Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has called for two or three high-profile signings if Manchester United are going to challenge for Premier League glory next season.

United are second in the table, 12 points behind champions Manchester City going into Sunday's final match of the domestic season at Wolves.

Next week's Europa League final against Villarreal provides Solskjaer with the chance of his first piece of silverware after a season of progress.

But as United are linked to the likes of Raphael Varane, Pau Torres, Declan Rice, Jadon Sancho and Harry Kane, Solskjaer does not want the club hierarchy to make the mistake of thinking the last step to the top of the table will occur naturally.

"Of course we're planning as we normally do," Solskjaer said when asked about transfers. "That's an ongoing process.

"We're looking at the squad and I hope we're going to strengthen with the two or three players we definitely need to challenge higher up in the table. 

"We're still too far behind to think it's just going to come by itself.

"We've had a few players on loan that might come back in. There is interest in a few others going out – it's difficult to say, I can't see too many outgoings.

"You want to come out of the transfer window strengthened. We're not where we aimed to be. But we've got ambitions to move up one place.

"There's been steady improvement. Third last season, second this season, some more points. We've done really well away from home. 

"We know we had a difficult start to the season, losing three of the first six games and loads of them were home games, which put pressure on the team.

"The players have been very, very good."

Solskjaer confirmed Anthony Martial will not be available against Wolves or Villarreal, but Daniel James is in contention to feature in both matches.

Midfielders Scott McTominay and Fred "should be OK" for the continental final, though Harry Maguire is not expected to recover in time.

Changes are expected against Wolves ahead of the Villarreal clash in Gdansk.

United have lost just one of their past seven Premier League meetings with Wolves (W3 D3), going down 2-1 at Molineux in April 2019.

"Of course you want to go into the final with loads of energy," added Solskjaer. "We want to get minutes into a few who might need it going into the final, and to enjoy it.

"You want to go in with loads of energy but also confidence. 

"We'll make a few changes versus Wolves, freshen up a few, get minutes into legs of those who might need it."

If they avoid defeat, United will become just the fourth side to remain unbeaten away from home across an entire English top-flight campaign and the first since Arsenal's 'Invincibles' in 2003-04.

If selected, Marcus Rashford will be eyeing his 100th senior career goal (88 for Manchester United, 11 for England). 

Rashford has scored in two of his three starts against Wolves for the Red Devils.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed Harry Maguire is likely to miss the Europa League final against Villarreal.

Maguire suffered ankle ligament damage in an awkward collision with Anwar El Ghazi during the 3-1 win over Aston Villa on May 9 and subsequently had to be withdrawn.

Solskjaer said earlier this week that Maguire was feeling optimistic about his chances of being fit for the match on May 26.

But Solskjaer has now said he does not expect the defender to recover in time.

"He's walking, but it's a long way from walking to running, so to be honest I don't think we'll see him in Gdansk," said the United boss.

"I'm going to give him until Tuesday night, the last training session, to see if he can be out there.

"Ligaments take time to heal."

His absence is an unusual situation for United and Maguire to find themselves in.

The centre-back had played in every minute of 71 consecutive league games for the Red Devils – and in his final five for Leicester City before moving two years ago – until that injury.

In fact, Maguire has played for 9,615 minutes in all competitions since the start of 2019-20. At the time of his injury, that was almost 1,000 more than any other player across the top five leagues.

Solskjaer added: "He's a very important person in the dressing room and a leader.

"Before the fans came in you all heard him from the stands. He wants the team to do well, he's organising from the stands, which has been easy because it's been so quiet.

"He'll be in the dressing room and make sure everyone's ready for the final."

If Maguire is indeed out, United are likely to line up with Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly in the centre of defence, with the latter facing his former club.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to rule out signing another striker amid links to Tottenham star Harry Kane and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

United re-signed Edinson Cavani for another season and the veteran forward was on target in Tuesday's disappointing 1-1 Premier League draw against relegated Fulham.

Despite Cavani's renewal, Solskjaer is open to further bolstering his attack as speculation mounts over Kane, who reportedly wants to leave Tottenham in the offseason.

"Yes Edi [Cavani] signs but how many good strikers have we had at this club," Solskjaer said during his post-match news conference.

"I can't say that we're not signing a striker. Of course not, because we're building, we're working towards a better squad. We're top three two years on the bounce, but still nowhere where we want to be. 

"So hopefully we will end up with the strongest squad when we start next season and be more consistent than the ones in front of us."

Cavani's stunning 15th-minute opener was cancelled out by Joe Bryan with 14 minutes remaining as a capped crowd returned to Old Trafford amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Paris Saint-Germain's all-time leading goalscorer Cavani became only the third United player to reach 10-plus goals in a single Premier League season while aged 33 or over at the start of that campaign, after Teddy Sheringham in 2000-01 and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2016-17.

Cavani also became the 25th different player to score 10 or more goals in a single Premier League season for the Red Devils – more than any other team in the competition's history.

"You know, we've already voted on the goal of the season, but if that was in the vote, I think it might have had a chance to win it," said Solskjaer. "It was composed.

"He had a chance like that earlier on in the season in the Champions League and he didn't score. And the way he took this chance was just amazing. So, very pleased for him very pleased for the Stretford Enders that they experienced that in their first meeting between them, between them and Edi."

United – second behind champions Manchester City – have dropped 10 points from winning positions at home this season, their highest ever such total at Old Trafford in a Premier League season.

Solskjaer's United have conceded 28 home goals in the Premier League this season – they last conceded more on home soil in a single league campaign back in 1962-63 (38).

As United prepare for the Europa League final against Villarreal on May 26 amid a three-match winless run, Solskjaer added: "We need to play better against Villarreal than what we've done in the last three games. But I think you've seen so many times this season when we've been backed into the corner, when we've lost, when we've been criticised, we've always come back stuck together.

"I think it might be a wake-up call because we tried to do the fanciest of the flicks, the extraordinary things like the things that please the fans. That's not what we're about. We should be more efficient. Have a look at Cavani. Have a look at how he plays the game. Just every single one of us just look at him. The back tackles, the runs, he scores. There is no fluff. And we cannot have fluff in a game of football."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to talk about the possibility of Manchester United signing Harry Kane despite a disappointing performance in their 1-1 draw with Fulham.

Edinson Cavani's stunning 10th-minute lob seemingly had United on course for a routine win against relegated opposition that would have secured second place in the Premier League.

But a failure to make their dominance count saw them pegged back late on by Joe Bryan's header, meaning United are three games without a win.

United have now conceded 28 home goals in the Premier League this season – they last conceded more at Old Trafford in a single campaign back in 1962-63 (38).

Solskjaer's men have also dropped 10 points from winning positions at home, their highest total at Old Trafford in a Premier League season.

But United were arguably fortunate to claim a share of the spoils, Fulham finishing the game with a minor edge in expected goals of 1.0 to 0.8

Kane reportedly wants to leave Tottenham and has scored 22 league goals this season, outperforming an xG of 19.8.

But asked about the potential availability of the Spurs star, Solskjaer told Sky Sports: "I can't talk about players that are on other teams. I don't think that's respectful of any team, any players. I can't talk about that."

On United's display in front of 10,000 returning fans, he said: "I don't think we put on the performance that they wanted and maybe deserved. We had some good spells but not enough.

"We were too loose, giving the ball away too often, maybe it's because the crowd came in and we wanted to entertain them, maybe it would be more entertaining if we played properly and scored goals.

"We've lost eight points in a period where we should be bouncing going into the next game, looking forward to it, looking forward to the [Europa League] final, going into that confident, but we need to sort a few things out."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is unsure whether Juan Mata will remain at Old Trafford beyond this season.

The Spanish midfielder has spent the last seven-and-a-half years at Old Trafford, racking up 271 appearances during that time.

However, he has struggled for minutes this season – featuring just 16 times in all competitions – and is due to become a free agent next month.

United have the option to trigger a 12-month extension in Mata's contract, but Solskjaer insists the player himself will have the final say over his future.

"I've kept the dialogue with Juan and we're due to speak again very soon," he said at a news conference on Monday previewing his side's home match with Fulham. 

"Of course, he's not played as much as he'd like and that's a decision that we'll make with him. He's in charge of his own future and he's been such a good servant for the club. 

"But of course, it's hard, as I've said so many times, to leave good players out, good people out of the team. 

"It's about what does he want as his next step in his career? Is it still play out his career here, or is it going somewhere else? We haven't made a final decision yet."

Mata's appearance in a much-changed United's 2-1 loss to Leicester City last week was just his fifth start of the season in the Premier League, not helped by injuries and family matters.

Prior to that rare outing against the Foxes, Mata had played just two minutes of top-flight football for United in 2021, coming on as a late substitute in February's 3-1 win against Newcastle United.

He has failed to score in the league since April 2019 but does have two assists in 2020-21, which equates to 0.42 per 90 minutes and is the best record of any United player to have played more than once this term.

Bruno Fernandes is next on the list with 0.33 assists per 90 minutes, albeit over a far greater period of 36 games compared to Mata's eight.

The 33-year-old also ranks highly for chances created, the Spaniard's 1.69 per 90 minutes behind only Luke Shaw (2.53) and Fernandes (2.81).

Serie A side Lazio are reportedly the favourites to sign the former Valencia and Chelsea man should he depart Old Trafford in the coming weeks. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United's recent loss of form could be partly due to off-field issues but is hoping supporters can give his side a lift against Fulham on Tuesday.

The Red Devils lost back-to-back Premier League home games against Leicester City and Liverpool last week in a little over 48 hours amid a backdrop of fan protests against the club's ownership.

Supporters forced the initial clash with Liverpool two weeks ago to be postponed late on after demonstrating inside and outside Old Trafford.

United had to alter their pre-match plans for both the rearranged clash with Liverpool and the loss to Leicester to ensure their players were in the stadium well ahead of kick-off.

Solskjaer admits the disruption affected his squad and, ahead of United welcoming fans to Old Trafford for the first time in 14 months, the Norwegian has called for unity.

"I didn't want to use it as an excuse because we lost two games but surely it's a reason behind the performances," Solskjaer said at a news conference on Monday.

"I'm not saying it didn't affect them, but I was impressed with how professional they were and how they went about it.

"I think the mood in any club and the relationship between the team and the fans is vital to what happens on the pitch.

"The players are all human beings, we're all human beings, and we will react to getting our supporters back in a positive way.

"They have always given us extra energy and hopefully the players will give the fans a reason to cheer and that's what we have to focus on. It's a big game for us in that respect."

Tuesday's visit of Fulham will see up to 10,000 in attendance for United's final home game of the season as coronavirus restrictions continue to be eased in the United Kingdom.

Victory for United would guarantee a second-place finish in the Premier League for just the second time since Alex Ferguson retired at the end of the 2012-13 season.

Jose Mourinho was in charge for that previous occasion and described it as one of his best achievements in management, but ​Solskjaer will not celebrate finishing so far behind Manchester City.

"The competition is a lot harder now than when I was a player," he said. "Of course, you have three, four, maybe five teams that challenge for the top two positions.

"The top two positions have been taken by two teams in the past few years and for us to move into them and divide them is a good performance, but it's not an achievement.

"You can't say it's an achievement. We've taken steps as a team, we're not where we want to be. We know we have some deficiencies as a group.

"There are parts of the game we need to improve on but I've felt we’ve made strides in most places.

"I've been very pleased with the players this season, I've got to say. I've been impressed by them, but we want to take the next step as well."

United have won 18 of their past 22 Premier League meetings with Fulham and are unbeaten in their last 12 against them in the competition, winning 10 of those.

Solskjaer's side follow up Tuesday's fixture with a trip to Wolves on the final day, before turning their focus to the Europa League final with Villarreal on May 26.

That game in Gdansk offers Solskjaer a chance to win his first piece of silverware as United boss, but he is not thinking about that game with two Premier League matches still to go.

"You know whatever team I pick against Fulham, it has to be a team that gives everything," he said.

"If you go into a game tentative, if you have something else in your mind, you don't fly into the tackles as you should, you don't sprint as normal, you don't maybe focus as much.

"There's more of a danger of getting hurt in that kind of position. We want to build momentum, we want to build confidence because of course we've lost the last two at Old Trafford.

"We don't want to go into an important game with bad momentum or a bad feeling, so we use these two games to get results but also to get confidence."

United have lost their final home league game of the season in just one of the previous 13 campaigns, doing so against Cardiff City in 2018-19.

The Red Devils have Daniel James and Anthony Martial back, but Harry Maguire and fellow centre-back Phil Jones are both out.

Harry Maguire is feeling optimistic about his chances of being fit for the Europa League final, according to Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Maguire suffered ankle ligament damage in an awkward collision with Anwar El Ghazi during the 3-1 win over Aston Villa on May 9 and subsequently had to be withdrawn.

It was an unusual situation for United and Maguire to find themselves in, as the centre-back had played in every minute of 71 consecutive league games for the Red Devils – and in his final five for Leicester City before moving two years ago – until that injury.

In fact, Maguire has played for 9,615 minutes in all competitions since the start of 2019-20. Prior to the defeat to Liverpool on Thursday, that was almost 1,000 more than any other player across the top five leagues.

That loss to the Reds came just two days after losing to Leicester, meaning United have been beaten in both games without their captain and Solskjaer was quick to accept that he will surely not play again in the Premier League this term.

Given United are already guaranteed to finish in the top four, their focus is now on facing Villarreal in the Europa League final on May 26, with Solskjaer hoping to end his wait for silverware at the club.

The manager offered an update on Sunday, insisting United will take no chances with Maguire's fitness.

"He's making progress," Solskjaer told reporters. "When I spoke to him this morning he was quite positive but, naturally, the day after it happened we were all down.

"We saw early on, or we decided that we have to focus, we have to be positive, and think that you're going make it until you have to say 'no'. I've always been an optimist, so we're positive.

"But we've consciously taken the route of not testing him out too early, too quickly, because we don't want to aggravate something. He wants this so much, so he doesn't want to take any risks, either.

"Hopefully we can have good news early, but I'll give Harry as long as it takes, because of course he has shown his importance.

"Hopefully he'll speed up the recovery and be ready for the final, but I'll give him as long as he needs, until he says 'yes' or 'no'."

Although Solskjaer needs no convincing of Maguire's influence, fans and pundits have not always been so kind about him considering United made him the world's most expensive defender when they bought him in 2019.

Maguire has missed 12 games for United in all competitions, most of them in the domestic cups, so comparing them directly with and without their captain is a pretty redundant exercise.

Examining his individual numbers offers a broader picture of his influence, though. He has helped United to 42 clean sheets in all competitions since joining, the most of any defender across Europe's top five leagues prior to the Liverpool loss. He was also directly responsible for by far the most clearances (391), headed clearances (244), duels won (645) and aerials won (432) over that same period.

Unquestionably a good stopper, he has also proved suitably adept with the ball. Maguire has made 6,152 successful passes in his United career, again the most of any defender in those top European leagues over the aforementioned period. Of those passes, 2,142 have been completed in the opponent's half, which is the best figure for any nominal centre-back.

Maguire can also claim to have had as much of an influence on United's patterns of play as any Solskjaer signing – barring Bruno Fernandes, of course.

In the Premier League this season, Maguire has started 24 open-play sequences that have ended in a shot, which again was the highest number among the division's centre-backs until his injury.

Maguire has not only made United's defence more resolute; he has directly impacted their use of the ball. His absence has already been keenly felt, but at least the United captain might start to be acknowledged as one of the most influential players in England – not that it was ever in doubt for Solskjaer.

"We've known it [his importance] all along, of course. But maybe some people open their eyes when he's not playing! I certainly felt I became a very, very good player when I was injured. People suddenly realised what I could do as a sub, or as a player," Solskjaer continued.

"Harry's been our leader, he's a captain. Ever since he's come in, he's been more or less ever-present, so of course he's a big miss at the moment."

Jesse Lingard has been named the Premier League Player of the Month for April, winning the award after also being nominated in February and March.

The attacking midfielder has thrived since joining West Ham on loan from Manchester United.

Lingard scored four goals and added an assist in four appearances over the course of the month as West Ham continued their push for a European place.

He has nine goals and three assists in 13 Premier League outings for West Ham so far since joining, having been out of the picture under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the first half of the season at Old Trafford.

The fine form he has shown earned Lingard an England recall in March.

Mason Greenwood was one of the other members of an eight-man shortlist which also contained Trent Alexander-Arnold, Stuart Dallas, Kelechi Iheanacho, Matheus Pereira, Allan Saint-Maximin and Chris Wood.

"I've been nominated for the past two months and even getting nominated is a great feeling for me," said Lingard, who recently received praise from Bruno Fernandes when the United playmaker labelled him the top-flight's best player over the past 10 games.

"I want to be up there as the best I can be and the best in the world.

"David Moyes has shown faith and given me the freedom in each game to go and perform."

Meanwhile, Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce is April's manager of the month.

He beat Sam Allardyce, Marcelo Bielsa and Solskjaer to the award after a month which saw Newcastle draw with Liverpool and Tottenham while recording wins over Burnley and West Ham.

It was a run of form that secured Newcastle's Premier League safety.

Bruce won the award for the first time after 19 years and 465 matches in the competition.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted he is concerned about Manchester United's defending, especially from set-pieces, after they were beaten at home by Liverpool.

The Red Devils took the lead through a deflected Bruno Fernandes strike but went on to lose 4-2 at Old Trafford on Thursday as Jurgen Klopp's side boosted their Champions League hopes.

Liverpool's equaliser came following a corner, Diogo Jota turning in a Nat Phillips effort, and they took the lead in first-half injury time when Roberto Firmino headed in Trent Alexander-Arnold's free-kick.

Firmino got his second just after half-time from a rebound from a Dean Henderson save and, although United got a goal back through Marcus Rashford, Mohamed Salah struck a fourth with a late breakaway goal.

United's defence rarely looked comfortable without captain Harry Maguire as they suffered a third defeat in eight days in all competitions, while they have now conceded 27 home goals in the league this season, the most in a single season since 1969-70.

More worrying is their persistent fallibility from dead-ball situations. United have conceded 33 per cent of their league goals against in 2020-21 from set-pieces (14 out of 42, not including penalties), which is the highest ratio in the division.

They also conceded from a last-minute corner against Milan in the Europa League last-16 first leg, while Manchester City's goals in their 2-0 EFL Cup semi-final win at Old Trafford came from a free-kick and a poorly cleared corner.

Manager Solskjaer would not criticise his players for the way they lost possession in the build-up to Liverpool's third, but those set-piece concerns are ones he wants to address.

"The goals we conceded, set-plays, [it is] disappointing," said Solskjaer. "That is something we have to work on because we have conceded too many goals from it.

"The third one, we want to play out, we have been good at playing out, we put pressure on them to play out and sometimes we've scored goals from it.

"Today, unfortunately, the two or three mistakes that happened cost us a goal. But they tried to correct it by winning it back and then we lost it after winning it back.

"Football would be really boring if no-one made a mistake. That is the whole idea of football. Of course, you try to eradicate them and work on them, but we have conceded too many goals and we could have avoided some of these and especially the timings of them.

"We're going to use the next couple of days well, to recover physically and mentally, and then we have to prepare for Fulham and then Wolves and then the final. We should have more energy.

"We should use this period well. More energy means a better press; a better press means less chances against.

"We will work on it and brush up on a few details, pay attention to some details on the set plays and put the players in the frame of mind that these set-plays are vital in football. But we can do so much better and when we do that, we will improve."

With Maguire set to miss their final league games against Fulham and Wolves, and with the captain a major doubt for the Europa League final on May 26, Solskjaer is looking for others to take on leadership roles.

He said: "Harry has been amazing since he came to the club, he's been more or less ever-present, so of course, when a player is a leader, a captain, the status of him, his presence is missed.

"But then we've got players who can come in and it's a chance for everyone to take on that little bit of leadership. We need to do that when he's gone.

"You can hear him in the stands when he's not playing. He is important for us and someone else has to just take that responsibility now.

"I'm sure that, in the next two games, we will be without him. Hopefully, we can get him in for the final but who knows? I don't know yet."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer conceded Manchester United lost to the better team against Liverpool, but did claim fan protests outside Old Trafford disrupted his team.

United went down 4-2 to their rivals on Thursday – Jurgen Klopp's men clinching a vital three points in their bid for Champions League qualification.

It was a match rearranged following fan protests against United's ownership on May 2, when supporters prevented the teams from leaving their hotels and also got onto the Old Trafford pitch.

There were no such security breaches this time around, though United's squad arrived at the ground around six hours before kick-off.

However, a large fan presence once again gathered outside the ground ahead of the game, and Solskjaer does believe it had a negative impact on United's preparations and performance.

"Of course it disrupted us a little bit so it's not been ideal but we had to deal with it," he told Sky Sports.

"Hopefully when we let the fans in on Tuesday it's a good atmosphere. We have waited a long time to let them in so we're looking forward to enjoying the game together.

"They deserved the win. We conceded goals in key moments of the game. We didn't build on the momentum or break up their momentum. We gave them at least two goals really. Then we scored again, had a massive chance. Key moments went against us.

"Their shape and their pressing is very aggressive. We created our own downfall. The second goal you probably expect no foul there then it's a bad moment to concede just before half-time. The third goal we gave them and that's really poor."

United were without captain Harry Maguire for a second straight game, with the England defender having sustained an injury against Aston Villa on Sunday.

Solskjaer's side have lost both games Maguire has missed, but he insisted United must recover from the loss of the centre-back, who may well miss the rest of the campaign, including the Europa League final against Villarreal in Gdansk.

"Harry [Maguire] has been really important for us so of course we're going to miss him but he's out so we have to deal with that," Solskjaer continued.

"It's about regrouping and building our own confidence again as we have two games and a final.

"Tuesday. We need to find ourselves straight away. We need to build that momentum and confidence. We should go into that final ready."

Jurgen Klopp fully understands Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's reasons for fielding a much-changed team in Manchester United's defeat to Leicester City.

Liverpool's Champions League hopes were dealt a blow on Tuesday, with the Foxes running out 2-1 winners at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer made 10 changes in total from the team he started in Sunday's comeback win over Aston Villa, with only Mason Greenwood – who continued his fine goalscoring form with an eighth in all competitions since March 21 – retaining his place.

The victory moved Leicester onto 66 points, two clear of fourth-placed Chelsea and nine clear of Liverpool, who sit sixth though do have Thursday's Premier League match with United in hand.

Some sections of Liverpool's support were infuriated by Solskjaer's decision to prioritise Thursday's game against the Reds over Tuesday's match, yet Klopp does not believe the United boss had much of a choice.

With United's planned game with Liverpool postponed due to fan protests on May 2, the Premier League rearranged the fixture for May 13, giving United a gruelling task of three games in five days.

"It was the line-up I expected. Not exactly but I knew he had to make these changes. They played Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday," Klopp, who has not yet won at Old Trafford as a manager, said in Wednesday's pre-match news conference.

"I've said it 500 times, with all the things that happened and the protest in Manchester that lead to that situation, to play Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday is a crime. It is. It's not the fault of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the players.

"My question was to myself, would I have done the same? Yes, you have to. You have to. We are late in the season. United went to the Europa League final, that means an awful lot of games."

Klopp also questioned why the Premier League could not have instead played the game this coming Sunday – May 16 – moving Liverpool's match with West Brom.

"Now you get Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday. That's not possible. But the weekend off is a weekend off for United. They play now Thursday and have the weekend off," he continued.

"I'm not the guy doing the schedule, the fixture list, but when we thought how it could work out on the day the game got cancelled and we drove home on the bus.

"We made our fixtures and there was no Tuesday, Thursday game. We would have played all the games and moved one West Brom game. But that didn't happen.

"The explanation from the Premier League was no other team should suffer because of the things that happened in Manchester. That didn't work out pretty well. Obviously nobody else [suffered] but a little bit West Ham, a little bit Liverpool.

"But if we don't go to the Champions League and don't qualify for it, it's not the fault of Solskjaer because of team selection or the Premier League, it's our fault.

"But in this specific case, I think you could have done it differently. But you get more and more used to things barely going in your favour or in your direction and just accept it."

United have avoided defeat in both meetings with Liverpool in all competitions this season (W1 D1).

The last time they faced the Reds as many as three times in a season without losing any was in the treble-winning campaign of 1998-99, though Liverpool have not lost consecutive games against United in all competitions since a run of four between 2014-2016, with the Reds losing 3-2 at Old Trafford in the FA Cup in January.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.