Manchester United have broken with modern tradition and made a footballing decision that everyone seems to think is a good one.

The appointment of Ralf Rangnick as interim manager until the end of the season was confirmed on Monday, a day after caretaker Michael Carrick managed a creditable 1-1 draw at Premier League leaders Chelsea.

While he hasn't been a coach for the best part of three years, Rangnick's legacy in the Bundesliga and his influence on some of Germany's finest minds makes him a shrewd appointment for United, not least because he will take up a two-year consultancy role after 2021-22.

This, then, is a decision taken by United with a view to long-term changes to their fortunes, not simply a quick fix to arrest poor results. Still, with more than half the season still to go, Rangnick could yet guide the Red Devils to some tangible on-pitch success over the coming months – provided that he gets to work quickly on some of their biggest problems.

Stats Perform looks at five things Rangnick must address as soon as possible...

 

Fix the defence

United conceded 21 goals in the first 12 games of the season; they have never previously let in more at the same stage in the competition's history. In November alone, they have faced 60 shots, the most of any side in the division.

That tells you something about the state of their defence.

Of course, Rangnick's gegenpressing system is likely to demand off-the-ball contributions from every player on the pitch (more on that shortly) but the rearguard is in need of some serious fine-tuning. In particular, captain Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw have seen their individual form fall off a cliff since they helped England to the final of Euro 2020; it was telling that a good defensive performance against Chelsea on Sunday came with both players sidelined.

Getting the best out of Shaw and Maguire, arresting Aaron Wan-Bissaka's decline and getting Raphael Varane fit and integrated into the side will be essential to Rangnick's aims.

Get Bruno firing again

So often United's star performer under Solskjaer, Bruno Fernandes is another who has endured a comparatively poor season.

He tallied his 50 direct goal involvement on his 58th appearance in October (30 goals, 20 assists), which is a tally only Andy Cole (43), Alan Shearer (54) and Eric Cantona (54) reached in fewer games, so it's not all bad. But the Portugal playmaker has scored just once in 19 appearances for club and country.

He looks a player in need of a lift and, so central is he to United's attack play, he could be Rangnick's first port of call at Carrington. Well, apart from...

Accommodate Ronaldo

Like a black hole devouring a gas cloud, all the noise surrounding United's performances seems to be drawn inexorably back to Cristiano Ronaldo.

It's a beguiling narrative: a five-time Ballon d'Or winner who has to start every game but who should not expect to start every game; a 36-year-old forward who no longer contributes enough to make up for any shortcomings, but one with six goals in five Champions League matches this season, two of them winners and one a last-gasp equaliser.

There are some writing off Ronaldo's chances of winning over a coach like Rangnick who demands hard graft from every member of his team, while others say the onus is on the incoming manager to construct a unit that brings the best out of the leading male international goalscorer in history. Time will tell what the future holds.

And just a note for the 'Ronaldo doesn't press' crowd: he made three more sprints and 21 more intensive runs against Chelsea than Jesse Lingard, who came on at the same time.

Tie down Pogba and tidy the squad

Some of Solskjaer's best work at United was putting together a strong squad, but that seemed to unravel in his final few months in charge.

Lingard returned rejuvenated from West Ham but, rather than cash in when there was a demand, Solskjaer kept the England international yet gave him just 63 minutes of league action. It's now likely he'll leave for nothing next June.

There were similarly strange decisions behind contract extensions for Eric Bailly and the seldom-seen Juan Mata, while Phil Jones is still at the club after two years of injury hell and Anthony Martial was retained despite falling way down the attacking pecking order. Goalkeeper Dean Henderson also appears unlikely now to dislodge David de Gea.

Then there is Paul Pogba, still yet to sign a new deal or announce plans to leave for free next year, whose agent wastes few opportunities to discuss potentially interested parties. The word is that Pogba is excited to work with Rangnick, but the France star is just one of several members of the United squad who needs clarity on their positions.

Give Donny a chance

It felt almost pre-ordained when Donny van de Beek scored the final goal of the Solskjaer era against Watford, having come on as a substitute to rapturous (and ironic) cheers from the visiting fans.

Van de Beek has spent most of his time at United being assured his chances would come, then left wondering when that would be. Having only started four league games in 14 months, the Netherlands international – who has lost his place in the national squad – would almost certainly have pushed to leave in January had Solskjaer stayed in the job.

Now, Van de Beek has the opportunity to prove himself to a new manager. Rangnick's methods might not be Cruyffian exactly, but they are certainly more closely aligned to the Ajax way than Solskjaer's focus on individual inspiration.

Jesse Lingard's future does not appear to be with current club Manchester United.

Contract talks between Lingard and United have reportedly broken down.

The England international has only played eight times in all competitions this season, starting just once.

 

TOP STORY –  LINGARD SET FOR JANUARY SWITCH

Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard will make a £10million move to West Ham in January, according to The Sun.

The Red Devils are said to be looking to cash in on the 28-year-old England international before he is out of contract at the end of this season.

Lingard impressed during a six-month loan spell with the Hammers in the second half of last season, with nine goals and four assists.

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- Tottenham are also interested in signing Lingard on a free transfer in the off-season, according to the Daily Express.

- United are prepared to sell Diogo Dalot to Roma in order to facilitate a deal for Atletico Madrid's England full-back Kieran Trippier, claims the Manchester Evening News.

- Marca claims that Real Madrid are ramping up their pursuit of Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, who is out of contract at the end of this season. Bayern Munich are also said to be tracking the Germany international.

- Promising young Argentina international Julian Alvarez is being monitored by Italian powerhouse pair Juventus and Milan, reports Calciomercato. Alvarez, who has four Argentina caps, is currently with River Plate who will wait until December to evaluate any offers.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer acknowledged Jesse Lingard's disappointment at a lack of playing time following rumours suggesting contract talks with the midfielder had collapsed.

Various publications claimed on Thursday that discussions over a new Manchester United deal for England international Lingard had broken down.

The 28-year-old's contract is due to expire at the end of the season, and United seemingly look set to lose a valuable asset on a free transfer.

The speculation has stoked criticism of United's decision-making, given the club almost certainly could have fetched £25million for Lingard in pre-season after he enjoyed a scintillating loan spell at West Ham.

Between his Hammers debut in February and the end of 2020-21, Lingard scored nine times in the Premier League, a haul bettered by just five players.

Only one of those was a penalty, leaving him with a non-penalty expected goals (xG) outperformance of 4.7, the second best record in that time.

That form earned him an England recall, and while he was ultimately left out of their Euro 2020 squad, Lingard had given himself a solid platform to build on upon his return to United, but Solskjaer has not rewarded him with the playing time he feels he deserves.

"Jesse is training really hard, really well and he's ready and available for me," Solskjaer said ahead of the trip to Watford after being asked about the rumours around Lingard's contract talks.

"He's disappointed he's not playing more. In regards to contract situations and talks, I've not been in them very closely.

"For me, Jesse is still a big part of this squad and important, and he gives quality to the group every day.

"Every player wants to play as much as possible, with Jesse and all my players.

"They're working really hard, I can't fault the attitude when they're called upon. Jesse has done well when he's played for us, and with the games coming up, he's going to play a part."

In that respect, the busy schedule over the next eight weeks could potentially see United turn the situation around.

They have 11 fixtures in all competitions before the end of the year, a hectic run that will undoubtedly lead to some squad rotation.

Lingard will be hopeful of capitalising on that given he has played in just five Premier League games this season.

Despite a lack of game time, his tally of two goals is bettered by only Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood, all of whom have played more than 10 times as many minutes as Lingard's 63.

Chelsea are not content to stick with what they have. 

The Blues are top of the Premier League but poised for major moves in January.

Three young stars and a veteran are high on their radar. 

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA EYE REINFORCEMENTS

Chelsea have their sights set on moves for Jules Kounde, Matthijs de Ligt and Lorenzo Insigne, reports Marca, while another report has them as the favourites to land Aurelien Tchouameni

The Blues are poised to revisit their talks with Sevilla over Kounde in January with multiple centre-backs set to be out of contract at the end of the season. 

Thomas Tuchel's side could also dip into Serie A and try to lure De Ligt from Juventus and Insigne from Napoli.

Chelsea are prepared to offer €60million (£51m) to Monaco for Tchouameni, says TuttoJuve, with Manchester City, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Juventus also possibilities. 

 

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- Barcelona are eyeing Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech as possible loan options from Chelsea, says Sport. 

- Manchester United are pushing to line up Zinedine Zidane to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, reports The Sunday Times.

- United are prepared to sell Jesse Lingard for as little as £10m in January, says The Sun. 

- Roma are in negotiations with United over a loan deal with an option to buy Diogo Dalot, claims Corriere dello Sport. 

- Inter will bring aboard Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana on a four-year deal, reports Fabrizio Romano. 

- Newcastle United will try to land Adrien Rabiot from Juventus for €10m to €15m (£8.5m-£13m), says Calciomercato. 

Marcus Rashford and Jude Bellingham have been recalled to Gareth Southgate's England squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, but Jadon Sancho and his Manchester United team-mate Jesse Lingard miss out.

England require just four points to qualify for Qatar 2022 from the visit of Albania on Friday November 12 and their final qualifier away to San Marino three days later.

It is Rashford's first call-up since his missed penalty in the Euro 2020 final shootout defeat to Italy as he has only recently recovered from shoulder surgery, while Bellingham comes back into the squad after being left out for previous games against Andorra and Hungary.

A lack of game time at club level appears to have cost Sancho and Lingard their places in the squad as the United duo miss out.

Speaking after making the squad announcement, Southgate said: "With Mason [Greenwood] I discussed the situation last time, with Jesse and Jadon they just aren't playing a lot of football compared to the other players in their positions.

"I know people will say I'm inconsistent, but I don't think I am. If you're playing regularly for your club you've got a much better chance of us assessing your level compared to the rest of the group."

Elsewhere, Harry Maguire, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Reece James and Kalvin Phillips also come back into the 25-man squad, while Kieran Trippier, Fikayo Tomori and Ollie Watkins are left out.

England squad in full:

Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal); Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kyle Walker (Manchester City); Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton); Tammy Abraham (Roma), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).

Toni Kroos has fallen out of favour with Real Madrid. 

A January transfer is a top priority with the World Cup looming.

Could a reunion with Pep Guardiola await? 

 

TOP STORY – KROOS HEADED TO CITY?

Manchester City have reached out to Toni Kroos about a January transfer, El Nacional reports. 

The Germany international has played in just one league match for Real Madrid this term. 

The 31-year-old previously played for City boss Guardiola at Bayern Munich and a reunion could be on the cards. 

 

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- Ferran Torres is set to land a contract extension at Manchester City, says the Daily Star, with the new five-year deal set to pay him £100,000 a week.

- Lazio midfielder Luis Alberto could be headed for a reunion with Simone Inzaghi at Inter, reports Calciomercato. 

- Everton lead several clubs in pursuit of Manchester United's Jesse Lingard, says Football Insider, with West Ham and Newcastle United also interested. 

- Liverpool and Manchester United are among the clubs queuing for 18-year-old United States and Dallas sensation Ricardo Pepi, the Mirror reports. Milan, Juventus and Bayern Munich also have been linked to the teen. 

- Newcastle have increasingly focussed on Ajax's Erik ten Hag to replace Steve Bruce, the Express reports, adding that Marc Overmars could also make the move to St. James' Park as director of football. 

 

Superstar 22-year-old Kylian Mbappe is expected to leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of this season.

Real Madrid have long courted the France international and are expected to secure his signature.

PSG remain hopeful of Mbappe extending his contract but there could be another twist in the transfer saga.

Madrid's LaLiga rivals Barcelona appear ready to make a surprise move.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA READY FOR MBAPPE MOVE

Barcelona believe they can outspend Madrid and land Mbappe from PSG, according to AS.

Despite their financial challenges, the Catalans intend to hijack their rivals' move for Mbappe, who will be a free agent in mid-2022.

Barcelona's salary cap will increase by then and vice president Eduard Romeu reportedly wants to make one major signing.

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- ESPN reports that Erling Haaland will demand a salary of £30million (€35m) per year for his expected transfer from Borussia Dortmund next year. Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester City and Bayern Munich are among those chasing the Norwegian.

- Eden Hazard could return to Chelsea with the Blues interested in a deal for the Real Madrid midfielder, claims El Nacional.

- Everton have set their sights on a January deal for Manchester United's Jesse Lingard, according to Football Insider.

- Marca claims that Newcastle are ready to splash out £67m (€80m) to sign Porto's Colombian striker Luis Diaz.

- Manchester City are set to enter the race for Ajax's 21-year-od Brazil international Antony alongside Barcelona, according to El Nacional.

 

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defended his decision to bench Cristiano Ronaldo before the international break, adamant he is trying to learn from his own mistake of overexerting his players.

Ronaldo was surprisingly named among the substitutes as United could only draw 1-1 with Everton in their most recent Premier League match.

United produced a disappointing performance as they were left with just two wins from their past seven home games in the league.

Ronaldo came on in the second half to make his 200th top-flight appearance for United, becoming only the fifth player since 2003 to reach that milestone in two of Europe's big five leagues.

The Portugal star looked furious as he walked down the tunnel after that match and a video posted by Mixed Martial Arts star Khabib Nurmagomedov – who was a guest of the club – showed Alex Ferguson questioning Solskjaer's decision to rest Ronaldo in a conversation with him.

But while Solskjaer says he would like to play Ronaldo – who scored four goals in two games for Portugal over the past couple of weeks – as much as possible, he insists he is looking out for United's collective conditioning in the long term.

"He's an exceptional player, finisher, goalscorer and professional," Solskjaer told reporters ahead of Saturday's clash with Leicester City.

"It's hard to leave him out and everyone would love to play six games [in a row] and play the same XI, it's great, but it's rotation [they need].

"We need to get to May with everyone firing. We got to May and the final stretch last season and we were a little tired.

"I'm the manager, I manage for the club, but of course it's nice to have him on the pitch because he'll always come up with the goods, and the more we have him on the pitch, the better."

While many will expect Ronaldo to start at the King Power Stadium, he could potentially be joined in attack by Marcus Rashford for the first time.

England international Rashford has not played since Euro 2020 after undergoing surgery on a persistent shoulder injury in August.

Solskjaer confirmed the forward will be in the squad on Saturday and did not rule out him starting, though the game will come slightly too soon for captain Harry Maguire.

"[Rashford] is in the squad, yes. If he's starting or not, I can't tell you because it wouldn't be right, but he's been really bright this week.

"He had a 60-minute involvement in a behind-closed-doors friendly last week, so he's fit and raring to go.

"Harry's just joined us on the grass this morning, so that was the first time he's been on the grass."

Fellow England international Jesse Lingard has been the subject of significant speculation in recent months after a blistering loan spell with West Ham last season.

His contract expires at the end of the season and he has been linked with numerous clubs, including Barcelona, though Solskjaer was unequivocal in his desire to keep Lingard at Old Trafford.

"Jesse's had a good start to the season, come on and scored a few goals," Solskjaer said. "He's been important for us.

"We want to prolong his contract; we see him as an important player. It's up to him to get more playing time, and maybe it's up to me giving him more playing time because he deserves to [play], but I always have to leave players out.

"Hopefully we can get a deal sorted for Jesse, because we really rate him and value him around the club. He's a top player and a top person."

A lot can change over the course of the international break – Newcastle United have gone from losing 2-1 at Wolves to becoming the world's richest football club, in a sense.

It's all change at St James' Park and you can guarantee a charged atmosphere for the first match of a potentially exciting period for a club that has underachieved for years, with Tottenham the visitors on Sunday.

A couple of Newcastle players might be worth your consideration, while Leeds star Raphinha – who would ordinarily be an easy pick – this week represents something of a risk.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform picks out seven players for your consideration.

AARON RAMSDALE (Arsenal v Crystal Palace)

His signing was scoffed at by many in pre-season, probably partly due to the significant £24million fee Arsenal spent, but Ramsdale has enjoyed an encouraging start after dislodging Bernd Leno for the Gunners.

He has featured four times in the Premier League and conceded just once, giving him the best minutes-per-goal-conceded ratio in the division (one every 360 mins).

Ramsdale will be confident of continuing that theme on Monday against Crystal Palace, whose open-play expected goals (xG) of 5.2 is better than only five teams this term.

MATT RITCHIE (Newcastle United v Tottenham)

Now, selecting a Newcastle defender might ordinarily be considered something of a risk, but it's fair to suggest there may be a slightly more positive aura around the team – for obvious reasons – when Spurs visit.

If the feel-good factor at the club following their takeover does translate into a strong performance, the early signs this season would have you believe Ritchie will be influential.

The converted left-back's 21 chances created is second just to Bruno Fernandes, while only Trent Alexander-Arnold (2.6) and Mason Mount (2.1) have better expected assists (xA) records than Ritchie (2.0) – he's also played the third-most amount of passes into the box out of everyone in the top flight (63).

KIERAN TIERNEY (Arsenal v Crystal Palace)

Another left-back who is pretty effective going forward is Tierney, who has widely been considered one of few consistently solid performers for Arsenal during his time at the club – when he's fit, that is.

As mentioned previously, Arsenal's next opponents Palace aren't among the league's most threatening team, so there's undoubtedly potential for clean-sheet points, though Tierney also provides plenty in attack.

Among defenders yet to score or assist, only Everton's Lucas Digne (17) has recorded more than Tierney's 15 shot involvements (shots and key passes), while the Scotland international is third among defenders for chances created (nine, two less than Alexander-Arnold).

RAPHINHA (Southampton v Leeds United)

Admittedly, this one's a bit of a gamble. With Raphinha away with Brazil for their World Cup qualifier against Uruguay on Thursday night (early Friday morning UK time), roughly 36 hours prior to Leeds facing Southampton, Marcelo Bielsa has already acknowledged Raphinha's status is at the very least unclear.

But he's looked exciting in his Brazil cameos so far, and his form in 2021-22 would leave few doubting Raphinha has the ability to have a decisive impact on Saturday even if just playing as a substitute.

Currently, he tops the rankings among Leeds players for goals (three), shots (24), chances created (14) and passes into the box (59) – he's surely too important for Bielsa to leave out entirely.

JESSE LINGARD (Leicester City v Manchester United)

After a brilliant few months at West Ham, Lingard is still waiting for a proper run of games this term at United, but he's already chipped in with a couple of goals in just three league appearances.

The second of those came against the Hammers, and up next is another of his former loan teams: Leicester.

He already boasts a great record in meetings with the Foxes, having been involved in six goals (three goals and three assists) against them – that's a joint-personal best (also six versus Arsenal).

ALLAN SAINT-MAXIMIN (Newcastle United v Tottenham)

If there's one member of the Newcastle squad who promises to be the most buoyed by the club's new situation, it's surely the one who wouldn't look out of place in a team of expensively assembled superstars.

Saint-Maximin is box office – he's an entertainer and always looks like he's having a rollicking good time on the pitch, but this season the Frenchman has added a little more substance to his play as well.

With two goals and three assists already in 2021-22, he has an involvement every 126 minutes, massively improved on 2020-21 (one every 224 mins). In front of new owners, few would bet against Saint-Maximin dazzling as he looks to prove he'll be right at home in the new era.

RAUL JIMENEZ (Aston Villa v Wolves)

Back from a serious head injury, Jimenez did not have much luck during his first five Premier League appearances of the season, not getting a single goal or assist despite attempting 14 shots and delivering 15 key passes.

But since then, the Mexico international has been involved in all of Wolves' three most recent goals.

Jimenez has been something of a double-threat under Bruno Lage, with his shot involvements tally of 36 bettered by only Bruno Fernandes (47), Mohamed Salah, Michail Antonio and Raphinha.

Newcastle have the wealthiest owners in the world following their £300million takeover last week.

The Magpies have since been linked to a host of top players including Niklas Sule and Philippe Coutinho, with Timo Werner now joining that list.

The Premier League club are 19th in the table, winless this season with only three points from seven games, which suggests they need significant strengthening.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE KEEN ON GERMAN STRIKER

Newcastle are set to splash the cash and could make a bid to sign Chelsea's German striker Timo Werner, says Bild.

The report claims Newcastle have been "in regular contact" with Werner's agent ahead of the January transfer window.

Werner joined Chelsea in a £47.5million deal in June last year from RB Leipzig.

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- Juventus are willing to sell France international midfielder Adrien Rabiot, with Newcastle linked as a suitor, as they raise funds for moves for Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni and Manchester United's Donny van de Beek.

- Marca claims Real Madrid are looking to sign Chelsea's Germany international defender Antonio Rudiger, who is out of contract at the end of this season.

- Liverpool are open to the idea of bringing Philippe Coutinho back to Anfield from Barcelona in January, claims the Express.

- Fichajes claims Liverpool are also considering a £68million (€80m) swoop for Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix, while they also progress contract talks with Mohamed Salah.

- Barcelona and Milan are top of the queue in the pursuit to sign Jesse Lingard if he leaves Old Trafford on a free transfer at the end of this season, according to the Daily Mail.

- Phil Foden has agreed terms on a new six-year contract with Manchester City, reports Goal.com.

Jesse Lingard knows he needs regular club football as the Manchester United man bids to nail down a place in the England squad.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has used Lingard sparingly this season, despite his remarkable performances on loan at West Ham last term.

Lingard declined to speak about the prospect of a new contract at Old Trafford, with his present deal due to expire at the end of this season.

But the attacking midfielder, whose 30th birthday will fall during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, is aware his England prospects could suffer if he is not playing regularly for his club.

After narrowly missing out on a place in the Euro 2020 squad, Lingard does not want to see another major tournament pass him by.

United are stocked with attacking talent and that is holding back Lingard's prospects of being a fixture in Solskjaer's starting XI.

"The World Cup's a long way away but obviously you need regular football," Lingard said in an England news conference.

"I was so close to going to the Euros. It's a big factor; if you're playing over 20-25 games, you're knocking on the door.

"So I think it does play a big part. At the moment I'm not doing any harm and if I keep performing well and doing well you never know what might happen.

"I'll keep confident in myself and when I get time on the pitch I'll carry on doing what I'm doing."

He has made only one start for Solskjaer in 2021-22, featuring from the first minute against West Ham in an EFL Cup third-round defeat.

That is the only game where he has played for longer than 24 minutes, but Lingard has strong evidence to call on when pointing to the overall level of his performances.

In 136 minutes of United action this season, spread across six games, he has scored twice and created three chances for others, one of which resulted in a goal.

He is outperforming his expected goals (xG) score of 0.59, which reflects the quality of chances, yet he is struggling to get ahead of the likes of Anthony Martial, whose data is not as impressive at this early stage of the campaign (three starts, 245 minutes, one goal, no assists, no chances created).

Lingard could face Andorra on Saturday, having scored twice against the minnows at Wembley last month, and for now at least he is firmly in favour with England boss Gareth Southgate.

Jadon Sancho may also feature against Andorra despite Southgate last week admitting the winger only scraped into the squad.

Sancho has played 436 minutes for United since arriving from Borussia Dortmund, and he has yet to score or assist on a goal, making a slow start at Old Trafford.

Lingard is convinced the 21-year-old will come good and show the form that made him a superstar of the Bundesliga and sealed a place in Southgate's Euro 2020 squad.

"We all know Jadon is a world-class player, and he's one of the best young talents in the world at the moment," Lingard said.

"At a big club like United there is always going to be pressure. I feel like he's slowly adapting now. And you can see glimpses of that in the previous games that he's played, and now we can see that in training week in week out.

"There's no doubt that he will succeed at United, I've got full confidence in that."

Tammy Abraham is glad he did not take the "easy option" by staying at Chelsea and is grateful for the trust put in him by Jose Mourinho since making the switch to Roma.

The 24-year-old joined Roma in a €40million (£34m) deal two months ago after struggling for playing time upon Thomas Tuchel's arrival at Stamford Bridge in January.

He has two goals and two assists from his first seven games with the Serie A side and has been hailed for embracing life in a new country, instantly making him a fan favourite.

Abraham had been on Chelsea's books since 2004, but he made just 82 appearances between his senior debut in May 2016 and his departure this August.

And after three separate spells out on loan, the England international was persuaded to leave west London on a permanent basis by ex-Chelsea boss Mourinho.

"I had different options," Abraham said. "So many clubs I was speaking to at the time.

"I spoke to Jose. He had a goal. I could see where he wanted Roma to go, and see where he wants to take them and I wanted to be part of the process.

"He really put his trust in me so he was a big impact on the reason why I chose Roma.

"I picked up the phone and he was like, 'Do you want to enjoy some sun or stay in the rain?'

"I have learned so much tactically – as much as I have in my entire lifetime. It is good. You need to learn off different managers. Right now, I am learning a lot."

Abraham was given a run in the Chelsea side in the first half of last season, scoring 11 goals in 25 games up until Tuchel's appointment on January 26.

The former Aston Villa loanee was used only seven times by Tuchel, however, adding one more goal to his tally to finish as joint-top scorer alongside Timo Werner (12 each).

Reflecting on the second half of 2020-21, Abraham said: "At first it's quite tough to deal with. 

"You've gone from playing regularly to not being in the mix and not even making the bench sometimes. I got to a point where I had to sit down and talk to myself.

"I was going out to train and I was doing it for me. I was going to train to better myself because it's easy to throw a strop, to be angry around the place, to be a bad egg. 

"For me, it was the opposite. I learned about myself and that strengthened my mindset. I was with the team whenever they needed me. 

"Players like Mason Mount, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi – the players younger than me – I kind of had to lift them and be their support, help them and encourage them.

"I had an ambition and a goal that I set myself and it was to go out there and be the best I can be, to prove to everyone my true abilities.

"The easy option would've been to stick around and sit down. Chelsea's a massive club, they will compete and try to win trophies, so the easy option would’ve been to do that.

"I realised that I needed to go out and prove myself. I took a decision and it was the right one."

Abraham was a late addition to the England squad this week for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers with Andorra and Hungary.

Jesse Lingard is another who is back in Gareth Southgate's plans after being overlooked for Euro 2020 squad selection, and the Manchester United attacker is motivated to hold down his place in the side.

"It gives you more hunger and motivation to be playing in the biggest of tournaments and games," he said when asked about missing out on England's run to the European Championship final.

"It's always hard. Considering where I was for a period of time, not playing as much and not in the England squad, to get into the 33-man squad shows what you can do with hard work and belief.

"I was disappointed to miss out but I was still there supporting the boys through thick and thin. “They had a great chance after getting into the final, but we have to move on quickly and prepare for the new season."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lauded Cristiano Ronaldo for his late winner against Villarreal, saying "there's always a chance" when the Manchester United star is playing.

The Portugal captain made history on Wednesday as he made his 178th Champions League appearance, breaking the record held by Iker Casillas.

The 36-year-old marked the occasion with a 95th-minute goal to give United a 2-1 victory over Unai Emery's side and avenge their shoot-out defeat in last season's Europa League final.

Villarreal had not lost a game in normal time since a 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid on the final day of last season, and they fully deserved their lead at Old Trafford when Paco Alcacer converted Arnaut Danjuma's cross.

Alex Telles blasted home a superb volley to level the scores before Ronaldo got United their first Champions League points of 2021-22, firing low past Geronimo Rulli after being teed up by Jesse Lingard.

"That's what happens here at Old Trafford. It's happened so many times before," Solskjaer told BT Sport. "Of course, we had to throw caution to the wind, and we got lucky in the end.

"They're a very, very hard team to beat, they've not lost since way before the [Europa League] final, and they've played some good teams.

"It's a difficult one because we're at home, we want to win, but they play so well that if we don't go and press them, they'll be happy enough sitting off.

"Sometimes, it's not about pass there, pass there. It's the crowd – they've sucked a few balls in before. When you've got Cristiano on the pitch, there's always a chance.

"He's so, so good in front of goal. He has an impact on everyone: the crowd, the players, the whole club.

"It's massive for the players to win games in this fashion after we lost the [Villa] game in that fashion. It's great."

Lingard showed great poise to control Ronaldo's header down from a Fred cross before presenting him with the chance to win the game, and Solskjaer admitted the England international probably deserves to be playing more often.

"Jesse was probably not happy at not playing more," he said. "But he comes on, he makes an impact. That's what you do when you're a sub at this club."

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.

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