Pep Guardiola remains wary of a Manchester United comeback in their EFL Cup semi-final despite Manchester City's 3-1 win at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

City were largely dominant as Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez scored before an Andreas Pereira own goal in the first half.

Marcus Rashford struck in the second half for United, who will head to the Etihad Stadium for the second leg on January 29.

But Guardiola pointed to United's comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in last season's Champions League – when they recovered from a 2-0 first-leg home loss in the last 16 – as a warning to his team.

"I've played many times against United, not just here, but when I was in Munich and especially Barcelona, and two finals of the Champions League. Of course I have incredible respect for this club and its history," he told a news conference.

"This club helps this Premier League in England and in Europe, to make our game a better place to be. Of course it's an incredible stage to come, an incredible scenario, and to try to play good like we did in the last times we've came here is an honour.

"But that is not three points, that is not done. Last season they lost 2-0 to PSG and after they went to France and you know they qualified.

"Anything can happen in football and I know after what happened in the second half that they are a dangerous team. Hopefully now in front of our people, they can support us like Man United support their team, and again, qualify for the final."

After City dominated the first half, United grew into the game in the second and found a goal through Rashford.

Guardiola was pleased with his side's opening 45 minutes, while praising United's response.

"We played good in the first half, we played really good. In the second half they changed to a diamond [formation] and we struggled more to press and they found [space] behind our holding midfielders," he said.

"[Mason] Greenwood, we could not press because they have two weapons up front with [Daniel] James and Rashford, so it's difficult for central defenders controlling these situations.

"And of course they have pride, they are United so that's normal the reaction they had in front of their people.

"I take note about what happened in the second half for the second leg in three weeks, but it's a good result tonight for us."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is uneasy at the thought of letting players leave Manchester United following rumours Inter have expressed an interest in Ashley Young.

United lost 3-1 at home to bitter rivals Manchester City in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final on Tuesday, with the visitors outclassing Solskjaer's men for most of the match.

The defeat highlighted the glaring deficiencies in United's squad, with Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira, Phil Jones and Victor Lindelof coming in for criticism for their respective performances.

Shortly after the match, rumours began to emerge claiming Serie A leaders Inter are in advanced talks for Young, who has been used as a back-up option for the full-back positions over the past few seasons.

Despite the 34-year-old being out of contract at the end of the season, Solskjaer seemed reluctant to let Young leave this month.

"Tonight's not the time to talk about players leaving, because we need the players we have in the squad and we've got a few months left of this season," Solskjaer told reporters.

"You've got to ask Ash, to be fair. For me it's about focusing on the next game and tonight [City]."

United return to Premier League action this weekend at home to Norwich City.

Pep Guardiola insists the EFL Cup semi-final has not been settled despite Manchester City's dominant 3-1 win over Manchester United on Tuesday.

City raced into a 3-0 lead by half-time at Old Trafford, Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an Andreas Pereira own goal doing the damage against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

United were simply unable to handle City in the first half as the visitors sprung a surprise by playing without a recognised centre-forward, although they did improve after bringing Nemanja Matic on at half-time and Marcus Rashford's goal offered a glimmer of hope for the tie.

Solskjaer pointed to last season's second-leg win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last 16 as proof his side cannot be written off, and Guardiola is not prepared to consider the Red Devils incapable of a similar comeback.

"The first minutes were tight, they had one or two counter-attacks, but the first shot or second shot was an outstanding goal from Bernardo," the City manager told Sky Sports.

"After, we played really good, with a lot of passes, arriving from behind. In the second half, they changed the shape, the diamond 4-4-2 and we struggled a little bit more to keep the ball.

"But yeah, a good result. It's not over, because it's United, and we see how many times, last season was a good example against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. They are able to score goals.

"Hopefully, with our fans, we can make a good game and reach the final again."

Guardiola said he set up his side to avoid the kind of counter-attacking damage United did in their 2-1 win at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League last month.

"It's always difficult to control Rashford and all the people in front because they are so fast, and that was the main target today, with a lot of passes. We feel comfortable with the ball and we did it," he said.

Guardiola also bristled at the suggestion City invited United back into the contest by relaxing too much after half-time.

"Always we have to accept the result. We played against United – what do you expect? One, zero-seven here, or what?" he added.

"They played good, they changed their situation and we could not control quite as well, especially [Mason] Greenwood between the lines, we struggled a little bit with that, but in general it was an incredible performance.

"We played at Old Trafford, against our rivals, in a semi-final, and it was a fantastic result for us."

Bernardo Silva suggested Manchester United were lucky to only be losing 3-0 at half-time in Tuesday's EFL Cup semi-final first-leg defeat to Manchester City.

City claimed a 3-1 win at Old Trafford, with their rampant first-half display seeing them comfortably claim victory and put one foot in the final.

Silva opened the scoring with a wonderful long-range effort, before then setting up Riyad Mahrez to make it two. An Andreas Pereira own goal, engineered by Kevin De Bruyne, effectively put the game beyond United before the break.

Marcus Rashford pulled one back for the hosts in the second half, but that goal came from a rare moment of incisiveness as United were well beaten.

Silva told Sky Sports: "I think we could have gone to half-time winning by four or five because we missed a few chances, then the second half was very hard for us.

"They started pressing higher, trying to control the game and getting on the ball. We got a bit tired, but I think overall it was a good performance and we're happy with this win.

"It's never easy to come here to Old Trafford against one of the best sides in England, in Europe, and to win 3-1.

"When you play a derby and you play Man United, you cannot always win. We were disappointed because losing at home [to United in December] is not normal for us. Coming here, in a way it makes it up to our fans, who once again were unbelievable in helping us get this win."

Pep Guardiola sprung something of a surprise with his team selection, opting against using a striker and instead loading the midfield and frontline with creative players, and Silva gave the move his seal of approval.

"I enjoyed it a lot, especially because we won and because it worked," he added. "I think Pep wanted one more man in the middle and that's why he put me there. Happily, it worked."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping for another famous comeback in the EFL Cup semi-finals despite admitting Manchester United players shirked their responsibilities in the 3-1 defeat to Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola's side were torn apart in the first half of United's 2-1 Premier League win at the Etihad Stadium last month, but the tables were turned in a one-sided encounter at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an Andreas Pereira own goal put City 3-0 up at half-time as United wilted against their local rivals.

Marcus Rashford got a goal back in the second half as City eased back to conserve fitness, leaving Solskjaer to hold out hope of the kind of comeback they produced against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last season when they won 3-1 in the second leg after losing 2-0 at home.

"From their first goal, especially from their second goal, we struggled to get to grips with them," he told Sky Sports.

"Good reaction second half, that's more like it, but first half, until they scored, it was there and back, there and back, no one really dominated. After they scored, we didn't cope with that setback well enough.

"We didn't deal with [their tactics] well enough. We know that they can play that way, we've seen them do it a few times, I went to see them last year against Chelsea play that way and win 5-0 at the Etihad, so that's not a surprise.

"They're good at what they're doing. The first goal, there's nothing we can do about it; second goal, it's a bit sloppy, and the third, we just didn't recover from those goals.

"At half-time, we could get into their heads a little bit and we did well second half.

"We've shown before that we've been down from a home tie and turned it around, last year against PSG is the latest example for us, so we've just got to believe when we go to the Etihad and hope we can put a performance on."

Solskjaer brought on Nemanja Matic for the anonymous Jesse Lingard at half-time in an effort to get better control against a City side who played without a recognised centre-forward.

The United boss felt too many of his players were not taking enough responsibility on the ball before Matic was introduced.

"With Nemanja, with his experience, [we had] more presence, but it was more about wanting the ball, believing, taking the ball, passing forward - the first half was too many square and back passes," he said.

"We just passed the buck to the next one. Someone needed to take responsibility and we did that second half."

Solskjaer's selection was influenced by injuries, with Harry Maguire unavailable after getting a knock against Wolves, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay sidelined and Anthony Martial fit enough only to appear as a substitute.

"It was a decision made very late on in terms of who was fit and who wasn't, but that's no excuse," Solskjaer said. "We have the players we have, and we put a team out there believing we could get a result."

"Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, we want you to stay," came the chant from the stands late in the first half of Tuesday's EFL Cup semi-final first leg at Old Trafford.

With Manchester United trailing 3-0 to bitter rivals Manchester City, it was an endearing show of support… or at least it would have been were it not coming from the away fans.

It was a damning indictment of just how bad United had been before the break, as they failed to register a single shot on target and found themselves essentially kissing goodbye to another competition.

Just 39 per cent possession and not a single clear-cut opportunity to show for 45 minutes of football at home, United were utterly humiliated. A Bernardo Silva stunner, Riyad Mahrez's straightforward effort and Andreas Pereira's own goal put City in complete control at the interval, and it would have been so much worse were it not for Raheem Sterling fluffing his lines a couple of times.

United's problems were all too predictable.

With Pereira and Fred filling the deep-lying midfield roles the Red Devils drew 3-3 at Sheffield United in November, when for much of the game they just could not cope, and were held by Aston Villa in their next outing at home.

Pereira's hopelessness in the position against the Blades was glaring, to the extent where it seemed he would never be afforded the responsibility to play it again.

Yet, here he was again, starting against a City side blessed with supreme ability through the middle. The result? Pep Guardiola's men streaming forward almost unchecked right through the centre of the pitch.

The other common denominator from the clash with the Blades – when United were 2-0 down until the 72nd-minute – was Phil Jones, who looked completely sapped of confidence when called into action on Tuesday.

Solskjaer failed to learn from his mistakes – Guardiola did not.

When the two sides met exactly a month earlier in the Premier League, City were stunned by United's effectiveness on the counter, with Solskjaer's front four sitting unusually deep to make the most of their pace on the break.

United won the game 2-1 and probably should have gone into half-time 4-0 up, but virtually every sniff of a United counter was snuffed out early on this time around.

City's defence started deep to restrict space in behind, while Guardiola opted against using a striker, resulting in Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Sterling chopping and changing between themselves.

As such, United looked lost without an out-ball, while the fluidity of City's midfield and frontline allowed them control in the centre and plenty of creativity in attack without compromising their defence, for the most part.

The unpredictability of City's set-up was at its most effective for the second and third goals. Firstly, it was Silva feeding Mahrez straight down the middle, and then De Bruyne found himself doing the damage to make it 3-0, beating Jones with ease and seeing his effort bounce off David de Gea and ricochet in off Pereira.

Unfortunately for City, Nicolas Otamendi switched off for a split second after a wayward De Bruyne pass in the second half and United exploited that – Marcus Rashford pulling one back for the hosts following Mason Greenwood's throughball.

But that was a solitary moment of incisiveness from United when City were already well on their way to their 3-1 victory.

United's hopes of reaching the EFL Cup final and claiming a first trophy under Solskjaer now rely on them being able to outmanoeuvre City on the counter at Etihad Stadium.

But on the evidence of this first leg, Solskjaer is a one-trick pony and Guardiola has got him figured out.

Manchester City have one foot in a third consecutive EFL Cup final after dispatching Manchester United 3-1 in the first leg of the semi-final at Old Trafford.

Beaten 2-1 by their local rivals in the Premier League a month ago, Pep Guardiola sprung a tactical surprise by starting with no recognised striker in a strong-looking line-up.

The move proved inspired as City tore through a United defence that was missing the injured Harry Maguire, with Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an Andreas Pereira own goal putting them 3-0 up at the break.

Marcus Rashford got a goal back to give United a glimpse of hope ahead of the second leg in three weeks, but a first final since they won the competition in 2017 already looks beyond them.

After a cagey opening, Silva put City ahead in emphatic fashion, driving away from Fred and unleashing a ferocious strike from 25 yards that left David de Gea with no chance.

United had City on the ropes in the first half-hour of the league meeting at the Etihad Stadium, but Guardiola's side were firmly in control and largely untroubled by the threat of the counter-attack.

Their grip on the tie was strengthened 33 minutes in, when Victor Lindelof could not cut out Silva's throughball and Mahrez had time to round De Gea and finish.

A miserable first half for United got worse five minutes later, when the ball deflected off Pereira and into the net after Kevin De Bruyne left Phil Jones on the turf.

De Gea had to make a smart save with his right foot to stop Mahrez from adding a fourth, although City mostly eased off after the restart, and that relative complacency did allow United a lifeline.

De Bruyne's loose pass to Rodri was closed down by Angel Gomes, Mason Greenwood raced forward and played in Rashford to slot the ball beneath Claudio Bravo, giving the Red Devils something to hold onto ahead of the second leg.

What does it mean? Final beckons for City, but there is only more scrutiny on Solskjaer

United were outthought and outplayed in the first half and only a minor miracle in the second leg will see them turn the tie around and reach the final.

The home fans stuck by their team admirably in the second half but, with arguably their best chance of a trophy this season all but gone and with performances in 2020 far from adequate, how much longer will Solskjaer be given to implement his long-term vision?

Bernardo sets tone with blockbuster

Silva's goal was spectacular, but his assist for Mahrez was of an equally high quality. United simply did not know how to keep him in check.

Pereira out of his depth

Injuries mean United's midfield options are down to the bare minimum, but Pereira may have played anyway given the trust he has been given by Solskjaer. Such was his display here, his manager's faith may not last much longer.

What's next?

These two meet in the second leg on January 29. More immediately, United host Norwich City in the Premier League on Saturday, while City head to Aston Villa a day later.

Sadio Mane has beaten Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah and Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez to the CAF African Player of the Year award for 2019.

Mane was a standout player as Liverpool went all the way in the 2018-19 Champions League, while he has also enjoyed a strong start to the 2019-20 Premier League campaign.

The Senegal international placed in the top three in each of the previous three years, finishing runner-up to Salah in 2017 and 2018, and third in 2016, when Mahrez came first.

But this time Mane claimed the prize, ahead of Liverpool team-mate Salah and Mahrez, who won a domestic treble with City and captained Algeria to glory at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

It is the first time since 2002 that a Senegalese player has claimed the award, with El Hadji Diouf winning it shortly after switching Lens for Liverpool.

While Liverpool's Champions League success undoubtedly helped Mane's chances, he also enjoyed a wonderful year individually.

In 36 Premier League outings in 2019, Mane scored 24 times and got six assists to leave Salah (18 goals and five assists from 34 matches) and Mahrez (seven goals and seven assists from 24 games) trailing in his wake.

Mane, Salah and Mahrez also formed part of CAF's star-studded Team of the Year.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was selected to lead the line, with Hakim Ziyech and Idrissa Gueye chosen in midfield, while Andre Onana takes the place in goal.

Kalidou Koulibaly, Joel Matip, Serge Aurier and Achraf Hakimi – who won the Young Player of the Year award – were the back four and Algeria's Djamel Belmadi was crowned Men's African Coach of the Year.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants his Manchester United players to strike another blow in Tuesday's derby against a Manchester City team who have "raised the bar so much" in English football.

A month on from stunning City at the Etihad Stadium with a 2-1 victory in the Premier League, United will have home advantage in the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final.

There remains little doubt where the power lies in Manchester, with City emerging as the dominant side in the north-west hotbed over the past decade by winning four of the last eight league titles.

United continue to rebuild after the end of the Alex Ferguson era, with Solskjaer currently the manager trusted with producing a successful Red Devils side.

The Norwegian said: "It's a different era and a different time.

“We are still, in our own heads, one of the biggest clubs in the world but it’s going to take time.

"We have been up and we’ve been down but we’ve always come back."

The leadership of Pep Guardiola over the last three and a half years has taken City to a new level, and they are defending the EFL Cup after last season's domestic treble.

"They've raised the bar so much," Solskjaer told reporters. "It's something to aim for."

While Solskjaer may have learnt plenty from his own time as a player under Ferguson, former Barcelona boss Guardiola has taken his tactical lead from another former Nou Camp chief in the late Johan Cruyff.

The United manager added: "Pep has had a big influence and, since he took over Barca, I've admired his teams.

"You do see one of the best managers ever and you can see where he has taken his wisdom from.

"I had the pleasure of speaking and meeting Johan [Cruyff] back in the day when Jordi [Cruyff, the former Manchester United midfielder] was here and you can see certain similarities."

With Manchester City's Premier League title defence in tatters and a mounting injury list in defence, Pep Guardiola's side need reinforcements.

Aymeric Laporte and John Stones have been struck down by injuries this season, leaving City with limited options in defence.

As Liverpool run away with the title, City are eyeing an Inter star to rebuild their central defence.

 

TOP STORY – CITY TARGETING SKRINIAR

Manchester City have set their sights on Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar, according to The Mirror.

Premier League champions City have struggled with injuries in defence this season as rivals Liverpool charge towards the title.

City are reportedly ready to buy in January and Skriniar – also a target for LaLiga champions Barcelona and Real Madrid – is on the list.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Athletic says MLS outfit DC United want to sign Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric after Wayne Rooney's exit.

Juventus are "still hopeful" of signing Paris Saint-Germain loanee Mauro Icardi, reports Calciomercato. Icardi left Inter for PSG at the start of the season, having been linked to Juve and Napoli.

- Sky Sports claims Manchester United are interested in Leicester City star James Maddison, but are aware a January transfer will be difficult. Sky Sports also says the Red Devils are chasing Lille's Boubakary Soumare, along with Arsenal, Chelsea, Madrid and Valencia.

Mario Gotze will leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season, according to Bild. Gotze's contract is set to expire and he has been unable to agree a new deal.

- TZ says Bayern Munich are interested in Manchester City full-back Joao Cancelo, with the Bundesliga champions distancing themselves from RB Leipzig's Lukas Klostermann.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said he would rather live in the Maldives than manage Premier League rivals Manchester United.

The EFL Cup semi-finals are headlined by a Manchester derby as Guardiola's City visit United at Old Trafford for the first leg on Tuesday.

Guardiola was in the frame to move to United before swapping Bayern Munich for City in 2016 and the former Barcelona head coach has gone on to dominate English football – winning back-to-back Premier League trophies, consecutive EFL Cups, the FA Cup and Community Shield.

Asked whether he would ever take charge of City's fierce rivals and neighbours, Guardiola – who has been linked with an Etihad Stadium exit – shot the possibility down.

"After training City, I would never train United. It's like I would never train [Real] Madrid," Guardiola told reporters.

"I'll be in the Maldives if I don't have offers. Maldives, no, because there are no golf courses, but a place like that."

While City have flourished since Guardiola's arrival, United have struggled to bridge the gap.

United finished sixth under Jose Mourinho in Guardiola's first year in England in 2016, while the Red Devils slumped to sixth again last season after the Portuguese manager was sacked and replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Solskjaer's side are fifth this term – 27 points behind leaders Liverpool and 13 adrift of third-placed City in the Premier League.

"I'm sure I didn't come here to just beat United or be in front of United," Guardiola said. "That was not the target. [The target] was to play good, try to win the title, which we did in the last two seasons. This season, we won the Community Shield, and now we have the chance to get into another final."

Guardiola, who said Leroy Sane is edging closer to a return, also again denied City commit tactical fouls as a strategy after Solskjaer called for greater protection for his players.

"I said many times when I was at Barcelona and here: never, in my life, I had one meeting about tactical fouls," Guardiola added. "Sometimes it happens because you are late. They are so quick and you make a foul.

"It's simple: when you lose the ball, you have to make an incredible, fast transition, and sometimes you are late and you make a foul. If the people can judge, our legacy will be for our tactical fouls. It's their own problem."

Pressed on former assistant and now Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta instructing City players to foul in transition during an Amazon documentary, Guardiola replied: "You have to go to London to Mikel and ask him.

"We have 65, 62 per cent average of the ball. When you have the ball, you cannot make fouls. Normally, it's the guy who cannot take the ball.

"If it happens, it's because the others are good and we are late. When I said two days ago, when the people accuse me, 'Why don't you have tackles? How can you win the Premier League without doing tackles? You have to do tackles, what are you doing in this country if you don't do tackles?'

"I don't train tackles and I don't train tactical fouls. We have a lot of things to do as a manager and a team to improve. Sometimes you are late, sometimes the player makes a dribble and you don't want to be dribbled [past] so you make a foul, yellow card, the referee thinks we deserve it."

Manchester City will continue their FA Cup defence at home to Fulham, while Liverpool must travel to Bristol City or Shrewsbury Town.

After beating Port Vale 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, City were pitted against Fulham – 2-1 victors against Premier League Aston Villa – in the draw for the fourth round on Monday.

A youthful Liverpool side beat Merseyside rivals Everton 1-0 to progress and their reward will be a clash with whoever wins the replay between Bristol City and Shrewsbury.

If Manchester United get past Wolves at the second attempt, they face a trip to Watford or Tranmere Rovers.

Chelsea were given a trip to Hull City, while Tottenham must go to Southampton if they emerge from their replay with Middlesbrough triumphant.

The winner of Arsenal's meeting with Leeds United on Monday will head south to Bournemouth.

 

FA Cup fourth round draw in full:

Watford or Tranmere Rovers v Wolves or Manchester United
Hull City v Chelsea
Southampton v Middlesbrough or Tottenham
QPR v Sheffield Wednesday
Bournemouth v Arsenal or Leeds United
Northampton Town v Derby County
Brentford v Leicester City
Millwall v Sheffield United
Reading or Blackpool v Cardiff City or Carlisle United
West Ham v West Brom
Burnley v Norwich City
Bristol Rovers or Coventry City v Birmingham City
Manchester City v Fulham
Rochdale or Newcastle United v Oxford United
Portsmouth v Barnsley
Bristol City or Shrewsbury Town v Liverpool

Pep Guardiola believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has his Manchester United starting to play in the manner Alex Ferguson's side did.

Guardiola's Manchester City visit United on Tuesday for the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.

Solskjaer's men won the Premier League encounter between the two at the Etihad Stadium last month, a victory that followed a defeat of Tottenham and greatly eased the pressure on the Red Devils boss.

United were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal in the league on New Year's Day before being held to a 0-0 draw by Wolves in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Despite those results, Guardiola has seen plenty of signs of encouragement for Solskjaer.

He told a pre-match media conference: "He's starting to see the team he wanted. That is my feeling when he sees his teams, even the last game against Arsenal that they lost, we see clear what he wants.

"It was not easy to take over a team in a big, big club, always demanding to be champion in all competitions, but I think every manager needs time and I have the feeling that United start to play the way he wants or he was for his old manager Alex Ferguson."

Asked what he learnt from the 2-1 league loss to United, Guardiola replied: "How fast they are, how solid, how aggressive.

"We concede a few counter-attacks in the beginning, and in two or three seconds, they are in the box, so they have incredible pace and talent. In general, the game was good, we create chances and unfortunately we could not win."

Since taking over City in 2016, Liverpool have been closer challengers than United and appear poised to dethrone the Premier League champions. Jurgen Klopp's men hold a 13-point lead at the top, with City third and 14 points off the pace.

Ferguson frequently used to say Liverpool was a bigger fixture for United than meetings with City, but Guardiola claimed not to know enough to say whether the same is now the case for his side.

"I know for the years I was not here we were the noisy neighbours, now I don't know who we are," he said. 

"The derby in Spain [for Barcelona] was Espanyol and Real Madrid, here of course United is a derby, then here in England there are many top teams, not just one or two like in other countries.

"That's why the derby is important for our fans, but there are other top teams that are important. I'm not here for one century, maybe it's hard to feel for our fans what Liverpool means. I know exactly what United means for them."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Jesse Lingard to be an important player for Manchester United, amid rumours of the midfielder being set for an exit from Old Trafford.

England international Lingard endured a frustrating 2019 for his club, finishing the year without a goal or an assist in the Premier League.

The 27-year-old has made 26 appearances in all competitions this season, with a report by the Daily Mail claiming he is now represented by Mino Raiola, who counts Paul Pogba among his clients.

With Pogba's future uncertain, reports have also surfaced suggesting Lingard could be set to leave United, amid links of a swap plus cash deal for Leicester City playmaker James Maddison.

"Jesse has had his ups and downs as I've spoken about before but against Manchester City and Tottenham, [there were] examples of how important he can be for us in difficult games," Solskjaer told a news conference ahead of Tuesday's EFL Cup semi-final first leg at home to holders and local rivals City. "We want him back scoring and making assists.

"There's no one who runs as much, he's a great trigger in the pressing, a lively bubbly character. I don't think you see as much social media from Jesse as you used to.

"He's a player I've known for a long time. He's got his head down and is working hard, getting back to the Jesse I knew."

United's hectic fixture list has been compounded by an FA Cup third-round replay, with the Red Devils drawing 0-0 at Wolves on Saturday - failing to muster a single shot on target throughout the match.

However, United impressed in the first Manchester derby of the season, winning 2-1 on December 7 thanks to goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

And though Solskjaer is waiting on the fitness of Martial, Scott McTominay and Harry Maguire ahead of the semi-final derby, he is confident his side can replicate the level of performance they display at the Etihad Stadium.

"We're going to aim for performances like that," Solskjaer, whose side beat Jose Mourinho's Tottenham in the match before the derby, added.

"There were two good days against Tottenham and City in a short spell but every game lives its own life. When you get highs like that I'm sure they will look back on it and that's the Man United we want to see, but we can improve on that one.

"City had Port Vale at home [in the FA Cup], could rest a few. No matter what team [Pep Guardiola] plays it's going to be a good team and we'll put a strong team out.

"I can't give you the team at the moment, because I don't think the boys know who's fit and available yet either.

"City are back winning games but form goes out of the window when we play each other. We know they're a top team. I admire Pep's team, they've raised the bar so much since he came. The standards set are something to aim for."

Wolves star Adama Traore is reportedly attracting interest from Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester City.

Traore, formerly of Barcelona, has continued to impress this season, helping Wolves sit seventh in the Premier League.

Now, the former Spain youth international is reportedly being targeted by three of Europe's biggest clubs.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL, BARCELONA & MAN CITY EYE TRAORE

Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester City are interested in signing Traore, according to 90min.

Traore has scored four goals and provided four assists in the Premier League this season.

The report says Wolves want at least £70million for Traore.

 

ROUND-UP

- Dani Olmo is expected to leave Dinamo Zagreb and is being eyed by several European giants. Goal reports Barcelona lead Chelsea and Manchester United in the race for the 21-year-old Spain international.

- Arturo Vidal is linked with a move to Inter, but he may be going nowhere. The cover of Sport reads 'You stay', with the report saying Barcelona have told the midfielder he will remain with the LaLiga giants due to his importance to the club.

- Chelsea have identified their top January transfer target. The Daily Express reports the Premier League side want Inter forward Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa this month to ease the pressure on Tammy Abraham.

- Inter are considering reinforcements on the left-hand side. CalcioMercato says Chelsea's Marcos Alonso and Parma's Matteo Darmian are both being considered by the Serie A high-flyers.

- It seems Edinson Cavani's time at Paris Saint-Germain is just about over. Gianluca Di Marzio reports Atletico Madrid and Cavani have an agreement in place and the LaLiga club want the forward to arrive in January.

- Wojciech Szczesny is set to extend his stay at Juventus. The goalkeeper will re-sign with the Serie A giants until 2024, according to CalcioMercato.

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