Erik ten Hag has been named as the Premier League's Manager of the Month, joining Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford in gaining recognition for the Red Devils' September exploits.

Rashford was confirmed as the Player of the Month earlier on Friday, and Ten Hag's win made it an Old Trafford double.

A truncated schedule meant United only played twice in the league this month, but they beat both struggling Leicester City and previously undefeated leaders Arsenal.

United are now on a four-match winning run heading into Sunday's derby against Manchester City – Ten Hag's first since being appointed at the start of the season.

This is only the second time a United boss has been named the Manager of the Month since Alex Ferguson left the club in 2013.

The other was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in February 2019, which was also the only other occasion on which Rashford was the Player of the Month.

Marcus Rashford described his delight at working under Erik ten Hag at Manchester United after being named the Premier League's Player of the Month for September.

Forward Rashford scored two goals and assisted two more in United's two league matches this month.

Both games – at Leicester City and at home to leaders Arsenal – ended in victory to extend United's winning run to four in the top flight.

In an interview with MUTV after earning the award for the second time in his career (also January 2019), Rashford deflected praise as he suggested "everyone's chipped in" to aid United's revival.

He also described his "favourite moment" of the month as his assist for Antony against Arsenal, ahead of either of his own two goals that day.

"Antony scoring his first goal on his debut – I think that's a massive moment," Rashford said. "It gives us strength and courage."

And the England international, who was missing from Gareth Southgate's latest squad following injury, believes United as a team are moving "in the right direction" following Ten Hag's appointment as manager at the start of the season.

"It's a fresh start and something to work towards," Rashford added. "For me, it's done me wonders.

"I'm very happy that he's here, and I'm just happy that his desire is to improve everyone and improve the team.

"It's an exciting feeling to be working towards a big end goal. Hopefully we can keep taking steps in the right direction, keep picking up points and keep progressing in tournaments."

A truncated schedule saw United score only four times in September, but Rashford had a hand in each of them and is now looking to perform on a more consistent basis.

"For me, as an individual, it's just about doing that as often as I can, trying to help the team with goals and assists and just my all-round play," he said.

Rashford has three goals and two assists for the season, having only contributed four goals and two assists in the Premier League in the whole of the previous campaign.

The 24-year-old has never previously tallied as many as five goal contributions through his first six appearances of a league season.

Marcus Rashford is reaping the benefits of getting "back to basics" this season, according to Manchester United legend Andrew Cole.

England forward Rashford endured a desperately disappointing 2021-22 campaign for the Red Devils, in which he scored only five times in 32 matches across all competitions as United finished sixth in the Premier League.

This term, Rashford already has three in six – scoring once in the 2-1 win over Liverpool and celebrating a brace in a 3-1 triumph against Arsenal.

While his improvement in form failed to yield an England recall for the Nations League matches against Italy and Germany, Cole – who won five Premier League titles and was part of the famous treble-winning team of the 1998-99 season – is happy to see Rashford back among the goals.

"It's nice to see [Rashford doing well]," Cole told United's official website. "He's got the confidence back, [and] scoring goals. I think he'll be really happy with that.

"If he can propel Manchester United forward this season, gets us into – I'm not sure what position we are going to end up in exactly, but if we can finish in the top four, it'll be good.

"It's the first time we've seen Marcus run in behind and stretch teams since he first got into the first team. 

"I think he went away from his strengths [last season], which was stretching teams.

"If you look at how he's playing now to when he first got into the team, people will turn around and say, 'that's the Marcus Rashford of old.'

"If he sticks to that, he'll score goals."

Cole is confident Rashford will also earn a call-up to England's World Cup squad in Qatar if he can continue his good form.

"You'd believe that [he can play for England in Qatar this year]," he added. "But I think the only person you can ask about the World Cup squad is [Gareth Southgate].

"Your bread and butter is always your club football, and if you do well for them, you've always got a chance."

Phil Foden has been a revelation since breaking into Manchester City's first team and the Premier League champions are eager to reward him with a new deal.

The England midfielder is under contract under 2024, but City are set to keep in at the club for the long term.


TOP STORY – CITY REACH FODEN AGREEMENT FOR BUMPER DEAL

Manchester City and Foden have reached an agreement in principle on a £78million deal according to Football Insider.

The mega-money deal is worth around £250,000 per week for the 22-year-old, pushing him close to the money Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland are earning.

The length of the contract is six years for the Stockport-born star, who came through the academy at City.

ROUND-UP 

Arsenal have moved on from Dusan Vlahovic , according to Fabrizio Romano, who claims the Gunners are not interested in re-visiting a potential move for the Serbian who joined Juventus in January.

Manchester United will dangle a five-year contract for striker Marcus Rashford as they look to tie him down long term, reports The Express. Rashford's current deal expires at the end of this season.

– Calciomercato claims Alex Sandro will depart Juventus when his contract expires at the conclusion of this season. The Brazilian has previously attracted interest from Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain .

Romelu Lukaku has no plans to return to Chelsea when his season-long loan with Inter expires at the end of this season, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Chelsea are ready to pay £30million for Fulham's 17-year-old midfielder Luke Harris , claims The Mirror. Harris was called up to Wales' Nations League squad, but is yet to debut for the Cottagers.

Liverpool and Arsenal are both considering a move next year for Villarreal's 21-year-old winger Alex Baena , reports the Daily Mirror.

Big-spending French club Nice have struggled to start the new Ligue 1 season, with only eight points from eight games.

Ambitious Nice are sitting 13th in the table, leading to pressure on head coach Lucien Favre.

The Ligue 1 outfit finished fifth last term and have recently signed Aaron Ramsey, Ross Barkley, Alexis Beka Beka and Kasper Schmeichel.

TOP STORY – NICE KEEN ON PARKER WITH POCHETTINO NOT INTERESTED

Nice are interested in a surprise move for ex-Fulham and Bournemouth boss Scott Parker, claims Foot Mercato.

Favre is under pressure, with ex-Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino reportedly their first choice to replace him.

The Evening Standard claims Pochettino is not interested in the Nice role and instead will wait for a head coaching position with a top club in England, Spain or Italy. 

ROUND-UP

– 90min reports Manchester United will offer fresh deals to Marcus Rashford and Diogo Dalot. The pair's contracts are both due to expire in mid-2023, albeit with the option of one-year extensions, but United want to lock them down beyond that.

– Erik ten Hag will decide on Donny van de Beek's future at United in October, according to the Manchester Evening News. The Dutchman has only managed three appearances this term.

– Fabrizio Romano reports Tottenham target Kim Min-Jae has a release clause in his Napoli contract after joining the Italian club from Fenerbahce in July, but it cannot be triggered in January. Napoli are happy with the centre-back's impact and are not interested in letting him go.

Chelsea target Anthony Gordon is in the midst of contract talks with Everton that are "progressing well", claims inews. Gordon is set for a substantial pay rise.

Leicester City are set to offer manager Brendan Rodgers more time to turn around the side's poor start to the new season, although the reception of fans towards him at their next home game will be a factor for key decision makers, reports The Athletic.

Marcus Rashford and Erik ten Hag have been nominated for the Premier League's Player and Manager of the Month awards respectively for September. 

Manchester United's upturn in form continued thanks to two wins from two this month ahead of the international break.

Rashford was directly involved in a league-high four goals in September, assisting Jadon Sancho in the 1-0 win over Leicester City before scoring twice and setting up another in the 3-1 win over Arsenal. 

The 24-year-old faces competition from Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, who assisted three goals and created 10 chances – both league-high tallies – in his side's two fixtures.

Belgium international De Bruyne has now been involved in 150 goals across 217 Premier League appearances, scoring 58 and assisting 92.

Phillip Billing, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Jacob Ramsey, of Bournemouth, Tottenham and Aston Villa respectively, are also in the running for the award, as is Alex Iwobi after impressing in a deeper central-midfield role for Everton.

In the Manager of the Month category, Ten Hag is up against Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte and Bournemouth interim manager Gary O'Neil.

O'Neill steadied the ship by helping Bournemouth go unbeaten in their three games this month, collecting five points in the process on the back of last month's 9-0 loss to Liverpool that led to the departure of Scott Parker.

Like Ten Hag's United, Tottenham took a maximum six points in September to match their best ever start to a Premier League season.

The winners of the awards will be announced next week. 

Harry Kane remains at the centre of significant transfer speculation after the Tottenham striker failed to secure a move to Manchester City last year.

The England star appears more settled under Antonio Conte but has been linked with Bayern Munich recently.

Kane has started this Premier League campaign strongly, netting six goals in seven appearances.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA PLOTTING KANE-LUKAKU SWAP

New Chelsea boss Graham Potter wants to bring Harry Kane across town from Tottenham, claims Calciomercato.

The Blues boss is ready to offer Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, currently on loan at Inter, as part of an exchange for Kane. The England forward's contract at Tottenham expires in 2024.

Chelsea are at the start of a new era after Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel, while they are set to appoint Salzburg's Christoph Freund as their new sporting director.

 

ROUND-UP

– Fichajes reports Atletico Madrid are desperate to add a versatile attacker to their squad next year, with Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, Brighton and Hove Albion's Leandro Trossard and Liverpool's Roberto Firmino on top of their wish list.

– Calciomercato claims Liverpool are considering a move for Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk. Newcastle United, Sevilla, Bayer Leverkusen and Ajax are also tracking the Ukrainian, according to CBS' Ben Jacobs. TalkSPORT reports that the Reds are also keeping an eye on Flamengo midfielder Joao Gomes .

– Manchester City are interested in a big-money move for Milan winger Rafael Leao next year, according to the Manchester Evening News.

– Football Insider reports West Ham have informed Manuel Lanzini he is free to leave the club in January.

– Former Italy international Fabio Cannavaro is close to a return to management with talks to take over at Serie B club Benevento progressing well, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Marcus Rashford remains "under consideration" for an England recall, though Gareth Southgate conceded the lack of game-time for several key players is "not ideal".

In the last national squad before the Qatar 2022 World Cup, there was no place for Manchester United attacker Rashford and club-mate Jadon Sancho.

Rashford is, however, struggling with a muscular problem. The 25-year-old has been in strong for this season, scoring three Premier League goals in six appearances.

A maiden call-up for Brentford attacker Ivan Toney and a recall for Tottenham's Eric Dier were among the more eye-catching inclusions by Southgate, who stressed the door is not shut for those others seeking a return to the fold in time to make the World Cup squad.

"There were certain players we wanted to keep involved this time, but that said, it doesn't mean that this is the end for some of the others who aren't involved," he stated.

"Marcus Rashford, for example, has shown some encouraging signs recently. He is a player we know well so if he can perform at a high level in the next few weeks, he of course will be under consideration."

Several of Southgate's regular squad members made the cut, such as United duo Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw, alongside Manchester City midfielder Kalvin Phillips, all of whom have struggled for minutes this season.

Their crucial impact on last year's Euro 2020 campaign, however, has swayed Southgate, though he acknowledged it is not a "perfect situation".

"Clearly, we have a number of players including Ben Chilwell, Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips who are not playing a lot of minutes with their club," he added.

"It is not ideal, but we feel they have been, and can be, important players for us. It is not a perfect situation, but there is still a lot of football to be played before Qatar.

Tottenham defender Dier ends a two-year absence from the national set-up, having been a member of the team that travelled to the 2018 World Cup, with Toney a new face altogether.

"With Eric, he has been playing well for a period of time," Southgate added. "We think it is a really close call across our centre-backs, and he has deserved to be picked back in the group.

"We know what a good character he is. He fits in with the culture and has great international experience and leadership qualities.

"With Ivan Toney, we have been tracking him for a long time. I had a good chat with Thomas Frank about him last season.

"His form and his qualities – not only his goalscoring but his technical ability, build-up play and aerial prowess – gives us a different threat to some of the other players we could pick."

England travel to Italy in a Euro 2020 final rematch before returning to Wembley to face Germany in their two Nations League encounters before the World Cup.

Ivan Toney has been handed his first England call-up ahead of the Nations League fixtures against Italy and Germany this month.

The Brentford striker, who has not been capped by his country at any age level, has scored five Premier League goals this season – a tally only bettered by Erling Haaland (10) and Aleksandar Mitrovic (six).

Only Haaland (11) has been involved in more Premier League goals than Toney (five goals, two assists) so far this term. Toney is also averaging one goal contribution every 77 minutes this season, compared to one every 171 minutes last campaign.

Toney was overlooked by Gareth Southgate for England's Nations League outings in June, with Roma's Tammy Abraham named as back-up for captain Harry Kane.

But all three strikers will meet up with the squad for this month's matches, in which England will bid to avoid a humiliating relegation from Group A3. England play Italy on September 23 in Milan, before tackling Germany at Wembley three days later.

 

Manchester United winger Jadon Sancho has failed to force his way back into contention despite the Red Devils' improved Premier League form, while club-mate Marcus Rashford is absent after struggling with an injury.

United skipper Harry Maguire retains his place despite starting just two of his club's six Premier League games – both of which ended in defeat.

Maguire could be joined at the back by United team-mate Luke Shaw, who is one of four defenders to earn a recall to the 28-man squad, alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell and Eric Dier.

Regular goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is another who is absent through injury, with Nottingham Forest's on-loan shot-stopper Dean Henderson stepping in.

Chelsea's Conor Gallagher and Leicester City's James Justin drop out having featured in June's squad, leaving them with much work to do ahead of the World Cup beginning in November.

England squad: Dean Henderson (Nottingham Forest), Nick Pope (Newcastle United), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal); Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Everton), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Fikayo Tomori (Milan), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United), Kyle Walker (Manchester City); Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (West Ham), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), Jarrod Bowen (West Ham), Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal); Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Tammy Abraham (Roma), Ivan Toney (Brentford).

Erik ten Hag has backed Marcus Rashford to earn an England recall after confirming the injury that has ruled the forward out of Thursday's game with Sheriff is not serious.

Rashford is not part of Manchester United's squad for the Europa League tie in Moldova, with Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek and Aaron Wan-Bissaka also absent.

The 24-year-old has impressed this campaign with three goals and two assists in six matches, compared to five and two respectively in 32 outings in all competitions last season.

That upturn in form was expected to lead to a call-up to the England squad for the first time since Euro 2020 when Gareth Southgate names his squad on Thursday.

Rashford's hopes of a recall appeared to be damaged by a minor injury sustained against Arsenal, but Ten Hag does not expect him the miss any serious length of time.

"He has a muscle injury. I can't tell how long he'll be out, but I don't think it will be too long," Ten Hag said at a pre-match press conference on Wednesday ahead of facing Sheriff.

"It's not really bad and we expect him back quite soon."

Asked if Rashford has done enough to earn a place in the England squad for Nations League games against Italy and Germany, Ten Hag said: "It's quite clear, yes.

"He has shown his great potential and quality this season."

United have otherwise named a strong squad for the Group E tie as they aim to respond to last week's 1-0 loss at home to Real Sociedad in their opening match.

It will be United's first competitive meeting with Moldovan champions Sheriff, who are unbeaten in eight matches and beat Omonia Nicosia 3-0 last week.

Ten Hag, who has lost only two of his 20 away matches in major European competitions as a manager, is eager to get back on track after last week's setback against Sociedad.

"There is pressure on in every game – we have to win every game we play," the Dutchman said. "When you lose the first game, you have to win the second.

"We know what our task is. We always play a strong side and tomorrow that will also be the case.

"Sheriff have shown they are capable by beating Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk in the past. They are a serious opponent and we have to be at our best for the win."

With Rashford and Martial not available, Cristiano Ronaldo is set to start for only the third time this season in all competitions.

However, asked to confirm if that will be the case, Ten Hag said: "I'm sorry, but the Moldova fans have to wait until tomorrow."

After making a terrific start to the season, Arsenal are reportedly looking to bolster their squad further in the January transfer window as they weigh up a move for Barcelona winger Ferran Torres.

Torres, 22, was acquired by the Spanish giants this January after emerging at Manchester City as one of Spain's top young talents, costing €55million.

With his playing time inconsistent, and the numerous questions about Barcelona's finances and their need to sell players, it appears Torres is someone the club feels comfortable parting ways with less than 12 months after his arrival.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL WANT TO BRING TORRES BACK TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE

Torres has failed to establish himself as a regular starter, and with plenty of forward depth after the expensive additions of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha – along with Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati already being on the books – Barcelona are said to be looking to recoup their spending.

Fichajes is reporting Barcelona will be setting their asking price at the full amount they paid City, but for a young player who already has 13 international goals in 28 caps for Spain, it is not an unreasonable figure.

Meanwhile, 90min claims Barcelona are still looking to cash in on Frenkie de Jong after a lengthy transfer saga with Manchester United ended with no deal, indicating they may need to sell at least one player to keep balancing their books.

 

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato are reporting Chelsea remain interested in United's Marcus Rashford, along with Atletico Madrid, if he does not receive a contract extension.

– According to The Sun, Wolves and Liverpool will both attempt to sign Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez, just months after he arrived from River Plate on a bargain €8million deal.

Bayern Munich 's sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has denied enquiring with Tottenham about the availability of Harry Kane, per Sport1.

– Corriere dello Sport is reporting Rafael Leao's contract demands with Milan have boosted his chances of leaving the club, with Chelsea named as the primary interested party. 

Newcastle United's hunt for a goalkeeper did not end with their signing of free agent Loris Karius, with Portuguese publication JN reporting they are considering activating the £51m release clause for 22-year-old Porto goalie Diogo Costa.

Chelsea dismissed Thomas Tuchel on Wednesday following their 1-0 Champions League loss to Dinamo Zagreb.

New Blues owner Todd Boehly wielded the axe after a slow start to the 2022-23 season for the London club.

Several names have been linked with the vacant post already, including Mauricio Pochettino and Graham Potter.

TOP STORY – VERBAL AGREEMENT IN PLACE FOR CHELSEA AND POTTER

Chelsea will formally offer their vacant manager role to Brighton and Hove Albion's Graham Potter, according to several UK reports.

Brighton had granted Chelsea permission to speak to Potter, with the two parties locked in talks on Wednesday evening following Thomas Tuchel's dismissal.

Ben Jacobs from CBS Sports claims that a verbal agreement is agreed between Chelsea and Potter, with Sky Sports' Rob Dorsett stating he could be unveiled as their new boss on Thursday.

ROUND-UP

– The Sun claims that Manchester United are ready to open discussions with Marcus Rashford on a new deal. Rashford, who has three goals this season, is contracted until mid-2023.

– The Sun also reports Wilfried Zaha is set to be offered a new deal by Crystal Palace. Zaha, who has been linked with Arsenal and Chelsea, is into the final year of his contract at Selhurst Park.

Juventus are preparing for a straight swap deal in January with Aston Villa, which would see Moise Kean and Douglas Luiz trade places, according to JuveLive. Douglas Luiz's contract at Villa Park expires at the end of this season.

–  Everton and Arsenal both remain interested in Mykhaylo Mudryk but Shakhtar Donetsk want more than £30m (€34.5m) for the 21-year-old Ukrainian winger, claims Gianluca di Marzio.

Marcus Rashford hailed Manchester United's ruthless counter-attacking display after he scored a second-half brace to inflict Arsenal's first defeat of the Premier League season on Sunday.

Looking to win their opening six games of a top-flight campaign for the first time since 1947-48, Arsenal spent long periods on top at Old Trafford but ultimately fell to a 3-1 reverse courtesy of Rashford's double and a debut goal from Antony.

Rashford has been involved in more Premier League goals against Arsenal than any other club (four goals, four assists) after being teed up by Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen to round off two devastating breaks.

Speaking to Sky Sports after United clinched a huge win over the early league leaders, Rashford praised the Red Devils for biding their time to hurt a technically gifted Gunners side.  

"It's a massive game anyway against Arsenal, and they've had such a good start to the season, so it was a big test for us today and we showed up and stood up to the challenge. We can all be proud of ourselves today," he said.

"It was tough; they're a good team. We know their principles of play and they're very good at it, they're a good possession-based team. It was a difficult game and it was what we expected, so we had to be up for the challenge.

"I thought it was an even game. There were big spaces in the first half and we didn't manage to exploit them. In the second half we managed to exploit the spaces and that's what made the difference.

"We've got some great passers of the ball and as long as we make four or five runs, we're going to get the ball. We might not get it the first couple of times, but we have to keep going for 90 minutes and it's tough.

"We had to try to give them possession in spaces where they couldn't hurt us. They're a dangerous team. But as you can see today there was a couple of times where they got through the press and they are electric when they get going.

"You only win these types of games when you're a team. I think we've shown in the last few games, being 1-0 up, that we can see a game out, but we had to be more ruthless and get more goals."

Rashford has looked a player reborn since Erik ten Hag took charge of United, scoring three goals in six league appearances this season after hitting the net just four times in 25 outings last term.

Having also teed up Antony for his first-half opener, Rashford has scored and assisted in a Premier League match for the first time since October 2020 (against Newcastle United), while he also found the net against Arsenal for the first time since his February 2016 debut, when he also recorded a brace.

The 24-year-old acknowledged he had endured a frustrating time as he looked to maintain his improved form, adding: "It's a great feeling – you do miss it as a player. 

"I'm just hoping I can stay fit, stay healthy and keep putting performances on like that. It's been a long time that I've not scored against Arsenal – I didn't realise it had been that long until before the game. 

"It was something I was looking to do this year and I'm happy that I managed to get the goals."

United are just three points behind Arsenal in the Premier League after winning four consecutive games – their best run since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer led them to five successive victories in March and April 2021. 

For Erik ten Hag, there was never any doubt. Just three days after arriving from Ajax, and with only two training sessions with his new team-mates under his belt, the Manchester United boss felt Antony was ready to be unleashed in Sunday's meeting with Arsenal.

"He knows the style we want to play and what we expect and demand," Ten Hag, who coached Antony at Ajax in the previous two campaigns, told Sky Sports ahead of United's 2-1 victory. "He can particularly be an offensive threat with his speed in one-on-ones."

The tricky winger this week became United's second-most expensive signing ever at £68million – behind only the £89m paid for Paul Pogba – and made an instant impact with his goalscoring display against a previously perfect Gunners side.

Antony's well-taken strike after 35 minutes at Old Trafford gave United the lead in a game they had otherwise been second best in, with Arsenal – and Gabriel Jesus in particular – looking very dangerous in an attacking sense either side of that opener.

One of the first players to congratulate Antony was fellow attacker Marcus Rashford, who himself netted on his debut for United and also his first appearance in the Premier League, against Arsenal of all sides in a 3-2 home win six-and-a-half years ago.

And while Antony made a big impression on his United bow, this victory belonged to Rashford. The England international assisted the opener and then scored two of his own goals after Bukayo Saka had deservedly levelled for Arsenal in the second period.

It meant Rashford both scored and assisted in a Premier League game for the first time since October 2020 – and at the perfect time, too, with some calling for the versatile forward to make way from the side.

Selecting both Rashford and Antony was a big call from Ten Hag against an Arsenal side that boasted five wins from five prior to Sunday's contest at Old Trafford, the Dutchman changing a winning formula after three victories on the spin with the same XI.

At 22 years and 192 days, Antony became the youngest Brazilian player to score on his Premier League debut, and the first player from the South American country to net on his first appearance for United.

The ninth Brazilian to put on the famous United strip, Antony not only found the net but also lit up Old Trafford with some trademark Samba skills, the highlight being some neat footwork to beat two Arsenal players when seemingly going nowhere and helping to create a big chance for Christian Eriksen.

He played just short of an hour before being replaced by Cristiano Ronaldo – out of United's starting line-up for a fourth game running – and departed with the most shots of any player (three), the highest xG (0.32) and having attempted the joint-most dribbles (seven).
 
It was an inspired call from Ten Hag, who three weeks on from his appointment being questioned by some high-profile names following defeats to Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford, is now instead being hailed as a managerial magician.

Time will tell on that front, of course, but the signs in wins over Liverpool, Southampton, Leicester City and now Arsenal have been hugely encouraging. 

Despite a first loss since back-to-back defeats derailed their hopes of Champions League football in the final fortnight of last season, Arsenal remain top of the embryonic table and if not for some contentious calls may well have come away with another victory.

VAR was again at the centre of controversy as a Gabriel Martinelli goal was ruled out at 0-0 after referee Paul Tierney, having being instructed to check the pitchside monitor, adjudged Martin Odegaard had fouled Eriksen in the build-up.

But thanks to Antony and Rashford, this day belonged to United. For the first time in 17 months, they have won four league games in a row and finally have momentum on their side in what is shaping up to be a promising future under Ten Hag.

Manchester United players must be prepared to continue to "suffer" if they are to maximise their potential this season after beating Liverpool, according to manager Erik ten Hag.

United stunned their bitter rivals as they claimed a hard-fought 2-1 win at Old Trafford on Monday, with the result made even more surprising by the manner of the defeats in their two previous games.

The Red Devils began Ten Hag's tenure with back-to-back losses to Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford, the latter of whom ran out emphatic 4-0 winners in London.

Ten Hag dropped Harry Maguire, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luke Shaw from his starting XI for the visit of Liverpool, with their respective replacements –  Raphael Varane, Anthony Elanga and Tyrell Malacia –  all acquitting themselves well in what was United's first league win over the Reds since 2018.

The collective attitude of the United team attracted widespread praise due to their defensive work rate – their 232 pressures applied to an opposition player on the ball was the third-highest in the Premier League this season.

But the key for United now is to ensure Monday was not just a flash in the pan, and for them to have sustained success in building towards their objectives, Ten Hag is warning the team they have to be willing to run themselves into the ground.

"What I demand is that players bring the top spirit every day. Every day, they have to bring it to the club," Ten Hag told United's official website on Tuesday.

"It has to be a way of life and I hope they understand. It's only working – high performance, high level – if you have that spirit and have that focus.

"If you accept that you have to hurt yourself, you have to suffer, to finally get the best level out of you."

Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford got United's goals on Monday, with the two England internationals generally looking lively as their movement and pace caused Liverpool's defence issues.

Both endured disappointing seasons last term, with Sancho netting only three Premier League goals and Rashford getting four.

Indeed, Rashford's strike against Liverpool ended a run of 997 minutes without a goal in all competitions for United since netting against West Ham in January.

Clearly, however, Ten Hag thinks they could both be crucial to United.

"I'm convinced they can be really a threat, really a weapon against every opponent," Ten Hag continued.

"As long as their focus and energy is there with them, it is very difficult to stop them.

"So it's about the team getting them in the right situation and also about themselves, with the right approach, right focus in the game and battling, defending, pressing. But also dribbles and combinations and runs in behind."

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