Jose Mourinho has highlighted the investment made in Manchester City and Liverpool's squads in a thinly veiled dig at Manchester United's transfer policy during his time in charge.

Wayne Rooney said that he offered Marcus Rashford words of advice just weeks before the Manchester United forward scored six goals in nine matches for the Red Devils.

The pair spoke during the preparations for England's 3-0 win over the USA in November, which marked the end of Rooney's record-breaking international career, at which point Rashford had scored just two goals in 2018-19.

Since then, then the 21-year-old has taken his season's tally to eight in all competitions and Rooney shed light on the conversation they had about his game.

"When I went back to play for the national team against the USA, I spoke to Marcus and he was trying too much," Rooney told ESPN.

"He was trying too hard, he was working too hard, he was getting tired at the end of games.

"But the scary thing with Marcus, when he runs at you with the ball he's impossible to defend and I reminded him to keep doing that, to just get the ball and run at defenders."

Rooney, who scored 253 goals in all competitions for United to become the club's all-time top marksman, urged his former club to have patience with midfielder Paul Pogba.

The France international has divided opinion during his second spell at Old Trafford and reportedly clashed with Jose Mourinho before his sacking in December, but Rooney indicated that Pogba will flourish if he is put under less scrutiny.

"If you don't have a good relationship with the coach, then it's difficult to be at your top if you feel like the coach is scrutinising every decision you make, every pass you make," said Rooney, who left Old Trafford to join Everton in July 2017.

"Paul Pogba will give the ball away, he'll try passes [and] it won't be the right pass at times, but you have to let him do that because two or three of them passes will create goals, will create opportunities.

"I think he found it difficult under Mourinho. I think a player and a manager with big egos clashed and the outcome was never going to be great."

Jose Mourinho's desire to return to elite football is not misplaced in the view of his Manchester United successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Mourinho made his first major media appearance since being sacked by United last month when he featured as part of beIN Sports' coverage of the Asian Cup on Thursday.

The 55-year-old insisted he would "stay where I belong; I belong to top-level football", despite the dispiriting nature of his final months at Old Trafford.

United are a team transformed under caretaker manager Solskjaer, last weekend's 1-0 triumph at Tottenham making it six wins out of six in all competitions, but the former Norway striker was in no mood to besmirch the achievements of a man who has won major titles in four countries.

"Why shouldn't he [be ambitious]?" Solskjaer said at a news conference to preview Saturday's Premier League match against Brighton and Hove Albion.

"He's a fantastic manager, with the results he's had, I don't think he'll be struggling to find work."

Mourinho also made elusions to player power undermining his regime at United – an issue Solskjaer was understandably unwilling to be drawn on.

"I can't really comment on everything he says," he said. "I'm enjoying working with these boys and that's all I can say."

Marouane Fellaini has proved a divisive figure with the United fanbase but was a reliable lieutenant in Mourinho's eyes.

The Belgium midfielder has not featured in the league since a brief substitute cameo during Solskjaer's first game in charge, a 5-1 win at Cardiff City, and is now facing a month on the sidelines with a calf injury.

"He'll be at least three or four weeks, he's got a calf problem," Solskjaer explained.

"And that's sad because there are X-factors in different players and we all know Felli's X-factor. He'll be working hard to get back when all the big games are coming."

When considering that or other selectorial headaches, Solskjaer will soon be doing so from the comfort of a home in the Manchester area.

The 45-year-old has been hotel-based since taking over at United but has no intention of imitating Mourinho's infamous residency at The Lowry.

"I'm still in the hotel but I've found a place so it won't be too long," he added.

"I've been driving around a bit to find my bearings again. I've got mates and friends here so I've been to see a few if them. It's not like I'm stuck in the hotel on my own."

Rafael van der Vaart claims out-of-favour Real Madrid midfielder Isco is the "best player in the world" as he struggles for game time at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Benfica have appointed Bruno Lage as their new head coach after impressing in his interim role, the club having failed to land Jose Mourinho.

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba felt Jose Mourinho's system and tactics made it "really difficult" for him to flourish before the Portuguese's sacking.

Paul Pogba has hit form for Manchester United under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Jose Mourinho will appear as a television pundit for beIN SPORTS, the broadcaster has confirmed.

Mourinho was sacked by Manchester United last month and the Red Devils have won all five games under interim replacement Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Portuguese has denied he is set to return to the Primeira Liga by taking charge of Benfica, while returns to either Inter or Real Madrid have also been mooted.

"I do not like feeding news stories, but I have no intention of working in Portugal," he said to Correio da Manha on Thursday. "The best way to respect a great club [Benfica] and a great president is to say that I was not approached."

But Mourinho is back in work after agreeing a deal with beIN that will see him cover Premier League and Asian Cup matches for the broadcaster.

Mourinho's first appearance on beIN will be for Thursday's Asian Cup group stage fixture between Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

He will resume punditry duties two days later for a Premier League clash between Arsenal and Chelsea, one of his former clubs.

Mourinho is no newcomer to punditry work as he was part of Russia-based RT's coverage for the 2018 World Cup.

Jose Mourinho says he will not be taking charge of Benfica as he has no intention of returning to Portugal's Primeira Liga.

Mourinho was sacked by Manchester United last month, the Premier League giants since winning all five games under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

After Benfica sacked Rui Vitoria, president Luis Filipe Vieira suggested Mourinho, who started his managerial career with a brief stint at the club, was a top target.

"I am his friend. Who would not like to have Mourinho? [But] I have not talked to him," Vieira was quoted as saying by Portuguese broadcaster SIC.

"If he says yes tomorrow, he'll be here at the drop of a hat. Money is no issue for Benfica."

But speaking to Correio da Manha, former Porto boss Mourinho rejected the suggestion he could be tempted back to the Primeira Liga.

"I do not like feeding news stories, but I have no intention of working in Portugal," he said on Thursday.

"The best way to respect a great club [Benfica] and a great president is to say that I was not approached."

Mourinho has also been linked with a return to former clubs Inter and Real Madrid, having previously had two spells at Chelsea.

But the 55-year-old insisted he will not be giving any more updates on his future to the media.

"It's a tremendous honour when you return to a club where you've been," he said. "But I'm talking to you and I will not talk to anyone else.

"I'm not training, I love that I am not talked about all the time and the best way to ensure that remains the case is for me to not talk either.”

Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira insisted "money is no issue" as the Portuguese giants try to lure Jose Mourinho to Estadio da Luz.

Jose Mourinho was the problem at Manchester United as he wanted to be the centre of attention, according to Paul Pogba's brother Mathias.

Mourinho was sacked by United last month, amid reports of dressing-room unrest having fallen out with star midfielder Paul Pogba in Manchester.

The World Cup winner – who was stripped of the vice-captaincy earlier in the season and dropped to the bench during Mourinho's final few weeks in charge – has flourished since the Portuguese's departure, scoring four goals and tallying three assists under caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the Premier League.

And Mathias Pogba pointed the finger at Mourinho when explaining his brother's revival at Old Trafford.

"The problem was Mourinho, right down the line," Mathias Pogba, 28, told RMC Sport. "In the locker room, outside the locker room...everything.

"I know my brother, and you tell him, go, play, the rest, he will do it."

Mathias Pogba added: "From what we see of Mourinho, he always wants to be the maestro – the centre of attention

"Paul, he does not even calculate that aspect, you respect him, he will respect you, you trust him, he will perform for you in big matches."

World Cup winner Paul Pogba has scored seven Premier League goals and nine in all competitions for United, who are fifth ahead of their blockbuster trip to Tottenham on Sunday.

Reading boss Jose Gomes has played down the impact made by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and claimed the identity of the Manchester United manager "doesn't matter" given the quality of their squad.

Portuguese Gomes, an associate of Solskjaer's predecessor Jose Mourinho for 20 years, takes his Championship strugglers to Old Trafford on Saturday to face a United side rejuvenated in recent weeks.

Solskjaer has recorded four successive wins since taking over from Mourinho on an interim basis – matching a club record set by the great Matt Busby – and lifted the clouds that seemed to be gathering under the former Chelsea boss.

Gomes, however, was quick to highlight the role of the players in United's upturn in form.

Asked to assess their FA Cup third-round opponents, he told a media conference: "These players, and it's my opinion, even if nobody is on the bench, they can win without one [a manager].

"You can't say they are stronger now to in the past. It doesn't matter the manager during the week - they can win the matches."

​Gomes talked up the impact Mourinho has had on his countrymen but insisted he would not seek his advice on how to beat United.

He added: "He's a great coach, it's very difficult to achieve what he did. I don't know what happened [at United]. I respect him and, for Portuguese coaches, it's important everything he achieved, but Manchester United decided differently.

"They are playing good football, the players are happy to be playing like they are.

"It’s a new manager with different ideas, more freedom for the players. The players are showing they are comfortable in this situation with this freedom."

Reading lie 23rd in the Championship and are without a win in 10 games but Gomes - who took over at the Madejski Stadium on December 22 - is excited at the prospect of facing a club of United's stature.

"They are one of the biggest clubs in the world," he said. "If you go to China, South America, all the kids follow and choose to play PlayStation as Manchester United. 

"It's a special moment to play against these teams. The atmosphere at Old Trafford, it's like a football party, and my players must be happy to be part of it. It will be a very tough game for us but, in football, anything can happen."

Luke Shaw believes the positivity of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has delivered a buzz back to Manchester United.

Solskjaer has won three Premier League games out of three since replacing the sacked Jose Mourinho last month.

Shaw was the target of regular criticism during Mourinho's time in charge, although the left-back's form under the Portuguese earned him an England recall.

Mourinho's perceived negativity, allied to a poor run of form, ultimately saw him given the boot and Shaw is relishing working with his replacement Solskjaer, whose side will look to maintain their winning streak away to Newcastle United on Wednesday.

"Ole has a completely different style to his way and we are adapting to that and enjoying it and that's the main thing," Shaw told Sky Sports. "There's a great buzz around the place with Ole coming back in, there's a lot of good things to look forward to.

"Ole is a really positive and friendly guy and knows this club really well as he was here for many years and he knows what the club needs. He is here for six months and it's a massive thing for him to do an amazing job and that would be great for him.

"We all back him and want the best for him as much as he wants the best for us. We all have to work together and keep doing the right things and keep smiles on faces and keep winning matches."

United are eight points outside the top four but Shaw feels Champions League qualification should still be the club's aim this season.

"I signed a new contract and I want to be playing every game and trying to help the team as much as possible," he added. "Hopefully I keep playing games and keep myself in the team.

"I haven't had many injuries recently so that's good. I need to stay fit and keep helping the team and maybe win a cup this season.

"We are not where we want to be and not where we should be, so we have a very important second half of the season.

"Our aim is to get back into the top four because United without Champions League isn't good. That's where we want to be and what we are fighting for."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already made huge changes since replacing Jose Mourinho as Manchester United manager, defender Luke Shaw says.

Former striker Solskjaer was named caretaker boss after Mourinho departed in the wake of a humbling 3-1 loss to Liverpool at Anfield.

United have enjoyed a positive start to life under the Norwegian, beating Cardiff City 5-1 before Wednesday's 3-1 victory over Huddersfield Town at Old Trafford.

Shaw, who was criticised publicly by Mourinho on more than one occasion but had been one of United's best performers in the early part of this season, thinks Solskjaer has already had a big impact on a team that was accused of playing far too negatively under their old manager.

"I think you can see from the outside how much he has changed things in such a short space of time," Shaw told Sky Sports.

"He is just a really positive manager, he knows what the club needs and also what the fans want in the way we are playing.

"He's bringing that attacking, quick play back to Old Trafford. I'm sure the fans are going to appreciate that as much as we [the players] do."

Shaw says he found out about Solskjaer's return to the club when his girlfriend heard the news.

"The truth? My girlfriend told me," said the left-back. "I woke up in the morning and had a shower and she ran out of the room and told me.

"I did not have a clue, I didn't look at my phone or anything. That's how I found out... from my girlfriend."

United take on Bournemouth on Sunday in their final match of 2018.

Paul Pogba can do more to help Manchester United improve under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to Nemanja Matic.

A return of two wins from Solskjaer's opening two games has seen United boost their hopes of a top-four finish, a feat that appeared beyond their reach under Jose Mourinho.

Pogba's rejuvenation has been clear, with the midfielder providing two assists in Saturday's 5-1 win over Cardiff City before scoring a double in the 3-1 victory over Huddersfield Town on Boxing Day.

But though Matic is thrilled with Pogba's return to form, he insists there is more to come from the World Cup winner, who is reported to have had his differences with Mourinho. 

"As I've said in previous interviews about him, he's very important for us," said Matic.

"When he plays at his best, he can make the difference in every game. He played very well [against Huddersfield] but I think that he can do even more.

"Slowly, game-by-game [he is doing better] and it's very important for him to score some goals.

"The confidence for the next game is going to be better and he needs to know that he still can improve. He needs to know that he’s very important for this team."

Matic was a mainstay under Jose Mourinho, but like Pogba, seems to be enjoying the freedom handed to him by Solskjaer, and the former Chelsea man scored United's opener against Huddersfield.

And Matic acknowledged that United's interim boss approaches games in a different manner to his predecessor.

"It's difficult to answer what we changed," he said. 

"For sure, our approach to the game was different because this team have quality and we have to give our best every game if we want to win the games.

"Everyone wants to show against United that they can compete with us, so we need to know that our level of running and fighting needs to be the same or even higher than the other team. Then our quality can make the difference."

United face Bournemouth on Sunday, before rounding off their festive league fixtures with a trip to struggling Newcastle United.

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