Former Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia has announced his retirement at the age of 35.

Valencia spent 10 years at Old Trafford before returning to his home country with LDU Quito, where he played for one season prior to joining Mexican side Queretaro in November.

The ex-Ecuador international also represented El Nacional, Villarreal, Recreativo and Wigan Athletic during an 18-year career that will be best remembered for his time with United.

He amassed 277 starts for the Red Devils in all competitions and a further 61 outings as substitute, scoring 25 goals.

Valencia, who won two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two EFL Cups, three Community Shields and the Europa League, took to Twitter on Wednesday to thank United fans.

"At the age of 14, as a child, I left my village and my first team to travel to the capital of my country. I travelled with a lot of nostalgia bug full of hope," he said.

"A few years later I was able to travel to Europe, something I had never dreamed of. I played in Spain, and then came to my second home: England.

"Wigan was a unique experience, and then God gave me the opportunity to join Manchester United. I will never forget everything I experienced at Old Trafford.

"I will never forget every goal, every trophy and the wonderful fans.

"I did not think this moment would come so soon, but my body has asked me to make this decision. I am announcing my retirement from football. 

"I want to thank everyone who has been part of my career and life. God in the first place, for always blessing me. Zoila and my daughter Domenik who have been my pillars. 

"My parents for giving me so much. To fans of all the countries where I have played, I always tried to give my best. Thank you for your affection and support."

Valencia was voted United's Player of the Year in 2011-12 and won the Players' Player of the Year in that same campaign and again five seasons later.

The 2011-12 season was a particularly memorable one for the versatile right-sided player as he assisted 13 goals in 27 Premier League appearances.

Only Nani (14 in 33 appearances) and David Beckham (15 in 31) have assisted more Premier League goals in a single season for the club.

Valencia also holds the record for the most appearances of any South American player in the competition with 325, followed by Pablo Zabaleta (303) and Nolberto Solano (302).

The El Nacional academy product scored 23 Premier League goals for United and was not on the losing side in any of those matches, the Red Devils winning 95.7 per cent of them.

Only two players to have scored in at least 20 matches have a better such win percentage - Chelsea pair Pedro (96.3 per cent) and Florent Malouda (96.7 per cent).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not expect Harry Maguire to feature in the Premier League again this season but remains hopeful he will be fit for the Europa League final.

United captain Maguire suffered ankle ligament damage when he collided with Anwar El Ghazi during a 3-1 win at Aston Villa last Sunday.

The England centre-back was at Old Trafford on crutches wearing a protective boot on his left foot for a 2-1 loss to Leicester City on Tuesday, a defeat that sealed the title for Manchester City.

Solskjaer thinks Maguire's top-flight campaign is over with three games to play, but is optimistic he will face Villarreal in Gdansk on May 26.

The United boss said on the eve of Thursday's Premier League encounter with Liverpool: "The good news was it wasn't broken. There was no fracture, but a ligament injury of course is serious as well.

"If I'm very positive - that's maybe stretching it - I'm hopeful that he might be ready for it [the Europa League final]. I don't think he'll play in the league again before [the end of the season]. We'll do everything we can to get him ready for the final."

Solskjaer said there should be no concerns that he might take a risk by playing Maguire with Euro 2020 on the horizon.

"You always try to look after players long-term. If he's fit, he'll play for us, if he's not he won't," said the former Norway striker.

"As I said, we're hopeful that he's ready. If he's ready for us, he'll probably be ready for the Euros. Norway are not in the Euros, so I'm not really that concerned [about the Euros]."

Solskjaer made 10 changes to his starting line-up for the defeat to the Foxes and will rotate again when they face Champions League hopefuls Liverpool, given United are amid a schedule of four games in the space of 10 days.

"There will be changes of course but many of the players that played tonight did really well so they're in contention as well," he added.

"It's about managing the squad now and building momentum, building confidence, making sure we get enough points to get second and then going into the final confident."

Casey Stoney will step down as head coach of Manchester United Women at the end of the domestic season.

The former England international took charge in June 2018 shortly after finishing her distinguished playing career at Liverpool.

Stoney led United to the Women's Championship title, and promotion to the Women's Super League, in the team's inaugural season in 2018-19. They won 18 of their 20 matches and suffered just one defeat.

United finished a creditable fourth in their first season in the top flight in 2019-20 and again this term, 10 points behind champions Chelsea. They face Leicester City in the fifth round of the Women's FA Cup on Sunday.

"It has been an honour to lead the women's team at this great club and this has been an incredibly tough decision," Stoney said in a statement.

"I have loved leading this group and I am proud of what we have achieved together. However, after a difficult season with disruption caused by the pandemic, I now feel the time is right to take some time away and for someone else to come in and lead the team on the next stage of its journey.

"I want to thank the club, all of the fantastic staff, the fans, and most of all the players, for the incredible experience we have shared over the past three years."

United's outgoing executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said: "Casey has been a driving force behind the success of our women's team since she joined the club in 2018. She has been an inspiration to her players and staff, to everyone at the club, and to the fans. Everyone at Manchester United thanks her for her unstinting hard work and dedication and pays tribute to her achievements. She will always be part of the Manchester United family."

Football director John Murtough added: "Manchester United is completely committed to its women's team and to building on the legacy of Casey's achievements as we move forwards. With the recent historic first game at Old Trafford and the impact the team has made in the Women's Super League, the future is bright.

"While we will be sad to see Casey leave, the team and the operation will continue to go from strength to strength."

UEFA has opened a disciplinary investigation against Barcelona, Juventus and Real Madrid, the three clubs who are yet to withdraw from the European Super League.

Nine of the original 12 founding teams involved in the controversial project – including all six English clubs – have renounced the competition and promised to take all possible steps to remove themselves from it.

They all agreed a peace accord with UEFA last week that saw them recommit to the current structures of club and international football.

As part of the deal, those nine teams also accepted light punishments including goodwill payments to UEFA and a small portion of their prize money being withheld.

But Barca, Juve and Madrid are yet to terminate their involvement and on Saturday insisted the breakaway project was lawful, hitting out at "intolerable" pressure and vowing to persevere. 

When announcing their agreement with the nine clubs who came back into the fold, UEFA said it would "take whatever action it deems appropriate" against the remaining three.

That process has now begun, as UEFA released a statement on Wednesday confirming the disciplinary probe.

It read: "In accordance with Article 31(4) of the UEFA disciplinary regulations, UEFA ethics and disciplinary inspectors have today been appointed to conduct a disciplinary investigation regarding a potential violation of UEFA's legal framework by Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus in connection with the so-called 'Super League' project.

"Further information regarding this matter will be made available in due course."

Speaking last week, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin discussed the recent developments, praising the nine clubs for stepping back from the Super League.

"I said at the UEFA Congress that it takes a strong organisation to admit making a mistake especially in these days of trial by social media," he said.

"In accepting their commitments and willingness to repair the disruption they caused, UEFA wants to put this chapter behind it and move forward in a positive spirit.

"The measures announced are significant, but none of the financial penalties will be retained by UEFA. They will all be reinvested into youth and grassroots football in local communities across Europe, including the UK.

"These clubs have done just that, recognised their mistakes quickly and have taken action to demonstrate their contrition and future commitment to European football.

"The same cannot be said for the clubs that remain involved in the so-called 'Super League' and UEFA will deal with those clubs subsequently."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer applauded Mason Greenwood for playing with responsibility alongside some of Manchester United's younger players against Leicester City and wants him to retain that authority when teaming up with first-team regulars.

United lost 2-1 at home to Leicester on Tuesday, a defeat that confirmed Manchester City as Premier League champions for the third time in four years.

The result did not come as a huge surprise, however, given Solskjaer had made 10 changes to his starting XI from the 3-1 win over Aston Villa just two days earlier – Greenwood the only player to keep his place.

The England international got United's goal, a tidy finish into the bottom-left corner after skipping past Caglar Soyuncu to cancel out Luke Thomas' spectacular opener.

Alongside him in the United attack were 18-year-old Amad Diallo, making his Premier League debut, and Anthony Elanga, who was playing his first ever game for the senior side – Greenwood, although only six months older than the latter, was making his 102nd appearance.

Solskjaer felt Greenwood – occupying the central striker position – played with greater authority and responsibility as a result and he wants the 19-year-old to take that into their next game against Liverpool on Thursday, when the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba can expect to be back in the team.

"You saw some definite leadership, the way he had to take responsibility," Solskjaer said.

"He's got Amad and Anthony next to him, looks at them and thinks, 'I've got 100 games here so I need to help them', which is great.

"He did really well, considering his age he's got 100 games and has got loads of experience.

"The way he took responsibility, I was really pleased with it. That's maybe not as easy when you've got Bruno, Paul, Marcus and Edinson [Cavani] next to you, which is natural.

"I still want him to take that responsibility when he plays. No matter how old you are, if you believe in yourself, trust in yourself, and think it's the right decision, you make that decision.

"He did that [against Leicester] and I still want him to do that on Thursday, when he plays with the more experienced ones."

It has been a testing season for Greenwood, who struggled early on to replicate the remarkable form he had shown in 2019-20.

The teenager had to cope with the death of a close friend and was then involved in controversy on England duty, finding himself sent home after making his debut and then being excluded from the next selection.

Greenwood also appeared to become something of a target for certain sections of the British media, and his form suffered considerably, only managing three goals across all competitions between the start of the season in September and the end of 2020.

His struggles continued into 2021 and the forward went on a run of 15 appearances without a single goal from late January, but he ended that barren spell against Leicester City on March 21 and has since netted eight times in 11 matches.

No Premier League player has scored more goals on all fronts over the same period, with Greenwood once again showing the kind of killer-instinct in front of goal that made him so feared in 2019-20, when he scored 17 goals.

Ten of those came in the league from an expected goals (xG) value of just 2.9, meaning he scored 7.1 goals more than expected. No player in the division could match that xG overperformance.

This would generally indicate elite-level finishing or a player getting lucky. Greenwood's form earlier this season suggested it was the latter, but since March 21 his xG overperformance across all competitions is 5.0 – almost double the next-most efficient player in that time, Kelechi Iheanacho (xG overperformance of 2.9).

After a shaky period, Greenwood is seemingly back on track and showing the finishing talents that made people sit up and take note last season.

While Solskjaer wants him to keep playing with authority for United, on current form many would even be backing him to take extra "responsibility" with England at Euro 2020.

Manchester United head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has criticized the scheduling of his side's league fixtures, labelling them as "impossible" amid a pile-up.

Solskjaer fielded a second-string line-up for Tuesday's 2-1 home loss to Leicester City, which comes only two days after they won 3-1 away to Aston Villa in the Premier League.

The Red Devils' fixture pile-up has been compounded by their run to the Europa League final, having completed their passage on Thursday with an 8-5 aggregate win over Roma.

But United's backlog was made worse by their postponed league fixture against Liverpool due to fan protests at Old Trafford.

United play that fixture against Liverpool on Thursday before another league match against Fulham on Tuesday.

Solskjaer acknowledged the situation the postponed Liverpool fixture had created but called for fairer re-scheduling.

"It can’t be like this again," Solskjaer said post-game. "You can’t play Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday - it is impossible.

"That’s the reason why we had to make these changes because it is unheard of. I say it again, if this game was tomorrow, no problem and if we have another game on Saturday.

"If you have two days in between, there is no problem but this is impossible for the players to perform at this level Thursday night, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday. It is impossible."

Leicester City head coach Brendan Rodgers has hailed his side's "extremely important win" over Manchester United as they move a step closer to securing Champions League qualification.

Goals from Luke Thomas and Caglar Soyuncu earned the Foxes three crucial points in the race for the top four.

Leicester moved back into to third with the victory, up to 66 points after 36 games, sitting ahead of fourth-placed Chelsea on 64 points from 35 games.

West Ham and Liverpool are on 58 and 57 points from 35 and 34 games respectively, with Leicester's win creating an improbable deficit to overcome.

The Foxes crumbled at this stage in their Champions League bid last season so the magnitude of a rare win at Old Trafford was not lost on Rodgers

"It’s an extremely important win for us," Rodgers said. "It’s huge.

"We’re at 66 points now, which is what two of the sides that finished in there last season got.

"It’s a big step but there are still two games to go and the teams are still chasing us, so we still have work to do."

Leicester, who play Chelsea in the FA Cup final this weekend, have two tough remaining Premier League fixtures away to the Blues and at home to Tottenham.

"It’s the stage of the season where every win, every point is so important," Rodgers said.

"To be able to come to Old Trafford, it’s another victory for us against a top six club and, as you can see, it’ll be very, very important for us and where we finish this season."

On Saturday's FA Cup final, Rodgers added: "You can see the quality of their team, but we’ll be ready. We’ll look forward to it and we’ll fight to be the first team in Leicester City’s history to win the FA Cup."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says it will take a couple of new signings for Manchester United to seriously challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title next season.

A United side showing 10 changes from Sunday's victory at Aston Villa fell to a 2-1 loss at home to Leicester City on Tuesday - a result that crowned City as champions with three games to spare.

It is City's seventh top-flight title triumph, five of those in the last decade, while United's wait for Premier League glory will stretch into a ninth season.

While Solskjaer feels his side deserve praise for pushing City as far as they did, the Norwegian accepts it will take some spending in the close season to fully close the gap.

"If you want to take up the challenge with them we need to strengthen our squad," he told BT Sport. "Congratulations to them. They have had a fantastic season. 

"I am very pleased with my boys that have made it to the last 10 days with a Manchester City side ahead of us that are lauded as the best in Europe.

"We want to take the next step and it might be that we need a couple more to strengthen the squad."

Mason Greenwood was the only player to keep his place in United's starting line-up for the loss to third-placed Leicester, who are now within four points of their opponents.

Solskjaer hinted ahead of the game he would prioritise the upcoming clash with Liverpool, which comes a little over 48 hours after the visit of Leicester to Old Trafford.

The United boss believes his side performed well given the circumstances as he again hit out at the Premier League for rescheduling the game versus Liverpool for this Thursday.

"We started off slow, as you might expect because they have not had any time to prepare for the game, but after they scored we had nothing to lose," he said.

"We played some very good stuff and I was pleased with it. We have not had too much time to prepare and we went into half-time pleased. 

"They didn't get out of the traps and they got a goal from a corner that should have been a throw.

"But it can't be like this again. We can't play Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday to Thursday. It is impossible. That's the reason we made the changes. 

"It's unheard of. It is impossible for the players to perform at this level going from Thursday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday."

Greenwood's smart finish cancelled out Luke Thomas' impressive volleyed opener, before Caglar Soyuncu headed in a winner for Leicester 24 minutes from time.

England international Greenwood now has 29 goals in all competitions since the start of last season, which is the most of any teenager in Europe's top five leagues.

On a day that saw Amad Diallo and Anthony Elanga make their Premier League debuts for United, Solskjaer reserved special praise for Greenwood.

"Mason looked like a seasoned professional and he is only 19," Solskjaer said at his post-match news conference.

"You saw some definite leadership in he had to take responsibility. He did really well considering his age.

"No matter how old you are, if you believe yourself and trust yourself then you make that decision."

The defeat for United was their fifth at Old Trafford in the Premier League this season, which is as many as in their previous two campaigns combined.

Leicester City enhanced their Champions League hopes with a 2-1 win over Manchester United – a result that crowned Manchester City as Premier League champions.

United were the only team with a mathematical chance of overhauling Pep Guardiola's side, but a line-up bearing 10 changes from Sunday's 3-1 victory at Aston Villa showed how realistic Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thought those hopes were.

Liverpool are at Old Trafford on Thursday for their rearranged game, and Solskjaer's youthful line-up for this second of three matches in five days fell behind when Luke Thomas brilliantly steered in a 10th-minute volley for his first Premier League goal.

Mason Greenwood extended his recent purple patch to eight goals in 11 outings shortly afterwards but United carried little threat and Leicester centre-back Soyuncu was left to make his most telling contribution at the other end of the field midway through the second half.

It meant a third title in four seasons for Manchester City – an outcome that felt slightly fanciful when they lost 5-2 at home to Leicester back in September.

There was an injury scare for United left-back Alex Telles early on and Leicester's opener came as Youri Tielemans made progress down his flank, possibly over hitting the cross from which Thomas finished with aplomb.

A teenager more familiar with the scoresheet quickly got United back on terms, Greenwood drilling home in superbly assured fashion after Amad Diallo got the better of Thomas.

David De Gea pushed another awkwardly dipping Tielemans cross behind for a corner in the 28th minute, as the lively start to proceedings gave way to a more fragmented contest.

The Belgium midfielder remained the only Leicester player who looked frequently capable of unlocking a patched-up United and he slid a pass into Kelechi Iheanacho – De Gea sharply denying the striker with his boot.

Leicester's deliveries from open play left plenty to be desired, although Marc Albrighton's 66th-minute corner picked out Soyuncu to power home as substitute Marcus Rashford was caught napping.

Rashford, Edinson Cavani and Bruno Fernandes amounted to some particularly prolific cavalry, the latter slicing wastefully wide six minutes from time as City readied the champagne corks.

Manchester City have been crowned Premier League champions after Manchester United's 2-1 defeat to Leicester City on Tuesday.

Luke Thomas volleyed Leicester into a 10th-minute lead against a much-changed United side and, though Mason Greenwood responded five minutes later, the Foxes ensured the title will head to the blue half of Manchester through Caglar Soyuncu's 66th-minute header.

Pep Guardiola's men have now won three titles in four seasons, regaining their crown at the first time of asking following Liverpool's 2019-20 success.

City were unable to get over the line on their own terms last weekend as a much-changed XI went down 2-1 to Chelsea, despite Raheem Sterling giving them a 44th-minute lead

Sergio Aguero, who has twice scored in title-clinching victories for the club where he is the all-time record goalscorer, could have given them breathing space in first-half stoppage time but botched a Panenka penalty attempt in hilarious fashion.

That left the door ajar for Thomas Tuchel's men to capitalise through Hakim Ziyech's equaliser and Marcos Alonso's stoppage-time winner.

Aguero can at least console himself with a fifth league winners' medal, having been involved in each of City's Premier League wins.

It pulls them level with Chelsea on five triumphs, with Manchester United's 13 won under Alex Ferguson still granting them breathing space overall.

Guardiola joins Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho on three Premier League titles. Only Ferguson has won more and the Catalan is the 12th manager in English top-flight history to have won three or more league championships.

Overall, it is City's seventh time as English champions, including wins in 1936-37 and 1967-68. It puts them joint fifth in the all-time standings alongside Aston Villa and behind United (20), Liverpool (19), Arsenal (13) and Everton (nine).

In the modern era, there can be no doubting City's dominance, with this their fifth title in the past 10 seasons. Only Chelsea (two) have won the Premier League more than once during the same period.

Guardiola similarly stands tall among his contemporaries, with nine titles across his 12 top-flight seasons as a coach – three apiece with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City.

Such an achievement did not look likely as his team made a stuttering start to 2020-21. On Christmas Day they were eighth in the table and eight points behind leaders Liverpool.

Only two teams in Premier League history (Arsenal in 1997-98 – 13 points; Manchester United in 1995-96 – 10 points) have been further behind at Christmas and won the title and neither were as low as eighth when they did so.

You have to go back to before the Premier League era for a team in a lower position on December 25 ending up as champions. City themselves were 12th in 1936, the same position as Liverpool in 1981. Derby County claimed glory from 10th at Christmas in 1974-75.

Harry Maguire could miss the Europa League final after Manchester United confirmed he suffered ankle ligament damage against Aston Villa, though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hopeful he can face Villarreal.

The England centre-back was visibly hurt following a challenge with Anwar El Ghazi in Sunday's 3-1 comeback win and had to be replaced by Eric Bailly after 78 minutes.

Solskjaer was unclear how long United would be without Maguire initially, suggesting there was a chance he could be fit for Tuesday's visit of Leicester City before also acknowledging his season may be over.

He was able to offer a little more clarity on Tuesday, with Maguire left out of the squad to face his former club, revealing there has been ligament damage rather than a fracture.

A statement on the United website said that "he could also be absent for the remaining league fixtures", while also stating he faces a "race against time" to be fit for the Europa League final on May 26.

Solskjaer stressed he remains optimistic, though he could not be certain that Maguire will feature in Gdansk.

Speaking to MUTV ahead of the clash with Leicester, Solskjaer said: "He's obviously had the scans and the good news is there is no fracture.

"[There's] ligament damage but hopefully we will see him again this season. Hopefully, he'll be ready for the final."

Maguire had previously played every minute in the Premier League since joining from Leicester prior to his withdrawal on Sunday.

His run of 71 games in succession put him tied with only Gary Pallister for an outfield United player in the competition – with the ex-Red Devils defender coincidentally also seeing his streak ended by injury at Villa Park in the 1995-96 season.

Amad Diallo and Anthony Elanga are set to make their Premier League debuts for Manchester United after being named in a much-changed starting XI against Leicester City.

United welcome Leicester to Old Trafford on Tuesday amid a controversially hectic schedule that most recently had them in action on Sunday, and they will play again on Thursday.

The postponement of United's clash with Liverpool is partly to blame, with that game called off after Reds Devils supporters stormed Old Trafford in protests against the club's owners.

Solskjaer has been openly critical of the Premier League's unwillingness to find an alternative solution and acknowledged the packed nature of their schedule this week will require him to make full use of his squad.

While it is a bone of contention for Solskjaer, for Amad and Elanga it offers a glorious opportunity.

The two teenage wingers are set to make their Premier League debuts, with 19-year-old Sweden youth international Elanga yet to appear for United's senior side in any capacity.

Amad, on the other hand, has featured five times from the bench in the FA Cup and Europa League, scoring his first goal for the club in the latter against Milan in a 1-1 draw exactly two months ago.

Solskjaer has been patient about throwing him into the starting XI despite indicating fairly early on after joining up with the squad in January that he was nearly ready.

Elanga has been highly regarded in the United youth setup for quite some time, having been the most recent recipient of the club's Young Player of the Year award, a gong previously won by the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Marcus Rashford.

A dynamic and tricky left winger, Elanga has been in fine form for the club's Under-23s this term, scoring nine goals and setting up another two in 16 Premier League 2 appearances.

He's also attempted more dribbles (60) than any other United Under-23s player in 2020-21, highlighting his confidence on the ball.

The teenagers are just two of 10 changes to the United team from the 3-1 win over Aston Villa, with Mason Greenwood the only player to keep his place.

Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani and Rashford are among those on the bench.

Defeat for United will seal the Premier League title for rivals Manchester City.

Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland together at Camp Nou?

Barcelona are among a host of clubs interested in Borussia Dortmund's Haaland.

Joan Laporta is reportedly fighting to bring Haaland to Spain.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA NOT GIVING UP ON HAALAND

Erling Haaland remains Barcelona's number one transfer target, according to Diario Sport.

Borussia Dortmund star Haaland has been linked with Barca, Real Madrid, Manchester CityChelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

Despite their financial problems and cheaper alternatives, Barca are determined to prise Haaland to Camp Nou, though Inter's Lautaro Martinez and Tottenham star Harry Kane remain possible options.

 

ROUND-UP

- Le10Sport claims Arsenal are desperate to lure Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga to London. Camavinga is in demand amid reported interest from Madrid, United and PSG. Mundo Deportivo, meanwhile, reports Barca are eyeing the France international as a replacement for Sergio Busquets.

- Milan intend on signing Fikayo Tomori on a permanent deal from Chelsea, reports Fabrizio Romano. Tomori has impressed since arriving at San Siro on loan. It comes as Chelsea work to extend Thiago Silva's contract.

- FT says Bayern star Kingsley Coman wants to double his wages in a contract extension. The France international has previously been linked with United.

- Liverpool have shown interest in Leeds United forward Patrick Bamford, according to The Athletic.

- Calciomercato reports Serie A champions Inter and Lazio are targeting Chelsea veteran Olivier Giroud, who is set to leave Stamford Bridge amid the Blues' links with Bayern star Robert Lewandowski and City free agent Sergio Aguero.

Manchester United star Marcus Rashford admitted former manager Jose Mourinho's style of play prevented him from playing his best football.

Mourinho spent two and a half years in charge of United, where he worked with Rashford before being sacked by the Premier League giants in 2018.

Rashford scored five league goals during Mourinho's first season in 2016-17 and followed that up with another seven in 2017-18 as the Portuguese often preferred either Zlatan Ibrahimovic or Romelu Lukaku at the time.

The 23-year-old Rashford, who won the Europa League, EFL Cup and Community Shield during Mourinho's tenure, finished with just 15 Premier League goals under the former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss prior to his sacking midway through the 2018-19 season.

England international Rashford has since flourished under Mourinho's replacement Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as he reflected on the Portuguese's tenure in Manchester.

"I think that's when we play our best football [when we can be flexible]," Rashford told BT Sport when asked if Mourinho allowed the players to express themselves in attack.

"Under Jose I would say everything was a bit [points] 'you play there, you play there, you play there'.

"And yeah, you can do a job, but it was difficult for me to play my best football."

Having scored a career-best 17 Premier League goals in 2019-20, Rashford has 10 goals this season and 20 across all competitions.

Rashford has broken the 20-goal mark for United in back-to-back seasons under Solskjaer.

His form has helped United to second in the Premier League and a Europa League final berth against Villarreal.

Rashford, meanwhile, has scored more Premier League goals against Leicester City than he has versus any other side in the competition (five) as the Red Devils prepare to host Brendan Rodgers' team on Tuesday.

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