Newcastle United inflicted a first defeat on Sheffield United since September as the visitors ran out 2-0 winners in the Premier League at Bramall Lane.

Allan Saint-Maximin headed Steve Bruce's side into a 15th-minute lead and Jonjo Shelvey made sure of the points in odd circumstances 20 minutes from time.

Javier Manquillo supplied the cross for Saint-Maximin's opener, before Andy Carroll - making his first start of the season - provided the flick-on that sent Shelvey clear to double the Magpies' advantage, after he ignored the offside flag and found VAR was in his favour.

That was enough to condemn the Blades to their first loss since a 1-0 reverse at home to runaway leaders Liverpool on September 28.

Liverpool have been drawn at home to Merseyside rivals Everton in the FA Cup third round, while holders Manchester City will start the defence of their title at home to third-tier Port Vale.

The Toffees face Jurgen Klopp's side on Wednesday in the Premier League and will make the short trip to Anfield for a second time this season during the first week of January.

Pep Guardiola's City thumped Watford 6-0 in last season's final and have been given a favourable draw to kick-start their 2019-20 campaign, with John Askey's League Two side pitching up at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester United face a difficult away tie against Premier League rivals Wolves, who knocked them out of the competition last season's quarter-finals, while Arsenal welcome Championship leaders Leeds United to the Emirates Stadium.

New Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho takes his side to Middlesbrough, managed by former Spurs defender Jonathan Woodgate, and Chelsea host Nottingham Forest.

Ties will take place between January 3 and 6.

Kelechi Iheanacho benefitted from a huge VAR assist as Leicester City continued to hang on to the coattails of Liverpool on a day when Arsenal started the post-Unai Emery era with a draw.

With Manchester City and Chelsea suffering unlikely setbacks on Saturday, Liverpool took the opportunity to extend their lead to 11 points and it appeared the Foxes were not well placed to cut that gap after falling behind at home to Everton. 

However, a last-gasp technological intervention sparked wild celebrations at the King Power Stadium as Leicester completed a come-from-behind 2-1 triumph.

Also on Sunday, there was more frustration for Manchester United and interim boss Freddie Ljungberg saw Arsenal twice come from behind at Carrow Road.


FOXES GRATEFUL TO VAR

Leicester were in danger at the break after Richarlison headed home to put Everton into a half-time lead, while Ben Chilwell saw a penalty for a trip from Mason Holgate overturned by VAR.

Jamie Vardy's neat strike – his 13th in the league this season – brought Leicester level, though, before drama ensued deep into second-half stoppage time.

Iheanacho latched on to Ricardo Pereira's excellent throughball and rifled his shot past Jordan Pickford, only for the linesman to curtail his knee-sliding celebration.

But a check with the video assistant showed Yerry Mina had played the striker onside to leave Leicester in outright second and pile more pressure on under-fire Toffees boss Marco Silva.


SAME OLD ARSENAL

Emery may have departed Arsenal but it was a familiar story for the Gunners defensively under Ljungberg.

Norwich stole ahead when Kenny McLean was afforded too much space to pick out Teemu Pukki, whose deflected effort beat Bernd Leno after David Luiz had backed off the striker.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang levelled from the penalty spot at the second attempt having been handed a reprieve when his first attempt was saved by Tim Krul, only for VAR to spot an encroachment.

Aubameyang levelled again in the second half but only after more poor defending had seen Todd Cantwell put Norwich in a 2-1 half-time lead. 


RED DEVILS STRUGGLE AT HOME

Manchester United were again off the pace in a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa, who led through Jack Grealish's stunning curling opener.

Marcus Rashford saw a header from Andreas Pereira's whipped cross cannon off the post and hit Tom Heaton on the back before nestling in the goal to bring United level and they led when Victor Lindelof nodded home in the 64th minute.

Just two minutes later, United were caught napping when Matt Targett clipped a second ball in from a cleared corner and Tyrone Mings volleyed past David de Gea.


DOHERTY PAYS TRIBUTE TO AFOBE

Two teams impressing in the top half of the table played out a 1-1 draw at Molineux as Wolves came back against Sheffield United – the visitors leading through Lys Mousset's second-minute goal.

Matt Doherty levelled in the second half and celebrated by kissing and raising his black armband, which was being worn in honour of former Wolves striker Benik Afobe, who announced the tragic loss of his two-year-old daughter Amora on Sunday. 

The battle for Jadon Sancho's signature looks set to begin.

Four high-profile clubs in England and Spain are reportedly monitoring the teenager, one of Europe's brightest prospects.

Aggrieved with recent events at Borussia Dortmund, Sancho could now seek a new home for next season.

 

TOP STORY – CLUBS QUEUE UP FOR 'SCAPEGOAT' SANCHO

Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid are the "leading quartet" of suitors for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to The Athletic.

Former club Manchester City have also asked to be "kept informed" following a string of events that have upset the 19-year-old England winger, notably his first-half substitution in the 4-0 Klassiker loss to Bayern Munich earlier this month.

Sancho's representatives are said to have deemed that move "disgraceful", paving the way for his Dortmund departure at the end of the Bundesliga season.

 

ROUND-UP

Paul Pogba's prolonged absence for Manchester United is part of a concerted effort to force through a January transfer to LaLiga giants Madrid, claims Spanish journalist Paco Gonzalez. Pogba, not sighted since September, is recovering from an ankle injury.

- According to Calciomercato, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is weighing up a move to AC Milan. The 38-year-old is available on a free transfer after leaving MLS outfit LA Galaxy. Ibrahimovic has been linked to Bologna, Tottenham, Napoli and Perth Glory.

West Ham are considering replacing Manuel Pellegrini with Chris Wilder, reports The Mirror. The Hammers are languishing 16th in the Premier League after 13 games, while Wilder's Sheffield United are riding high in sixth. Chris HughtonDavid Moyes and Rafael Benitez are reportedly among the other candidates should West Ham lose patience with Pellegrini.

- Wolves defender Owen Otasowie is wanted by Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Bundesliga team Schalke, reports The Sun. 18-year-old centre-back has also been watched by Liverpool and Arsenal.

- The Mirror reports Aston Villa are leading the race to sign Rhian Brewster on loan in January. Brewster, 19, has been unable to break his way into Liverpool's Premier League plans this term. The report states Villa face competition from Crystal PalaceLeeds United and Swansea City.

Liverpool maintained their stunning start to the season – and eight-point lead at the summit – with a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Jose Mourinho wasted little time in making his mark at Tottenham after he was brought in to replace Mauricio Pochettino, guiding the north London club to a 3-2 win over sorry rivals West Ham.

Manchester City, meanwhile, bounced back from their damaging 3-1 defeat to Liverpool before the international break with an entertaining 2-1 victory against Chelsea – a result which saw them leapfrog Frank Lampard's side into third.

The game of the weekend came on Sunday when Sheffield United and Manchester United played out a thrilling 3-3 draw at Bramall Lane, with the visitors coming from two goals down to lead 3-2 before Oli McBurnie's late equaliser.

Here, we look at the best milestones and stats from another action-packed weekend of Premier League action.

RELENTLESS REDS MARCH ON AGAINST PALACE

Liverpool became only the fourth side in English top-flight history to have as many as 37 points from their opening 13 league games to a season after their slender win at Selhurst Park.

Sadio Mane opened the scoring shortly after half-time, which was perhaps unsurprising given his superb record against the Eagles. His deflected strike means he has now scored eight Premier League goals against Palace – more than against any other opponent.

It had looked like Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool would drop points for just the second time this season when Wilfried Zaha levelled with eight minutes remaining. That was the Ivorian's first goal in 14 Premier League games, ending a run of 1245 minutes without scoring.

Roberto Firmino had the final say, though, prodding home after a corner had caused chaos in the Palace penalty area. Since the start of last season, Liverpool have scored 38 goals from set-pieces in the Premier League (including penalties) – eight more than any other club.

The win takes the Reds' unbeaten run in the Premier League to 30 matches. Only Arsenal (49 games in October 2004) and Chelsea (40 in October 2005) have ever had longer runs without defeat in the history of the competition.

MOURINHO BACK WITH A BANG

Mourinho made a triumphant return to management as Tottenham saw off West Ham at the London Stadium.

Having lost his first ever competitive game as manager, with Benfica in September 2000, Mourinho has gone unbeaten in his first game in charge at each of his eight clubs since then.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid boss was indebted to star duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min, who scored other side of Lucas Moura's close-range effort.

Kane has now scored eight goals in his last nine Premier League games against the Hammers, while Son's strike means he is Spurs' leading scorer in all competitions in 2019 with 19 – one more than Kane.

GUARDIOLA SETS UNWANTED RECORD IN CITY WIN

City claimed a valuable Premier League victory over Chelsea on Saturday, despite recording the lowest share of possession any Pep Guardiola side has managed in a top-flight game.

City's possession figure of just 46.74 per cent is the lowest any team coached by Guardiola has registered in 381 top-flight matches.

N'Golo Kante gave Chelsea a 21st-minute lead but, remarkably, Lampard's side did not manage another shot on target for the remainder of the match.

City stormed back after that early setback to claim all three points thanks to goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez. The Algerian has now been directly involved in 10 goals in his 11 starts across all competitions this season, scoring four and creating six more.

BRAMALL LANE DRAMA LEAVES SOLSKJAER WITH MIXED EMOTIONS

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave his Manchester United players credit after they scored three goals in seven minutes to overturn a two-goal deficit against Sheffield United but condemned their display for the first hour at Bramall Lane.

Goals from John Fleck and Lys Mousset put the Blades in front and United have not kept a clean sheet on the road in the Premier League in their last 12 matches - their worst top-flight run since going 15 away games without a shutout between September 1985 and April 1986.

Fortunately for Solskjaer, his young charges rallied and Brandon Williams and Mason Greenwood struck in quick succession to make it 2-2. The last time two teenagers scored in a Premier League game for United was in October 2005, when Wayne Rooney and Giuseppe Rossi netted against Sunderland.

Marcus Rashford's goal in the 79th minute put United on course for a win that did not transpire, but the England forward continued his good record against newly-promoted opponents - he has been involved in eight goals in his last five Premier League appearances against newcomers (four goals, four assists).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said his young players lack the know-how to win in certain situations after watching Manchester United come from two goals down to draw 3-3 with Sheffield United.

Goals from 19-year-old Brandon Williams, 18-year-old Mason Greenwood and 22-year-old Marcus Rashford turned the game on its head at Bramall Lane as United briefly led, but that did not stop Solskjaer from condemning his side's first-half performance.

Defeat against the Blades would have heaped pressure on manager Solskjaer, who has delivered just two wins from United's last eight Premier League matches, and the former striker sensed a lack of confidence among his players.

"In football, you've got to earn the right to win the game and we didn't have any right to win the game after 70 minutes," Solskjaer told reporters.

"The boys are young and it's not a lack of desire; it's maybe that confidence in themselves. Andreas [Pereira] and Fred in midfield have never played together before, but the way we came out after [Sheffield United] scored the second was excellent.

"I don't doubt [the players] wanting to win but sometimes young players don't know how to win challenges like this and we must have learned a lot today."

United's travel to Kazakhstan to face Astana in the Europa League on Thursday before their Premier League campaign resumes at home against Aston Villa on Sunday, and Solskjaer said he hoped the comeback at Bramall Lane would have a positive effect on the mentality of his squad.

Sitting in ninth place in the Premier League table after 13 games has left United open to criticism, but they have only lost two of their last 12 games in all competitions and Solskjaer pointed to an improvement in team spirit this season.

He said: "When you're 2-0 down and don't give up, you don't expect them to give up, but last year we did and this year we didn't, so it's a massive, massive difference in that respect.

"To do something about it and I think the way they've turned it around, it changes so much in young players' heads.

"You remember these boys are young, and when they get the belief after the first goal, Dan James - probably the first time he went past [Enda] Stevens - and put a great cross in, fantastic finish by Brandon [Williams] - suddenly you see we're on the front foot and the boys are trying things that lead the fear away.

"Now, [my thoughts are] positive, even though the big part of this game is very negative and you're disappointed with it, but that's football for you and to have the character to stick in there."

How do you sum up a match like that? "It's football," was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's attempt on Sky Sports. Notably, he added: "The difference between this year and last year's team is huge."

To put it simply, this was another Premier League away game in 2019-20 Manchester United did not win. To Wolves, Southampton, West Ham, Newcastle United and Bournemouth, now add the name of Sheffield United.

Five wins from six games in all competitions before Sunday was enough to suggest Solskjaer had his players turning a corner again. Then, in the week Mauricio Pochettino became available, they produced their worst 70 minutes in months, managed a breathtaking comeback, and still ended the game disappointed at a 3-3 draw. Such is life under Solskjaer: signs of progress and moments of excellence that only seem to make sure the next setback is still newsworthy.

They managed one shot – a league-low under Solskjaer – in perhaps the worst first half of football of his tenure. Solskjaer cackled before kick-off that Phil Jones, in his first league start of the season, might play in midfield and might play in defence.

That must have been the instruction he gave to the player personally, given the uncertain recklessness with which Jones bludgeoned his way in and out of position. His despairing grimace after he was shoved over by Lys Mousset for the fortunate but fully deserved opening John Fleck goal said it all, occurring as it did just two hours after Chris Smalling, deemed expendable by Solskjaer, was scoring and assisting in a 3-0 win for Roma.

The 3-4-3, the line-up, the instructions – everything seemed wrong. Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James were so lifeless, so withdrawn from the action, they might as well have been having a kickabout at Hillsborough 12 miles away. Andreas Pereira found Sheffield United shirts with precision almost every time he had the ball. Brandon Williams, after a promising few weeks in the first team, was bullied and beaten with increasing ease down the left.

Sheffield United were everything the Red Devils were not: well-drilled, hard-working, swift and accurate with the ball, ferocious without it. They pulled the visitors out of position and surged into the gaps, while their opponents played at such an excruciatingly slow pace that 46-year-old Solskjaer could probably have joined in. After United took their first corner of the match short and played a handful of slow passes before Fred ballooned a cross out of play, Harry Maguire bellowed at his midfielder to "just put it in the f****** box!". The United Way.

The headlines were written, the #OleOut cries getting louder, the Pochettino dial turned up to 11. And then, in seven minutes, the youngsters into whose hands Solskjaer has put his job showed they will not let this manager go quietly into the night.

Williams struck a sweet half-volley, becoming the youngest United player in three years to score in the Premier League until Mason Greenwood took that stat for himself five minutes later. When Martial, James and Rashford finally combined, they tore the defence to shreds to make it 3-2.

It was breathless, barely believable. Pochettino was just the ex-Tottenham manager again as another stunning comeback with Solskjaer's name on it beckoned. But he must share the blame for their failure to see it out. With the hosts looking forlorn and suspect with every attack, Solskjaer blinked, taking off Martial for Axel Tuanzebe in the hope of holding on to what they had. They promptly dropped deep, failed to clear their box and let Ollie McBurnie equalise. The setback was the news again.

And so Ole remains at the wheel, grinding through the gears, veering into traffic, but his gaze steadfast on the road ahead. United are ninth, closer in points to the relegation zone than the top four, 20 adrift of leaders Liverpool… but fighting. Would they fight for Pochettino in the same way?

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Sheffield United "wanted it more than us" during Sunday's pulsating 3-3 Premier League draw at Bramall Lane.

The Red Devils were largely awful against Chris Wilder's side and found themselves 2-0 down after 52 minutes courtesy of goals from John Fleck and Lys Mousset.

Three goals in seven minutes from Brandon Williams, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford looked like securing an undeserved victory for Manchester United, but Oli McBurnie struck in the final minute to ensure a share of the spoils.

"It's not something you can put your finger on here and now, but they looked like they wanted it more than us," Solskjaer told Sky Sports. "They believed in what they did more than us, but sometimes it's little margins here and there.

"We maybe had one shot on target in the first half and that's not acceptable; not good enough.

"It's football. Sometimes it's beyond the tactics; it's beyond the passion and drive. The supporters in the first half and the energy of their team compared to ours was such a big difference. Then we get the goal and our energy comes back and the belief comes back in."

Despite failing to hold onto their lead and claim all three points, Solskjaer believes his side's comeback from two goals down shows they have improved since last season.

"The difference between this team and last year's team is huge," he said. "At 2-0 down, my mind is going back to Everton [they lost 4-0 in April]. Last year we'd have been beaten three, four or five. This is such a big stride forward for them, coming back from 2-0 down to 3-2 up and then of course towards the end, things like that happen.

"It's mixed emotions. You can't be happy because we've not performed for the majority of the game, but then the attitude and the way they turned things around shows what we're capable of."

Manchester United were denied a stunning win against Sheffield United as Oli McBurnie's 90th-minute goal sealed a 3-3 draw in a Premier League classic at Bramall Lane on Sunday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side were largely wretched against Chris Wilder's men and found themselves 2-0 down after 52 minutes courtesy of goals from John Fleck and Lys Mousset.

They produced a stirring fightback, though, with goals from Brandon Williams, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford in the space of seven minutes appearing to set them up for a scarcely deserved three points.

However, substitute McBurnie had other ideas and his last-minute strike was given after a length VAR review for a potential handball. 

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed goalkeeper Dean Henderson to carve out a successful career at Old Trafford.

The 22-year-old played a starring role in Sheffield United's promotion to the Premier League last season and has featured in all 12 top-flight games for the Blades so far this campaign, conceding just nine goals.

He will miss Sunday's clash with United at Bramall Lane as he is not eligible to play against his parent club.

Henderson is yet to play a first-team game for the Red Devils but Solskjaer has no doubt he will enjoy a fruitful career with the 20-time English champions.

"Sheffield United and Chris Wilder have had a big impact on him because he's learning, he's growing as a human being and as a player," he told United's official website.

"He'll come back one day and will have a good career at United."

Solskjaer says he has been impressed with how comfortably Wilder's side have taken to life in the Premier League and reserved special praise for former United youth player Oliver Norwood, who has been an ever-present for the Blades this season.

"It's a fantastic achievement what they've done," he added.

"Chris is a fantastic manager. He's a little bit different than some of us and we had him here for a behind-closed-doors game in August or September, where he played the ones who hadn't played. I'm so happy for him to do well. 

"To see Ollie Norwood - I had him in the reserves - captaining a Premier League club is great. It's testament to us as a club as well that if you don't make it at Man United you can still have a great career and Oliver has done fantastic."

Harry Maguire is delighted to see his boyhood club Sheffield United flying high in the Premier League and wants them to win every game - unless they are playing Manchester United.

England centre-back Maguire became the world's most expensive defender when he moved to Old Trafford in a reported £80million deal from Leicester City in the previous transfer window.

The 26-year-old came through the Blades' academy and made over 100 senior appearances for the club before leaving to join Hull City in 2014.

Maguire gets the chance to play at Bramall Lane again on Sunday, as the Red Devils - who sit a point behind the Blades - face Chris Wilder's side.

"It means so much, the club that gave me the chance of fulfilling my dream of becoming a professional footballer," Maguire told BBC Sport when asked about his return.

"I owe them a lot, I go back and support them whenever I can. 

"It's the first result I look for when I get off the pitch. I want to see them win every game they play, apart from when we're playing against them. A fantastic club and it's great to see them back in the Premier League where they belong

Maguire acknowledged he is unlikely to get much in the way of support from friends as he visits his old club - but insists his loved ones will be cheering him on.

"Hopefully I'll be the one smiling with my friends and not them," he said.

"I'm sure some of [my friends] will be supporting Sheffield United, but my family will be supporting Man United and hoping we get the three points."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has no issue over Paul Pogba playing basketball with NBA star Jimmy Butler – despite the fact Manchester United's club record signing remains sidelined through injury.

Pogba last featured for United when he completed 90 minutes in the 1-1 Premier League draw against Arsenal at the end of September.

Solskjaer had hoped to have the France midfielder back in contention after the November international break, despite his ankle injury requiring him to wear a cast that was recently removed.

He remains optimistic United fans will see Pogba back in action before the end of the year, but the 26-year-old caused some consternation by posting footage on Instagram this week that showed him on court with the Miami Heat's four-time All-Star Butler.

"Didn't I say last press conference, we don't play basketball; we play football," Solskjaer told reporters ahead of Sunday's trip to Sheffield United, where he will also be without Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic, leaving his midfield stocks particularly depleted.

"I don't see many basketball players tackling ankles and twisting and turning with studs. He's not ready to train.

"He had another test and a scan at the start of the international break. He's not healed yet but he is stepping up his recovery.

"He's out of a cast, he was in a cast for about six or seven weeks. You do lose loads of muscle.

"He's just gradually now just stepping up walking on the treadmill, biking with a free ankle. It'll still be a few weeks, yeah. We hope to see him in 2019."

A group of United players including Pogba's fellow injury absentees Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe undertook a more conventional trip during the international break, enjoying some warm-weather training in Dubai.

Solskjaer denied reports the players had decided to do this off their own backs, joking about how United had footed the bill for their Middle Eastern jaunt.

"We had to pay for it, the club had to pay for it. I decided that they should go. If only [it was their idea], they would have had to pay for it themselves," he added.

"I felt it was time for them to go there, get some sun on their backs, bring a couple of the coaches, do some training there, bring their partners and kids. Nothing formal.

"In Manchester it's been quite rainy and floody, so I thought it was good for them to go there."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has no issue over Paul Pogba playing basketball with NBA star Jimmy Butler – despite the fact Manchester United's club record signing remains sidelined through injury.

Pogba last featured for United when he completed 90 minutes in the 1-1 Premier League draw against Arsenal at the end of September.

Solskjaer had hoped to have the France midfielder back in contention after the November international break, despite his ankle injury requiring him to wear a cast that was recently removed.

He remains optimistic United fans will see Pogba back in action before the end of the year, but the 26-year-old caused some consternation by posting footage on Instagram this week that showed him on court with the Miami Heat's four-time All-Star Butler.

"Didn't I say last press conference, we don't play basketball; we play football," Solskjaer told reporters ahead of Sunday's trip to Sheffield United, where he will also be without Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic, leaving his midfield stocks particularly depleted.

"I don't see many basketball players tackling ankles and twisting and turning with studs. He's not ready to train.

"He had another test and a scan at the start of the international break. He's not healed yet but he is stepping up his recovery.

"He's out of a cast, he was in a cast for about six or seven weeks. You do lose loads of muscle.

"He's just gradually now just stepping up walking on the treadmill, biking with a free ankle. It'll still be a few weeks, yeah. We hope to see him in 2019."

A group of United players including Pogba's fellow injury absentees Marcos Rojo and Axel Tuanzebe undertook a more conventional trip during the international break, enjoying some warm-weather training in Dubai.

Solskjaer denied reports the players had decided to do this off their own backs, joking about how United had footed the bill for their Middle Eastern jaunt.

"We had to pay for it, the club had to pay for it. I decided that they should go. If only [it was their idea], they would have had to pay for it themselves," he added.

"I felt it was time for them to go there, get some sun on their backs, bring a couple of the coaches, do some training there, bring their partners and kids. Nothing formal.

"In Manchester it's been quite rainy and floody, so I thought it was good for them to go there."

Scott McTominay has compounded Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's midfield injury woes as Manchester United prepare to travel to Sheffield United.

Scotland international McTominay has become a consistent and influential performer for Solskjaer this season, but his manager told a pre-match news conference he will be out for around two more weeks with an ankle problem sustained during the closing stages of the 3-1 Premier League win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

The 22-year-old, who scored in that victory, joins Paul Pogba, the victim of a more serious ankle injury, on the sidelines. Nemanja Matic has only recently stepped up his return to training alongside defensive duo Axel Tuanzebe (hip) and Luke Shaw (hamstring).

Nevertheless, Solskjaer also has a fresh concern in that department, as Marcos Rojo rehabilitates from a muscular issue on a similar timeframe to McTominay.

"Scotty hurt his ankle so he'll be out for a couple of weeks I reckon," the Red Devils boss said.

"He won't be ready for this week. We've lost Rojo, he's injured. Paul's still injured. But we’ve got Axel, Luke and Nemanja back in training.

"We're getting numbers back. Maybe not match fit – Axel and Luke have been out for a long time, Nemanja's been out but numbers-wise in training we're looking stronger.

"Rojo got a muscle injury in training that he's been struggling with. He's been trying to get back but he's not ready yet.

"He had to pull out of the internationals [with Argentina]. He was playing on with some discomfort towards the end of that run [before the international break]. Maybe a couple of weeks."

Solskjaer praised McTominay's emergence this term, grabbing his opportunity as other more illustrious names have underwhelmed.

"Scotty has performed really well this season. Finally he's nailed a position down for himself," he said.

"He's played regularly, he's been a running midfielder before, he's played centre-back, he's played everywhere. He was a striker when he was a kid.

"But now he's learning the game and his improvement has been great to see. We're going to miss him – Sheffield United, set plays, balls in the box. Of course, Scotty is going to be a little bit of a miss."

Sheffield United are fifth in the table, eight points shy of Manchester City in fourth and one ahead of seventh-placed Manchester United.

Indeed, four points cover all teams from the Blades down to West Ham in 16th.

"We've still got to keep looking up the table. It's so close, but a big gap up to the top four," Solskjaer added.

"We've got City next month. We've got a chance to claw some points back. We know we're getting players back and improving as a team, so hopefully, yeah, we can challenge when it comes towards the end.

"I've seen Marcus [Rashford] talk about it this week, it's not just about getting into the top four, but that's a little bit of a goal for us, of course."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not concerned by Mauricio Pochettino's new-found employment status - and conceded any manager would want his Manchester United job.

Pochettino has been a rumoured target for United for some time and is now available after being sacked by Tottenham on Tuesday.

With the Red Devils sitting seventh in the Premier League table, nine points adrift of a Champions League spot, Solskjaer could be forgiven for looking nervously over his shoulder, but the Norwegian cut a relaxed figure at his media conference on Friday.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's trip to Sheffield United, he said: "It's always sad when one of your colleagues - a good man - loses his job just before Christmas. It's never nice to see. I just wish him all the best.

"In football you can never be surprised or you can't be shocked at anything. For me, I've just got to focus on us.

"It doesn’t bother me at all. I've got the best job in the world. I'm sure that if you're in a job or if you're out of a job and you're a manager, you want this job."

Solskjaer says he has open communication with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and is confident he will be granted the time and resources to improve United's fortunes.

He added: "It doesn't really matter [that Pochettino is out of work]. I've got to focus on my job at Man United, do it as well as we can.

"I speak with Ed, I speak with the owners all the time about how we're going to move the club forward. That doesn’t change if some other clubs change their managers."

Pochettino was replaced by former United boss Jose Mourinho, and Solskjaer was pleased to have such an engaging, and controversial, figure back in English football.

"It's good to have Jose back, definitely - especially for you guys [the media]," he said.

"Maybe for me because you can talk and write about everything else."

Mourinho's arrival in north London prompted suggestions on social media that the Portuguese will immediately target United midfielder Nemanja Matic in January - a player he has worked with previously at Old Trafford and Chelsea.

Matic even liked one post and replied with laughing and clapping emojis, but Solskjaer, who has previously encouraged his players to be "boring" on Twitter and Instagram, appeared unconcerned.

He said: "No, that's not a part of being boring.

"You like Jose coming back. It's going to be a spectacle and a circus. Nemanja has got a sense of humour."

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