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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cristiano Ronaldo struck in the sixth minute of injury time to give Manchester United a 2-1 Champions League victory over Villarreal.

In a repeat of last season's Europa League final, won by the LaLiga side on penalties after a 1-1 draw, the Red Devils found themselves deservedly behind when Paco Alcacer scored early in the second half.

Alex Telles levelled with a spectacular volley, and it looked as though these sides would share the spoils for the fifth game in a row in this competition, but Ronaldo drilled past Geronimo Rulli to send Old Trafford into raptures.

The result at least will ease some of the pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, although plenty of concerns will remain after another disjointed display in which his side were indebted to David de Gea in goal.

 

It is about time Ole Gunnar Solskjaer delivered trophies for Manchester United despite the progress he has already made since taking charge of the club.

That is the view of the United manager's former treble-winning team-mate Teddy Sheringham ahead of the Red Devils' key Champions League clash with Villarreal on Wednesday.

Although they have made the latter stages of multiple competitions and finished as high as second in the Premier League, United have not won a trophy for four seasons.

An impressive transfer window that saw the Old Trafford club sign World Cup winner Raphael Varane, long-term target Jadon Sancho and returning hero Cristiano Ronaldo raised expectations for them in 2021-22.

But after a bright start, the past fortnight has seen United lose to Young Boys in their Group F opener, crash out of the EFL Cup at the hands of West Ham and suffer their first league defeat of the season to Aston Villa.

Sheringham believes Solskjaer will deliver much-needed silverware but thinks the Norwegian can have few complaints about the expectations.

Asked if it was time for Solskjaer to step up as a manager, Sheringham told Stats Perform: "Without a doubt. 

"You only have to look at the signings that Manchester United have made this season.

"Looking at Varane, Sancho and then Ronaldo becoming available, and then they got him as well – it was just unbelievable. 

"But that increases the pressure for Ole, and he knows that. He's in charge of the biggest football club in Europe, maybe even the world, and he knows he has to win things. 

"The pressure is there for them to win things, and I'm sure they will this year as it's about time.

"There's been steady progression for the club over the last two or three seasons, but it's about time they won something."

United need a positive result against Villarreal to get their campaign on track in the Champions League. 

The four previous Champions League clashes between United and Villarreal have all finished 0-0, making it the most played fixture in the history of the competition to see no goals scored.

United also suffered a painful Europa League final defeat to the Spanish side on penalties last season.

Despite being one of the biggest clubs who typically qualify for the Champions League, United have not got past the quarter-finals in Europe's elite club competition for a decade.

"It's tough," added Sheringham. "When you look at Sir Alex Ferguson and his record in the Champions League, it didn't happen overnight.

"It was again a steady progression. They got to the quarter-finals, got knocked out, got to the quarter-finals, then they got to the semi-finals, and then they won it. 

"So, if Ole can gain the experience, the players that he's got there, if they gain the experience along the way, then hopefully everybody's ready to win it. 

"Then you need to get a little bit of luck when you need it, and you come out on top."

While he hopes United will get there, Sheringham is more confident that the other English clubs could dominate the competition this season after Manchester City and Chelsea contested in an all-English final last year.

He added: "I think they [English clubs] will [dominate again].

"I expect probably three of those four English teams to get into the semi-finals – that is how dominant English teams are at the moment.

"We were talking about the chances of Manchester United and I don't really think they are one of the best teams in England at the moment. 

"You have to say that Manchester City [have a chance], Chelsea without a doubt, and Liverpool will also feature as well very high." 

Marcus Rashford is "raring to go" as he closes on a return to action with Manchester United, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Rashford had surgery on a long-standing shoulder injury in July and so has not played for club or country since missing a penalty against Italy for England in the Euro 2020 final.

The striker may be back in the fold after the coming international break, though, when United visit Leicester City.

Amad Diallo has also been out with a thigh issue, which put paid to a planned loan move to Feyenoord.

"[Rashford and Amad] are still a few weeks away, so hopefully after the international break they could be available," Solskjaer told United's official website.

United have played eight games without Rashford so far this term ahead of Wednesday's meeting with Villarreal, where Aaron Wan-Bissaka will miss the first of two matches through suspension – his punishment increased due to "rough play" as he was sent off against Young Boys.

Rashford missed just four United games in the whole of last season as he scored 21 goals and assisted a further 12 in 57 appearances in all competitions.

Among outfield players in Europe's top five leagues, the England man's 4,153 minutes ranked 16th in 2020-21. Wan-Bissaka (4,707) led that list.

Going back further, across his five full seasons as a senior United star, Rashford played 253 times, behind only Manchester City's Bernardo Silva (255) in that period.

This sort of lay-off is unfamiliar to the forward, then, and he is not lacking motivation.

Solskjaer continued: "They're working hard, both of them positive, and it's been a long, long time for Marcus, of course – probably the longest he's been out, but he's needed it.

"He looks raring to go, happy, and he knows he's missed out on pre-season, but he's done loads of good conditioning work and should be ready soon."

Manchester City made something of a statement in their 1-0 win over potential title challengers Chelsea on Saturday, whereas Manchester United seemed to take another step back as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's reign stuttered again.

But Solskjaer is certainly not the only top-flight manager feeling the heat – Nuno Espirito Santo's honeymoon period as Tottenham boss is well and truly over, with the Portuguese now among the favourites to be the first Premier League boss sacked this season following a 3-1 defeat in the north London derby.

Without any further ado, here are some of the more curious facts and stats from across the Premier League this past weekend…

City defence putting the 'guard' in Guardiola

It may not have been the thrill ride neutrals were likely hoping for, but City's 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge was another impressive indicator of just how good Pep Guardiola's team is as a unit.

Of course, they won the Premier League only a few months ago, so saying City are "good" probably won't cut it for analysis – but what is really making people sit up and take note at the moment is how their unity and cohesion is translating into defensive solidity.

City have conceded just one goal in their six Premier League games this term, the fewest they've ever shipped at this stage of any league campaign.

Let's not forget that Chelsea had been widely praised for their own start to 2021-22, yet on Saturday they were prevented from having a single shot on target in a home league game since November 2012, which coincidentally was also against City.

But even more impressive from City's perspective was the fact Chelsea's expected goals (xG) value was just 0.2, the worst they've recorded in a home Premier League game since Opta records began in 2008-09.

While Chelsea fans will understandably be frustrated, it would seem their struggles on Saturday were more down to City being in a groove defensively.

They've only faced six shots on target this season, a record no Premier League has bettered over the first six matches in a campaign since at least 2003-04. If they keep this up, the title will surely be staying at the Etihad Stadium.

Fernandes' penalty miss not Man Utd's big issue

It was another day to forget for United on Saturday as they lost 1-0 at home to Aston Villa.

They were presented with a great opportunity to equalise in second-half stoppage time, but Bruno Fernandes sent his penalty over the crossbar.

Much of the focus afterwards was on Fernandes and his miss, though it would be unfair to pin the blame on him – after all, of the 23 spot-kicks he has taken since his United debut, he's only failed to convert two.

In the same time period, Cristiano Ronaldo – seemingly Fernandes' main penalty rival now – has taken 22 and missed four. This is not a problem that United need to dwell on much.

Instead, they'd be wise to look into their glaring tactical inefficiencies, with Solskjaer's team sorely lacking identity, cohesion and a defined playing style. Too often they are bailed out by moments of individual brilliance, which is an unsustainable approach to solely rely on in a title challenge.

Against Villa, those instances of individual excellence never arrived, despite United mustering 28 shots. That was the most efforts attempted by United without scoring in a home league game since October 2016 (38 shots in 0-0 draw with Burnley).

They have now conceded in each of their past eight league games at Old Trafford, their worst such run in 49 years, and lost three successive home matches (all competitions) for the first time since 1962.

Norwich set new benchmark for worst start

With every match that passes, the light at the end of the tunnel seems to become ever dimmer for Norwich City.

A 2-0 defeat at Everton on Saturday leaves Norwich pointless and with a -14 goal difference after six matches – that makes their start to the season the worst after six matches in Premier League history.

Only twice before had a Premier League side begun a campaign without a single point from six games, the last of which was Frank de Boer's infamous Crystal Palace team in 2017-18 – the Dutchman was sacked after the fourth match in that sequence.

Norwich have at least been a little more patient than Palace, with Daniel Farke's record of overseeing two promotions seemingly ensuring he retains some good will at the club, even if he now has the highest loss percentage (75 per cent, 33/44) of any manager to take charge of at least 20 games in the Premier League.

Most would already consider Norwich to be doomed for relegation, though perhaps there is some reason for optimism.

There have only been nine teams to start a top-flight season (prior to 2021-22) with six or more successive losses, but four of them – including Palace – have avoided relegation.

Vardy joins exclusive club

Jamie Vardy ended up having a peculiar day when Leicester City drew 2-2 with Burnley on Saturday, the former England striker scoring three of the four goals.

It was his own goal that gave Burnley an early lead, while he also got both Leicester equalisers, including one late in the day.

That was his first own goal ever in 360 appearances for Leicester, while he became the first player to net at both ends for the club in a single Premier League game.

It's happened to some of the best, though. He joins an illustrious list containing 11 others who have scored at least 100 goals but also put past their own goalkeeper, with Harry Kane, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney among them.

On top of that, Vardy is now only one of five players in Premier League history to score at least twice at the right end and an own goal in the same game after John Barnes (Liverpool v Spurs 1995), Niall Quinn (Sunderland v Charlton Athletic 2001), Rooney (Man Utd v Stoke City 2012) and Tammy Abraham (Chelsea v Wolves 2019).

But he is still doing more than his fair share at the other end, his brace in this game taking him to eight goal involvements in his past seven league games, which is 89 per cent (8/9) of Leicester's goals in that time.

Bad omens stacking up for Nuno

After three wins from his first three Premier League games in charge, everything was looking rather rosy for Tottenham boss Nuno.

Three matches and three defeats later, some will doubt whether he'll still be in charge this time next month, let alone this time next season.

Sunday's north London derby was his 10th in charge of Spurs and the 3-1 loss made him the first manager to lose as many as four of his first 10 matches at the helm of the club since Glenn Hoddle in 2001.

Hoddle was also the last Spurs boss to conceded at least three goals in three consecutive league games in September 2003, and he was sacked after that run.

Nuno will probably make it to the next match but the last team to begin a season with three wins and then lost the next three (Everton, 1993-94) finish as low down as 17th.

His future arguably rests on getting something out of Kane, who's failed to score in five straight league games for the first time since August 2016, but things aren't looking great given Spurs' 35 open-play shots is the second fewest in the division and their expected goals (xG) total is just 3.2, only higher than three teams.

While a lack of quality chances might usually be masked by Kane's excellence, he's not bailing them out any longer – if that continues, it's difficult to see Nuno keeping his job for the long term.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt inaction from the VAR cost Manchester United in their defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday.

United lost 1-0 at Old Trafford to Kortney Hause's header in the 88th minute, although Bruno Fernandes missed a stoppage-time penalty that would have sent the home side top.

Solskjaer's side were poor, with only four of their 28 attempts hitting the target – their most shots without scoring in a league game for five years (38 against Burnley in October 2016).

But the manager was not happy with the nature of Hause's winner at the other end.

Solskjaer highlighted Ollie Watkins' position close to David de Gea in an offside position and revealed a discussion with officials indicated the VAR was to blame.

"We started the game well, aggressive, good on transition, going forward quickly," he told MUTV. "The decision-making, execution in the last third wasn't the best, and that cost us today.

"And decision-making on VAR again cost us again.

"Unfortunately, I've got to say it: it's offside. The goal, as Hause is heading it, Watkins is actually touching David, he's impeding him.

"I can't see the consistency anywhere in this VAR decision-making.

"They've come out in the corridor, and I've asked them for an explanation. The linesman flagged it up with VAR and definitely VAR has gone wrong again."

It would not have mattered had Fernandes taken his chance, having scored 21 of his previous 22 penalties in a United shirt.

Solskjaer felt pressure built on the midfielder as Villa players surrounded him in the 93rd minute for what was United's fourth-latest Premier League spot-kick miss.

"I didn't like the way they crowded Bruno, the penalty spot, the referee, all that malarkey," he said.

"Bruno's very strong mentally normally and unfortunately today it just didn't go in."

United had already endured a difficult day prior to the late drama, with both Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire substituted due to injuries.

Asked about their status ahead of a big week, with Villarreal visiting in the Champions League, Solskjaer said: "I can't tell you, I don't know. We'll have to wait a couple of days and see how they are."

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer joked he has written to the Premier League to ask them if his team can start matches 1-0 down.

United have come from behind to claim points in top-flight matches against Southampton and West Ham this season and also made a habit of launching comebacks in the 2020-21 campaign.

But they could not recover from a slow start on Wednesday as they suffered a 1-0 defeat to West Ham in the EFL Cup, with Solskjaer critical of how his team began the game.

Ahead of Saturday's key home clash against Aston Villa, the United boss knows the trend has to change.

"We need to start games better of course," he said.

"I've sent a letter to the Premier League asking if we can start games 1-0 down, it'll make things so much easier for us!

"Joking apart, it's a big, big part of the game and we need to start better, we can't expect to come back and win games as we have done fantastically in the last 12, 14, 15 months but it's going to catch up with us.

"It's been looked at and talked about and hopefully we can see a response."

Despite their cup disappointment, United are joint top of the Premier League with 13 points from five matches.

United have won 18 of their last 21 home league games against Villa (D2 L1), failing to score on just one occasion in that run, with star forward Cristiano Ronaldo expected to return to the team after being rested against West Ham.

Solskjaer said ahead of the match at Old Trafford that he believes the Portugal forward is capable of playing into his 40s due to his supreme physical conditioning.

Villa have earned just one win in their last 45 Premier League games against the Red Devils, racking up an astonishing 33 defeats in that span.

The visitors have also lost both of their Premier League away games this season, conceding three goals in each defeat, but did thump Everton 3-0 at home in their last top-flight outing.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Red Devils superstar Cristiano Ronaldo can play football into his 40s.

Ronaldo returned to Premier League giants United before the transfer window closed and the evergreen 36-year-old has scored four goals in his first three matches back at the club.

As Ronaldo continues to defy his age, Solskjaer does not anticipate the five-time Ballon d'Or winner slowing down any time soon.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he was still playing at 40, not at all," Solskjaer told reporters ahead of Saturday's clash with Aston Villa.

"The way he looks after himself, that's the key, that's the key to it all and, of course, some genes. There must be some genes in there! He has put every single ounce of energy and effort into becoming the player he is.

"He deserves every single plaudit that he gets for first, his own physical state but, even more impressively, when you have achieved as much as he has. He is still just as hungry as ever.

"His mentality is still absolutely spot on and that's just desire from inside of him and he's going to keep going until his legs or even his head say no that's it, I've given everything now."

United – level with Chelsea and Liverpool atop the Premier League – have won 18 of their last 21 home league games against Villa (D2 L1), failing to score on just one occasion in that run.

In Premier League history, no side has won more games against an opponent than United's 37 victories against Villa.

Since a goalless draw with Manchester City last December, United have scored in each of their last 15 Premier League home games (44 goals in total). However, Solskjaer's men have also conceded in each of their last seven league games at Old Trafford, last having a longer top-flight home run without a clean sheet in February 1972 (8 games).

United are the highest scorers in the Premier League so far this season with 13 goals. With an expected goals total of eight, the Manchester outfit are also overperforming their xG more than any other side this season (five goals more).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appeared to reignite a feud with Jurgen Klopp over penalties ahead of Manchester United's clash with Aston Villa on Saturday.

Solskjaer's men were knocked out of the EFL Cup by West Ham on Wednesday, losing 1-0 at Old Trafford to a Manuel Lanzini goal as they failed to beat Alphonse Areola in goal despite 27 attempts.

United felt they should have had a penalty when Jesse Lingard went to ground in the box after having his shirt pulled by Mark Noble, but nothing was given.

There were similar frustrations in the 2-1 Premier League win over the Hammers last weekend, when Cristiano Ronaldo was felled by robust challenges from Vladimir Coufal and Kurt Zouma, neither of which were penalised.

West Ham were then given an injury-time penalty for a handball by Luke Shaw only for David de Gea to save Noble's attempt from 12 yards, the goalkeeper's first penalty stop after a run of conceding 40 times from spot-kicks.

On Friday, Solskjaer suggested referees have been less inclined to award his side penalties since Liverpool manager Klopp claimed in January that "Manchester United had more penalties in two years than I had in five and a half years".

United won 11 penalties in the league last season, one fewer than the highest tally posted by Leicester City. At the time of Klopp's complaint, the Red Devils had won six spot-kicks compared to Liverpool's five in 2020-21.

Since Klopp's remarks on January 4, United have been awarded five penalties. Manchester City and West Ham have had the most, with six each.

"We just have to hope we get what we deserve," said Solskjaer. "We should have had three penalties in the last two games.

"There was a certain manager last year worrying about us getting penalties, and it seems since then that the decisions were more difficult to give. I've seen a big difference since then. We just have to leave it up to the refs, and hopefully, they'll make the right calls very soon."

Ronaldo, who was rested for the cup clash with West Ham, is expected to return for the visit of Villa to Old Trafford.

Edinson Cavani has also recovered from injury and will be in the squad, with Solskjaer now looking forward to seeing the pair play together.

"He's in the squad," he said of Cavani. "He's been training, and now he feels ready to contribute. He came on against Wolverhampton, then he got a slight strain in the international break when we had a game, and now he's ready again. He's worked really hard and diligently as he always does, and hopefully, he can have an impact like he did last season.

"It's exciting to see them two together. I'm sure that will be a good partnership, wanting to be on the end of things."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer acknowledged he took a "risk" with his Manchester United team selection in the EFL Cup, but he defended the approach despite a defeat to West Ham.

United had beaten the Hammers in dramatic fashion in the Premier League on Sunday but lost 1-0 in Wednesday's third-round cup tie at Old Trafford.

Manuel Lanzini's early goal proved the difference, with United failing to turn their 61 per cent possession and 27 attempts into an equaliser.

While Solskjaer's side remain competitive in the league – level atop the Premier League alongside Chelsea and Liverpool, this defeat extends their wait for silverware, having last lifted a trophy in the 2016-17 Europa League.

Solskjaer gambled with United's involvement in the competition, though, making 11 changes, even if this was also a very different West Ham team from the previous clash at London Stadium.

"Twenty-seven shots shows everyone gave it a good go," United manager Solskjaer said. "I can't fault the attitude at all.

"A little bit of good fortune could have gone our way, and a little more quality, maybe a decision here or there [that] we don't seem to get at the moment.

"It's a clear penalty for Jesse [Lingard] again, Mark Noble falls and pulls him down. You can't dwell too much on that.

"I've never actually won this tournament – that hunt will have to keep going, because it's a trophy I'd like to have.

"But we have to make decisions to get the squad up to speed for the rest of the season. Sometimes you have to make changes, take risks, and we did."

He added: "Every game is important, but you can see by the team selection that we've always used this competition – when I've been here at the club – to give minutes for the ones who need it, because we know it's a very long season."

West Ham face EFL Cup holders Manchester City in the fourth round.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not expecting Marcus Rashford to return to action for Manchester United until after the next international break.

The England forward underwent an operation on a long-standing shoulder issue in July and has yet to feature for United this season.

Rashford was back in training at Carrington last month and was thought to be close to a return to the matchday squad, but Solskjaer will not rush back the 23-year-old.

Asked for a fitness update on Rashford and Alex Telles, who has been ruled out since injuring his ankle in pre-season, Solskjaer told MUTV: "Yeah, it's going well. 

"They've worked really hard, both of them. Alex is a bit further on than Marcus. I don't think we'll see Marcus until after the international break."

United have four more games before the second international break of the season and travel to Leicester City on their return to action on October 16.

While Rashford is made to wait for his return, Telles will be part of United's squad for Wednesday's EFL Cup third-round tie against West Ham, as will fellow defender Phil Jones following a 20-month injury absence.

It will be the second meeting between the sides in three days, with United snatching a dramatic 2-1 win at London Stadium in Sunday's Premier League clash.

United have lost their previous two EFL Cup matches at Old Trafford, both at the semi-final stage to Manchester City, but Solskjaer does not believe he will have a problem motivating his players.

"That will be easy," he said. "It's another game, the next game and, of course, after the win on Sunday, everyone is looking forward to the next one. 

"You do anyway, if you lose or you win but the spirit is good and it's a new challenge.

"It's strange how it works out and you meet the same team twice in three days. We need to give some minutes to a few, that's definite, and I think we've got a good squad. 

"Quite a few of these are champing at the bit to show what they can do."

One of those that may be given a chance to impress on Wednesday is teenage forward Anthony Elanga, who caught the eye during a couple of appearances for United in the league towards the end of 2020-21.

"Anthony was terrific in pre-season – his attitude, his enthusiasm, his directness," Solskjaer said. 

"I love to see players like this and, of course, he was disappointed not to travel down to West Ham but scored for the Under-23s, and now he's ready. He'll be involved in the squad."

United and West Ham are facing off in the EFL Cup for a fourth time, with the home team progressing in each of the previous three ties.

Phil Jones is set to make his return to action for Manchester United after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed the defender will be in his squad for the EFL Cup tie with West Ham.

The 29-year-old has not played for the Red Devils since January 2020 due to a debilitating knee problem that has dogged him throughout his career.

Jones scored on his last appearance, against Tranmere Rovers in the FA Cup, and opened up on his emotional recovery trail in an interview with the Times this past weekend.

After featuring for United's Under-23s, however, the centre-back is finally ready to make his return to first-team action, starting with Wednesday's clash at Old Trafford.

"I'm so happy for Phil," Solskjaer told MUTV. "He has completed two 90 minutes for the Under-23s, played some minutes behind closed doors and he's got no reaction on his knee.

"He's been working really hard. I've been part of that myself and had the best part of three years, or at least more than two out of three years, and I know what challenges he's been through, mentally, thinking 'will I ever play football again or even be able to walk again and be able to play with the kids in the garden'. 

"He's been so diligent and so professional; no frills, no social media and I'm old school. I like players like that. He just focuses on one thing and gets his head around the challenges and he's back.

"He will be in the squad. It’s a good day for him and for us, and it’s something that he has earned."

This will be the fourth EFL Cup meeting between Man Utd and West Ham, who met in the league on Sunday (United prevailing 2-1 in dramatic circumstances), with the home side progressing in each of the previous three.

West Ham have been knocked out of the competition on six of the last eight occasions when paired with fellow Premier League sides, including on each of the last three in 2017-18 (v Arsenal), 2018-19 (Spurs) and 2020-21 (Everton).

United, however, have lost their last two EFL Cup matches at Old Trafford – though both have come at the semi-final stage against Manchester City. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lauded David de Gea after his penalty-saving heroics in Manchester United's victory over West Ham, while downplaying talk of the Premier League title.

United goalkeeper De Gea saved his first penalty in 41 attempts to help the Red Devils secure a dramatic 2-1 win at West Ham. 

Jesse Lingard curled in a stunning 89th-minute strike after United team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo had earlier cancelled out Said Benrahma's deflected opener in London, where De Gea emerged the hero.

De Gea saved Mark Noble's 95th-minute penalty – the Spain international ending a drought dating back to April 2016 without saving a spot-kick.

United's De Gea has now saved three and conceded 28 of the penalties he has faced in the Premier League; he had failed to keep out 21 in a row in the competition before denying substitute Noble. 

De Gea has found himself in the spotlight amid doubts over his future due to his form at Old Trafford, where Dean Henderson's arrival last season sparked speculation, but Solskjaer hailed the 30-year-old veteran.

"I believe in David and I've seen him [make a penalty save]," Solskjaer told reporters. "He saved against Crystal Palace last season, and his foot was a little inch off the line. 

"I've seen Mark Noble score so many penalties, you did feel down and out and expected to come home with one point but luckily David has continued his good form."

United have now gone 29 away Premier League matches without defeat, Lingard claiming their latest comeback victory.

Solskjaer's United are unbeaten in their last 14 away games in the Premier League when conceding first (W10 D4), including a 3-1 win in this fixture last season.

United – who have not won the Premier League since 2012-13 – are level with Chelsea and Liverpool atop the table through five matches.

"We're five games into the season, and I was probably down and out and lost my job yesterday [Saturday, after the Champions League loss to Young Boys during the week]," said Solskjaer. "So, that's just the way it is at Man United. 

"We've got to keep our feet grounded, dig out points like we did today. I thought they deserved the three points and you know it's a hard place to come and get these points.

"Hopefully we can, can make a difference, let's see when we get towards April and May."

Cristiano Ronaldo was denied two "stonewall" penalties in Manchester United's win at West Ham, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Portugal star got his fourth goal in three games since his return to the Red Devils in Sunday's 2-1 victory at London Stadium.

Ronaldo's first-half goal cancelled out Said Benrahma's deflected opener, with Jesse Lingard - who impressed on loan at the Hammers in 2020-21 - curling home a sublime winner after coming on as a substitute.

Ronaldo was floored by challenges from Vladimir Coufal and Kurt Zouma during the second half, with referee Martin Atkinson and VAR unmoved, but a penalty was given deep into injury time for a handball by Luke Shaw.

Mark Noble came off the bench but saw his effort saved by David de Gea with just seconds remaining.

Solskjaer had no complaints about the spot-kick given against Shaw but felt Ronaldo had been clearly fouled on separate occasions,

"The first and the last, I think are stonewall, you can't even argue against them," he told Sky Sports when asked about three penalty appeals for his side.

"Paul [Pogba] had a foul against him, Kurt Zouma: he didn't touch him but he went over him. So why is Cristiano's third appeal not a penalty? Hopefully it won't be that Cristiano's never going to get a penalty."

Noble's only touch of the ball was the penalty attempt clawed away by De Gea, who last saved a spot-kick in the Premier League against Everton's Leighton Baines in 2014.

"The thinking behind it [bringing Noble on for the penalty] was simply his record," manager Moyes said. "I'd have been more disappointed if I hadn't made the decision. I made the decision, and it didn't quite work today.

"We've given Manchester United a run for their money, the more we do that at this level against the top teams, the more we will improve as well."

Solskjaer was criticised for his game management in Tuesday's shock 2-1 Champions League loss to Young Boys, in which Lingard gifted the home side their stoppage-time winner with a loose pass.

He was delighted to see Lingard combine with fellow substitute Nemanja Matic to secure another comeback win and stretch United's unbeaten away run to 29 league games.

"Great goal, so happy for Jesse and he had a tough evening on Tuesday. He's knuckled down, worked hard again, been the same bright, positive lad. I'm so happy for him," he said.

"It's always difficult coming here against a West Ham team that's well organised. They're on their longest unbeaten run in the Premier League.

"We know we had to stamp our authority. First half, we had 60, 70 per cent of the possession. They got the first goal, but it's just a game that's waiting to open up.

"You can't take rests when you defend and we dropped into a back six, too many spaces, too late to charge the ball. We sorted and spoke about that at half-time. Great response."

United have now recovered 35 points from losing positions in Premier League matches since the start of last season, which is almost twice as many as any other side.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Jadon Sancho to come good after a slow start with the club.

The 21-year-old has made five appearances for Untied since signing from Borussia Dortmund for around £73million after a high-profile transfer pursuit that lasted over a year.

England international Sancho arrived to huge fanfare, though he is yet to register a goal or assist going into Sunday's Premier League trip to West Ham.

A frustrating start for Sancho continued when he was sacrificed in the first half of Tuesday's Champions League loss to Young Boys, the winger taken off as part of a reshuffle when Aaron Wan-Bissaka was sent off.

Solskjaer, though, insists nothing has changed in his evaluation of Sancho, who he feels can be a "top forward" for United over more than a decade.

"He is learning all the time," Solskjaer told reporters before the West Ham clash.

"As I said in training as well, he is learning our methods, he is learning the Premier League and of course, he knows the Champions League already from being at Dortmund.

"He is a young boy, he is only 21 and he will improve. 

"We signed him as we see a top forward for 10, 12, 15 years and I have not changed my mind on that.

"He is so clean on the ball and is enthusiastic to learn and that is such a big thing when you come to Manchester United.

"You are always going to get a chance and you play with some of the best players in the world, you are getting some fantastic coaching with the coaches I have got too."

United will do battle with their former manager David Moyes when they take on West Ham, with Sancho not a certainty to start given Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood and Cristiano Ronaldo are among the options in attacking positions.

Since his sacking in 2014, Moyes has failed to win any of his seven games against United in all competitions, losing five of those.

However, in-form Ronaldo has a mixed record against West Ham.

The Portugal star was involved in six goals in his last four league appearances against them in his first spell in England (five goals, one assist), though he also suffered three top-flight defeats to the Hammers.

Only against Chelsea (four) has Ronaldo suffered more Premier League losses than he has against West Ham.

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