Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described Scott McTominay as a "monster of a human being" after his goal sealed a 1-0 win over Watford in the FA Cup third round on Saturday. 

McTominay, captaining United at Old Trafford, headed home Alex Telles' corner in the fifth minute to secure United's 34th victory from their last 36 third-round ties. 

It was the Scotland international's fourth goal of the season in all competitions, one short of his best tally in a single campaign (five goals in 37 appearances last term).

"Scott has had a very good season," Solskjaer told BBC Sport. "He is being more and more dangerous, we know he can be a box-to-box midfielder.

"He should have scored a few more on set-plays before now because he is a monster of a human being. I am very happy he got the goal."

United did not have it all their own way against the Hornets, who attempted 18 shots in the match – the second-most they have had away from home this season. 

"The most important thing in the cup is that you go through so that will make everyone happy but the first 15-20 minutes I think were the highlights of our game," Solskjaer added. 

"I think we played some very good stuff, created chances and then we let them back into the game but we are through.

"I'm delighted we are through. I told them I didn't expect them to start like a house on fire. I expected them to grow into the game. The opposite happened more or less. We started brightly."

McTominay captained United for the first time and led by example, completing 45 of 56 attempted passes, creating one chance and making a joint team-high three clearances.

The 24-year-old told BT Sport: "When the manager told me it was a surreal moment. 

"I've been here since I had just turned five, so that's 18 or 19 years associated with the club and it is a huge honour. I love this club and it has been my whole life."

McTominay and goalkeeper Dean Henderson were the only two players to keep their places from the side that lost to Manchester City in the EFL Cup on Wednesday and the midfielder acknowledged a general lack of match fitness may have contributed to United's sluggish second-half display. 

"We started really well and then for the first half an hour we were really good, moved the ball really well and there was some good combination play," McTominay added.

"Then we couldn't find it after that as well. The second half I didn't think we played anywhere near our level.

"For the boys coming into the team it is difficult, they haven't played for a long time. The manager said 'get your rhythm' and he probably wasn't expecting the rhythm we got in the first 30 minutes. But then there were some tired minds, but credit to the boys."

Scott McTominay scored the only goal of the game as Manchester United booked their spot in the FA Cup fourth round with a slender 1-0 win over Watford on Saturday. 

McTominay was one of only two survivors from the EFL Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday and the midfielder – captaining the Red Devils for the first time – headed his side in front after just five minutes.  

Eric Bailly and Juan Mata squandered good chances to extend United's lead before the interval, while Dean Henderson had to be alert to thwart Adam Masina.  

United rarely threatened a second during a dismal second half but they saw things out with the minimum of fuss to inflict a 10th straight defeat for the Hornets at Old Trafford.  

The hosts wasted little time stamping their authority on the tie, McTominay heading home his fourth goal of the season from Alex Telles' outswinging corner in the fifth minute.  

United goalkeeper Henderson was out quickly to deny Masina soon after, while Bailly flashed a header wide from another dangerous Telles ball into the penalty area.  

Mata fired straight at Daniel Bachmann following a superb flicked pass from Donny van de Beek as United ultimately failed to add to their advantage before half-time.  

Solskjaer brought on Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial with just over 20 minutes remaining in a desperate bid to inject some life into the home team’s stuttering attack.  

Rashford should have put the seal on the win, but his low effort after a fine run was too close to Bachmann.

 

Daniel James knows the pressure is on to seize any first-team opportunities he gets at Manchester United ahead of the FA Cup tie with Watford.

United host their Championship opponents in the third round on Saturday and James believes the competition retains a special place in the football calendar.

The Wales winger, who scored a famous FA Cup goal while he was at Swansea City against Brentford, is hoping to be involved at Old Trafford.

James impressed against Leeds United last month and was also in the team against Leicester City, but they were two of only five Premier League starts he has been handed this season.

Having featured in 33 Premier League games last season, he knows the competition for places at United is tougher this time around, with the club sitting level on points alongside champions Liverpool at the top of the table.

"I have been working hard in training every day and the manager knows I am ready when called upon," James said to United's website.

"I will just keep working hard in training and doing what I do.

"Being at this club, there is always going to be lots of competition and the forwards have been doing so well. 

"So it is about when I do get my opportunity, I have got to take mine. That is the way I have been looking at it. 

"I have not been playing as much so I have been able to do a lot more stuff in training, extra stuff, and I have to keep doing that and look at things I can improve and also work on the things I am good at.

"It [the FA Cup] means everything. Growing up, there have been some unbelievable games over the years.

"I was at Swansea when I watched Jesse Lingard's extra-time goal [for United in the final against Crystal Palace]. It is a special competition."

Asked about his memorable goal, the winger added: "It is a great memory and a special moment.

"There are not many times when the whole pitch is open. I just had to keep that composure and when it went in the back of the net, I knew it was a special goal."

Bruno Fernandes has reportedly emerged as a transfer target for Barcelona and Real Madrid. 

The Manchester United midfielder this week denied reports he had a bust-up with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following their 6-1 loss to Tottenham. 

While that rift has been denied, it has seemingly put LaLiga’s giants on alert. 

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID, BARCELONA LOOKING AT FERNANDES

Real Madrid and Barcelona are ready to battle for Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes, according to The Sun. 

Fernandes only arrived at Old Trafford in January, signed in a deal worth €80million (£67.6m) from Sporting CP. 

Contracted until 2025, the Portugal international has scored 10 goals and provided eight assists in 17 Premier League games. 

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- Staying at Old Trafford and the Manchester Evening News reports Manchester United have triggered the one-year extension to Paul Pogba's contract, keeping the midfielder at the club until 2022.

- Giovanni Reyna, 17, is catching the eye at Borussia Dortmund. ESPN reports the teenage midfielder is on the radar of Barcelona and Real Madrid after a stunning start to the Bundesliga season. He has scored once and provided three assists in three league games.

- Contracted at Arsenal until next year, Mesut Ozil's future remains a talking point. The Daily Express says manager Mikel Arteta has given the playmaker two months to prove himself at the Premier League club.

- Crystal Palace reportedly tried to land Watford attacker Ismaila Sarr on Friday. Sky Sports says a £25m bid from Palace for Sarr was rejected by the Championship club. Sarr has been linked to Liverpool and Manchester United previously.

- In MLS, Robbie Keane could be set for a return to the LA Galaxy. The Sun reports Keane has agreed to replace Guillermo Barros Schelotto, who is under pressure with the Galaxy bottom of the Western Conference. Keane played for the Galaxy between 2011 and 2016 and is the club's second highest goalscorer.

Craig Dawson has joined West Ham on a season-long loan with an option to buy from Championship side Watford.

West Ham were heavily linked with Burnley's James Tarkowski throughout the transfer window, with the Hammers reportedly having multiple bids turned down.

With their pursuit of Tarkowski proving fruitless, David Moyes' side turned to Fikayo Tomori last week but failed to complete a loan move for the Chelsea youngster.

With the window for Premier League and EFL clubs to trade still open, however, the Hammers have managed to bolster their defensive ranks – centre-back Dawson joining from Watford.

Though not a first-choice target, Dawson brings plenty of experience to West Ham, with the 30-year-old having made 29 top-flight appearances as Watford were relegated last season.

Watford conceded 49 goals with the former West Brom man in the side, though he averaged a tackle success rate of 62.1 per cent and did not make any errors that led directly to a goal.

After losing their opening two league matches of the campaign, West Ham claimed victories over Wolves and Leicester City respectively before the international break.

Manchester United have allowed highly rated midfield prospect James Garner to join Watford on loan for the 2020-21 season.

Garner, 19, is among United's most promising young players and heads to Vicarage Road in search of greater exposure to first-team football.

A technical midfielder who can play in deep-lying or advanced roles, Garner made his debut for the United senior side in February 2019 and featured six times – including three Europa League starts – last term.

Garner has long been earmarked as a potential first-team player for United, with boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer speaking glowingly of him on several occasions.

A regular at various youth levels for England, including captaining their Under-17s, Garner also skippered United's Under-23s in 2020-21 and was recently named their Player of the Year.

Although Watford – relegated to the Championship in July – lost Abdoulaye Doucoure during pre-season, Garner joins a club stacked with experienced midfield options, including Etienne Capoue, Nathaniel Chalobah, Tom Cleverley, Will Hughes and Roberto Pereyra.

Liverpool and Manchester United could be set for another transfer battle.

The Premier League rivals were both reportedly interested in Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who is set for a move to Anfield.

Now it seems they could be targeting the same player once more.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL, MAN UTD TARGET SARR

Liverpool have enquired about Watford star Ismaila Sarr, according to the Daily Mail.

It reports Watford want at least £36million for the 22-year-old forward, who scored five goals and provided four assists in 28 Premier League games last season.

Meanwhile, The Independent says Manchester United are looking at Sarr as they continue to be frustrated in their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.

 

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- What is next for Luis Suarez? Goal reports Roma striker Edin Dzeko is set to join Juventus on a two-year deal, dashing Barcelona forward Suarez's hopes of heading to the Serie A champions. Fabrizio Romano says Atletico Madrid are considering a move for Suarez, while he also claims Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik is getting closer to a Roma switch.

- Gareth Bale's return to Tottenham is almost done. Sky Sports reports the Real Madrid attacker will fly to London from Spain on Friday after completing a medical, returning to Spurs after leaving for the LaLiga giants in 2013.

- Staying at Tottenham and The Sun claims Spurs had a transfer enquiry for forward Danny Ings rejected by Southampton. Ings enjoyed a prolific 2019-20 season, scoring 22 Premier League goals.

- After a difficult first season at Real Madrid, Luka Jovic is apparently considering his options. According to Marca, the Serbian forward is studying a temporary loan move from the LaLiga champions.

- At Madrid's rivals, Barcelona, more movement is also expected. Mundo Deportivo reports Ronald Koeman wants Ajax full-back Sergino Dest if Nelson Semedo leaves the club.

- Could Chelsea's spending spree continue? The Independent reports West Ham star Declan Rice is yet to decide whether to push for a move to Stamford Bridge, where the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva are new arrivals.

Real Madrid are prepared to pay to see Gareth Bale exit, while Manchester United have reportedly made progress in their pursuit of Jadon Sancho.

Bale has found himself on the outer in Madrid and has constantly been linked with a move despite being contracted until 2022.

The Welshman's huge salary is reportedly making it hard for the LaLiga champions to move him on, but they may be prepared to pay to see Bale exit.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID WILLING TO PAY HALF OF BALE'S WAGES

Real Madrid would pay half of Bale's salary to see him make a move, according to The Telegraph.

Bale has been linked with a return to the Premier League, with former club Tottenham reportedly interested.

The latest news could pave the way for Bale to finally leave Madrid after seven years at the club.

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- Manchester United look to have made some progress in their Sancho chase. ESPN reports the Premier League giants have made progress around wages and agent fees, but still need to find a deal with Borussia Dortmund.

- Houssem Aouar is linked with a move from Lyon, with a switch to the Premier League mooted. The Mirror says Arsenal are keen on the midfielder, who is believed to be a target for Manchester City.

- Barcelona are reportedly facing a dilemma. Mundo Deportivo reports the LaLiga giants are weighing up whether to rely on 17-year-old Ansu Fati or sign Lyon star Memphis Depay ahead of 2020-21.

- There seems to be uncertainty over Alexandre Lacazette's future at Arsenal. ESPN claims the forward is seeking clarification over his role at the Premier League club.

- Stephan El Shaarawy could be set for a return to Europe. Telefoot says Paris Saint-Germain are in contact with the Shanghai Shenhua forward's agents and Juventus, former club Roma and Atletico Madrid are also interested.

- While Watford were relegated from the Premier League, Troy Deeney could yet remain in the top flight. The Daily Mail says the forward is set to leave the club to join a Premier League side.

Barcelona's chances of landing Inter star Lautaro Martinez could reportedly become clearer this week.

The LaLiga giants remain interested in the Argentina forward, who scored 21 goals for Inter in 2019-20.

Just whether they can get a deal done, however, may become known this week.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA'S CHANCES OF SIGNING MARTINEZ SET TO BECOME CLEARER

Martinez's agents will meet with the leaders of Inter this week to assess his situation, according to Sport.

The report says Barcelona and Inter are in regular contact, but there is a big difference between the clubs.

It says Barca want to pay a maximum of €65million plus a player, while Inter are demanding a minimum of €85m.

Goal reports Barcelona are preparing a final offer for Martinez.

 

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- Barcelona are seeking a forward with Luis Suarez set to leave. Goal claims Barca and Juventus are negotiating a fee for the 33-year-old Uruguayan, who is said to have agreed to a three-year deal with the Serie A champions.

- Staying at Camp Nou and Marca reports Philippe Coutinho is set to spend 2020-21 at Barca. Coutinho spent 2019-20 on loan at Bayern Munich but the LaLiga club have ruled out another loan move, the report says.

- A player set for a Barcelona exit is Arturo Vidal. Sport Mediaset says Vidal is expected in Milan soon as he prepares to join Inter, where he has agreed a two-year deal with an option for a third.

- Real Madrid, meanwhile, look set to keep Gareth Bale. Mundo Deportivo reports Madrid have not received an offer for Bale, who is contracted until 2022 but has been linked with a move away.

- With Ronald Koeman having left to take over at Barcelona, the Netherlands are looking for a new head coach. Voetbal International reports the players want Henk ten Cate to be the Netherlands' next coach.

- Watford forward Gerard Deulofeu is reportedly wanted by numerous European clubs. The Telegraph reports Milan, Napoli and Sevilla want Deulofeu on loan with an option to buy.

Manchester United fans have been waiting for a new face to arrive and their patience is set to be rewarded.

Despite reported interest from Barcelona, Real Madrid and Tottenham, Ajax's Donny van de Beek is poised for Old Trafford.

Will there be more arrivals at United?

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD TO SIGN VAN DE BEEK

Manchester United have agreed a fee to sign Ajax star Donny van de Beek, according to The Guardian and widespread reports.

Van de Beek has been linked to United, Barcelona and Real Madrid, while Tottenham were also reportedly interested.

But United are set to complete their first serious transfer ahead of the 2020-21 season in a deal reportedly worth £35.7m (€40m) plus add-ons.

 

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Chelsea are close to signing Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz, reports Sport Bild. Fabrizio Romano, meanwhile, says it is only a matter of time before the Germany international completes a €100m (£89m) switch.

Sandro Tonali will join Milan, claims Romano. The Brescia sensation had been tipped to move to Inter, however, Milan are set to sign Tonali on an initial loan deal.

- Calciomercato reports Juventus want to sell Douglas Costa amid links to United. New head coach Andrea Pirlo wants to overhaul his squad.

- La Gazzetta dello Sport says Barca are considering Lazio striker Ciro Immobile as a replacement for Luis Suarez, who has been linked to Juve. Immobile finished as Serie A's top goalscorer last season.

- According to Super Deporte, Valencia are considering a move for Arsenal outcast Matteo Guendouzi.

Barca are working on reuniting Liverpool star Georginio Wijnaldum with former Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman, says Mundo Deportivo. Koeman will lead Barca after leaving his international post to replace Quique Setien.

- The Mirror claims Liverpool are ready to make an offer for Watford's Ismaila Sarr, who is valued at £40m.

- Antonio Conte has requested Inter sign N'Golo Kante from Chelsea, says Tuttomercatoweb. Inter are reportedly hoping to land the Frenchman initially on loan with the option to buy. It comes as Inter look to raise funds through the sales of players like Roberto Gagliardini, Matias Vecino and Marcelo Brozovic.

- Journalist Fredrik A.N. Filtvedt claims United are interested in Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara. Liverpool have been tipped to sign the Spaniard.

Bournemouth will start life back in the Championship at home to Blackburn Rovers, while Watford host Middlesbrough and Norwich City travel to Huddersfield Town.

The Cherries were relegated after a five-year stay in the Premier League, while Watford and Norwich were also demoted in a top-flight campaign that was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

That halt means the new Championship season starts on September 12, with beaten play-off finalists Brentford travelling to Birmingham City on the opening day, while south Wales rivals Cardiff City and Swansea City – who also made the top six – host Sheffield Wednesday and visit Preston North End respectively.

Wycombe Wanderers – playing in the second tier for the first time – welcome fellow new boys Rotherham United for their first game, while Coventry City's return to the Championship starts with a trip to Bristol City.

Derby County and Barnsley start at home against Reading and Luton Town, with Stoke City and Nottingham Forest heading to London to face Millwall and QPR.

Bournemouth host Norwich in the third round of matches, the same weekend Watford renew acquaintances with fierce rivals Luton. Watford and the Canaries face off at Vicarage Road on December 26.

The three relegated teams will hope to be in the promotion hunt come the final day on May 8, with Bournemouth and Watford at home to Stoke and Swansea, while Norwich go to Barnsley.

Gerard Deulofeu has taken a swipe at new Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman, claiming "he provided me absolutely nothing" during their time at Everton.

Koeman was announced as Quique Setien's successor on Wednesday, signing a two-year deal at Camp Nou, where he spent six hugely successful years as a player under Johan Cruyff.

The former Netherlands boss has been tasked with overseeing substantial changes at a club still reeling from a humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals last week.

But Deulofeu, who played under Koeman at Everton in the 2016-17 Premier League season, does not appear to think much of his old manager's chances.

"I can tell you about Koeman from my personal experience, and I have very little to tell you about Koeman," the Watford winger said on Cataluna Radio.

"He provided me absolutely nothing. I wasn't happy, I asked to leave and I went to Milan.

"We'll see how he does at Camp Nou."

Deulofeu, a product of Barca's youth academy, was sold to Everton in 2015 after spending the previous seasons on loan with the Toffees and then Sevilla.

He was signed back by Barca in 2017 but failed to make an impact under Ernesto Valverde before joining Watford.

Despite his past allegiance to the club, the 26-year-old does not appear concerned by the institutional crisis at Barca, who saw Eric Abidal leave as first-team technical secretary the day after Setien was dismissed and who are facing a battle to convince captain Lionel Messi to stay.

"The truth is that Barcelona's [situation] does not bother me," he said. "In fact, right now, I don't care."

Deulofeu thinks it will be "years" before Barca are able to rival the very best sides in Europe again and says they have paid the price for not trusting youth.

"At Barcelona, they have not had patience with La Masia for years," he added. "If you give [the youngsters] time, they learn the style of the first team.

"There are players, many of us have come from there, but not [been given] patience. Now, there will be changes, but they are years behind."

With all eyes on Barcelona, Lionel Messi's future is again a talking point.

The Catalans capitulated in the Champions League on Friday, thrashed 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals in an embarrassing defeat.

Quique Setien appears set to be sacked as coach, while Messi's future has become unclear.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY TARGET MESSI AMID BARCELONA CHAOS

Manchester City think they are in pole position to sign Messi if he leaves Barcelona, according to the Mirror.

Messi, 33, is contracted to Barca until next year and is reportedly prepared to walk away from the club amid the chaos.

City have been linked with the record six-time Ballon d'Or winner previously, while Inter are another reportedly interested.

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- Changes are expected at Barcelona. AS reports Messi will be free to decide his future in January, while it says Setien and technical secretary Eric Abidal are on their way out.

- The focus otherwise in Spain is on Setien's replacement at Barcelona. Mundo Deportivo reports Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman is a candidate to take over at Camp Nou with Mauricio Pochettino and Al Sadd boss Xavi losing steam. Marca says Pochettino and Koeman are favourites, while Sport reports the former Tottenham manager is the frontrunner. It says Koeman, Massimiliano Allegri, Thierry Henry and Garcia Pimienta are also candidates.

- Elsewhere, Chelsea's apparent search for a defender continues. The Sun reports they are closing in on a £40million move for Brighton and Hove Albion centre-back Lewis Dunk, who is also reportedly a target for Tottenham.

- Staying at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea are also linked with goalkeepers to replace Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Sun says Chelsea and Everton are targeting Watford's 37-year-old shot-stopper Ben Foster.

- After an impressive loan spell at Roma, Chris Smalling is attracting plenty of interest. Sky Sports reports Newcastle United are keen on the Manchester United defender.

Watford have appointed Vladimir Ivic as their head coach on a one-year deal.

Ivic, 43, left Maccabi Tel Aviv in July after two successful seasons, winning the Israeli Premier League in both campaigns.

Previously in charge of PAOK, Ivic – a former Serbia and Montenegro international as a player – also won the Greek Cup in 2016-17.

He joins Watford after their relegation from the Premier League, with Nigel Pearson having been sacked last month.

"First of all, from the beginning I have a big expectation of myself and of my coaching staff," Ivic told the club's website.

"It's my first time in England and I need to adapt as fast as possible, to do the best for the club is very important to me."

Ivic has signed a one-year deal and Watford hold an option for another year.

Liverpool look set to have some major competition in their bid to sign Thiago Alcantara.

Out of contract at Bayern Munich next year, Thiago has been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League champions.

However, two big-spending European giants are reportedly joining the race for the midfielder.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY, PSG EYE LIVERPOOL TARGET THIAGO

Manchester City and PSG are interested in reported Liverpool target Thiago, according to Le 10 Sport.

Sport Bild says Liverpool are prepared to pay £27.1million (€30m) for the midfielder, an offer which could be enough for Bayern.

However, it also reports the champions are worried a club like City may trump their bid.

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- While it looks like Jadon Sancho may remain at Borussia Dortmund, Manchester United are not giving up on the star attacker. The Mirror reports the Premier League club have put other moves on hold as they chase Sancho.

- Staying at Old Trafford and Paul Pogba's future is yet to be sorted. Sky Sports reports the midfielder, who is contracted until 2021 with the club holding an option to extend it for a further year, is expecting talks over a new deal after United's Europa League campaign ends.

- After crashing out of the Champions League in the last 16, Real Madrid have been expected to strengthen. However, Marca reports Madrid have told players there will be no new signings.

- With Ismaila Sarr linked to Liverpool, Watford are seemingly holding firm. The Evening Standard reports Watford are demanding £40m for Sarr, who has also been linked to Wolves and Crystal Palace.

- Arsenal and Roma could be close to a swap deal. Nicolo Schira reports the clubs are in advanced talks about a deal that would send Lucas Torreira to the Serie A club and Amadou Diawara to Arsenal.

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