majestic deeds, can survive an ordeal such as that wrought by Robben, Van Persie and the rest.

Casillas found himself caught out under the ball when De Vrij bundled in Sneijder's free-kick for the Dutch's third and another error presented Van Persie, who also rattled the crossbar, with his second.

A personal recovery from Spain's all-time record appearance-maker prevented further punishments, with a stupendous double save thwarting substitute Georginio Wijnaldum and Robben on the volley as the game ended in waves of Dutch attacks and oles from their supporters.

Del Bosque's man staggered punch into another evisceration at the hands of Marcelo Bielsa's Chile and their World Cup defence was over in two matches.

Alonso, Xavi and David Villa all bade farewell to international football after the tournament. The latter briefly returned, while Spain have shed Casillas, Pique, Silva, Iniesta and other members of their golden generation since.

Limp exits at Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup suggest scars of Salvador are yet to leave their collective consciousness.

Robin van Persie has encouraged Paul Pogba and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to clarify their plans for Manchester United with a joint interview.

Questions over Pogba's future have been a troublesome undercurrent to an inconsistent season for United and Solskjaer.

The midfielder has been persistently linked with a return to Juventus or a move to Real Madrid, while agent Mino Raiola has encouraged the speculation with comments in the press suggesting a move would be in the player's best interests.

Matters reached a head when Raiola launched a social media tirade against Solskjaer after being criticised by the United manager, although he later moved to reduce tensions by offering to "reach out" to the Norwegian and suggesting Pogba could sign a new contract.

Pogba's injury problems have not helped the uncertainty over his plans – the France star has played only eight times in all competitions this season due to ankle problems, and Solskjaer stated last week that he was "nowhere near" a return.

Former United star Van Persie thinks Pogba's prolonged absence has only exacerbated the rumours about whether he will stay at the club, and he wants the player to go public to make his clear whether he is happy at Old Trafford.

The ex-Netherlands forward also thinks Pogba should state what he considers to be his best position, as Van Persie believes there has been unjust criticism of the 26-year-old, who has played in different midfield roles since returning to United in 2016.

"It's very difficult. With Pogba, it's an interesting situation," Van Persie, speaking courtesy of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, told Stats Perform.

"Pogba, in my opinion, is a world-class player, he has proven it over the years. He has it all.

"But first, I think with him, and that's after a couple of years now, I think he should come out and he should say what his favourite position is. If that's done, then people can judge him based on this position. Now, I don't think people really know if he's a six, if he's a number 10... that's a big difference.

"I have the feeling people judge him a bit unfairly. They expect 20 goals, they expect 20 assists, they expect Pogba to make Manchester United champions. But, is he a six? If he's a six, then you cannot expect 20 goals. If he's a 10, maybe 12 to 15 goals. So, it's not really fair on him because it's not really clear.

"Then, you have the second subject: is he happy there? There's constantly rumours, you have the agent constantly giving interviews, you have the coach answering questions almost every day, every week. There's a lot going on beside the main event, and the most important thing is football.

"I know how it works, especially if you're injured. People can't judge you on your game, so they start to talk about other things.

"I think for Pogba, and Manchester, it would be best to… I don't know, do an interview together or something, together with the coach, and just say, 'Listen: this is what I want, this is where I would like to play – judge me on that. I'm happy, or I'm not happy, or whatever'. Now, it's a lot of questions going around."

United face Club Brugge in the Europa League last-32 second leg at Old Trafford on Thursday, having drawn 1-1 in the first leg.

An obsession with tactics, team spirit and an Arsenal Christmas dinner helped convince Robin van Persie that Mikel Arteta would become a head coach.

Arteta was appointed Arsenal boss in December after the Gunners had endured a wretched final few weeks under Unai Emery and interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg, in which they won just one of 13 matches in all competitions.

The Spaniard has already had an impact on Arsenal's fortunes. They have not lost a match since a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Emirates Stadium on December 29 and claimed three consecutive victories last week over Newcastle United, Olympiacos and Everton.

Van Persie played with Arteta in 2011-12 before the former striker left for Manchester United, but that single season was enough to convince the former Netherlands star that his team-mate was a manager in the making.

Van Persie, speaking courtesy of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, told Stats Perform: "Yes, I did [see Arteta becoming a manager].

"I played with him, if I'm correct, for one year. I was the captain for that year; he was our vice-captain. He was constantly talking about tactics, how we should play. He was really good in that way.

"He was a very good player, but he was constantly busy with the team, busy with the atmosphere, the whole team spirit thing was important to him. He invited all of us to his house for a Christmas dinner! He was already then acting like a coach."

Arteta spent three seasons as assistant to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City after retiring from playing in 2016, and Van Persie does not believe he could have had better preparation for the Arsenal job.

"What I like about Mikel is that now, being a coach at Arsenal, a big plus is that he worked with Pep for a few years," he said. "There is no better college.

"He has been learning from Pep in the last three years as a coach, he played for Everton, he played for Arsenal, he had a nice career, and then had three years with Pep. That gives him an advantage as a coach.

"With him, you have the feeling that, if you look at Arsenal now, it's going somewhere. He needs time, obviously, to bring his philosophy to the club. He comes across very well in interviews, before and after the game, and I think the Arsenal fans and everyone listening to him has the feeling that he's going places."

Arsenal host Olympiacos in the second leg of their Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday, holding a 1-0 lead from the first leg in Greece.

Robin van Persie described Bruno Fernandes as "a joy to watch" despite the midfielder playing just 15 minutes of Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Club Brugge.

An away goal from Anthony Martial cancelled out Emmanuel Bonaventure Dennis' opener in Belgium to give United a slight edge in the Europa League last-32 tie.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made six changes to his starting line-up from the 2-0 Premier League win at Chelsea just three days ago, with January signing Fernandes one of those to drop to the bench.

United's midfield looked laboured in tricky conditions until Fred came on for Andreas Pereira after 71 minutes, and once Fernandes was introduced for Diogo Dalot 10 minutes later, the Red Devils suddenly had the game under control.

Despite playing just nine minutes of the 90 and six of stoppage time, Fernandes attempted more shots (four) than any of his team-mates while completing 100 per cent of his passes.

Former United striker Van Persie was particularly impressed with the Portugal international, who joined from Sporting CP last month for an initial €55million fee.

"He was unbelievable," Van Persie said in his role as a pundit on BT Sport. "With top players, you can tell straight away that he has something. He was silky on the ball and a joy to watch."

United went behind when Simon Mignolet's goal kick ran through to Dennis, who beat Dalot and Brandon Williams to the ball before lobbing Sergio Romero, who had rushed far from his goal.

Brugge gifted United their equaliser, though, with Brandon Mechele hesitating after Maxim De Cuyper's throw-in, allowing Martial to surge forward and score his 14th goal of the season.

Juan Mata was frustrated not to win the match but accepted United did not do enough early in the contest.

"We wanted to win," he told MUTV. "In the second half, we pressed better and we played more time in their half and had chances to maybe score the second.

"But they started well. They play good with the ball and they defend very compact without the ball, they put a lot of bodies in the back and we couldn't find the spaces in the first half.

"They scored a goal we shouldn't concede; we scored a goal from their mistake. We wanted to win. Obviously, 1-1 is not a very bad result, but we wanted to win."

Manchester United cannot keep changing their manager and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be given time to prove his worth, according to Robin van Persie.

Van Persie and Solskjaer had a public feud last month when the Dutchman urged the United boss to show more anger after a defeat to Arsenal.

Solskjaer did not take kindly to the suggestion, saying while Van Persie took his famous number 20 shirt at Old Trafford, he had no right to criticise his managerial style, vowing not to change.

But despite that spat and the club sitting seventh in the Premier League, the ex-United forward feels constant managerial changes are not beneficial.

If Solskjaer is United's man, Van Persie says they simply have to give him time.

"Especially after Alex Ferguson left, everyone realised that it would be tough to stick to that level that Ferguson achieved for all of those years," Van Persie, speaking courtesy of Enterprise rent-a-car, told Omnisport.

"I think everyone could see that. Now [David] Moyes has been there, [Louis] van Gaal, [Jose] Mourinho and Solskjaer. 

"Ferguson took time to adjust and get to a certain level. I don't think that it's ideal for the club to keep changing the manager every one or two years. 

"If you go for Solskjaer, go for him and give him time, that is what I think because the club needs to find some stability."

United had an encouraging 2-0 win at Chelsea on Monday, putting them within three points of the top four in the Premier League.

Van Persie was impressed by the display but feels a lack of consistency is holding United back against elite competition in the form of Liverpool and Manchester City.

"Now they win against Chelsea and to be fair they had a good game," added Van Persie.

"But you never know what's going to happen in the next few games. It's not consistent enough to be able to really play for the trophies. 

"It is difficult because you have to compete against Liverpool, who are unbelievable and Manchester City, who are brilliant. 

"Manchester City are not on the same level this year, but based on the last couple of years, they and Liverpool have been unbelievable. 

"That is the level United have to go to, that is consistency, and that is the hardest thing in football because the league is tough. 

"Even if you play against teams like Burnley away, teams like that are really difficult to get points against. You have to get everything right and that is a big challenge to get that consistency."

With United bidding to get back into the Champions League through a top-four finish, the Europa League gives them another avenue to the continent's elite club competition.

Solskjaer's men play Club Brugge in Belgium on Thursday in the first leg of their last-32 tie, with Van Persie seeing Ajax as the biggest rivals to United and Arsenal, another of his former teams.

"Arsenal and Manchester surely are the favourites to win," he said. 

"Ajax were knocked out of the Champions League in a harsh manner. That is also part of the game, unfortunately. They also have a chance at winning the Europa League and have a very good squad too.

"In the Europa League, Premier League clubs tend to field a mix of players up until the knockout phase. From this point on, they tend to use their best 11. Up until now it's been a mix between first-team players and substitutes. 

"I think they are in it to win it. That is the way they should prepare because it is a great title that is up for grabs."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sprung to his own defence on Friday when Robin van Persie criticised the Manchester United manager's touchline demeanour.

The Dutchman, who took Solskjaer's number 20 shirt at Old Trafford, suggested the United boss smiled too often and sometimes needed to "just be angry".

Saturday's FA Cup third-round tie at Wolves – who ended United's participation in last season's competition – represented the latest opportunity for Solskjaer to show his emotional range. So, how did the Norwegian fare at Molineux?

Here is a breakdown of how Solskjaer reacted as the 'action' unfolded...

 

13' – GRIMACING: Romero to the rescue

The first clear-cut chance of the game fell to Matt Doherty, whose effort on the volley forced a superb reaction save from Sergio Romero. It really ought to have been 1-0 to Wolves, leaving Solskjaer shuffling a little uncomfortably in his seat.

30' – QUIZZICAL: VAR says no penalty

Solskjaer was somewhat bemused when United saw appeals for a penalty waved away on the half-hour mark. Leander Dendoncker got himself into all sorts of trouble and appeared to bring down Brandon Williams, but referee Paul Tierney was unmoved, and VAR backed him up.

45' – FROWNING: Goalless at the break 

Having failed to hit a shot on target in an underwhelming first half, Solskjaer looked less than impressed when the half-time whistle blew. This, conversely, might have pleased Van Persie.

49' – WORRIED: Romero laid low

Romero went down clutching his left leg early in the second half and Solskjaer wore a look of concern which eventually gave way to calm as the Argentine was able to continue, denying Neto soon after being treated.

57' – RUEFUL: Mata goes close

Juan Mata's free-kick completely wrong-footed John Ruddy but just curled past the Wolves goalkeeper's right-hand upright, with Solskjaer ​– hands plunged into his pockets – biting his bottom lip as he turned away in disappointment. 

67' – CONTEMPLATIVE: Changes on the way

As United's ninth shot of the match flew off target to leave Ruddy still untroubled, Solskjaer readied some reinforcements from the bench in the shape of Marcus Rashford and Fred, with still no sign of the 46-year-old's trademark grin.

69' – DISAPPOINTED: Rashford hits the bar

In his playing days, Solskjaer was the epitome of an impact sub and Rashford very nearly paid a fitting tribute to his boss when he sized up an excellent opening within moments of coming on. However, the England forward delayed his strike too long and it was deflected onto the top of the crossbar. 

76' – RELIEF: D'oh-erty!

Doherty nodded in from six yards, but the hosts' celebrations were cut short as the Irishman had headed the ball into his arm, affording Solskjaer some welcome relief.

90' – UNDERWHELMED: Second best but in the hat

Having once again failed to mastermind a win against Wolves – this time not even finding the target – the only smile from Solskjaer at full-time was to greet opposite number Nuno Espirito Santo, and you cannot criticise a man for observing social niceties.  

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hit back at criticism from Robin van Persie, insisting the Dutchman "doesn't have a right" to question his methods.

Working for BT Sport for United's 2-0 loss to Arsenal on New Year's Day, Van Persie questioned Solskjaer's demeanour in the aftermath of such a disappointing result at Emirates Stadium.

"I would like to see him a bit more mean at times, just be angry," the former United forward - who was signed from Arsenal - said. "I see him smiling now after a game like that. This is not the moment to smile."

Yet Solskjaer made clear he was not impressed by the comments on the eve of his team's FA Cup tie away at Wolves.

"I don't know Robin and Robin doesn't know me," a defiant Solskjaer told the media. "He probably doesn't have a right to criticise my management style and I won't change. That's definite.

"Yeah Robin, he took my No.20 [shirt at United] and that's probably all he's going to take from me as well."

United sit in fifth place in the Premier League table, but missed the chance to close the gap on Chelsea as they continue to struggle for consistency.

Their cause will not be aided at the start of 2020 by the absence of midfielder Paul Pogba, who is expected to be out for three to four weeks with a new ankle injury. Solskjaer revealed the issue was bone fragments, explaining: "It's not a big, massive injury."

The Norwegian also responded to comments made by the player's agent, Mino Raiola, over the Frenchman's long-term future at Old Trafford.

Asked if agents should be offering their opinions on the state of clubs, Solskjaer replied: "No."

He added: "I don't think I should be talking to agents or about agents that talk about us, but Paul Pogba is our player and agents are hired by players, not the opposite way around. What me and Paul Pogba are talking about, I don't have to talk to you about. That will be between us."

With Pogba joining Scott McTominay on the sidelines, Nemanja Matic is not only set to stay during the January transfer window but could yet extend his time at the club beyond the 2019-20 season.

"Nemanja will stay. He's been working hard to get back in and now he's here and he’s playing well," said Solskjaer, who added "there's always a chance" of the Serbia international getting a new contract.

Robin van Persie wants to see Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer become "a bit more mean" after the loss to Arsenal.

United were beaten 2-0 at Emirates Stadium on Wednesday and are five points behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the Premier League table.

Van Persie, who starred for both United and Arsenal, was unhappy with Solskjaer's reaction to the defeat.

"When I listen to Ole, he sounds like a really nice guy," the Dutchman told BT Sport.

"I would like to see him a bit more mean at times, just be angry.

"I see him smiling now after a game like that. This is not the moment to smile."

United have endured an inconsistent campaign so far, winning eight of 21 league games while drawing seven and losing six.

Van Persie said United's players needed to know there would be punishment for not performing.

"They need a game plan and a bit of fear for the coach," he said.

"You know if you don't make those runs or make that pass, you will be punished and you won't play the next game."

Patrice Evra accused Arsenal of being weak-willed "babies" following their 1-0 loss to Sheffield United on Monday.

Lys Mousset's first-half goal punished Nicolas Pepe's earlier close-range miss and condemned the Gunners to a second defeat in nine Premier League games.

Unai Emery claimed his side did not deserve to lose but former Manchester United defender Evra disagreed and attacked the team's character.

In an appearance on Sky Sports, the retired left-back claimed the club's shortcomings were ingrained and became clear to Robin van Persie following his move from Arsenal to Old Trafford in 2012.

"I used to call them 'my babies' 10 years ago and they are still, when I look at them, my babies. That's the truth," Evra said.

"I'm not being disrespectful when I say that. It's just the feeling I get from this team. They look pretty, they look good, but they don't look like a winning team. They just play good football.

"I was so happy to play against Arsenal because I knew I was going to win.

"Even when Robin van Persie came, the first day I shook his hand and said 'welcome to a man's club'.

"At the beginning he was upset but after one month he said 'you're completely right, Patrice'. That's my feeling. [Matteo] Guendouzi is a player who was playing in the French second league - and he was even not playing regularly - and he's the best player in this team.

"I know some legends are fuming when they see [Granit] Xhaka is captain of Arsenal.

"I respect [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, [Alexandre] Lacazette, but you see if those guys don't score, they're in trouble. Nothing has changed."

Arsenal lie fifth in the Premier League, two points adrift of the Champions League places.

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