Harry Maguire is in line for a return to action when Manchester United travel to Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday, Ralf Rangnick has confirmed.

The United captain has not played since the Red Devils fell to a crushing 4-0 defeat at rivals Liverpool on April 19.

He was only the bench four days later as United lost to Arsenal 3-1, with Rangnick confirming the mental toll of a bomb threat made against Maguire was one reason for leaving him out.

A knee injury then forced him to miss the 1-1 draw with Chelsea and United's 3-0 defeat of Brentford.

United sit sixth in the Premier League table, five points behind fourth-placed Arsenal going in to the final two games of Rangnick's tenure as interim manager.

Maguire has been criticised after playing his part in just seven clean sheets in 35 appearances across all competitions this term but should return at the Amex Stadium, although Rangnick refused to say whether he would start.

Fellow England international Marcus Rashford, however, has been ruled out after suffering from a bout of bronchitis.

"Harry is back in training, he trained the whole week, the second day after the Brentford game he resumed training, so he will be available and will be part of the group," Rangnick told his pre-match press conference.

"This [whether will start Maguire] is a decision I have to make after training today, obviously I don't want to tell our opponents the line-up with which we will start, but he will definitely be part of the group.

"Edinson [Cavani] is in training, obviously he came on as a sub [against Brentford], [but] Marcus Rashford will be missing, he has caught bronchitis, with a high temperature, so he won't be able to be part of the group."

United will defend an excellent head-to-head record against the Seagulls when they travel to the south coast: they have won each of their previous seven games against Brighton in all competitions, their longest ongoing winning run against another current Premier League side.

However, the Red Devils have lost each of their past four away Premier League games, as many as they had in the previous 42 on their travels, making it the club's longest run of consecutive league reverses on the road since a streak of six between December 1980 and March 1981.

However, as Rangnick prepares to make way for Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag and assume a consultancy role at the end of the season, he reiterated his belief that the future is bright at Old Trafford, saying he was pleased to see his players enjoying their football against the Bees last time out.

"In last two home games we got four points, and the Brentford game was one of our best games in the last six months. I'm positive that the team will try to play on the same level tomorrow and in two weeks' time against Crystal Palace," he added.

"Once again, what I liked about the game was you could see they had fun playing together, that they were enjoying themselves on the pitch, and this is exactly the kind of approach we need for tomorrow as well.

"I think it was visible against Brentford, you could see they enjoyed themselves on the pitch. This does not mean everything was perfect, but in possession we were controlling the game.

"With regard to next season, there will be some changes, obviously. There are some players whose contracts are expiring, with new players to join us here, in the end it's also a thing that needs to be discussed with Erik and the board.

"Erik needs to tell the board which players he wants to work with, but I'm positive with the right new players, plus the players that are already here, the pathway could be a very positive one, this is what we will all try to achieve.

"We will definitely speak at the end of the season. Both Erik and myself want to have our full focus on the outstanding games, he has another three games to play and will do everything to try to win the title in the Netherlands.

"We have agreed we will chat and speak about everything at the end of the season."

Manchester United have "bigger problems" than Cristiano Ronaldo and there is "no logic" in selling the superstar forward, says Red Devils legend Roy Keane.

Ronaldo was named man of the match as United secured a 3-0 win over Brentford in their final home match of the Premier League season on Monday.

The Portugal great scored a second-half penalty at Old Trafford to take his Premier League account for the campaign to 18 – a tally bettered by only Mohamed Salah (23) and Son Heung-min (19).

Despite his excellent return in front of goal since rejoining the club from Juventus, many doubted whether Ronaldo could fit the high-pressing style preferred by interim boss Ralf Rangnick and if he would suit the methods of incoming boss Erik ten Hag.

Throw in the fact Ronaldo is now 37, there is a school of thought among some pundits that United should look to move on their star man and bring in younger forwards.

Former United captain Keane does not subscribe to such a notion, though, suggesting instead the club need to invest in other strikers to complement him.

Speaking on Monday Night Football for Sky Sports, Keane said: "It [Ronaldo's signing] was a short-term fix, for the fans, for the share price. But he has still scored the goals.

"Manchester United have bigger problems than Cristiano Ronaldo.

"I just think with the goals that he has got, his performances, warrants staying at the club. But Manchester United have to get players around him, they have to get other strikers in, there has to be competition for places.

"If the leading goalscorer, the man you are depending on, is 37 years of age then that is certainly not good but I would certainly be holding onto Ronaldo.

"There might be a conversation that needs to be had about the way you are going to play or that you are not going to be playing week in and week out. But why would you get rid of a player who scores that many goals? I don't see the logic in it."

However, Keane did accept Ronaldo must be more "mature" when it comes to acknowledging his advancing years means he will not always be a regular starter.

"I think a top manager will come in and have that conversation with him and cut that rubbish out, like at Brentford when he is shaking his head 15 minutes after coming off. That is where Ronaldo has to be more mature and be a better leader," Keane added.

"Of course you are disappointed when you come off but don't keep it up for one or two days, that is where you have to sort that maturity out.

"Even Ronaldo has to look at the bigger picture.

"And when you do have that conversation as a top manager, make it plain to him that won't be tolerated, if he is not buying into that then you do say, 'No, you're not going to be part of my plans'.

"If he is thinking he has to play every minute of every game, that is rubbish at his age anyway."

Ronaldo's team-mate Marcus Rashford is another whose long-term future at Old Trafford is shrouded in doubt.

The England forward has just four Premier League goals to his name this term and has never registered fewer than five in a campaign.

With United all but certain to miss out on Champions League football next season, there are rumours Rashford may be among those to be shipped out of Old Trafford ahead of what is likely to be a major rebuild under Ten Hag.

Having been left out in favour of Anthony Elanga and Juan Mata against Brentford, Keane questioned if Rashford still has the "hunger" to succeed at Old Trafford.

"Whether it's short on confidence, we've seen his quality before but we've not seen it for a year or two," said Keane.

"I think he's taken his eye off the ball, whatever [it is] with his off-the-field stuff. Rashford has been around for a few years now, he's got that experience and played international football.

"But it doesn't look like he's matured enough. We've seen a few games recently, when he was playing at Liverpool through the middle, I said he was playing like a child.

"It's as if he's not learnt about the game. He's drifting. He's lost the hunger. These young players get a lot of money and good luck to them, but I think he's lost the eye of the tiger and he's struggling to get it back.

"Wherever Man United want to go, Marcus is being left behind. He's left out again tonight and he must be sitting on the bench going 'where has it all gone wrong for me?'. He can get it back, he's shown it before, but sometimes when you do lose it, it is hard to get it back.

"He's got to get the hunger back into his game and make the runs like we've seen tonight from Elanga. Rashford has lost that bit of hunger, which is huge for a player. He is a talent but we're not seeing it."

Toni Kroos future at the Santiago Bernabeu has suddenly become precarious, with the relationship between the player and Real Madrid disintegrating.

The 32-year-old's dramatic drop in form has called into question whether he will see out his contract, which expires at the end of next season in 2023.

With that in mind, there are reports Real Madrid will look to both replace him and bolster their midfield in the same transfer window.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID EYE POGBA AND TCHOUAMENI FOR KROOS

Real Madrid are seeking to replace Toni Kroos and strengthen their midfield, with the intent to sign both Paul Pogba and Aurelien Tchouameni, El Nacional is reporting.

The highly rated Tchouameni has long been a transfer target for Madrid, while the expiration of Pogba's contract at the end of this season makes them both attainable.

Kroos' position in Real Madrid's starting midfield has become vulnerable with the form of Eduardo Camavinga and Federico Valverde, while this transpires amid the backdrop of Luka Modric's contract extension. 

It was reported that Kroos sought to extend for another season and retire in 2024, but that possibility now seems unlikely.

ROUND-UP

- Bayern Munich are eyeing Luka Jovic as a potential replacement in the event of Robert Lewandowski's departure for Barcelona, Sport is reporting.

- Incoming Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag wants to sign outgoing Juventus attacker Paulo Dybala, according to the Corriere dello Sport.

- The Red Devils have also indicated to Napoli they are willing to pay £84million (€99.8m) for striker Victor Osimhen, La Repubblica reports.

- Arsenal have expressed interest in signing Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford, per Football Insider.

Manchester United are preparing for a complete overhaul of the playing group in the upcoming transfer window as incoming manager Erik ten Hag begins to build things his way.

Ten Hag, who is arriving from Ajax, has reportedly already seen enough of a number of regular contributors at United, and they will make way for players he believes can get the club back to their former glory.

Forward, midfielders and defenders are all on the chopping block, with very few positions expected to be safe heading into 2022-23.

 

TOP STORY – TEN HAG TO SWING THE AXE AT UNITED

The Sun is reporting United "could sell" Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Alex Telles at the next opportunity.

Meanwhile, Sky Sports claims United's needs include a new centre-back, two central midfielders, a winger and a striker in what could shape up as a complete rebuild.

One player who will reportedly get a chance to prove his worth at Old Trafford once he returns from loan is Donny van de Beek, who played for Ten Hag at Ajax.

West Ham's Declan Rice is also high on the Dutchman's wishlist, per The Guardian, while the Telegraph claims Benfica striker Darwin Nunez is a key target.

 

ROUND-UP

– Sky Sports Germany is reporting RB Leipzig have no interest in parting ways with Christopher Nkunku next season, despite interest from United and Arsenal.

– According to Goal, Milan are keen to sign Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, who spent two seasons at Inter before rejoining Chelsea this season.

Real Madrid are monitoring Newcastle United midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, per AS.

Manchester City and Newcastle United are both interested in 18-year-old Rangers academy midfielder Alex Lowry, according to Football Insider.

– Todofichajes reports that Christian Eriksen has agreed to return to Tottenham when his contract with Brentford expires at the end of this season.

Marcus Rashford "played like a child" in Manchester United's defeat to Liverpool on Tuesday, according to a despairing Roy Keane. 

A toothless United succumbed to a 4-0 defeat at Anfield that enabled rivals Liverpool, who are still chasing an unprecedented quadruple, to go top of the Premier League. 

Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah put Jurgen Klopp's side in command as the Red Devils produced an abject first-half display in which they failed to attempt a single shot. That had not happened in the top flight since a 3-2 win over Manchester City in April 2018.

Rashford managed just nine touches in the opening period and had only two in Liverpool's box across the entire 90 minutes, with Sadio Mane and a second from Salah consigning United to a resounding loss.

"It was anger earlier in the season, now it's just sadness. You look at the team today, I don't think there's any heart there. There's no soul, there's no leaders. They lack real quality, they're so far off," Keane said working as a pundit for Sky Sports. 

"There's disarray at the club from the top. The fans have no time for the owners. They need a new manager, they need players in, they need players out. 

"It's so sad to see. It's not the club I played for. It doesn't reflect what the club stood for when I played, it's chalk and cheese. I don't see a Man United team out there fighting and playing with pride. It's so sad watching this team. 

"They're the opposite of what you'd want in a top team. When the going gets tough, they just crumble. It's a long way back for this club. When I played there was always that bit of pride. I think that's gone out of the club now. 

"There's no team at Man United. Some good individuals when they turn up and they fancy it, but when the going gets tough or they're under the cosh, that's it, they're out of it. They haven't got that team spirit that you need.

Paul Pogba – who was booed by his own fans during the 3-2 win against Norwich City at the weekend – came off injured early in the game at Anfield, replaced by Jesse Lingard, and Keane was not impressed by the sub.

"Jesse Lingard's coming on to try to save Man United? Jesse Lingard should've left Man United two years ago. He's not good enough for Man United," he said.

"Marcus Rashford played like a child up front. OK, he wasn't getting service, but the one or two bits he got in the first half, a poor touch.

"Harry Maguire – the last goal – his passing and defending was unacceptable, not good enough for Manchester United.

"So we have to use that word again, talk about a rebuilding job. Man United have to get players in first of all who are hopefully decent lads, good-quality pros, talented to try to compete. United are sixth in the league – unbelievable." 

Ralf Rangnick says it is down to Marcus Rashford to regain his form and confidence in order to nail down a place in Manchester United's starting line-up.

Rashford was named on the bench for Saturday's 1-1 draw with Leicester City, despite United being without the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani.

United boss Rangnick instead elected to field midfielders Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba up top, before introducing Rashford in the 55th minute.

England international Rashford, who was not part of the Three Lions' squad for their March friendlies, made little impact during his time on the field as he failed to register a shot.

Former United defender Rio Ferdinand questioned whether the academy product will still be at Old Trafford next season given his lack of playing time.

However, Rangnick believes Rashford can turn things around as long as he bears responsibility for his drop in form.

"Marcus, it's no secret that he is not having his best time right now," said Rangnick, who is not expected to stay on as interim manager beyond this campaign.

"It has to do with rhythm and confidence; it's our job to help him to get this confidence back.

"The only thing we can do is speak to him regularly and tell him what we expect from him and what he should do. The rest has to be done by himself.

"It is possible to develop within a couple of weeks a level of confidence where you can be a different player again.

"We all know that Marcus can play better, but in the end he has to take the steps himself."

Rashford has started just 15 games in all competitions this season, which is level with Alex Telles for the joint-15th most among United players.

He has five goals and two assists, averaging 0.45 goal involvements every 90 minutes.

That places him behind team-mates Cavani (0.48), Pogba (0.54), Fernandes (0.63), Jesse Lingard (0.69) and Ronaldo (0.71).

The 24-year-old will be looking to regain his place in the starting line-up when United take on Everton in their next Premier League outing on Saturday.

Manchester United great Rio Ferdinand questioned Marcus Rashford's future with the Red Devils after the forward was only a substitute against Leicester City.

Ralf Rangnick's side, who were without Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani, limped to a 1-1 draw on Sunday with Fred cancelling out Kelechi Iheanacho's opener at Old Trafford.

Rashford was named on the bench despite the absence of the United attacking pair, with midfielders Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba preferred up top before the England international was introduced in the 55th minute.

The 24-year-old offered little after coming on, failing to register a single shot in his 35-minute cameo, winning none of his three duels and managing just 14 touches for the underwhelming hosts.

Indeed, Rashford has started just five Premier League games since Rangnick's arrival in December, racking up a meagre 564 minutes from the 12 top-flight appearances he has made under the German.

Rangnick justified his decision after the game as he cited a lack of confidence for Rashford, who has scored a league-high four goals from the bench, but Ferdinand questioned the reluctance to trust the striker.

"What Rashford must be thinking now – wow," Ferdinnd said on his YouTube channel FIVE. "Maybe there's a new contract negotiation behind the scenes but if you're him, you're thinking, 'How can I stay here?'.

"You're thinking, 'This gaffer does not fancy me. How can I sign this contract when the team would rather play without a striker than play with me?'.

"I'm not saying he's been perfect. If I'm Rashford, I'm thinking this guy doesn't rate me if he's going to play two midfielders up front.

"He hasn't played well enough to be selected if Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani are fit. It's a different case when he's going into a game with no striker.

"How bad must he be in training? How badly must he rate him to go into a game like that?"

United dropped further ground in the race for Champions League qualification, currently sitting three points adrift of fourth place, with the Red Devils' next clash coming at strugglers Everton on Saturday.

Gary Neville said being left out of a depleted Manchester United attack will have "killed" Marcus Rashford after the Red Devils laboured to a 1-1 draw with Leicester City.

Despite Ralf Rangnick's side being without Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani through illness and injury, Rashford remained on the bench for the first 55 minutes as United's top-four hopes were dented by the Foxes.

Rashford has recorded just four goals and two assists during a frustrating Premier League campaign, making half of his 20 league appearances from the bench.

Indeed, all four of the 24-year-old's league goals this season have come from the bench, a league-high tally, and Rashford was left out of Gareth Southgate's latest England squad as a result of his poor form.

Acknowledging Rashford's recent slump, Neville questioned what being left out of such a depleted Red Devils team said for the striker's role at the club, during a stark assessment of United's display.

"I was struggling with it [the system] before the game, without a centre-forward," Neville told Sky Sports.

"That's killed Marcus Rashford, not playing in that team.

"I know he's been in poor form, I know he's lacked confidence, but for Cristiano Ronaldo to pull out this morning, and then for Paul Pogba to be put in to change the system, not to just put Marcus Rashford in as a straight swap, after he's trained with the players for the last 10 days.

"Overall, there are too many things at this club that are uncertain: talks about Harry Maguire, Marcus Rashford, Cristiano Ronaldo, Cavani, the new manager, Ralf Rangnick – is he going to be a consultant at the end of the season, or is he not?

"They just need to get to the end of the season, but it isn't going to be easy. Everybody's watching, it's Manchester United and there's no hiding place. It was so flat today."

The interim boss, however, defended his decision to bench Rashford, who did not take a shot after entering the fray as a substitute, and said his selection of Pogba in a more advanced role was a tactical choice.

"The only one [striker] we had was Marcus," Rangnick told Sky Sports. "We knew this morning Cristiano could not play and decided to start Paul Pogba.

"After 60 minutes we made the change and had a central striker on the pitch. It's no secret that he [Rashford] was not full of confidence in the last couple of weeks.

"He was training with us, and in training he is looking well. That was the question yesterday, between Paul and Marcus, and we decided to go with Paul."

United have won just one of their last six matches in all competitions, recording three draws and two defeats during that run, having won four and drawn three of their previous seven.

Manchester United's record goalscorer Wayne Rooney hopes Marcus Rashford can rediscover his form and break his Red Devils record.

Rooney, who is attempting to guide Derby County to safety in the Championship against the odds, scored 253 times during a hugely successful 13-year spell at Old Trafford, putting him four goals clear of Bobby Charlton as the most prolific forward in the club's history.

Rashford, who has hit 93 goals since making his United debut in 2016, has struggled throughout an underwhelming campaign, scoring just four times in 19 Premier League appearances.

The 24-year-old's dip in form saw him left out of Gareth Southgate's England squad for this month's friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast, while speculation has mounted as to whether the forward might leave Old Trafford.

Rooney, however, holds out hope that Rashford can write himself into the United record books, calling upon him to turn his poor form around and put himself amongst the club's greatest marksmen.

"What I hope [happens] is that Marcus Rashford f****** gets his head out of his a*** and goes and breaks that record. He is a Manchester lad."

Rashford has been subjected to decreased playing time since Ralf Rangnick took over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and all of his league goals this season have been netted as a substitute, the highest such tally managed by any Premier League player this campaign.

He is outperforming his expected goals (xG) of 2.9, however, suggesting that Rashford's finishing has been better than would be expected given the quality of chances to have come his way.

United, meanwhile, have lost two of their last three games in all competitions as they struggle to cement a place in next season's Champions League, having lost just one of the first 20 matches they played after Solksjaer's sacking in November. 

Arsenal continue their rejuvenation under Mikel Arteta, but a striker is becoming a positional need.

After his relationship with Arteta soured, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang left for Barcelona during the January transfer window and has found verve under Xavi.

Although Alexandre Lacazette has been a compatible fit for Arsenal, he and Eddie Nketiah are out of contract at the end of the season, and the Gunners may look to Old Trafford. 

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL TO MOVE FOR RASHFORD

Arsenal are preparing an approach for Manchester United star Marcus Rashford in an attempt to bolster their stocks up front, according to The Mirror.

The Gunners were linked with a number of forwards during January, including Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Real Sociedad's Alexander Isak, but it appears Rashford's status at Old Trafford has shifted following United's Champions League exit.

The 24-year-old has one year plus an option for a further season on his current deal, but appears to be a peripheral figure under interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

Rashford has made just 10 starts in the Premier League this season and scored only five goals across all competitions. 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City and Real Madrid are in best position to sign Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, but the 21-year-old has rejected City's first offer, AS reports.

- Barcelona could offer versatile defender Oscar Mingueza as part of a package to land Leeds United winger Raphinha, Sport has reported.

- Juventus have shown their interest in Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger as they aim to replace Giorgio Chiellini, according to The Sun.

- The Daily Mail are reporting that Inter are keen to sign Juve's Paulo Dybala, who will be out of contract at the end of the season and is not having his deal renewed.

England boss Gareth Southgate said Marcus Rashford is "clearly not at his best" after dropping the out-of-form Manchester United forward.

The 24-year-old has registered just six goal involvements in 19 Premier League appearances in a frustrating campaign for the Red Devils, and will not feature in England's upcoming home friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast.

Rashford has earned 46 caps for his country and scored 12 international goals, his last strike coming against Romania in a pre-Euro 2020 friendly last June.

But the forward has made just 10 league starts for United this season, leading to suggestions he could seek to leave Old Trafford in the summer, ahead of the World Cup at the end of the year.

"He is in the same position as everyone else, whether they are in the squad or not," Southgate said. "They've all got to play well towards the end of this season and, in particular, at the beginning of next season.

"It is a difficult time for him, he's clearly not at his best, but there is plenty of time. We know what Marcus can bring, and hopefully, he can rediscover the form he's capable of."

 Rashford was not the only United attacker to be left out of Southgate's squad, with Jadon Sancho remaining absent despite registering five goal involvements in his last six Premier League appearances, having recorded just one in his first 18.

Southgate acknowledged Sancho's club form has improved after the winger made a slow start to his United career, stating his absence was due to the competition provided by England's other attackers.

"You just have to look at the other attacking players in the squad: Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Phil Foden," the England boss said. "Jadon's performances have improved at Manchester United, but it is an area where we have big competition for places."

Southgate also left Manchester City right-back Kyle Walker out of his latest group but was keen to emphasise the upcoming games represent an opportunity to look at other right-back options.

"I had a chat with Kyle; we felt this was an opportunity to have a look at the two younger full-backs," Southgate said.

"We know all there is to know about Kyle; he's a very important player, and he'll be back with us in June [for Nations League matches].

"We are very happy with what he's done. He's been a huge part of the progress we've made with this team, and you can see in the biggest matches with Manchester City this year, he's still been a key player for them.

"These young full-backs [Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James] are exciting."

The England boss also hit back at suggestions Manchester United defender Harry Maguire could have missed out on the squad, highlighting his importance to England despite there having been recent criticism of his displays at club level.

"There wasn't a chance we weren't going to call him up," Southgate said. "He's one of our best centre-backs."

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has been dropped from Gareth Southgate's England squad, while Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi has been handed his first senior call-up.

Fellow Red Devils attacker Jadon Sancho has also been omitted from the 25-man squad, having also been left out of Southgate's last party in November 2021.

Rashford has endured an underwhelming season at Old Trafford, registering a paltry four goals and two assists in 19 Premier League appearances as his team fights for a top-four finish.

The 24-year-old's frustrating campaign has led to suggestions he could leave Old Trafford, and he described himself as "upset" and "disappointed" after being heckled by his own fans following Tuesday's Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid.

Meanwhile, 21-year-old defender Guehi could make his Three Lions debut in the Wembley friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast, having impressed for Patrick Viera's Eagles this season.

Guehi has made 28 Premier League appearances since leaving Chelsea for Selhurst Park in July, with the Eagles keeping eight league clean sheets this term, a tally betted by just seven Premier League sides.

Along with Rashford and Sancho, Manchester City defender Kyle Walker is another big-name absence, with Southgate favouring Trent Alexander-Arnold and Reece James in his right-back position.

Alexander-Arnold and James have been two of the Premier League's three most creative defenders this season, having recorded 11 and six assists so far this term, respectively (Liverpool's Andrew Robertson has registered 10).

England host Switzerland on March 26 and Ivory Coast three days later, as the Euro 2020 runners-up ramp up their preparations for this year's World Cup in Qatar.

Marcus Rashford has hit back after a video emerged on social media of the Manchester United forward reacting to fans outside Old Trafford following the Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid. 

United were beaten 1-0 in the second leg of their round-of-16 tie against the Spanish side on Tuesday, losing 2-1 on aggregate. 

The video posted after the game appeared to show Rashford confronting a supporter who had heckled him outside the stadium, and the England international has denied that he raised his middle finger to fans. 

Rashford posted a message on Twitter on Wednesday along with the words "There are 2 sides to every story." 

He wrote: "A video can paint a thousand words and in this case lead to inaccurate info being shared on social media. 

"Guys, for weeks I've been heckled, threatened, questioned and last night my emotion got the better of me. I'm a human being. 

"Reading and hearing that stuff about yourself every day, it wears you down. No one is more critical of my performance than me. But what you see in this video lacks context. I had been heckled from the minute I stepped foot outside the ground, abuse not just aimed at my football. 

"People were looking for a reaction from me. Phones were at the ready. Of course, I should have walked straight past and ignored it, that's what we're supposed to do right? 

"I want to clarify two things. The first being what I actually said to the man throwing abuse at me which [was] 'come over here and say it to my face' (a fact security can back up) and secondly, the fact I used my forefinger to direct the fan to 'come over and say it to my face'. I did not gesture with my middle finger. 

"I'm not entitled. This isn't ego. I'm upset. I'm disappointed. And in that moment it was silly but I was being human." 

Rashford has struggled for form this season, scoring five goals in 26 appearances in all competitions (15 starts), and came on as a 67th-minute substitute in the Atletico defeat. 

Renan Lodi sent Atletico Madrid into the Champions League quarter-finals by securing a 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Tuesday. 

After a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the last-16 tie three weeks prior, Lodi's first-half header clinched a 2-1 aggregate success for LaLiga's reigning champions. 

Anthony Elanga scored United's goal in Madrid but missed an early chance to convert a pass from Bruno Fernandes, who returned to the line-up following a positive COVID-19 test. 

Atletico sat back and made life difficult for United after Lodi's first Champions League goal, which was enough to send them into the last eight for the second time in three seasons. 

Jan Oblak kept out a point-blank effort from Elanga with his head in the 13th minute, while David de Gea did brilliantly to deny Rodrigo de Paul from 25 yards at the other end. 

Fernandes had a claim for a penalty turned down following a challenge from Reinildo before Joao Felix saw a goal ruled out for offside against Marcos Llorente in the build-up. 

Atletico still went into half-time in front after Lodi headed home Antoine Griezmann's delivery, with United furious that Reinildo was not penalised for a challenge on Elanga moments earlier. 

Elanga guided a decent effort wide 30 seconds after the restart, while Jadon Sancho lashed a volley narrowly over before the hour mark. 

Oblak made another fine stop from a Raphael Varane header that looked destined for the top-left corner with 13 minutes remaining.

It was the closest Ralf Rangnick's side came to keeping their last hope of silverware this season alive, with Atletico holding on to progress.

What does it mean? United again pay for slow start 

It is not a good sign for United if they draw the first leg of a Champions League knockout clash.  They have now been eliminated from the past four ties in which they have been held in the opening encounter, three of which have come against Spanish opposition. 

Furthermore, United have now won just two of their past nine Champions League home games against Spanish opposition. 

Ronaldo goes missing 

United needed their players to step up on the big occasion, but Cristiano Ronaldo was a peripheral figure. He failed to register a single attempt on goal – something he has not experienced in a Champions League game in which he played at least 45 minutes since May 2011 (semi-final second leg against Barcelona with Real Madrid). 

Simeone masterclass 

If there is one thing Atletico know how to do it is defend a lead. Their second half was vintage Diego Simeone as his team kept their first away clean sheet against an English side in the competition. They also avoided conceding at least once in seven straight Champions League games for the first time since 2013. 

What's next? 

Atletico take on Rayo Vallecano in LaLiga on Saturday, while United are not in action until a Premier League meeting with Leicester City at Old Trafford on April 2. 

Bruno Fernandes started against Atletico Madrid on a big Champions League night for Manchester United at Old Trafford. 

The Portuguese playmaker missed Saturday's 3-2 win over Tottenham after a positive COVID-19 test. 

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a stunning hat-trick to snatch the points in that game, and United boss Ralf Rangnick confirmed the reason for Fernandes being absent afterwards. 

Rangnick said it would be a race against time for Fernandes to be back for duty in Europe; however, the former Sporting CP man was able to train on Monday. 

Fernandes was named in a midfield that also featured Fred, Jadon Sancho and Scott McTominay. The latter returned from an injury that caused him to miss the Spurs game, as Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic dropped to the bench for the visit of Diego Simeone's side. 

Ronaldo and Anthony Elanga, who scored United's goal in Spain to earn a 1-1 draw, led the attack, with Marcus Rashford only a substitute. 

Ronaldo has netted 13 goals in his last 15 home games against Atletico across all competitions, including two hat-tricks in his most recent four – for Real Madrid in May 2017 and Juventus in March 2019, both in this competition. 

Atletico's attack for Tuesday's second leg of the last-16 tie was spearheaded by Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix, with former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez on the bench. 

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