Manchester United caretaker manager Michael Carrick insisted his team's set-up in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Chelsea was not influenced by Ralf Rangnick, the man expected to be appointed until the end of the season.

Carrick was put in charge after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's sacking last weekend and has overseen a win and a draw in his two matches at the helm.

The tussle with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge came amid reports suggesting United have agreed a deal to appoint Rangnick as interim manager until the end of the season, at which point he will move into a consultancy role.

Rangnick has a fine reputation both as a coach and director, with the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel considering him an inspiration, while he helped transform German clubs Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig.

While no announcement has been made yet by United, it was widely speculated that Rangnick's famed style of play – based on aggressive pressing and attacking – was being looked to by Carrick at Stamford Bridge.

Cristiano Ronaldo, criticised in some quarters for his off-the-ball work ethic, was dropped to the bench and United appeared to press with much greater purpose than they generally did under Solskjaer, though Carrick seemed to suggest it was a mere coincidence rather than a plan hatched by Rangnick.

Asked by BBC Sport if Rangnick had influenced their set-up, Carrick said: "No, that's not the case."

Instead, the approach was based on an acceptance that United would have to graft for any form of positive result.

"To come away disappointed and to feel like you have left something out there is a positive," Carrick said. "That intent and that hunger summed us up today. We knew it wasn't going to be free-flowing football at times, but we were prepared to dig in."

United took the lead early in the second half with one of just three shots they had over the match – Jadon Sancho seized on a Jorginho error before beating Edouard Mendy, though the Italy midfielder later made amends from the penalty spot.

"I don't think it was a penalty at all," Carrick said. "They have had a lot of shots, David [De Gea] had [some] saves, which we knew before the game he would have to make one or two.

"Other than that, I have felt quite comfortable in the game. Of course, we want to be better. I'm not getting carried away, but I thought we defended well. I cannot fault the boys one bit."

While Carrick might have felt Chelsea did not offer much, expected goals (xG) data suggests the Blues would have been worthy winners, creating chances worth 2.54 xG to United's 0.82.

This was not lost on De Gea, who made four of his five saves in the first half, though the in-form Spanish goalkeeper considered the bigger picture.

"On the pitch, in the goal, I was feeling danger for nearly the whole game," De Gea told Sky Sports. "We defended well, they missed big chances as well, and then once they gave us a chance and we score.

"It is not enough to draw but, at the moment, with the way we are, it is a big point. The last games before, we were conceding three or four goals.

"Now we concede one from a penalty, and a clean sheet against Villarreal. We are improving, but this is just two games. We need to show it in the games that are coming.

"We were playing very poor. At least now we are defending well. We are fighting for every ball. I think that's good. Like I say, I'm proud of the team, we are fighting for every ball, but that's the minimum for Manchester United players."

David de Gea once again apologised to supporters following Manchester United's "nightmare" display against Watford and accepts his side's current form is not acceptable.

United fell to a fifth defeat in seven Premier League matches with a 4-1 reverse at the hands of lowly Watford on Saturday, piling further pressure on boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The defeat at Vicarage Road was United's heaviest against a newly-promoted side since a 5-1 loss to Manchester City in September 1989.

Solskjaer's side have now conceded 29 goals in all competitions this season – only Norwich City and Leicester City (both 30) have shipped more among Premier League clubs.

De Gea, who saved two penalties and was United's best player on the day despite conceding four goals, admits after the latest defeat that a big turnaround is needed.

"There's not much to say – it was embarrassing to see Man United play like we did today," he told Sky Sports. "It's not acceptable – the way we were playing and doing things. 

"The first half was embarrassing – we could've conceded four goals in 45 minutes. It was hard to watch the team playing today – it was nightmare after nightmare. 

"It's not acceptable. We are trying to give our best and fight for the team but for sure something is very wrong. 

"You can see in the games – it's very low level, very poor. Sorry to the fans, once again."

United struggled to cope with high-pressing Watford and were two goals down at half-time through strikes from Joshua King and Ismaila Sarr, who earlier had two penalties saved by De Gea.

Kiko Femenia converted the rebound from the first of those but the spot-kick had to be retaken due to encroachment, with De Gea again equal to the second attempt.

Substitute Donny van de Beek pulled one back five minutes after being brought on, but United then lost Harry Maguire to a second bookable offence with 69 minutes played.

That was Maguire's first sending-off for United on what was his 121st appearance for the club in all competitions, capping what has been a tough month for the centre-back at club level.

The Red Devils enjoyed a spell on top without making it count, before Joao Pedro and Emmanuel Dennis sealed an emphatic win for Watford, who started the day in 17th place.

Solskjaer held his hands up towards United's travelling supporters at full-time and appeared to wave, but De Gea insists the players should take the blame.

"It's easy to blame the manager or the staff but sometimes it's the players. We need to show much more than we are doing," he said.

"I've been in difficult moments and always believe in myself but there are difficult moments we have to be strong in mind and body. 

"We are paid to play for United and to do better than that. This is not Manchester United or the way we ought to play – it's difficult to say more than that.

"It's been very bad for a long time – a club like Man United we have to be fighting for trophies and fighting for big things and to be honest we are far from that. 

"Let's see – we have to keep working hard and stick together. We always say the same things but it's the truth – we have to look at ourselves and see where we can improve."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed David de Gea as the "best goalkeeper in the world" following his heroics in the stunning Champions League win over Villarreal.

Cristiano Ronaldo struck in the 95th minute to lift United past Villarreal 2-1 in a last-gasp comeback at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

United were fortunate to be on level terms at half-time – De Gea producing a number of saves to thwart Villarreal in a rematch of last season's Europa League final.

Paco Alcacer did find a way past De Gea in the second half, but Alex Telles' sublime volley and Ronaldo's stoppage-time winner ensured United opened their Group F account following the club's matchday one defeat.

Following a difficult 2020-21 campaign, criticism in the wake of the Europa League final loss to Villarreal and doubts over his future after Dean Henderson's return to the Theatre of Dreams, Solskjaer lauded De Gea.

"A very difficult game against a very good team. First half, we had lots of possession, but they counter-attack really well, transition, attack quickly and created some big, big moments in the game," Solskjaer said during his post-match news conference.

"Thankfully, we had the best goalkeeper in the world tonight. David was fantastic and very happy with his performance. Second half. They had more of the ball. It was still open and they deserved to lead.

"But, you know, Old Trafford is magic, Champions League, Old Trafford, sometimes that history can help us. And tonight, Cristiano [Ronaldo], of course, came up with a good goal. And Alex [Telles] scored a fantastic goal."

On De Gea, who made six saves, Solskjaer added: "You are probably right that he had a difficult summer after that [final with Villarreal]. Of course, he went to the Euros, didn't play there, but he's really come back with a determination and work rate that I've enjoyed. And today he got this again.

"He got a deserved outcome because he's saved us. Tonight, we have to be realistic and say that without David, of course, we've got two very good keepers with Tom [Heaton] and Dean [Henderson], but today David deserves the man of the match."

United have lost only once in their last 13 home games in all European competition (W10 D2), with Ronaldo the first Red Devils player to score a 90th-minute winner in the Champions League since Marouane Fellaini against Young Boys in November 2018.

Ronaldo (36 years and 236 days) became the second oldest United player to score a goal in European competition at Old Trafford after Bryan Robson (36y 282d) against Galatasaray in 1993.

No player has scored more 90th-minute winning goals in Champions League history than Ronaldo (three) – level with Sergio Aguero.

It comes after United superstar Ronaldo, who made his 178th Champions League appearance, broke the record for most games played by a single player.

Diogo Dalot said: "When you add Cristiano to the team, it's always a plus. Like I said, many times, he's a fantastic player on and outside the pitch. He gives us energy. But we are a proper team.

"We give to Cristiano as well to help have these moments. Like we saw many times he can be very decisive until the end. But today was a team effort until the end. And we're so glad that Cristiano could score that goal at the end."

David de Gea says Manchester United can have no excuses for their surprise defeat to Aston Villa, despite boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arguing the visitors' winning goal should have been ruled out.

Kortney Hause scored an 88th-minute goal at Old Trafford to inflict a second successive 1-0 home defeat on United, who missed a glorious chance to at least rescue a point when Bruno Fernandes missed a stoppage-time penalty.

The 28 shots United attempted was their most in a league game without scoring for five years, but Solskjaer felt his side were hard done by as an offside Ollie Watkins was standing close to David de Gea when Hause headed in.

Rather than blame the officials and VAR, though, De Gea accepted that United should have done more to pick up the three points that would have seen them end Saturday top of the Premier League.

"It's a very disappointing day for us," De Gea told MUTV. "But I think there are no excuses today. 

"We were playing at home with confidence and if we want to win big trophies like the Premier League, we need to win these types of games."

United have now conceded in each of their last eight league games at Old Trafford, their longest such run in the top flight since February 1972 (also eight games).

While Solskjaer was upset Hause's winner was allowed to stand, De Gea was less incensed.

"We conceded from a set-piece and I saw the replay and probably it's offside. [Watkins] was very close to me. Again that happens," he said.

"It's a hard one to take. Now we have to be ready for the next one."

Villa's victory was their first at Old Trafford since December 2009 and boss Dean Smith insisted his side were good value for the three points.

"We have suffered a lot as Villa fans in this stadium and have been very closely linked over the past few years," he said. 

"People will look at it and say it's a big win, but for me it's more of a big accomplishment. I thought we deserved the win. We stood determined."

The Premier League table already looks to be taking shape, with a thrilling title race potentially in store.

Two of the favourites meet early on Saturday, as Chelsea welcome Manchester City to Stamford Bridge.

At the same time, Manchester United – joint-top alongside the Blues and Liverpool – host Aston Villa at Old Trafford.

With the season really kicking into gear, so are the title races in fantasy leagues. So, to avoid getting left behind, take heed of our Opta-powered picks for matchday six...

 

DAVID DE GEA (Manchester United v Aston Villa)

Despite their EFL Cup defeat to West Ham on Wednesday, United remain unbeaten in the league and moved onto 13 points thanks to some late drama last Sunday, also in a match against David Moyes' Hammers.

Jesse Lingard came off the bench to score against the club for whom he starred on loan last term, but West Ham were awarded a last-gasp penalty and a chance to rescue a draw. However, substitute Mark Noble, with his first touch, saw his penalty saved by David de Gea.

It ended a run of 40 penalties without a save from De Gea, who has now this season prevented more goals (2.5) than any other keeper in the Premier League, according to expected goals on target data.

SHANE DUFFY (Crystal Palace v Brighton and Hove Albion)

Has Graham Potter's luck at Brighton and Hove Albion finally changed? His team have impressed over the past few seasons, yet a clinical edge was often missing. Now, though, the Seagulls have won four of their five games and sit pretty on 12 points.

A key figure in their strong start has been Shane Duffy. The centre-back's career looked to be petering out after a poor loan spell at Celtic last season, but he has come back strong this term.

No Premier League defender has had more shots (10) or scored more goals (one) than Duffy so far this season, while only Man City have faced fewer shots on target than Brighton in 2021-22.

REECE JAMES (Chelsea v Manchester City)

Reece James is of course an expensive option for fantasy players, though it is an investment worth making, given his ability going forward and the fact he plays for one of the competition's strongest teams.

Despite only playing 158 minutes so far in the league, James has been directly involved in three goals, more than any other defender.

He has scored once and provided two assists, averaging a goal involvement every 53 minutes.

BRUNO FERNANDES (Manchester United v Aston Villa)

Given the hype around Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford, it would be understandable if many fantasy players had elected to sacrifice his compatriot Bruno Fernandes in order to free up funds for the former Real Madrid and Juventus superstar.

But Fernandes is still one of the most reliable players in the league when it comes to accumulating fantasy points, and he would have had an assist in the win over West Ham had Ronaldo's initial effort gone in before he netted the rebound.

Fernandes has scored in all three of his Premier League appearances against Villa, with all three of his goals coming from the penalty spot. Only one player has scored more goals against an opponent with 100 per cent of them being penalties in the competition – Troy Deeney against United (four). No player has more goal involvements (49) than Fernandes since he made his debut in February 2020.

DEMARAI GRAY (Everton v Norwich City)

Rafael Benitez's unbeaten start at Everton came to an end at Aston Villa last week, before the Toffees then crashed out of the EFL Cup in midweek, with James Rodriguez's departure to Qatar completing a difficult few days.

Benitez, a contentious pick as Everton manager, could do with a win on Saturday against Norwich City, who are on a 15-match losing streak in the Premier League.

With Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison likely to miss the game through injury, Everton need Demarai Gray to carry on his fine form. He has scored three goals so far this season from just three attempts on target. Only in 2018-19 has the winger scored more goals in a single top-flight season (four).

RAUL JIMENEZ (Southampton v Wolves)

After winning at Watford to finally get their first points on the board, Wolves went down 2-0 at home to 10-man Brentford last time out.

Wolves have played some exciting football under new boss Bruno Lage, but they need to start converting their chances, and Raul Jimenez coming back into form would be key to doing just that.

Although he has yet to score or assist in the Premier League this season, Jimenez has been directly involved in 29 shots (14 shots, 15 chances created). Only Mohamed Salah (37) and Sadio Mane (31) have been involved in more. The Mexican has created the most chances without an assist and taken the joint-most shots without a goal, so surely his luck will change soon. 

JAMIE VARDY (Leicester City v Burnley)

It has not been a flying start to the season for FA Cup holders Leicester City, who have had some inconsistent results and performances to match.

They lost to Brighton last week, going down 2-1, with Jamie Vardy scoring his 150th goal in all competitions for the Foxes.

Vardy has been directly involved in six goals in his past six Premier League games (five goals, one assist), with these involvements accounting for 86 per cent of Leicester's total goals in that run (six of seven).

Liverpool ran out 3-0 winners over Crystal Palace on Saturday, to take their place at the top of the Premier League.

Title rivals Manchester City could only draw at home to Southampton, but Manchester United and Chelsea subsequently joined Liverpool on 13 points.

Here are some of the more curious facts from across the Premier League weekend.


Premier League first for Reds trio

Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita scored Liverpool's goals in their win over Palace at Anfield.

It is the first time in the Premier League that a game has ended 3-0, with all three goals being scored by African players.

Mane opened the scoring with his 100th goal for Liverpool. The Senegal forward has now scored in each of his last nine league appearances against Palace, making him the first player in Premier League history to score in nine straight matches against a single side.

All three of Liverpool's goals came from corners. Not since City beat West Brom in March 2015 has a top-flight game ended 3-0 with all the goals coming from corners.

Dave saves... finally

There was late drama aplenty at London Stadium on Sunday as United joined Liverpool at the top of the table thanks to a 2-1 win over West Ham.

After Cristiano Ronaldo continued his fantastic start to his second United stint to drag the Red Devils level, Jesse Lingard came on to break West Ham hearts late in the game.

London Stadium is the 66th different stadium that Ronaldo has scored at in matches played in Europe's big five leagues, and he has scored at more unique venues than any other player since his United debut in 2003-04, ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic (64).

Lingard, meanwhile, became the 47th player to score for and against West Ham in the Premier League. Excluding own goals, West Ham have had more players score for and against them than any other side in the league's history.

But it was David de Gea who proved to be United's hero, as he saved a last-gasp penalty from Mark Noble, who was brought on specifically by David Moyes to take the spot-kick.

De Gea's save ended a drought stretching back to April 23, 2016 of 40 spot-kicks faced without making a save for both club and country, in the process helping United claim a dramatic win at London Stadium. 

Of those penalties, 11 were scored by Villarreal players in May's Europa League final, with De Gea ultimately missing the decisive kick in the Red Devils' shoot-out defeat. 

The 30-year-old did keep out a Jordan Ayew penalty in last September's league meeting with Palace, but that was retaken and scored by Wilfried Zaha after De Gea was deemed to be off his line. 

Veteran Silva helps give Spurs the blues

Aged 36 years and 362 days, Thiago Silva became the second-oldest Chelsea player to score in the Premier League behind only Didier Drogba, who scored against Leicester City aged 37 years and 49 days in April 2015, when the Brazilian headed Thomas Tuchel's side ahead at Tottenham.

N'Golo Kante's deflected effort made it 2-0. The midfielder scored for the first time in 49 league appearances, having last found the net against Man City in November 2019. Three of his last four top-flight strikes have come from outside of the box.

Antonio Rudiger condemned Spurs to a second successive 3-0 defeat; they have lost consecutive Premier League matches by a 3+ goal margin for the first time since their opening two games of the 2011-12 campaign.

Harry Kane, meanwhile, cut a forlorn figure up top for Nuno Espirito Santo's side. He has failed to score in his first four Premier League appearances of a season for the first time since 2015-16, attempting just four shots so far.

Super-sub Bailey bursts Benitez's bubble

Everton's unbeaten start under Rafael Benitez came crashing to a halt as Leon Bailey starred with a blistering cameo in Aston Villa's 3-0 win.

Bailey came on from the bench and had an instant impact. With Matty Cash's first Premier League goal having put Villa ahead, the Jamaica forward whipped in a corner that Lucas Digne turned into his own net.

Digne has now scored three own goals in the Premier League, level with Younes Kaboul for the French player to have done so on the most occasions.

Villa were not finished there, however, and Bailey burst clear to lash home his first Premier League goal. Moments later, he went off with an apparent thigh injury, becoming only the second Villa player to come as a substitute, score, and then be substituted in a Premier League match, after Julian Joachim against Derby in September 2000.

Farke's losing streak rolls on, Toney at the top

Ivan Toney scored and assisted another as Brentford defeated Wolves 2-0 on Saturday.

Since the start of last season, Toney is the outright leading goalscorer in the top four tiers of English football (excluding play-off matches), with 33 strikes to his name.

Another promoted club, Norwich City, suffered their fifth defeat of the campaign. In total, the Canaries have now lost each of their last 15 Premier League games, meaning Daniel Farke is the manager with the longest losing run in top-flight history.

Mick McCarthy (14) was the last manager to go close to almost as long as Farke without a top-tier win, though that was back in 2005.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lauded David de Gea after his penalty-saving heroics in Manchester United's victory over West Ham, while downplaying talk of the Premier League title.

United goalkeeper De Gea saved his first penalty in 41 attempts to help the Red Devils secure a dramatic 2-1 win at West Ham. 

Jesse Lingard curled in a stunning 89th-minute strike after United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo had earlier cancelled out Said Benrahma's deflected opener in London, where De Gea emerged the hero.

De Gea saved Mark Noble's 95th-minute penalty – the Spain international ending a drought dating back to April 2016 without saving a spot-kick.

United's De Gea has now saved three and conceded 28 of the penalties he has faced in the Premier League; he had failed to keep out 21 in a row in the competition before denying substitute Noble. 

De Gea has found himself in the spotlight amid doubts over his future due to his form at Old Trafford, where Dean Henderson's arrival last season sparked speculation, but Solskjaer hailed the 30-year-old veteran.

"I believe in David and I've seen him [make a penalty save]," Solskjaer told reporters. "He saved against Crystal Palace last season, and his foot was a little inch off the line. 

"I've seen Mark Noble score so many penalties, you did feel down and out and expected to come home with one point but luckily David has continued his good form."

United have now gone 29 away Premier League matches without defeat, Lingard claiming their latest comeback victory.

Solskjaer's United are unbeaten in their last 14 away games in the Premier League when conceding first (W10 D4), including a 3-1 win in this fixture last season.

United – who have not won the Premier League since 2012-13 – are level with Chelsea and Liverpool atop the table through five matches.

"We're five games into the season, and I was probably down and out and lost my job yesterday [Saturday, after the Champions League loss to Young Boys during the week]," said Solskjaer. "So, that's just the way it is at Man United. 

"We've got to keep our feet grounded, dig out points like we did today. I thought they deserved the three points and you know it's a hard place to come and get these points.

"Hopefully we can, can make a difference, let's see when we get towards April and May."

David Moyes defended his decision to bring on Mark Noble for the crucial late penalty after the veteran campaigner's miss from the spot cost West Ham a point against Manchester United.

In a dramatic finale at London Stadium, the home side were awarded a stoppage-time chance to get on level terms, after former Hammers loanee Jesse Lingard fired United into a 2-1 lead.

Noble is a spot-kick expert, having stuck away 27 of 31 previous attempts in the Premier League, but the 34-year-old had not taken a kick of the ball before being handed the responsibility of saving the game.

The substitute, sent on by Moyes after the penalty was awarded for Luke Shaw's handball, saw his shot to the right corner pushed away by David de Gea, who had conceded his last 21 penalties on league duty.

United held on for the closing seconds to see out victory, leaving Moyes with questions to face about the sense of his decision.

"I chose Noble to come off the bench and take the penalty kick because I know how good his penalty record is," Moyes told West Ham TV.

"Mark was brave enough, he wanted it, and so from that point of view there's no responsibility with him at all."

Moyes admitted West Ham lacked an obvious candidate to take the penalty, with captain Declan Rice having been poised to take responsibility before Noble came sprinting on.

"We just don't necessarily have someone who is a natural penalty kick taker. It is an easy thing to work on because you can stand and take penalty kicks in training ... but it's a different thing when you've got to go on the stage and do it," Moyes told a news conference.

The Hammers boss failed to complete a full season as manager of United in 2013-14, being sacked in April after struggling to live up to his billing after succeeding Alex Ferguson.

Since then, he has failed to earn a win in eight matches as a manager against the Red Devils, drawing twice and losing six games.

It was a cruel twist that it should be Lingard who scored the 89th-minute winner, and he appeared somewhat apologetic as the visitors celebrated.

Lingard revived his career during his spell at West Ham last season, scoring nine goals in 16 Premier League games. The England midfielder put a midweek Champions League blunder behind him on this occasion to give Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side three points in the capital.

"Jesse got a second chance to bounce back as a player when he was at West Ham last year. We'll always be grateful for what he did for us," said Moyes. "I wish he hadn't scored, but we had a chance to get a draw out of it and we missed our chance."

Lingard's winner means West Ham have now had 47 players score both for and against them – excluding own goals – in the history of the Premier League, more than any other team.

Cristiano Ronaldo was denied two "stonewall" penalties in Manchester United's win at West Ham, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Portugal star got his fourth goal in three games since his return to the Red Devils in Sunday's 2-1 victory at London Stadium.

Ronaldo's first-half goal cancelled out Said Benrahma's deflected opener, with Jesse Lingard - who impressed on loan at the Hammers in 2020-21 - curling home a sublime winner after coming on as a substitute.

Ronaldo was floored by challenges from Vladimir Coufal and Kurt Zouma during the second half, with referee Martin Atkinson and VAR unmoved, but a penalty was given deep into injury time for a handball by Luke Shaw.

Mark Noble came off the bench but saw his effort saved by David de Gea with just seconds remaining.

Solskjaer had no complaints about the spot-kick given against Shaw but felt Ronaldo had been clearly fouled on separate occasions,

"The first and the last, I think are stonewall, you can't even argue against them," he told Sky Sports when asked about three penalty appeals for his side.

"Paul [Pogba] had a foul against him, Kurt Zouma: he didn't touch him but he went over him. So why is Cristiano's third appeal not a penalty? Hopefully it won't be that Cristiano's never going to get a penalty."

Noble's only touch of the ball was the penalty attempt clawed away by De Gea, who last saved a spot-kick in the Premier League against Everton's Leighton Baines in 2014.

"The thinking behind it [bringing Noble on for the penalty] was simply his record," manager Moyes said. "I'd have been more disappointed if I hadn't made the decision. I made the decision, and it didn't quite work today.

"We've given Manchester United a run for their money, the more we do that at this level against the top teams, the more we will improve as well."

Solskjaer was criticised for his game management in Tuesday's shock 2-1 Champions League loss to Young Boys, in which Lingard gifted the home side their stoppage-time winner with a loose pass.

He was delighted to see Lingard combine with fellow substitute Nemanja Matic to secure another comeback win and stretch United's unbeaten away run to 29 league games.

"Great goal, so happy for Jesse and he had a tough evening on Tuesday. He's knuckled down, worked hard again, been the same bright, positive lad. I'm so happy for him," he said.

"It's always difficult coming here against a West Ham team that's well organised. They're on their longest unbeaten run in the Premier League.

"We know we had to stamp our authority. First half, we had 60, 70 per cent of the possession. They got the first goal, but it's just a game that's waiting to open up.

"You can't take rests when you defend and we dropped into a back six, too many spaces, too late to charge the ball. We sorted and spoke about that at half-time. Great response."

United have now recovered 35 points from losing positions in Premier League matches since the start of last season, which is almost twice as many as any other side.

Manchester United duo Paul Pogba and David De Gea expressed their excitement for Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford after defeating Wolves 1-0 on Sunday.

United set an English football record as they reached 28 away games without defeat with Sunday's win but the travelling fans had more reason to celebrate earlier in the week.

The Red Devils announced on Friday that a deal worth £12.8m (€15m) plus £6.9m (€8m) in add-ons had been agreed with Juventus to bring Ronaldo back to Manchester for a second spell.

And following United's record-breaking outing at Molineux, De Gea spoke excitedly about linking up with the Portugal captain.

"It’s like a dream for all the Manchester United fans, for us," the Spain goalkeeper said to Sky Sports post-match.

"To have him [Cristiano Ronaldo] back it is going to be great, you can feel in the atmosphere. Hopefully, he can bring something special as well to make the team even better. It's great to have him."

 

Pogba, who surpassed Ronaldo's Premier League assist record for the Red Devils against Southampton last Sunday, echoed De Gea's sentiments.

"Everybody knows [what he brings]," the Frenchman told Sky Sports. "He's already a legend in this club and he's coming back, so obviously it's huge for us, for the club.

"He's going to bring his experience, his quality and obviously when he comes the level goes up.

"We're really pleased he's coming but the most important today is the win so when he comes we keep this mentality of winning, and keep winning."

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is confident "special" Mason Greenwood will go on to become a top player for club and country following his winning goal against Wolves.

Greenwood scored the only goal of Sunday's game in the 80th minute as United made it a record-breaking 28 successive unbeaten away matches in the English top flight.

In doing so, the 19-year-old became only the second teenager to find the net in the opening three matches of a Premier League season after Robbie Fowler for Liverpool in 1994-95.

Despite his promising start to the campaign, Greenwood was left out for the England squad ahead of the upcoming international break.

Although following discussions with Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate, Solskjaer admitted the decision was the right one for the youngster's development.

"The boy is special. Mason's a player we [Southgate and himself] can both see being a top player for Manchester United and England," he told Sky Sports.

"Of course, he wants to play for his country but at the moment, I think the best for him is to just focus on his everyday football. 

"I'm sure he'll come good for England in the end."

Solskjaer also heaped praise on David de Gea, who made five saves at Molineux to keep the hosts at bay.

Among them was a superb double-save from close range to deny Romain Saiss the opening goal in the 69th minute.

"David's found his determination and desire. He's come back with loads of energy,” added Solskjaer, who was taking charge of his 100th league match for the Red Devils. 

"You can see that in the work he's doing every single day. 

"The second save from that corner is special. That's not just hit him; that's reaction and he's got a strong arm to it."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted the "re-invented" Jesse Lingard is a part of his plans, while the Manchester United manager also hinted at a return for Dean Henderson.

Lingard enjoyed a productive loan spell with West Ham in the second half of last season, netting nine times in 16 Premier League appearances.

The 28-year-old's impressive showings for the Hammers secured an England call-up at the end of the 2020-21 campaign, though he narrowly missed out on Gareth Southgate's final Euro 2020 squad.

David Moyes is reportedly keen to bring Lingard back to London Stadium but Solskjaer outlined the midfielder's importance to his United squad, despite an incredible depth of talent in that area of the pitch at Old Trafford.

"Don’t forget Jesse Lingard who has re-invented himself and has come back the man that we know he is with the quality," Solskjaer said.

"He is going to play a big part as well.

"Of course there could be more rotation. We will be fresher. We will have to have a big and strong squad to be competitive in this league.

"It's the best league in the world and we also have to be lucky with injuries, but I am looking forward to working with all these players.

"We have to work hard and see who is fit and available. There will be a few fit and available definitely [against Southampton next Sunday]."

Lingard's nine goals for West Ham came from a total of 28 attempts, and he averaged a goal every 158 minutes.

In total, he played 1,424 minutes in the league for the Hammers, putting him behind only Bruno Fernandes (1,446) and Tomas Soucek (1,619) in terms of midfielders from each club from the point his loan started until the end of the season.

His four assists were second only to Fernandes, with his 18 chances created also more than any other West Ham or United midfielder bar the Portugal playmaker.

Lingard's willingness to run with the ball also provided a different dimension to West Ham's attack, and his 51 dribbles attempted was 20 more than second-ranked Pablo Fornals.

Solskjaer will have a welcome selection headache between the posts, too. David de Gea started in Saturday's win, with Henderson still recovering from COVID-19.

However, the United manager confirmed Henderson could come back into contention for the trip to St. Mary's Stadium as he returns to training on Monday.

“We will see how he feels and, hopefully, he can join in training on Monday," Solskjaer added.

"It is a big important test for him and we hope he is feeling better."

The pair shared goalkeeping duties last term, with De Gea appearing 26 times and Henderson granted 13 starts in the Premier League.

The Spain international saved 60 of the 280 shots he faced in the Premier League in 2020-21 for a save percentage of 65.22, compared to 76.47 for Henderson, who made 40 saves from 150 shots.

The England goalkeeper conceded 0.96 goals per 90 minutes across all competitions, while De Gea let in 1.25, though he did start double the games for Solskjaer's men.

Dean Henderson will miss Manchester United's training camp in Scotland this week as he is struggling with "prolonged fatigue" after recently contracting coronavirus.

The 24-year-old, who will once again rival David de Gea for a regular starting spot this coming season, tested positive for COVID-19 three weeks ago.

Henderson has recovered from a hip injury that forced him to withdraw from England's Euro 2020 squad during the tournament but has yet to feature in United's three pre-season friendlies.

Former Sheffield United loanee Henderson's preparations for the 2021-22 campaign have now been further disrupted as he deals with the after-effects of coronavirus.

A statement on United's official website on Monday read: "Dean Henderson will miss Manchester United's Scotland training camp while he continues his recovery from prolonged fatigue after contracting a COVID-19 infection three weeks ago.

"He is expected to be training again soon."

United have used new signing Tom Heaton and Lee Grant in their pre-season games to date, though De Gea joined up with the squad on Monday following a post-Euros break.

De Gea and Henderson shared goalkeeping duties last season, starting 26 and 13 Premier League matches respectively.

Spain international De Gea saved 60 of the 280 shots he faced in the Premier League in 2020-21 for a save percentage of 65.22, compared to 76.47 for Henderson (40 saves from 150 shots).

Henderson conceded 0.96 goals per 90 minutes in the competition last time out, meanwhile, a better return than the 1.25 let in by De Gea, albeit with the Spaniard playing double the number of matches.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side take on Everton at Old Trafford in their final pre-season match on Saturday, before facing Leeds United in their opening Premier League game on August 14.

Everton continue their search for Carlo Ancelotti's replacement.

One emerging candidate has plenty of familiarity with Liverpool. 

Could the Toffees turn to a former rival? 

 

TOP STORY – BENITEZ IN MERSEYSIDE RETURN?

Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has emerged as a strong contender to replace Carlo Ancelotti at Everton, the Daily Mirror and other outlets report. 

As the Merseyside club's interest in former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo has faded, majority owner Farhad Moshiri apparently plans to speak to the 61-year-old Benitez. 

The Spaniard was Liverpool's manager from 2004-10, winning the Champions League title in 2005. He spent 18 months in charge of Chinese Super League club Dalian Professional before leaving by mutual consent in January. 

Others under consideration include Brighton and Hove Albion head coach Graham Potter, former Lille coach Christophe Galtier and former Toffees boss Roberto Martinez

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea have matched Paris Saint-Germain's offer of about €65million (£56.1m) to Inter for Achraf Hakimi, according to Sky Sport Italia, though Inter value the 22-year-old at €81m (£70m).

- Barcelona see Manchester City's Raheem Sterling as a potential replacement for Ousmane Dembele should the France international depart, according to Sport, and Marca says PSG have interest in Dembele. 

- David de Gea seems inclined to extend his stay at Manchester United and expects to be the first-choice goalkeeper ahead of Dean Henderson, The Sun reports. 

- Atletico Madrid rejected United's £10m bid for England right-back Kieran Trippier, according to Football Insider. 

- Roma are close to completing their long-rumoured signing of Arsenal's Granit Xhaka, Corriere dello Sport claims. 

- West Ham would like to sign Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard on a permanent deal, The Sun reports. 

- Tottenham have had discussions with Borussia Monchengladbach winger Marcus Thuram, RMC Sport reports, and The Athletic says Spurs could also be eyeing RB Leipzig's Marcel Sabitzer

- Former Roma coach Paulo Fonseca has emerged as Spurs' preferred option to replace Jose Mourinho and the sides have discussed a three-year contract, the Guardian reports. 

- Former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard could be in the mix for the Crystal Palace opening, the Daily Mirror reports. 

Is David de Gea's time at Manchester United coming to an end?

De Gea has spent a decade with the Red Devils but his form has been scrutinised in recent years.

A swap involving Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak could solve United's problems.

 

TOP STORY – DE GEA OUT, OBLAK IN?

Manchester United are lining up a swap deal involving star goalkeeper David de Gea and Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak, according to The Sun.

De Gea's future has been uncertain since Dean Henderson signed a long-term contract extension at United, who remain uncertain about the pair.

Spain international De Gea joined United from Atletico in 2011 and the Red Devils are prepared to offer the LaLiga giants a reunion in exchange for star Oblak.

 

ROUND-UP

- TV3 reports Barcelona have offered Lionel Messi a new contract. Messi's current deal is due to expire on June 30 and the superstar captain has been linked with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

Saul Niguez is adamant he wants to leave LaLiga champions Atletico and Juventus lead the race to sign the Spaniard, claims Marca. United – long-term admirers – Bayern Munich and PSG are also interested.

- PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino is the favourite to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid, says the front page of Friday's Mundo Deportivo. Zidane has announced his departure. Former Inter boss Antonio Conte, Castilla coach and club great Raul and Xabi Alonso – currently in charge of Real Sociedad's reserve side – are also on the list. Pochettino has also been linked with a sensational return to Tottenham.

Barca have held talks regarding goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, according to Fabrizio Romano. Donnarumma's Milan contract is due to expire and his departure is already confirmed. After talking with agent Mino Raiola, Barca are set to decide whether to sign Donnarumma, who has also been linked with Juve and United.

- Premier League champions City are looking to smash their transfer record to bring in £100million-rated Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, reports the Daily Mail. City are also interested in Tottenham's Harry Kane – a target for rivals United, Chelsea, Madrid and Barca.

- The Telegraph says United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to sign a new three-year contract in Manchester. Solskjaer guided United to a second-placed finish in the Premier League, while the club were stunned by Villarreal in the Europa League final this season.

Barca are close to completing free transfers for Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and Lyon star Memphis Depay, according to Mundo Deportivo. Ronald Koeman's men are also eyeing City's free agent pair Sergio Aguero and Eric Garcia.

- FootMercato reports PSG have made an approach for star Milan full-back Theo Hernandez.

Chelsea and Tottenham both have strong interest in Borussia Monchengladbach attacker Jonas Hofmann, claims Sport1.

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