Neymar's long-term commitment to Paris Saint-Germain has been in question at times. 

A return to Barcelona had been rumoured. 

Now the Brazil international is set to stay in the French capital.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR TO FINALISE PSG EXTENSION

Neymar is set to sign a new contract with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain this weekend, L'Equipe reports.

The four-year extension will be worth €30million (£26m) per season and run through 2026, nearly a decade after he arrived from Camp Nou for a record €220m fee. 

The signing would come days after a report that Barcelona approached PSG about Neymar, but the French club insisted he was not for sale. 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea are casting a wide net to bolster their attack, with Bild reporting Mohamed Salah is on Thomas Tuchel's shortlist along with Erling Haaland and Romelu Lukaku

- Zinedine Zidane may return to Juventus as head coach after Real Madrid's Champions League exit, Tuttosport reports, adding that the Real Madrid boss also is considering taking some time away from the sport. 

Georginio Wijnaldum's Liverpool deal expires in June and the midfielder could be on the way to Bayern Munich, Sport1 reports. 

- Memphis Depay remains a top target for Barcelona, but the Spanish giants could turn to Donyell Malen of PSV if they cannot land the Lyon star. 

- Marca claims Eden Hazard is on the way out at Real Madrid, with Los Blancos ready to listen to offers for the forward. 

- Jan Oblak could be moving to the Premier League this summer, with ESPN saying Manchester United are among the potential destinations for the Atletico Madrid goalkeeper. 

- Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard will sign for Leicester City, Teamtalk reported. The 23-year-old also has drawn inquiries from West Ham and Liverpool

- Aston Villa will offer £15million for Burnley's Dwight McNeil, Football Insider reported. McNeil is under contract through 2024. 

Saturday sees the third meeting between Manchester City and Chelsea this season, but crucially not the last.

Both sides advanced through their Champions League semi-finals in dominant fashion this week, setting up an all-Premier League final in Istanbul.

This weekend's game at the Etihad Stadium is a big one for City, who will clinch the title with a win, but it will also be interesting to see how Chelsea approach it.

The Blues were blown away by City under Frank Lampard earlier this season, losing 3-1 at home, yet Thomas Tuchel then masterminded an FA Cup semi-final success against Pep Guardiola's men.

The German will hope to have the upper hand heading into the big European showpiece.

This is far from the first time two teams from the same league have contested the Champions League final, though.

We take a look at the previous seven examples and how the form book looked heading into those matches.
 

Real Madrid 3-0 Valencia – 2000

The change in the competition's format in the 1990s made these clashes a possibility, and the first such match-up was an all-Spanish affair.

Real Madrid were too strong for Valencia in Paris, scoring through Fernando Morientes, Steve McManaman and Raul, but that game was out of keeping with the rest of the campaign.

Madrid finished fifth in LaLiga, two points behind third-placed Valencia, and took just one point from their two league meetings before saving their best performance for the big stage.

Juventus 0-0 Milan (2-3 pens) – 2003

Milan also lagged behind in the league – perhaps a positive omen for Chelsea – before scraping past Serie A champions Juventus on penalties in Manchester.

The Rossoneri finished third, 11 points off the pace despite each side winning 2-1 in their respective home games against one another.

But Milan brushed aside rivals Inter (second in Serie A) in the semi-finals before getting the better of the Bianconeri from 12 yards.

Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea (6-5 pens) – 2008

Manchester United set the tone early for their Moscow spot-kick success against Chelsea, also beating the Blues on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the 2007-08 Community Shield.

That curtain-raiser kicked off a superb season for United, who recovered from a slow start in the Premier League to beat Chelsea at home in September. They lost at Stamford Bridge in April but still won the title on the final day.

Even then, Alex Ferguson's side relied on "Terry's slippy", as Guardiola put it, to claim a third European crown.

Borussia Dortmund 1-2 Bayern Munich – 2013

These single-country clashes have become increasingly common in the past decade, starting with a treble triumph for Bayern Munich.

They had lost the 2011-12 final on home turf while finishing runners-up to Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, but they righted both wrongs the following year.

Bayern beat Dortmund in both the DFL-Supercup and the last eight of the DFB-Pokal, while a pair of 1-1 draws in the league protected a 25-point advantage at the summit, setting the stage for Arjen Robben to cap the campaign off at Wembley.

Real Madrid 4-1 Atletico Madrid – 2014

Madrid and Atletico matched the Dortmund-Bayern five-match epic 12 months later with a gripping year-long back-and-forth.

Atleti won the league with Los Blancos three points back in third, having crucially lost the home Derbi and then only drawn at the Calderon.

But Madrid proved their worth in knockout ties by winning both legs of a Copa del Rey semi-final and thrashed poor Atleti in extra time in the final game of the season to complete La Decima after Sergio Ramos' 93rd-minute equaliser.

Real Madrid 1-1 Atletico Madrid (5-3 pens) – 2016

It was heartbreak again for Atleti two years later, with these games between familiar foes often so agonisingly close.

Cristiano Ronaldo dispatched the decisive spot-kick in Milan and Atleti did not have a league triumph to fall back on this time.

Neither side could beat Barcelona to the title despite Diego Simeone's men again winning at the Santiago Bernabeu to take four points from their neighbours. Atleti were third, with Madrid second.

Tottenham 0-2 Liverpool – 2019

It is only two years since the last all-English final, although neutrals will hope this year's showpiece is rather more entertaining.

A Moussa Sissoko handball within a matter of seconds took European glory away from Tottenham, who were already underdogs against Liverpool.

Spurs had lost 2-1 home and away against the Reds and trailed them by 26 points in the Premier League, although Jurgen Klopp's men still fell short of City in the title race.

Nine of the clubs involved in the proposed European Super League have escaped a possible ban from the Champions League and Europa League after being welcomed back by UEFA.

The Premier League's 'big six' and Milan, Inter and Atletico Madrid have affirmed their commitment to UEFA competitions after acknowledging "the Super League project was a mistake" and apologising "to fans, national associations, national leagues, fellow European clubs and UEFA".

All nine clubs must abide by a set of "reintegration measures" in order to be allowed back into the UEFA fold.

These include commitments to UEFA Statutes and to competing in existing UEFA competitions for which they qualify, rejoining the European Club Association and taking "all steps within their power" to terminate their involvement in the company established to run the Super League.

The clubs will also contribute to a €15million goodwill fund to be used for youth and grassroots football in Europe, while they will see five per cent of UEFA club competition revenues withheld for one season. UEFA says that revenue money will also be redistributed.

Should any of the nine clubs attempt a similar breakaway in future, they will be fined €100m. Breaching any other aspect of the Club Commitment Declaration – the agreement signed to enable their return to UEFA competitions – will incur a fine of €50m.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Milan, Inter and Atletico all renounced the Super League following significant opposition from fans, players and sponsors over their proposed involvement.

However, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus have so far refused to follow suit and all three could now face strong punishment by UEFA, with the matter referred to disciplinary bodies.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said: "I said at the UEFA Congress two weeks ago that it takes a strong organisation to admit making a mistake especially in these days of trial by social media. These clubs have done just that.
 
"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 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."

Manchester United co-chairman Joel Glazer has promised to discuss the issue of fans owning shares in the Red Devils and acknowledged disgruntled supporters' calls for change after a week of turmoil at the club.

Glazer provided a written response on United's official website to a letter from a fans' forum, which had demanded increased consultation with supporters in the aftermath of the decision to sign up for the doomed European Super League.

It marks the first statement from Glazer since supporters protested against the owners prior to Sunday's scheduled Premier League fixture with Liverpool. A group of fans, who are still banned from attending matches due to the coronavirus pandemic, broke into Old Trafford and invaded the pitch, while hundreds of others gathered at the Lowry Hotel to stop the team leaving to play the game, which was postponed and rescheduled for Thursday.

A four-point plan put to Glazer asked for a fan share scheme giving supporters voting rights, support for a fan-led government review, the appointment of independent directors to the board, and regular consultation with season ticket holders on major decisions.

In response, Glazer wrote: "As one of the few European football clubs listed on the public markets, we believe in the principle of fans owning shares in the club. 

"We have previously engaged with the Manchester United Supporters' Trust on fan share ownership and we want to continue and accelerate those discussions, together with provisions to enhance associated fan consultation.

"In particular, I want to acknowledge the need for change, with deeper consultation with you [fans forum] as our main fan representative body across a range of important issues, including the competitions we play in. 

"We also recognise the importance of fan and football interests being embedded in key decision-making processes at every level of the club, and we are open to constructive discussions on how to reinforce that principle."

Glazer said he will "willingly and openly" engage with the government's fan-led review into football and described it as "a positive opportunity to explore new structures for fan engagement and influence".

He also once again apologised "for the mistakes that were made" in relation to United's involvement in the proposed breakaway Super League, which received huge backlash due to the closed-shop nature of the competition.

"I want to acknowledge the need for change, with deeper consultation with you as our main fan representative body across a range of important issues, including the competitions we play in," he added. 

"We also recognise the importance of fan and football interests being embedded in key decision-making processes at every level of the club, and we are open to constructive discussions on how to reinforce that principle.

"We remain committed to working with the wider football community to make the game stronger and more sustainable over the long-term, and we will now refocus our efforts on doing this within the existing structures of UEFA and the Premier League."

Speaking prior to the second leg of United's Europa League semi-final against Roma this week, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said fans must be allowed to protest peacefully but felt last Sunday's actions went "too far".

"It was a difficult day for us," Solskjaer said.

"Of course we wanted to play and beat Liverpool, for the fans, even. Our job has to be getting good results on the pitch, that's the players' focus, my focus, but as I said before the game, we have to listen, hear the fans' voices, it's everyone's right to protest.

"But it has to be in a peaceful manner. Unfortunately, when you break in, when police get injured, scarred for life, that's one step too far, and when it gets out of hand like this, it's a police matter, it's not about opinions anymore."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer accepts he will have to rotate his Manchester United side to avoid injuries in a daunting run of three Premier League games in five days.

The Red Devils face Aston Villa on Sunday before hosting Leicester City on Tuesday, with Liverpool then visiting Old Trafford 48 hours later for the match that was rearranged following protests against the United owners last weekend.

It will be the first time United have played three league games in five days since April 1992. On that occasion, they beat Southampton 1-0 at home before drawing at Luton Town and then suffering consecutive defeats to Nottingham Forest, West Ham and Liverpool. They ended up losing the title to Leeds United by four points.

While winning the Premier League will be beyond them if leaders Manchester City beat Chelsea on Saturday, second-place United still require four more points to be certain of a top-four finish and have a Europa League final to come on May 26.

Solskjaer is concerned about a repeat of the results they suffered 29 years ago and is eager to make sure his players do not become burned out.

"I've never seen that schedule before in modern-day football," he said. "I've looked through and I know Man United in 91-92 had a very similar run-in and you can see how the results deteriorated.

"If I'm going to look after the players, I'm going to make some decisions. I've got to look after the players, that's the biggest thing, [avoiding] injuries to players and that's too much of an injury risk.

"This year has been so difficult, but we're happy to put games on. It's so important to be safe with security around, I understand all this, it's got to be safe for the players.

"We want to try to put a good product out there. At the moment, it looks difficult, but knowing these boys, they'll take the challenge head-on. Knowing me, I'll take the challenge head-on too but I cannot risk the players, so there has to be rotation.

"It has to be a lot of rotation and decisions made on the day of the game. We can't prepare for the games like other teams, when they get a week or two, or maybe five or 10 days."

United were in Rome on Thursday, where they secured a place in the Europa League final with an 8-5 aggregate win despite losing the semi-final second leg 3-2.

They must now prepare to face Villa, who have beaten United just once in the past 44 Premier League meetings and in none of their previous 21 such games at Villa Park.

"I trust my players to get a result," Solskjaer said. "First of all, Sunday is a big game for us. Sunday is a massive game and we're looking forward to it after the boost of [reaching] a final, which will probably give us energy, hopefully give us energy and then let's see what we do on Tuesday and Thursday.

"We've just got to take it day by day and hopefully we can play those games."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp felt some protestors crossed a line during the demonstrations that caused their match with Manchester United at Old Trafford to be postponed.

United supporters opposed to the Glazer family's ownership of the club gathered at the stadium and outside the hotel where the teams were staying ahead of last Sunday's match as part of planned attempts to disrupt the fixture.

Some fans were able to get onto the pitch at Old Trafford and there were some violent clashes with police outside the ground.

United issued a statement saying a minority of fans had caused criminal damage to access the pitch, while Greater Manchester Police said 12 officers had reported injuries, one of whom had a broken eye socket and facial wound.

One man has been charged with throwing fireworks in a street, using threatening behaviour and wilful obstruction of the highway for his part in the protests at the Lowry Hotel.

Klopp, who was watching TV coverage unfold with his players in the hotel lobby as he waited to learn whether the game would go ahead, said such protests should always remain "completely peaceful".

Speaking ahead of his side's Premier League match with Southampton on Saturday, he said: "Am I surprised that these kinds of things happen? No. I'm an absolute believer in democracy, [which] means I'm happy that people want to tell their opinion, that's completely fine, but I know that in situations like this it doesn't happen often that nobody gets hurt.

"That's why I said a week before when all the pundits were going and asking for protests and stuff that we had to be careful and calm down and ask for the right things. I heard some policemen got injured and these kinds of things should not happen, breaking down the doors and stuff like this.

"To tell your opinion, to tell the world what you think about some things is completely fine, as long as it's completely peaceful. It was not, as far as I know, completely peaceful. Then, it's not right any more."

The United match was rearranged for May 13, a decision that left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer angry as it means the Red Devils must play three times in just five days.

"Of course, I feel sympathy for him because it's not how it should be, but it's not good for us, to be honest. I would have preferred to play the game last week," Klopp said.

"Now, we have five games in the last two weeks, so that's not really cool as well, but it is how it is. Nothing to complain about or whatever. It's just the situation."

Liverpool will see Manchester City regain the Premier League title if they defeat Chelsea on Saturday, while the Reds are themselves embroiled in a battle for Europe. They sit seventh in the table, seven points outside the Champions League places, with five games to go.

Klopp, who is not giving up on breaking back into the top four, thinks he and his players will have learned a lot from a difficult season blighted by injuries.

"I know people think that's an excuse," he said. "In the moment when we lost our full defence, it felt like you break your leg. That's okay, you can still limp with that, but then we had to make our midfielders to transform them into defenders. Then, we broke pretty much our spine, and it's difficult to move.

"In the beginning when we had problems, we were still kind of winning, in a good position but it's a long season and if anything else happens, we will struggle, and that's what happened.

"To be in the position we were two years before, we needed to be nearly perfect and the situation needed to be nearly perfect. In a moment when it's not perfect for us, the league is too strong.

"Could we now, instead of seventh, be fifth or fourth? Yes, of course, no doubt about that. We should have done better in specific moments. But you asked me what was the challenge: to deal with the amount of injuries was the challenge, and we couldn't deal with it as well as we wanted throughout the whole season.

"I was most of the time not champion in my career, so I try to learn always. Did I learn a lot? Yeah, for sure. Some things you want to learn, some things you don't want to experience.

"The players learned a lot as well – that's clear. That's the plan: that we use our new experience for the future, for next season especially, but you'll have to wait until then so we can show that we really got it."

As we head into the decisive matchdays in the Premier League season, match-winners will become worth their weight in gold to all 20 sides in the division.

With that in mind, our latest suggestions for fantasy football enthusiasts include a good number of forwards who will be expected to chip in with goals.

There are also two of the league's most in-form defenders and a goalkeeper who might just have won himself the number one spot.

Our tips for this week – powered by Opta, as always – are below...
 

DEAN HENDERSON

Since taking over Premier League duties while David de Gea was in Spain for the birth of his daughter, Dean Henderson has made it clear he does not intend to relinquish the Manchester United starting spot.

The former Sheffield United loanee has the best save percentage (82.4) in the competition this season, while he has conceded just 0.6 goals per game on average – the best rate of any keeper to play at least 200 minutes.

Henderson will likely keep his spot for the trip to Aston Villa, a team who have beaten United just once in their previous 44 Premier League meetings.

BEN CHILWELL

Fresh from celebrating reaching the Champions League final, Ben Chilwell will be looking to keep up his strong league form for Chelsea.

The left-back has been directly involved in seven goals this season (two scored, five assisted) – no defender in the competition has been involved in more.

Expect him to provide his customary threat on the break when Chelsea take on Manchester City.

AARON WAN-BISSAKA

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer challenged Aaron Wan-Bissaka to improve his attacking output, and the tough-tackling right-back appears to have heeded the call.

Three of his four goal involvements (75 per cent) and 21 of his 26 chances created (81 per cent) have come since the turn of the year.

The United man also boasts 13 Premier League clean sheets this season; among defenders, he is behind only Ruben Dias and Matt Targett (14).

MOHAMED SALAH

Liverpool might have struggled for consistency this season, but Mohamed Salah's goal output has remained impressively high; he has 20 in the league, behind only Harry Kane (21).

On Saturday, he will meet some of his favourite opposition in Southampton, a team against whom he has scored seven goals in seven league appearances, including five in three at Anfield.

Saints have also lost their past three league games away to Liverpool by an aggregate score of 10-0.

GARETH BALE

With a hat-trick against relegated Sheffield United, Gareth Bale proved he could still be a vital asset in Tottenham's European chase.

Bale has scored nine goals in 727 minutes in the division this season, averaging a goal every 81 minutes, which is the best record in the competition in 2020-21.

Should he take his tally to 10 against Leeds United, Bale will set a new record for the longest gap between 10-goal seasons in Premier League history (eight), overtaking Paul Scholes and Nwankwo Kanu (seven).

MASON GREENWOOD

Mason Greenwood has recaptured some of his better form in recent weeks to help United... well, if not catch Manchester City, at least consolidate second place.

The forward has four goals and one assist in his most recent four league games, which is more direct goal involvements than he managed in his previous 28 appearances.

Solskjaer will likely have to rotate given the hectic week ahead, but expect Greenwood to be involved at Villa Park, even if it's as a substitute.

KELECHI IHEANACHO

Speaking of rediscovering form, nobody in the league has done so quite as spectacularly in recent weeks as Kelechi Iheanacho.

The Leicester City striker has scored nine goals and assisted two in his most recent eight league appearances – that's one more direct goal involvement than he managed in his previous 57 league games.

The Foxes are also on a run of eight wins in 10 league games against Friday's opponents Newcastle United.

Jose Mourinho is already plotting his moves in his first transfer window at Roma, where he will take charge at the end of the season.

The Portuguese reportedly is hoping to bring players he already knows to Serie A.

Could a pair of Red Devils and Spurs be headed to the Italian capital? 

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO EYES FAMILIAR FACES

Jose Mourinho may turn to his Premier League connections to bolster his first Roma side. 

Manchester United pair Nemanja Matic and David de Gea are among the players with Old Trafford legacies on Mourinho's wish list, according to the Daily Mirror and Todofichajes. 

Among more recent Mourinho pupils, Eric Dier and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are among the Spurs players who stand as possibilities, says Corriere dello Sport. 

Football London also linked Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura with possible Roma moves as former Tottenham head coach Mourinho prepares to replace Paulo Fonseca ahead of the 2021-22 season.

 

ROUND-UP  

- Corriere dello Sport reports Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are eyeing Napoli star Fabian Ruiz and Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Spain international Fabian has been heavily linked with Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. Fellow midfielder Milinkovic-Savic, meanwhile, continues to be linked with the likes of Inter, Juventus, United and PSG.

Yves Bissouma could be headed to Manchester City as a replacement for Fernandinho, the Daily Star claims. City are said to be confident they can strike a £30million deal for the 24-year-old Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder. The Daily Express, however, has Arsenal leading the fight for the Mali international, with TottenhamWest Ham and Everton also potential landing spots. 

Chelsea may bring back striker Armando Broja on a lucrative contract after loaning the 19-year-old to Eredivisie outfit Vitesse Arnhem this term, Fabrizio Romano says, but other big clubs are circling as well.

- Juventus centre-back Giorgio Chiellini is considering a move to MLS after his contract ends in June, Calciomercato reports. 

Miralem Pjanic could leave Barcelona as Sport claims the midfield outcast attracts interest from the likes of Chelsea and Inter

- Barca are considering the idea of allowing Francisco Trincao to leave on loan amid interest from Milan and Roma, according to Calciomercato. 

- RMC Sport says Milan have reached an agreement in principle to sign Lille goalkeeper Mike Maignan at the end of the season. It comes amid doubts over the future of star Gianluigi Donnarumma, who is set to become a free agent. Yet to renew, Donnarumma has been linked with Juve, Tottenham, Chelsea and United.

Villarreal head coach Unai Emery expressed his pride and satisfaction after exacting revenge on former club Arsenal as the Spanish side sensationally reached the Europa League final.

For the first time in Villarreal's history, they will contest a major European final following Thursday's goalless draw at Arsenal, which secured a 2-1 aggregate triumph.

Emery guided Arsenal to the Europa League final in 2019 before he was sacked by the Gunners in November that year, replaced by fellow Spaniard Mikel Arteta in London.

But Emery had the last laugh on Thursday after ending Villarreal's European drought – the Yellow Submarine had been eliminated in each of their previous four semi-finals, Europa League semis in 2004, 2011 and 2016 and the Champions League final four in 2006.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Edinson Cavani showed why the club want to keep him at Old Trafford after leading the Red Devils into the Europa League final.

Cavani scored twice in a 3-2 second-leg loss away to Roma on Thursday, but United still reached the tournament decider 8-5 on aggregate.

United star Cavani, who is out of contract at the end of the season following his arrival ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, found the back of the net in either half to ensure the Premier League giants reached their first final under Solskjaer.

After his opening-leg brace, Cavani became the first player to score two or more goals in both legs of a two-legged semi-final in a major European competition since Klaus Allofs for Cologne in the 1985-86 UEFA Cup. 

The 34-year-old Uruguay forward – linked with Boca Juniors – has scored 16 goals in his past 15 Europa League appearances, including 15 in his last 10 starts in the competition, while only against Monaco (15) has Cavani scored more goals in all competitions in his European career than Roma (13).

As United try to convince Cavani to prolong his stay in Manchester, Solskjaer hailed Paris Saint-Germain's all-time leading scorer.

"Edinson showed again why we want to keep him at Old Trafford," Solskjaer told reporters as United look ahead to a May 26 showdown against Villarreal.

"Football has its own language. I think Edinson has proven tonight, in the previous game, throughout his career, what a centre-forward should be doing, both on and off the ball.

"Both preparing for games and recovering from games, he's an absolute top professional, and everyone can learn from him. Everyone in my team."

United won the opening leg 6-2 in Manchester, but they were far from their best against Roma in the Italian capital.

Edin Dzeko and Bryan Cristante were on target for Roma on Thursday, while Nicola Zalewski's late strike deflected in off Alex Telles to earn the Italian side a victory on the day.

A stunning comeback could have been on the cards if not for United goalkeeper David de Gea, who made 10 saves in total to thwart rallying Roma.

De Gea has lost his starting position to Dean Henderson in the Premier League amid uncertainty over his future, but Solskjaer added: "David was vital. He was man of the match for me, the standout performer.

"The final's still three weeks away. We've got many games, but David put a very good application in, of course, with his performance. The proof is always on the pitch. You've got to perform and you keep your place in the team when you play well."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Manchester United's fixture schedule will be "physically impossible" for his players in the wake of their progress to the Europa League final.

Despite losing 3-2 in the semi-final second leg on Thursday, United secured their place in a cup final for the first time under manager Solskjaer with an 8-5 aggregate win over Roma.

United started with a strong side in Rome despite their 6-2 first-leg win, with Edinson Cavani scoring in each half to help the Premier League giants progress despite goals from Edin Dzeko, Bryan Cristante and an Alex Telles own goal.

The Red Devils must now return for a hectic run of three Premier League games in five days. They visit Aston Villa on Sunday, host Leicester City next Tuesday and tackle Liverpool next Thursday in a match that was postponed from last weekend due to supporter protests against the owners.

Solskjaer appeared resigned to the fact his players are unlikely to be able to play at their maximum against three tough opponents.

"It's unheard of," he told BT Sport. "[The decision] was made by people who have never played football at this level. It's physically impossible for the players.

"We have not been dealt a good hand. We are going to need everyone for these four games. It's a short turnaround, but we have to be ready."

United had lost their previous four semi-finals under Solskjaer, including in last season's Europa League, and they needed Cavani's goals and 10 saves from goalkeeper David de Gea to keep Roma at bay amid a somewhat erratic performance.

"It feels good to be in the final," said Solskjaer. "We played one very, very good half at Old Trafford, which has taken us through. I'm disappointed we lost, especially the way we played in the second half.

"It could easily have been 8-6 to them. It was a strange game. We kept giving them the ball but luckily we have one of the best keepers in the world. We are in the final and are looking forward to May 26."

Captain Harry Maguire accepted United gave up too many opportunities in the Italian capital and was full of praise for Cavani's clinical scoring touch.

"It's a great achievement to get to the final," he said. "We didn't win the game and that's disappointing but we did the hard work in the first leg.

"We started the game a bit edgy. It was end to end like basketball and we gave them too many chances in the second half.

"Now we've got to go to the final and win it. Edinson scored two great goals and his movement and work rate without the ball is excellent.

"His second goal is typical of him and what he has done throughout his career."

Manchester United secured a place in the Europa League final with an 8-5 aggregate victory over Roma coming after a 3-2 defeat in Thursday's second leg.

Despite United's commanding lead from the first leg, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fielded a strong side in the Italian capital and was rewarded when Edinson Cavani opened the scoring in the first half.

Edin Dzeko, who also scored at Old Trafford, nodded in an equaliser and Bryan Cristante struck soon after to give Roma some slender hope of a famous turnaround, with David de Gea making 10 saves in total to keep the scoreline down.

Cavani headed in a second midway through the second half to ease some of the nerves for United, who will face Villarreal in what will be their first cup final since Solskjaer took over from Mourinho back in December 2018, despite Nicola Zalewski's late winner on the day.

De Gea made a brilliant close-range stop from the returning Gianluca Mancini after only four minutes, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan nodded wide at the far post from a corner shortly afterwards.

Cavani sent a lob over Antonio Cristante's goal and then fired a powerful effort straight at the keeper after being put through by Bruno Fernandes' clever pass.

Roma saw Lorenzo Pellegrini thwarted at close range by De Gea as they continued to push for a lifeline in the tie, but United struck with their next chance six minutes before the break.

Fernandes and Fred combined well, the latter slipped the ball to Cavani and the striker smashed a finish past Mirante from the edge of the box.

Roma, to their credit, continued to play positively and drew level in the match 57 minutes in, Dzeko heading the ball home after Pedro had scuffed a half-volley across goal.

Three minutes later, and Roma had the lead, Cristante firing a superb first-time shot past De Gea after Fred was dispossessed on the edge of the United box.

Dzeko fired straight at De Gea from point-blank range as Roma suddenly sensed United were there to be attacked, but Cavani ghosted in behind Mancini to head in Fernandes' cross from the left and make sure of his side's place in the final in Gdansk on May 26.

Zalewski struck a third for Roma on 83 minutes, his volley deflecting through De Gea's legs, but it was not enough for the Giallorossi.

Real Madrid and Kylian Mbappe – the two parties have long been tipped to come together.

Mbappe is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain in 2022 and no closer to renewing his deal.

Madrid are reportedly moving closer to prising the France international to the Spanish capital.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE POISED FOR MADRID MOVE?

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is edging closer to joining LaLiga giants Real Madrid, according to Diario AS.

Mbappe has long been tipped to swap PSG for Madrid, though the Ligue 1 holds continue to try to re-sign the World Cup-winning forward.

PSG's Mbappe is determined to win the Champions League as he eyes the Santiago Bernabeu.


 

ROUND-UP

- Le Parisien, though, claims PSG are holding out hope on teaming Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi with Mbappe and Neymar in Paris. Messi is set to become a free agent at the end of the season and he has been linked with PSG and Manchester City. Neymar has also been linked with a Barca return. However, Le Parisien reports PSG are prioritising a move for Messi while trying to retain Neymar and Mbappe.

Lautaro Martinez is on the verge of signing a new contract with Serie A champions Inter, says Gazzetta dello Sport. The Inter forward has been linked with Barca previously.

- Tuttosport reports star Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is a primary transfer target for Serie A rivals Juventus. Donnarumma is out of contract at the end of the season and the Italy international has not agreed fresh terms with Milan.

Borussia Dortmund will ask for less than €100million (£86m) to sell Jadon Sancho amid interest from United, Chelsea and Liverpool, says Fabrizio Romano.

- The Mirror says Liverpool are eyeing Roma star Lorenzo Pellegrini as incoming Giallorossi boss Jose Mourinho looks to overhaul the squad in the Italian capital. The front page of Thursday's Gazzetto dello Sport, meanwhile, claims Mourinho is looking to bring Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic and Madrid's Isco to Roma.

- Soon-to-be free agent and City star Sergio Aguero is dreaming of a Barcelona move, according to Romano. InterTottenham and Chelsea have also emerged as options for the veteran forward.

Maurizio Sarri is a candidate to take charge of Milan if Stefano Pioli fails to guide the Rossoneri into the Champions League, claims Gazzetta dello Sport. Sarri was reportedly set to join Roma before Mourinho's appointment.

- Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga, Sassuolo's Manuel Locatelli and Mikel Merino of Real Sociedad are on Barca's shortlist to replace Sergio Busquets, reports Mundo Deportivo.

Manchester United will host Liverpool in a rearranged clash on Thursday, May 13, meaning a run of three Premier League games in five days for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

Last Sunday's scheduled clash between the two most decorated sides in English football was called off after United fans protesting the ownership of the Glazer family prevented their players from leaving the Lowry Hotel pre-match and also stormed the stadium.

The limited wriggle room left in the schedule means the game will now come after United travel to Aston Villa on May 9 and host Leicester City on May 11.

Liverpool could argue they have been dealt a similarly punishing hand, with three games in six days – all of which are away from home – as they battle to snatch a top-four spot.

The Premier League has moved its penultimate round of fixtures to midweek slots on May 18 and 19 to allow fans to attend, in line with the next stage of coronavirus restrictions being lifted.

Manchester United remaining fixtures 2020-21
Roma (a) - Europa League, May 6
Aston Villa (a) - Premier League, May 9
Leicester (h) - Premier League, May 11
Liverpool (h) - Premier League, May 13
Fulham (h) - Premier League, May 18
Wolves (a) - Premier League, May 23
Possible Europa League final, May 26

Liverpool remaining fixtures 2020-21
Southampton (h) – Premier League, May 8
Man Utd (a) – Premier League, May 13
West Brom (a) – Premier League, May 16
Burnley (a) – Premier League, May 19
Crystal Palace (h) – Premier League, May 23

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not know whether Mason Greenwood fancies the hard knocks of being a career centre-forward.

Greenwood is in line to make his 100th Manchester United appearance when Solskjaer's side look to complete the job in their Europa League semi-final against Roma, taking a hefty 6-2 lead to the Stadio Olimpico.

The 19-year-old forward came off the bench to complete the rout at Old Trafford last week before being denied the chance to continue that form when fan protests saw last weekend's scheduled meeting with Liverpool postponed.

Greenwood has played most of his football over the past two seasons as a right-winger, but Solskjaer cautioned a keen eye for goal is not the only attribute needed when it comes to being a specialist striker.

"The Liverpool game was going to be his 100th game and we spoke about getting the winner in that," he said.

"We've spoken about whether he's going to be wide right or be a number nine, because you've got to stick your head in there.

"He's a pretty boy and I'm not sure if he's going to do that.

"Keep doing what he does, he's got a very bright future, I'm sure of that."

Greenwood scored 17 goals in all competitions for United in 2019-20, equalling the best season by a teenager in the club's history – level with George Best (1965-66), Brian Kidd (1967-68) and Wayne Rooney (2004-05).

The going has been tougher this time around, with 10 goals in 46 games across all competitions.

A look at Opta's expected goals (xG) figures for Greenwood show a sharp drop-off in his Premier League finishing.

Last term, his 10 league goals came from efforts with a combined xG value of 2.9 (39 shots), a huge over-performance.

In 2020-21, he has five top-flight goals – a shade over an xG of 4.6 (56 shots).

United great Gary Neville believes Edinson Cavani committing to another year at Old Trafford would be beneficial for Greenwood and Marcus Rashford, and Solskjaer gave a cautiously positive update on talks with the experienced Uruguayan.

"We've had some good chats lately and even though the decision is still in his court, I'm still hopeful," he said, Cavani's masterful showing of two goals and two assists to demolish Roma still fresh in the memory.

"And maybe even more so when you saw him on Thursday against Rome and telling him 'when you do that in front of the Stretford End [with fans in attendance], that's magic'."

United's attacking options will be slightly diminished in the Italian capital, with Dan James "still out for a little while", according to his manager.

Solskjaer added that Anthony Martial could feature again for United this season, despite initial fears a knee injury suffered on international duty with France would bring a premature end to his campaign.

"Anthony's looking good. He's just about started outside jogging, which is the first step on the rehab," he explained.

"He's done most of the work in the gym and to see him out there getting some fresh air is good. Hopefully we will see him before the season is out.

"He's supporting the team, he wants to be a part of the final and he's working hard to be available before that."

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