Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Anthony Martial to reach 20 goals for Manchester United this season but wants the striker to toughen up.

Martial scored for the 14th time in all competitions on Thursday to earn a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Europa League last-32 tie with Club Brugge.

That goal came just three days after the forward's expert header put United ahead in their 2-0 Premier League win over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

No United player has reached 20 in a single campaign since Romelu Lukaku in 2017-18 and, although Marcus Rashford is on 19 for 2019-20, his back injury is likely to see him miss almost all of the rest of the season.

Solskjaer thinks Martial is showing signs of getting used to playing as a centre-forward after time spent as a winger, and he expects to see the 24-year-old keep up his form.

"I think Anthony can step up and get a few more and get to the 20-mark, definitely," Solskjaer said.

"He's got quality, of course. He's a very good finisher, he takes his chances really well, good technique in his finishing, and he's good receiving the ball at times, dropping off, he can play almost like a false nine at times.

"Sometimes, I'd like him to be stronger physically."

Describing Martial's header against Chelsea as "a 1980s centre-forward goal", Solskjaer added: "I'm encouraged by his attitude this season as well, wanting to do those things that are not natural to him. But you've got to make him a number nine again after playing wide for so many years. Marcus and Anthony have played wide until the last 12 months, really."

Solskjaer wants to see a more clinical United against Watford on Sunday, having been deeply disappointed with the performance of his players in a 2-0 defeat at Vicarage Road in December.

The United boss hopes January arrivals Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo – who spent three years with Watford – will add a greater cutting edge to his side.

"That was a very disappointing game. We should have won that one. We gifted them the two goals and we had chances to pull away ourselves, but you can't win games if you don't take your chances," he said.

"I feel that with Bruno coming in, with Odion coming in, we'll get more goals. That's been lacking in the games we've lost: West Ham, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, we've had chances and not taken them. You can see that Bruno gives us another dimension."

United could be boosted by the return of Scott McTominay at Old Trafford, the midfielder having been sidelined since December 26 with a knee injury.

"I think he might be in the squad," Solskjaer said.

"I'm not surprised [by his quick return] because that's the type he is. He's a physical specimen, he's a leader, he never shirks a tackle and he brings everyone with him. And he can sit with Nemanja [Matic] or Fred or be one of the runners in midfield.

"We were talking here today how we don't have enough runs past the striker. He used to be a striker, so he's used to being in the box."

Thursday's draw in Brugge was another match where Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes were not involved, the youngsters instead having played in a youth game.

The future of the pair is unclear as they enter the final stages of their United contracts, but Solskjaer appears keen for them to stay.

"We're still in talks with them," he said. "Tahith scored today. He'd rather play a game than sit in the stands here, so it's making sure he's ready when he gets a chance. He played really well against Wolves in the FA Cup.

"The boys have got great attitude, they're absolutely top-class boys and we're doing what we can to keep them. In a few years, you can see them being very, very good players."

Scott McTominay took part in team training on Wednesday as Manchester United prepare to face Club Brugge in the Europa League.

The midfielder has been out of action since damaging knee ligaments in the 4-1 Premier League win over Newcastle United on December 26.

The 23-year-old was involved in the open session at the Aon Training Complex as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side prepared for their visit to Belgium.

Victor Lindelof was also present after sitting out Monday's 2-0 win over Chelsea due to illness, while Axel Tuanzebe, who has not featured since December, was also involved.

On-loan striker Odion Igahlo took part, but youngster Mason Greenwood was missing.

Solskjaer also brought 18-year-old Connor Stanley into the session, the winger having not travelled with the rest of the squad for a youth friendly against Club Brugge.

United face Brugge in the first leg of the Europa League last-32 tie on Thursday before hosting the Belgian side at Old Trafford a week later.

Paul Pogba has had his ankle cast removed as he steps up his attempt to return from injury for Manchester United.

The France international has only started one Premier League match since August in a campaign heavily interrupted by his fitness woes.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was unable to put a timescale on Pogba's return to action ahead of Wednesday's derby against Manchester City in the EFL Cup.

But Solskjaer reported Pogba has made a key step in his recovery following surgery, as has fellow midfielder Scott McTominay, who is no longer wearing a knee brace.

"It's hard to put timescales on long-term injuries because they also need the training before [being] injury-free and need to be fitter," Solskjaer told reporters.

"Paul's had his cast off and Scott took his brace off so at least they can now start doing some work on the grass."

Reports have suggested Pogba and McTominay are both targeting injury returns after the mid-season break, with United to play Chelsea on February 17 after a 16-day stint without a game.

After suffering a small issue in United's 6-0 FA Cup win over Tranmere Rovers on Sunday, Nemanja Matic is in a race to be fit for the EFL clash with rivals City, who lead the tie 3-1 after a win at Old Trafford this month.

Solskjaer added: "Just Nemanja got a slight problem, so he had to come off at half-time. He has played loads of football so hopefully we can get him back on the pitch, but I haven't seen him. 

"Let's see how he is in training. To make sure we give him the best possible chance for Wednesday night we took him off. I think he should be all right but let's see."

Eric Bailly is pushing for a return to the line-up, while David de Gea and Aaron Wan-Bissaka will be back after getting a rest against Tranmere.

Harry Maguire is in contention to feature for Manchester United against Norwich City on Saturday despite reports he was facing a significant spell out with a hip injury.

The most expensive defender in the world missed Tuesday's 3-1 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg defeat to Manchester City.

It was then claimed he was set to be out for an extended period due to torn a hip muscle, seemingly dealing United a massive blow given their dwindling defensive numbers.

But United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has allayed such fears, revealing the England centre-back could start against Norwich in the Premier League clash at Old Trafford.

"He's got a chance for tomorrow," Solskjaer confirmed in his pre-match news conference on Friday. "It was a minor thing.

"I don't know where the reports are coming from, you might've mistaken him for Harry Kane. No, he has a chance. We'll go through training and see how he reacts.

"It's not a surprise [that Maguire may be ready to play]. He's a warrior and if there's a minor problem he'll put himself up to play. That's what he did against Wolves. At half-time he was feeling discomfort but was adamant he'd be fine.

"He was close to playing against City, just not fit enough, but he's got a chance now."

There was less encouraging news for Scott McTominay, however, as the Scotland international is not expected to be back in action until the end of February after suffering knee ligament damage.

"Scott's out for a while," Solskjaer added. "I don't think we'll see him before the winter break [in February]. Hopefully we'll see him in February."

Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah are close to being match fit, though, with both yet to make an appearance this season.

Solskjaer said: "Eric and Tim are playing tonight [Friday] for the reserves, so that will be positive for them. They've been training well for a month now. Hopefully they'll get through that to be available for us again."

Eric Bailly is nearing a return for Manchester United after taking part in first-team training on Monday.

Ivory Coast international Bailly endured an injury-plagued 2019, making just seven appearances in all competitions for United.

The 25-year-old has been out of action since hurting his knee in an International Champions Cup victory over Tottenham in July.

Bailly underwent surgery and appears to be closing in on a return at a timely moment for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the Red Devils facing seven fixtures in January.

Paul Pogba sat out United's 2-0 win over Burnley on Saturday and was absent for the part of Monday's training session that was open to the media.

Scott McTominay, who was pictured leaving Turf Moor on crutches after sustaining a knee injury, Ashley Young and Axel Tuanzebe were also missing.

United's next game comes against Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on January 1.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Paul Pogba was not ready to face Burnley after sitting out the 2-0 Premier League victory.

United star Pogba was a notable absentee as the Red Devils saw off Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday to move within a point of the top four.

Pogba played for the first time in nearly three months when United lost to lowly Watford 2-0 last week and he made another substitute appearance in the 4-1 rout of Newcastle United on Boxing Day.

The French midfielder, however, did not travel to Burnley and Solskjaer explained Pogba's absence post-match.

"He had 45 minutes but he's been out for a while and he didn't feel right," Solskjaer told reporters. "He reacted to that one so we'll just have to take our time and get him ready for next time.

"When you've been out for such a while, it's always going to take time to be 100 per cent. He just needed another day probably of recovery."

United were also without injured midfielder Scott McTominay against Burnley – out-of-favour veteran Nemanja Matic chosen to partner Fred.

McTominay was forced off in the Boxing Day victory at Old Trafford after hurting his knee and the Scotland international is facing up to a month on the sidelines.

"I wouldn't expect Scott to be back within a few weeks, no," Solskjaer said in his news conference. "Not the next couple of weeks, I don't think we'll see him. So it'll be more than that.

"But he's always proved before that give him three weeks and he's back in two. I don't know, if it's three or four weeks. It might be something like this, but we've just got to find a way through it."

Marcus Rashford took his Premier League tally this season to 12 goals after sealing United's win in the 90th minute after Anthony Martial's opener on the stroke of half-time.

"He's got everything physically. He's got great mentality, the right attitude and he’s one of our own," Solskjaer said. "He's just going to get better and better, he's still only 22. He'll grow and he's got his best years ahead of him and he's been a leader. He's really showed his maturity."

United, who will travel to Arsenal on New Year's Day, are only a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the fight for Champions League qualification.

"Well we want to get there [into the top four] and we're not far away. That is the challenge for this team," Solskjaer added. "We did it towards the end of last season, we were close there and then we dropped off. Now, they responded to the defeat against Watford and I've put a challenge to them. I'm very happy with them.

"In football, you've got to earn the right to win every single game. Everyone gives you a different challenge. Arsenal away is a completely different challenge. We handled what Burnley threw at us but Arsenal will give us other things to think about. We'll be ready for it."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Scott McTominay suffered a knee ligament injury in the 4-1 win over Newcastle United, with the Manchester United boss admitting: "We don't know how bad it is".

Midfielder McTominay was hurt in the early stages of the Boxing Day fixture at Old Trafford, though stayed on for the remainder of the first half.

The Scotland international was replaced by Paul Pogba at the interval and was seen leaving the ground on crutches, a worrying sight for the Red Devils amid a busy festive period of fixtures.

Solskjaer has not yet ruled McTominay - who was a shown yellow card after 24 seconds for a foul on Sean Longstaff - out of contention for Saturday's trip to Burnley, while he also praised the player for playing on through the pain.

"He's done his ligament in his knee, probably. We don't know how bad it is, so let's see," Solskjaer told the media.

"The boy has got the biggest heart of the lot. He played until half-time but we know when they stiffen up after. We'll have to find out tomorrow, how he is. 

"You see the attitude of the kid, of everyone, in the beginning of the game. I’m not sure if he'll be ready for Saturday [against Burnley]. Probably not, but we've seen him recover before."

Matty Longstaff gave Newcastle the lead but Manchester United - beaten 2-0 by Watford in the previous outing - hit back impressively, capitalising on some generous defending to secure all three points.

Anthony Martial scored twice, while Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford were also on target, with a commanding lead early in the second half allowing Solskjaer to plan ahead for the games to come with his substitutions.

"I thought we did well today. Obviously, at 1-0 down, you're not sure," the Norwegian said.

"Then again, all season we've had one defeat and we haven’t lost the next one. So, the response was really good. Today was a good day for us.

"We made it comfortable and, in the second half, I think both teams were looking at the game in two days' time. There is nothing wrong with the character in these boys. They have what it takes and are not going to give up."

Scott McTominay's quest to make an early impact on Manchester United's Premier League clash with Newcastle United resulted in him making history.

The Scotland international was booked just 24 seconds into the fixture at Old Trafford when he mistimed a challenge and caught Sean Longstaff with his studs.

Referee Kevin Friend showed McTominay a yellow card, the quickest a caution had been issued in a Premier League match since 2006-07, when exact time data began being collected.

United fell behind to a goal from Sean's brother, Matty Longstaff, before Anthony Martial equalised and Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford put the hosts 3-1 ahead.

Pep Guardiola prevailed in his maiden managerial meeting with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and would dearly love another win on Saturday to remain in sight of Liverpool.

Manchester City did that with a routine 4-1 win at Burnley on Tuesday but their bitter rivals and next opponents perhaps took more from the midweek fixtures.

In overcoming Jose Mourinho's Tottenham, Manchester United shed a poor run of results and laid down some sort of marker for what is possible for a team that was in mid-table.

But with what Solskjaer described as his side's best display for a "long time" comes the need for another step forward at the Etihad Stadium.

 

CAN UNITED MAKE IT TWO STEPS FORWARD?

"We dominated the game and could have, should have finished the game there and then," Solskjaer side of United's first half against Tottenham.

They eventually completed the job against the Champions League finalists but what lies ahead is a tougher test and a true measure of the Norwegian's tactical acumen.

Daniel James and Marcus Rashford joined Mason Greenwood in attack on Wednesday and should in theory have the pace to trouble City on the break, much as Wolves did in October.

Rashford scored twice against Spurs and has now been directly involved in 14 goals in his past 13 games for club and country, a sharp improvement on his lean start to the season.

City, meanwhile, were back closer to their best in the convincing victory over Burnley but have failed to keep a clean sheet in eight games in all competitions.

Can the ageing Fernandinho cope alongside either John Stones, who professes not to know which games he will start, or the error-prone Nicolas Otamendi?

The man tasked with screening the defence could help, particularly as he faces a key midfield battle.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: RODRI V SCOTT MCTOMINAY

Rodri's thunderous strike at Turf Moor will have done wonders for the Spaniard's confidence ahead of his first Manchester derby.

The 23-year-old close-season recruit has had a bigger part to play in his first Premier League campaign than perhaps even Guardiola would have expected, in part due to Fernandinho's move into defence.

Rodri's ability on the ball was obvious before his arrival in England and it is of little surprise that his passing accuracy (91.73 per cent) is superior to the man he is set to meet in the centre of the Etihad Stadium pitch, Scott McTominay.

McTominay's average sits at 78.74 per cent but his importance to United was obvious as he helped the Red Devils end a three-game winless streak when returning from an ankle injury.

The Scotland international offers more in a box-to-box sense and has scored three goals to Rodri's two from the same number of appearances (13), while attempting 20 shots to his counterpart's seven.

That, though, is generally where his statistical superiority ends. Despite playing 178 more minutes, McTominay has managed just one more tackle and two more interceptions than Rodri.

The latter also boasts a better duel success rate (62.41 per cent to 55.74) and has laid on an extra seven scoring chances.

FORM GUIDE

City returned to winning ways against the Clarets after drawing on the road at Newcastle United, a result that left them 11 points adrift of Liverpool.

The club's record over their past 10 top-flight matches now reads seven victories, one draw and two defeats, those coming against Wolves and leaders Liverpool at Anfield.

United head across town fresh from a morale-boosting reunion with former manager Mourinho but have issues to rectify against fellow 'big six' teams.

They have won one of their past five away to such opposition and weaknesses were evident in recent trips to Bournemouth and Sheffield United, which reaped a solitary point.

HISTORY SAYS...

Guardiola's record in the Manchester derby makes for cheery reading for City supporters.

The champions prevailed 2-0 at Old Trafford in April, the Catalan's seventh win from 11 meetings with the team across town.

Another victory would see him become the club's second manager, after Manuel Pellegrini, to notch up three in a row against United in the Premier League.

The Red Devils do, however, hold the superior head-to-head record: 21 wins to City's 15, with the points split on eight occasions.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lauded Marcus Rashford after his brace led the Red Devils to a 2-1 win over Jose Mourinho's Tottenham in the Premier League.

Mourinho's return to Old Trafford was an unhappy one as Rashford's match-winning performance snapped the former United manager's 100 per cent record since replacing Mauricio Pochettino.

Rashford opened the scoring in the sixth minute before converting a 49th-minute penalty after Dele Alli had equalised prior to half-time.

The 22-year-old Rashford took his Premier League tally to nine goals this season and 12 across all competitions, earning post-match praise from Solskjaer.

"The boy is 22 and today he played like he was in a back yard or garden, a playground with his mates," Solskjaer told reporters. "He's just enjoyed himself.

"Sometimes maybe the expectations and pressure on him… we do expect a lot from him because he's showed it so many times. We want them to enjoy themselves, we want them to go out there and face players, take them on with no fear of losing it.

"I love to watch that and that's what the Stretford End loves to watch. Man United fans love to watch wingers or forwards play with courage."

Solskjaer also hailed midfielder Scott McTominay, who starred on his return from injury as United climbed into the Premier League's top six – leapfrogging Tottenham.

McTominay had missed three matches, but the Scotland international proved his fitness before Mourinho's midweek Manchester reunion.

"We can almost say he's undroppable at the moment, definitely," Solskjaer said of McTominay. "There's no chance I wasn't going to try and push him through for this game.

"The physical presence and leadership he gives us in midfield also releases Fred. I thought Fred was excellent today, the one chance they had he blocked. I thought Fred was top class and they're a good partnership.

"[McTominay] trained yesterday and that was just a light session with the reserves but he's a tough boy. There's no chance he's going to say 'no thanks' if he felt okay. It's the first time I've really pushed on players who haven't had the foundation but he's so fit anyway."

Paul Pogba will not be fit for Manchester United's much-anticipated Premier League match against Tottenham, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed.

Jose Mourinho returns to Old Trafford on Wednesday as his improving Spurs side seek to secure a fourth successive win in all competitions.

United had hoped star midfielder Pogba would be ready for the marquee encounter but the France international has not sufficiently recovered from an ankle injury.

Scott McTominay, who also has an ankle problem, and the experienced Nemanja Matic are considered "touch and go" for the midweek fixture, which precedes Saturday's trip to the Etihad Stadium for the derby against Manchester City.

"Paul's not ready, no," Solskjaer said at his pre-match news conference on Tuesday.

"He's still a bit away but he's working hard. He's out on the grass, so let's see how long it will take."

As for McTominay and Matic, Solskjaer said: "They're touch and go. Let's get this training session out of the way. We've got more games than this one, so of course I can't look at just the one game. We have got to look at the long term.

"I don't want to talk about all the injuries we've had but when you get Scott back, when you get Paul back, we have been light in midfield with three out for such a long time and that's affected us."

Solskjaer has been unable to call on Pogba since the 1-1 draw with Arsenal at the end of September.

United have won five of 12 matches in all competitions since then and none of their past three, increasing the pressure on their Norwegian manager.

Premier League bosses Unai Emery, Mauricio Pochettino and Quique Sanchez Flores have all lost their jobs in recent times but Solskjaer denied being worried about his own circumstances.

"No, it doesn't make me more concerned, I’m just focusing on my job and that's doing as well as I can, looking forward to the next game, looking long-term to plan things with the board," he said.

"It's that time of year. It's never nice to see your colleagues lose their jobs in a very short space of time... sometimes you have luck, sometimes you don’t. But it doesn't make me any more concerned that it is December."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hopeful of welcoming back either Paul Pogba or Scott McTominay from injury for the Premier League showdown with Jose Mourinho's Tottenham.

Pogba and fellow United midfielder McTominay were absent from Sunday's disappointing 2-2 draw against Aston Villa at Old Trafford.

United star Pogba has been sidelined since September with an ankle injury, while McTominay hurt his ankle in the win over Brighton and Hove Albion prior to the international break.

As former United boss Mourinho – who had a reported falling out with Pogba prior to his sacking in December last year – prepares to return to Manchester with his Tottenham side on Wednesday, Solskjaer provided an update on his midfielders.

"We have still got two days and we need to look at everyone here as well," Solskjaer told reporters when asked about Pogba and McTominay.

"We have only got two days, so let's see, but, hopefully, we can see one of them on the pitch. They are working hard behind the scenes."

United are languishing in ninth in the Premier League, two points adrift of fifth-placed Spurs – who have won both Premier League matches since Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thinks the return of Paul Pogba will be like a new signing for Manchester United and hopes the midfielder could be ready to face Tottenham.

France star Pogba has been sidelined since September with an ankle injury that required him to wear a cast and then a protective boot.

The former Juventus midfielder has spent time in Dubai undergoing warm-weather training to help his recovery, having played just six times in all competitions for United this season.

Solskjaer is excited to have the "world-class" Pogba back at his disposal and, while Sunday's visit of Aston Villa will come too soon, the United manager would not rule out the prospect of having the player back to face former boss Jose Mourinho and his Tottenham side next Wednesday.

"Paul is stepping up his recovery and let's see how soon he'll be match-fit and available," Solskjaer said following a youthful United side's 2-1 Europa League defeat to Astana on Thursday.

"He'll be like a new signing for us. He's not really been able to play for us and, when we get him back, it'll be like a new world-class signing and world-class midfielder.

"We want him back as soon as possible. Sunday? No. Spurs? I can't say now as I've not been home and seen him. Let's see where he's at when he comes back and he starts training with us.

"Nobody can doubt his professionalism, his willingness or desire to play football. He's a footballer and one of the best midfielders in the world. It will be like a new signing before the transfer window opens.

"Of course, we have missed him when he's been away but some of the players, Scott [McTominay] and Fred, have taken up that challenge and done well."

Solskjaer also hopes to see McTominay back to fitness in the coming days following an ankle injury.

"We hope Scotty will be back as soon as possible, but he's also back home and I've not see him," Solskjaer added.

"Maybe [he can face] Spurs, but hopefully [he will be back on] Sunday."

Scott McTominay has compounded Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's midfield injury woes as Manchester United prepare to travel to Sheffield United.

Scotland international McTominay has become a consistent and influential performer for Solskjaer this season, but his manager told a pre-match news conference he will be out for around two more weeks with an ankle problem sustained during the closing stages of the 3-1 Premier League win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

The 22-year-old, who scored in that victory, joins Paul Pogba, the victim of a more serious ankle injury, on the sidelines. Nemanja Matic has only recently stepped up his return to training alongside defensive duo Axel Tuanzebe (hip) and Luke Shaw (hamstring).

Nevertheless, Solskjaer also has a fresh concern in that department, as Marcos Rojo rehabilitates from a muscular issue on a similar timeframe to McTominay.

"Scotty hurt his ankle so he'll be out for a couple of weeks I reckon," the Red Devils boss said.

"He won't be ready for this week. We've lost Rojo, he's injured. Paul's still injured. But we’ve got Axel, Luke and Nemanja back in training.

"We're getting numbers back. Maybe not match fit – Axel and Luke have been out for a long time, Nemanja's been out but numbers-wise in training we're looking stronger.

"Rojo got a muscle injury in training that he's been struggling with. He's been trying to get back but he's not ready yet.

"He had to pull out of the internationals [with Argentina]. He was playing on with some discomfort towards the end of that run [before the international break]. Maybe a couple of weeks."

Solskjaer praised McTominay's emergence this term, grabbing his opportunity as other more illustrious names have underwhelmed.

"Scotty has performed really well this season. Finally he's nailed a position down for himself," he said.

"He's played regularly, he's been a running midfielder before, he's played centre-back, he's played everywhere. He was a striker when he was a kid.

"But now he's learning the game and his improvement has been great to see. We're going to miss him – Sheffield United, set plays, balls in the box. Of course, Scotty is going to be a little bit of a miss."

Sheffield United are fifth in the table, eight points shy of Manchester City in fourth and one ahead of seventh-placed Manchester United.

Indeed, four points cover all teams from the Blades down to West Ham in 16th.

"We've still got to keep looking up the table. It's so close, but a big gap up to the top four," Solskjaer added.

"We've got City next month. We've got a chance to claw some points back. We know we're getting players back and improving as a team, so hopefully, yeah, we can challenge when it comes towards the end.

"I've seen Marcus [Rashford] talk about it this week, it's not just about getting into the top four, but that's a little bit of a goal for us, of course."

Scott McTominay believes Manchester United will return from the international break heading in the right direction after an initially difficult start to the season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's future was the subject of significant scrutiny as United won just two of their opening nine Premier League games.

However, his side have emerged victorious in two of their last three league matches, with 3-1 wins over Norwich City and Brighton and Hove Albion sandwiched by a defeat at Bournemouth.

United are seventh in the table, nine points adrift of Manchester City in fourth, but they are through to the EFL Cup quarter-finals and are all but certain of a place in the knockout rounds of the Europa League, which provides the Red Devils with another potential route to next season's Champions League.

A trip to Sheffield United, who are a point above Solskjaer's men, awaits on Sunday, with McTominay upbeat ahead of a challenging fixture.

"In terms of the team, I feel we're much, much brighter," McTominay told United's official website.

"The signs are good, the signs are positive and we've talked about things that we can improve on and how we're going to try to improve by the end of the season, which is the business end of the season as well.

"We always have meetings [to discuss formations and tactics], that's normal. It's a normal thing to have meetings and for everybody to discuss, that's a normal thing and the sign of a healthy dressing room. Boys speaking among it in the changing room, saying what they think we can improve on and what are good ideas as well.

"There's plenty going on, it's not a place to be quiet and in your shell. It's time for people to really step up and start doing their jobs as well."

McTominay, who suffered an ankle injury against Brighton, pointed to the return of Anthony Martial, who has scored three goals in his last six games in all competitions, as a reason for positivity.

He added: "It's difficult to say but with the injuries we've had, I do think we've coped relatively well with a small squad and a lot of boys playing a lot of minutes in a short space of time.

"I think people forget that we have had a lot of injuries, and you can see with Anthony coming back what a difference he makes. 

"There are very positive signs and things are changing. Everybody is looking forward to the next game and wanting that next game to come as soon as possible.

"Everybody wants to play and that’s the sign of a healthy dressing room."

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