Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Alexis Sanchez's attitude and challenged the forward "to come good" when he returns to full fitness.

Sanchez has struggled for form since arriving at Old Trafford in January 2018 and has been strongly linked with a move away before the European transfer window closes early next month.

The 30-year-old has managed just five goals in 45 appearances for United and has not featured since last season due to his Copa America commitments with Chile.

But Solskjaer shot down claims Sanchez has been told to train away from the first-team squad and said he expects the ex-Arsenal ace to feature heavily over the course of the season.

"Alexis is such a professional. He comes in working every single day, really hard," Solskjaer said at Friday's news conference.

"He wants to be part of this. These stories that he's been put in the reserves - of course he hasn't.

"He's part of our squad and he's a very good player. He's a few weeks behind the rest but he's very close to being part of it.

"We don't have the biggest forward line, so Alexis might end up playing a lot more games than you expect. We expect him to come good at this club. He's quality."

Brazil midfielder Fred is another player to have made minimal impact at United and did not even make the bench for last weekend's 4-0 win against Chelsea.

Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo were other high-profile casualties on the opening weekend, leaving Solskjaer to talk up the depth of his squad ahead of Monday's trip to Wolves.

"The good teams I've played in, we've always had a good keeper and a settled back line," he said.

"In Fred we believe he will have a big season as well.

"Every game is a puzzle because you have good players everywhere. Last time we couldn't fit Smalling, Fred, Marcos, Alexis and Jones into the squad of 18. It's a puzzle all over the pitch, but a nice one to have."

Manchester United's players must "be f***ing better" if they are to put last season's forgettable campaign behind them, according to their former striker Dimitar Berbatov.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men won only one of their final seven Premier League matches in 2018-19 to finish down in sixth place.

That terrible run started with a 2-1 loss to Wolves at Molineux in April, having also suffered a 2-0 defeat at the same ground in the FA Cup quarter-finals the previous month.

However, United started the new season in a positive manner with a 4-0 win against Chelsea last weekend and Berbatov hopes lessons have been learned ahead of Monday's return to Molineux.

"There's only one thing I'd like to see - a better performance than last season," he told the Daily Star. "The way we finished was disappointing.

"So, this season hopefully they can perform better. Not only one player but everybody as a group.

"They must say to themselves, 'OK, we need to be f***ing better'."

Including a penalties win over AC Milan, United enjoyed a clean sweep of victories during pre-season, with new signings Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James both impressing.

Berbatov, who spent four seasons at Old Trafford, wants to see that winning run continue in the Premier League.

"When I saw them [against Inter] in Singapore, what I saw impressed me," he said of the younger players in Solskjaer's squad. "But friendlies are different to Premier League games.

"Sometimes you play more freely in friendlies because there's no pressure. But when the season starts, the nerves start working. Negative thinking starts - but it needs to stop."

Manchester United kicked off their Premier League season in style with a 4-0 victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The final game of the weekend saw United run out comfortable winners on Frank Lampard's bow as Chelsea head coach, with Marcus Rashford scoring twice.

Arsenal also made a positive start to the 2019-20 campaign as they edged out Newcastle United 1-0 at St James' Park, while the clash between Midlands rivals Leicester City and Wolves finished goalless.

That game was not without its controversy, though, with VAR playing a big part in the outcome.

 

RASHFORD, MARTIAL SPOIL LAMPARD'S BIG DAY

Despite starting the match slowly and never really hitting top gear, United put four unanswered goals past Chelsea in a result that can be considered a statement of intent.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer started two of his new signings - Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the world's most expensive defender Harry Maguire - before bringing Daniel James on as a second-half substitute.

Rashford opened the scoring for the hosts from the penalty spot against the run of play, after being brought down by Kurt Zouma.

Chelsea struck the frame of the goal through Tammy Abraham and Emerson Palmieri either side of Rashford's opener. However, the game soon slipped away from them following the interval as Anthony Martial rounded off a swift counter-attack and Rashford slotted home a third in the space of 95 seconds.

Debutant James completed the scoring to leave Lampard's men in the relegation zone for the first time since September 30, 2000. It was Chelsea's biggest top-flight defeat to United in 54 years.

AUBAMEYANG THE DIFFERENCE FOR ARSENAL

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang picked up from where he left off last season by scoring the only goal of the game as Arsenal claimed a 1-0 win in Steve Bruce's first competitive match in charge of Newcastle.

A game of few clear-cut chances was settled by last term's joint-Golden Boot winner, who made the most of some slack defending - loanee Jetro Willems being most at fault - to punish United with just under an hour played.

Arsenal, who named new signings David Luiz, Nicolas Pepe, Emiliano Martinez and Dani Ceballos on the bench, saw out the final half an hour to match their away clean sheets tally from the whole of last term in a pleasing result for Unai Emery.

 

DENDONCKER DENIED BY VAR

Two sides tipped to possibly gatecrash the established top six this season faced off at the King Power Stadium, with Leicester and Wolves sharing the spoils.

Dendoncker thought he had scored the only goal of the match after bundling in from a corner early in the second half, but it was ruled out as VAR official Jon Moss spotted a handball from Willy Boly in the build-up.

Raul Jimenez also came close to scoring for Wolves, who were in action three days on from a 4,000-mile round trip to Armenia for a Europa League qualifier, but his deflected shot was dealt with by Kasper Schmeichel.

Wolves have completed the signing of youngster Meritan Shabani from Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

The 20-year-old midfielder, who made his senior debut for Bayern in April last year, has agreed a three-year contract with the Premier League club.

Shabani will initially work with Wolves' Under-23 team but has been earmarked for a chance in Nuno Espirito Santo's senior side soon.

"He's a player we've been watching for a long time," said Wolves sporting director Kevin Thelwell. "He's been playing for Bayern Munich's younger teams for a while and our scouting teams have been watching him regularly.

"He's a really talented individual, who is very excited. He has huge potential to assist and score goals, and very pleasing on the eye in terms of his movement.

"I'm sure Meritan will be no different, then it's down to him to prove he's very capable. When Nuno has the chance to see him live, he'll realise the ability he's got and I'm sure he'll have a good opportunity here."

The transfer window slams shut in England on Thursday and Romelu Lukaku is finally set to get his move.

Linked to Inter and Juventus throughout the off-season, Manchester United striker Lukaku is poised to swap Old Trafford for San Siro in Milan.

Lukaku's exit could trigger United to make a late dash for his replacement.

 

TOP STORY – LUKAKU TO SWAP UNITED FOR INTER

After months of speculation, Lukaku will swap Manchester United for Serie A side Inter according to widespread reports.

Lukaku landed in Milan in the early hours of Thursday morning ahead of his €75million (£70m) move to Inter.

Inter will reportedly pay a €65m fixed fee and €10m in add-ons, with the deal also including a five per cent cut of any future sale.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Lukaku leaving Old Trafford, United are willing to pay the £81m (€88m) release clause to lure Inaki Williams from Athletic Bilbao, reports El Chiringuito TV. The Red Devils are also continuing to be linked to Juventus' Mario Mandzukic and former Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente, who is a free agent.

Tottenham are set to complete deadline-day deals for Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso and Fulham's Ryan Sessegnon, reports the Telegraph. Spurs are hopeful of clinching a transfer for Lo Celso at £55m (€59.7m), while Sessegnon could cost £20m.

- According to Sport, Real Madrid have offered €120m plus Luka Modric for wantaway Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar. Barcelona have been linked with their former forward but the LaLiga champions must raise funds before trying to re-sign the Brazil international. Barca could free up space by selling Philippe Coutinho, who has reportedly attracted interest from Premier League trio United, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Arsenal are set for a busy deadline day. The Sun reports the Gunners could land Chelsea defender David Luiz in a £12m deal, while Unai Emery's side have agreed a Scottish transfer record fee of £25m for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney, according to the BBC.

- Tottenham have agreed to sign Juventus star Paulo Dybala but the player's image rights are holding up the deal, says the Independent. Dybala has also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain after turning down a move to Manchester United.

- Sportitalia says Wolves have agreed a £23m (€25m) fee to sign AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, who reportedly wants a wage increase. Wolves have already signed Patrick Cutrone from Milan.

- According to Sky Sports, Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha has handed in a transfer request as Everton look to sign the former Manchester United forward.

Mario Balotelli is on the verge of joining Brazilian side Flamengo until December 2021. That is according to La Gazzetta dello Sport and Sky Sport Italia. Balotelli is a free agent following his Marseille exit.

Raul Jimenez marked his first Wolves start of the season with a brilliant brace in a 4-1 win at Crusaders to seal the Premier League side's Europa League progression.

Leading 2-0 from the first leg of their second qualifying round tie, Wolves were briefly given a scare as Ryan Bennett put through his own net after 13 minutes in Northern Ireland.

But Jimenez, limited to a substitute appearance last time out, came to the fore with a swift riposte and then Bennett made amends to put Wolves in front on the night.

Jimenez scored 17 times in all competitions last term and soon doubled his tally for the new campaign, although an apparent knock in the second half forced his withdrawal and put a slight dampener on proceedings.

Wolves will hope to have the former Benfica star back for the next stage as they take on Pyunik, their triumph sealed with a Jordan Forsythe own goal to make it 6-1 on aggregate.

Crusaders, chasing the tie, had started brightly and saw recalled record goalscorer Jordan Owens go close, before Bennett crashed a teasing centre into the top-right corner of his own goal.

But Wolves had their own talismanic forward back in the line-up and the first setback of their campaign was followed by a clinical Jimenez strike, turning to fire past a flat-footed Sean O'Neill.

Buoyed by the crucial away goal, the visitors took control and Bennett scored at the right end, unmarked in the area from a corner to head high into the net.

Wolves and Jimenez were now in full flow and the Mexico international linked up with Diogo Jota on the edge of the Crusaders area with some neat footwork before thrashing in his second and the team's third.

There was less fluidity to the second period and, after Jimenez hobbled off, Jota took issue with a rugged Billy Joe Burns challenge, with Wolves removing the Portuguese, too, prior to Forsythe's misdirected header.

Wolves have signed striker Patrick Cutrone from AC Milan in a deal that could reportedly rise to around £20million.

The one-cap Italy international has left his boyhood club to take up a four-year contract at Molineux.

"I'm very pleased to be here because the club really wanted me. I'm very happy and want to give my all for the team," Cutrone said in a statement.

"The club really wanted me and being able to play in the Premier League for Wolves is fantastic. I just can't wait to get started.

"I've come here to play football. I'll have to settle in initially and I'm looking forward to heading out on to the pitch to play.

"You never stop learning and I'm here to learn new things, but I'll certainly give my all for the team."

Wolves sporting director Kevin Thelwell added: "Patrick is an exciting signing at a very exciting period for this football club.

"We have a strong philosophy under the leadership of Nuno [Espirito Santo] of bringing in the right type of people and developing young talent while staying humble and grounded as individuals, and we feel Patrick perfectly fits into our philosophy.

"We are very pleased to have a player of Patrick's ability join the club and look forward to him being a part of Nuno's squad in another historic season for Wolves."

Cutrone, 21, looked at home when he broke into Gennaro Gattuso's side two seasons ago, scoring 18 goals in all competitions.

Fewer starting chances resulted in a less prolific second campaign, although another four goals in Europe lifted his career tally on the continent to double figures.

That record could prove useful for Wolves as the Premier League club target a place in the Europa League group stage.

Nuno's men take a 2-0 advantage into the second leg of their qualifying tie against Northern Irish side Crusaders on Thursday.

Jesus Vallejo, who joined on loan from Real Madrid, is Wolves' only other new signing to date.

Milan, meanwhile, will likely have to pursue a replacement partner for Krzysztof Piatek in new boss Marco Giampaolo's preferred two-striker system.

Wolves have signed striker Patrick Cutrone from AC Milan in a deal that could reportedly rise to around £20million.

Patrick Cutrone says he is disappointed to be leaving AC Milan but is excited to be joining Premier League side Wolves.

Nuno Espirito Santo's side are reportedly close to sealing a £20million (€21.9m) move for the Italy striker, who confirmed on Monday he is swapping San Siro for Molineux.

Cutrone, 21, looked at home when he broke into Gennaro Gattuso's side two seasons ago, scoring 18 goals in all competitions.

Fewer starting chances resulted in a less prolific second campaign in 2018-19 and a switch to England now beckons.

"Reading all the messages from the fans made me emotional," Cutrone told reporters. "It means that I've done a good thing.

"Am I disappointed? Well, you have seen yourselves. I have nothing to say. I am always ready and charged.

"I wish the best for Milan fans and my team-mates. My departure from Milan affects me as well but that's life and some decisions are taken.

"I will look to do my best. Now I only think about integrating well and doing well there. I'm ready and excited to join Wolves. It's a big challenge for me."

Cutrone joined Milan's academy in 2007 and won his first - and so far only - Italy cap last March against Argentina.

Wolves have announced the loan signing of Real Madrid defender Jesus Vallejo.

The centre-back will spend the 2019-20 season at Molineux, but neither club said whether the deal includes a purchase option or not.

Vallejo, 22, has had his time at Madrid severely affected by injury but he made four LaLiga starts last term.

He then went on to captain Spain to glory at the European Under-21 Championship, but with Madrid signing Eder Militao from Porto, Vallejo looked set to fall even further down Los Blancos' pecking order next term.

Sean O'Neill's late mistake allowed Ruben Vinagre to add to Diogo Jota's first-half goal as Wolves marked their return to European football by beating Crusaders 2-0 in the first leg of their Europa League second-round qualifier.

Jota struck late in the first half to put the Premier League side in front but they struggled to break the Northern Irish side down at Molineux on Thursday.

After successfully marshalling his defence all game, goalkeeper O'Neill dropped a late cross and allowed substitute Vinagre to convert what is likely to be a decisive second goal in the 93rd minute.

Jota dragged a shot wide as Wolves, back in Europe after 39 years, dominated the early exchanges with O'Neill then parrying a long-range Leander Dendoncker strike.

Wolves finally broke through in the 37th minute, patient build-up play freeing Adama Traore on the right wing, with his cross brilliantly powered in first time by Jota.

Morgan Gibbs-White rifled narrowly over as Wolves sought to extend their lead but struggled to find space against Stephen Baxter's deep-lying defence after the interval.

Raul Jimenez headed straight at O'Neill in the 75th minute and the goalkeeper was fortunate his initial fumble was not costly, the Crusaders captain claiming the loose ball.

O'Neill's next error would be punished, though, the goalkeeper misjudging a cross from Joao Moutinho to leave Vinagre the most straightforward finish into an open goal.

Crusaders have now lost 10 of their 12 away qualification matches for the UEFA Cup/Europa League and their hopes of qualifying for the next round look slim.

After two consecutive windows without a signing, Tottenham are keen to make a splash in the transfer market.

Tottenham purchased Tanguy Ndombele in a club-record deal, while Spurs are also reportedly interested in Real Betis star Giovani Lo Celso.

Now Tottenham could break the bank to prise an Argentina forward from Turin…

 

TOP STORY – SPURS EYE DYBALA

Tottenham have approached Juventus over the possibility of signing star Paulo Dybala.

That is according to the Evening Standard and reports in United Kingdom as Dybala faces an uncertain future at the Serie A champions.

Spurs have already spent £55million on Ndombele and the Champions League runners-up would need to break their transfer record again to sign the £80m (€90m)-rated Dybala, who has also been linked to Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.

 

ROUND-UP

Juventus are eyeing Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves as part of a possible exchange deal involving striker Moise Kean, says Sky Sport Italia. Wolves are also reportedly in talks for Juve veteran Sami Khedira, who is not wanted by Maurizio Sarri.

- According to the Daily Mail, Everton are ready to hijack Arsenal's move for Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha. The Toffees are reportedly ready to offer £50m.

- Sportitalia claims Real Madrid playmaker James Rodriguez has been offered to AC Milan for €42m. Napoli only want to sign James on an initial loan deal, with Atletico Madrid now favourites to sign the Colombia international. However, agent Jorge Mendes has reportedly proposed James to Milan.

Manchester United have been asked to be kept updated on Christian Eriksen's future as they eye a move for the Tottenham midfielder, reports the Daily Mail. Eriksen – who is out of contract at the end of 2019-20 – has been linked to Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona.

- Staying at Old Trafford and as Manchester United reportedly pursue Leicester City defender Harry Maguire, Red Devils centre-back Eric Bailly fears for his future. The Metro claims Bailly feels he could be sacrificed should United sign Maguire.

- According to Corriere dello Sport, Inter have reopened talks with Manchester United for Romelu Lukaku.

Wolves and Rangers have learned their potential opponents in the Europa League third qualifying round.

Wolves qualified for continental competition for the first time since 1980 by finishing seventh in the Premier League and will take on either Pyunik or Jablonec if they get through a tie against Crusaders.

Should Rangers overcome Progres Niederkorn, their reward will be a meeting with Danish outfit Midtjylland.

Eintracht Frankfurt, semi-finalists in 2018-19, face Flora Tallinn in the second qualifying round and if they triumph can look forward to a meeting with either Fehervar or Vaduz.

Aberdeen will take on Rijeka if they defeat Chikhura Sachkere, while the victor of Torino's tie against Debrecen was pitted against Shakhtyor Soligorsk or Esbjerg.

Pep Guardiola will place little significance on Manchester City's Premier League Asia Trophy final defeat to Wolves on penalties.

After Saturday's goalless draw in China, Rui Patricio saved spot kicks from Ilkay Gundogan, David Silva and Lukas Nmecha to secure a 3-2 victory in the shootout.

City won an unprecedented domestic treble last term but were denied the chance to add more silverware ahead of the new season kicking off.

Asked if the result worried him, Guardiola replied: "I don't think so. Sometimes it is good to lose against the Premier League teams in that period [pre-season] but honestly I don't think so.

"If we are going to lose in the future it will not be because today we lost on penalties in this competition. That is my feeling but everything can happen in sport."

Kevin De Bruyne shone during the opening 45 minutes and Guardiola hailed his team's display in Shanghai despite their failure to score.

"They played incredibly well in the first half," he said. "Wolves defended so well and deep with a low block.

"It's not easy to create chances and we created and we didn't concede one counter-attack in that first half and the second first 15 minutes.

"Everybody, not just the young players, made a good performance. We [can] learn from that. We realise how difficult everything is and we are satisfied, especially with the way we played."

Injuries restricted De Bruyne to 11 Premier League starts last term with Guardiola hoping the Belgium playmaker can stay fit in 2019-20.

"He was top," Guardiola said. "Unfortunately last season we missed him a lot. We did incredibly well without him but we are stronger with him.

"Last season he had no holidays, this season he has had time to rest. Hopefully he can reach his level. He is very positive in his mind. He made an incredible first half, really good.

"He's a guy who likes to play football - a huge competitor. He never loses confidence in himself."

Manchester City failed to collect their first trophy of the 2019-20 season after losing the Premier League Asia Trophy final to Wolves on penalties.

Following a goalless draw in Shanghai on Saturday, Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio saved three penalties to seal a 3-2 shoot-out victory for Nuno Espirito Santo's side.

Pep Guardiola's men completed a domestic clean sweep of silverware last term but must wait until next month's Community Shield for a chance to add to their growing collection of medals.

City were gifted the chance to take a first-half lead when Adama Traore fouled Leroy Sane in the box and referee Martin Atkinson pointed to the penalty spot.

But Raheem Sterling, who started in a central attacking role after he scored twice against West Ham to send City into the final, blazed his effort from 12 yards well over the angle of post and bar.

David Silva's 77th-minute free-kick tested Patricio, who earlier needed lengthy treatment on a facial injury, as City continued to fruitlessly probe for the breakthrough.

Conor Coady and Ilkay Gundogan were each denied in the first round of penalties, with Patricio also keeping out Silva's strike before Maximilian Kilman fired his kick wide for Wolves.

Danilo made it 1-1 after three kicks each with a low shot that squeezed under Patricio, who then saved the decisive effort from Lukas Nmecha to secure the trophy.

Earlier in the day, with new head coach Steve Bruce watching from the stands, Newcastle United beat West Ham 1-0 in the third-place play-off thanks to Japan striker Yoshinori Muto's goal.

Page 1 of 12
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.