Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling were among the England players to react on Twitter after racist chanting marred their 6-0 win over Bulgaria in Sofia.

Play was temporarily halted twice during the first half of Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier at the Vasil Levski National Stadium after visiting players were subjected to racist abuse.

An announcement over the public address system was made during the first stoppage, while the second saw a section of home fans ejected from the venue.

Gareth Southgate's side opted to return to the field following discussions in their changing room at half-time, while Bulgaria captain Ivelin Popov seen talking with some Bulgaria supporters during the break.

"Not an easy situation to play in and not one which should be happening in 2019. Proud we rose above it to take three points but this needs stamping out," Rashford wrote on social media, along with a picture of him celebrating scoring the opening goal.

The Manchester United forward also thanked the travelling support as well as Popov, insisting his actions should not go unnoticed.

"Thankful to the brilliant England support. You got behind us in the most meaningful way possible tonight and we are all very grateful. Have a safe journey home and take care," Rashford tweeted, to which he replied: "Also been told what the Bulgaria captain did at half-time. To stand alone and do the right thing takes courage and acts like that shouldn’t go unnoticed. #NoToRacism"

Club colleague Harry Maguire described the fan behaviour as "disgraceful" - and insisted action must be taken to make sure it does not happen again.

"The best way to bounce back. Proud of the team. There's no place in football for that - disgraceful behaviour. Something must be done," the defender tweeted.

Sterling quote-tweeted a story about Bulgaria head coach Krasimir Balakov declaring prior to the match how England had a bigger racism problem than his own country, replying: "Mmmmh ... Not sure about this one chief".

The Manchester City forward added in another post: "Feeling sorry for Bulgaria to be represented by such idiots in their stadium. Anyway.. 6-0 and we go back home, at least we did our job. Safe travel to our fans, u guys did well."

Captain Harry Kane praised the way the England team remained united, as well as congratulating debutant Tyrone Mings.

"Great performance and I’m proud of the togetherness we showed in some disgraceful circumstances," Kane wrote. "Racism has no place in society or football. It needs stamping out for good. Also a massive congrats to @OfficialTM_3 on a great debut."

Former England international Rio Ferdinand, meanwhile, called on UEFA to take action. He wrote: "Let's see punishment...", which was followed by the governing body's official Twitter handle.

Ross Barkley and Raheem Sterling hit two goals apiece as England thrashed Bulgaria 6-0 in a Euro 2020 qualifier amid racist behaviour from fans in Sofia.

Marcus Rashford and Barkley had Gareth Southgate's men two goals to the good midway through the first half when play was stopped and a message relayed over the public address system at Vasil Levski National Stadium, urging home supporters to cease their abuse.

In between Barkley and Sterling continuing an emphatic response to the Three Lions' surprise defeat to the Czech Republic, there was a further lengthy delay.

The match appeared under threat of abandonment at that stage, as a group of fans were ejected, but England resumed their punishment of over-matched opponents – captain Harry Kane laying on Sterling's second and completing the scoring five minutes from time.

Either through injuries or dips in form, Luis Suarez has started to show signs of regression at Barcelona and they are planning for a future without him.

The Uruguayan striker has been a remarkable player for Barca, but at 32 he is approaching the twilight of his career and the Blaugrana have been considering who they might want to replace him with when the time comes.

Meanwhile, one player recently heavily linked with Barca could be signing a new contract with his current employers.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA DRAW UP STRIKERS SHORTLIST

Barca have significantly strengthened several areas of their team in recent transfer windows, with Antoine Griezmann, Junior Firpo, Frenkie de Jong and Neto bolstering their options.

They are now beginning to turn their attentions to the central striker role, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The publication reports Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is the ideal target, though Barca are said to be hopeful of getting him on a cut-price deal in 2021 after he has entered the final year of his contract, assuming he does not sign an extension in the meantime.

England and Tottenham striker Harry Kane is also said to be high up their list, despite their being acknowledgement that his wages would be more of an issue than the transfer fee.

The other two reportedly being considered are Marcus Rashford of Manchester United and Inter's Lautaro Martinez.

 

ROUND-UP

Barca missed out on securing the return of Neymar in the most recent transfer window and, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, PSG are now planning to offer the Brazilian a new bumper contract.

- The LaLiga champions are also looking at midfield reinforcements with potential. Napoli's Fabian RuizEduardo Camavinga of Rennes and Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz are all being considered, though Mundo Deportivo say Real Madrid are also tracking the trio with intent.

Christian Eriksen's future has been a hot topic for the last few months, with the Tottenham midfielder's contract ending next year. Sport1 in Germany claim Bayern Munich have already been in touch with him.

Liverpool are hoping to sign Brighton and Hove Albion-owned centre-back Ben White, 21, according to the Sun. The defender is impressing on loan at Leeds United and the Reds see him as a replacement for Dejan Lovren, who is said to be eager for a move to get first-team football.

- Despite languishing 12th in the Premier League after a wretched start to the season, the Daily Mail say Manchester United will not be splashing the cash in the January transfer window.

- But the Daily Express report United have reached a "verbal agreement" with Mario Mandzukic of Juventus, who are said to be demanding £10million for the Croatian forward.

Manchester United fans deserve better than the club's poor form, says striker Marcus Rashford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side lost 1-0 away to Newcastle United on Sunday, leaving them 12th in the Premier League.

The Red Devils are only two points clear of the relegation zone, with David de Gea telling Sky Sports United are enduring their "most difficult time" since his arrival in 2011.

Spain goalkeeper De Gea blasted United's performances as "unacceptable", while Solskjaer took responsibility for a run of form that has seen his side take 17 points in 16 league matches since his permanent appointment in March.

Rashford himself has struggled for form, with the striker having only scored once since hitting a brace in the 4-0 opening weekend defeat of Chelsea.

"You can't hide in football and the last few weeks simply haven't been good enough," Rashford posted on Twitter.

"As a United fan myself, that hurts. And you deserve better.

"We know we need to improve and that is our sole focus as a team and as a club."

United have been dealing with an injury crisis and midfielder Paul Pogba was among those who missed the trip to Newcastle.

France international Pogba has been ruled out of his country's upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers and his post on social media on Monday indicated he is fully focused on his recovery.

"They say hard work pay off what about hard work in the heat?" Pogba wrote on Instagram with a video of him working out in Dubai. "Let's see - loving the view though."

United's first game after the international break is at home to rivals Liverpool, who have won 17 Premier League games in a row and are eight points clear at the top of the table.

Paul Pogba wanted to leave Manchester United before the 2019-20 season, but Opta numbers suggest the midfielder can help turn the Red Devils' poor start around.

Pogba is set to make his 100th Premier League appearance at home to Arsenal on Monday, the France international having missed recent action for club and country with an ankle injury.

The 26-year-old has been a lightning rod for criticism since returning to Old Trafford, becoming the world's most expensive player when he left Juventus in 2016.

Pogba is still United's key man - their sole world-class talent and a performer capable of winning games on his own when operating at the top of his game.

Here, we assess his Premier League career to date, comparing the upcoming landmark with his time at Juve, as well as other Premier League stars in his position.


PROLIFIC POGBA IN ELITE COMPANY

Pogba hit eight Serie A goals in each of his last two seasons in Turin, but since moving back to United he has improved his record in front of goal.

Aided by the fact he often takes penalties for the Red Devils, Pogba has hit 24 goals in his 99 Premier League appearances to date - which includes three games before he left United as a youngster unable to break into Alex Ferguson's plans.

Pogba's first 100 Serie A appearances saw him score 22 times, so his effectiveness in front of goal has increased slightly, with no midfielder netting more than his 13 Premier League goals last term.

In fact, since Pogba rejoined United, only three midfielders have scored more Premier League goals: Dele Alli (32), Christian Eriksen (27) and Gylfi Sigurdsson (26), all of whom typically play closer to the opposition goal than the World Cup winner.


MORE ASSISTS SINCE UNITED RETURN

Pogba is also a creative force, of course, and his 49 goal involvements (goals plus assists) over the same period matches Sigurdsson's combined total.

Opta numbers suggest Pogba has enjoyed significant development in this side of his game in the last three seasons, with 25 assists in his 99 Premier League appearances to date besting the comparatively low 11 he managed in 100 league games for Juve.

Pogba's record in this regard compares favourably with the Premier League's elite again. Since the start of the 2016-17 season, Manchester City playmaker Kevin De Bruyne has contributed a peerless 44 assists, with Spurs star Eriksen not too far behind the Belgium international on 38.

David Silva is the only other midfielder to have posted more assists than Pogba in this period, though, indicating his playmaking talents have perhaps gone under the radar. He has created 162 chances in 99 Premier League games, compared to 124 in his first 100 Serie A appearances.


A MIDFIELDER WHO DOES IT ALL

Pogba's all-round talents make him almost one of a kind in the Premier League. No other midfielders can match the combination of playmaking, goalscoring and ball-winning he offers to United when at his best.

Since the start of the 2016-17 season, Pogba has recorded 640 recoveries - a tally that beats of his Premier League contemporaries who offer the same gifts in the final third. This total is more in keeping with a defensive-minded midfielder like Mark Noble, whose recoveries tally stands at 616 in the same period.

Pogba's tackle success rate in the past three campaigns is 70.29 per cent, comparable to Manchester City's energetic midfielder Bernardo Silva (70.79 per cent) and, again, ahead of players such as De Bruyne, Eriksen, Sigurdsson and Alli.

Few midfielders dictate play for their teams to the extent Pogba does for United. Since his return to the club, he has touched the ball 8,190 times in the Premier League - a tally towards the top of the tree for the league and behind only David Silva, Eriksen, Fernandinho and Granit Xhaka.

However, one statistic clearly indicates Pogba is simply playing for a worse team at United than he did when at Juve. His win ratio in 99 Premier League appearances to date is 57 per cent, compared to 71 per cent in his first 100 Serie A games.

As good as Pogba is - at both ends of the pitch - he cannot do it all on his own.

Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford have been named in the Manchester United team to take on Arsenal in the Premier League on Monday.

Pogba was a doubt for the game with an ankle injury, although he started in the penalty shoot-out defeat of League One side Rochdale last week.

England striker Rashford, meanwhile, sustained a groin injury in the 2-0 Premier League loss at West Ham earlier in the month.

Rashford's return to fitness means there is no place in the United XI for Mason Greenwood despite two goals in two Old Trafford starts this month, with the 17-year-old on the bench.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka reportedly misses out through illness, so Axel Tuanzebe, who captained United against Rochdale, is expected to fill in at right-back.

Arsenal are without Alexandre Lacazette due to an ankle injury, with Unai Emery naming teenager Bukayo Saka in a front three with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe.

The Gunners make two changes from the side that won against Aston Villa last time out, with Calum Chambers and Lucas Torreira replacing Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Dani Ceballos.

United are unbeaten in their last 12 Premier League games against Arsenal at Old Trafford but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have lost three of their past six home league games.

Arsenal, who confirmed Granit Xhaka as their club captain last week, have conceded at least twice in each of their past four Premier League games.

As Chelsea slumped to a third winless Premier League home game, Frank Lampard's name rang out around Stamford Bridge in a show of support rarely afforded to his predecessor, Maurizio Sarri.

That the club's all-time leading goal-scorer has survived a tough start to life as manager with his reputation relatively intact comes as little surprise given the esteem in which he is held in west London, but the honeymoon period cannot last.

Sarri knows only too well how quickly things can sour at Chelsea, where his undefeated Blues side conceded just four goals in the Italian's first six league games in charge, yet he still found himself under pressure a few months into his tenure.

Lampard has claimed only two wins from his opening six, seeing his defence ship 13 goals and fail to keep a single clean sheet, but his salvation may lie among Chelsea's young guns.

With the club under a transfer embargo, Lampard has not hesitated to give key roles to talented youngsters who have transformed the mood around the club, despite a slow start to the season.

The potential on show at the Bridge appears to have prompted one of England's most impatient clubs to take a long-term approach for the first time in over a decade.

But just how good are the young stars of Lampard's team? With the help of Opta data, we offer a mid-term report on three of Chelsea's brightest hopes.

TAMMY ABRAHAM

Tammy Abraham had the opportunity to equal Luis Suarez's Premier League record of scoring two or more goals in four consecutive matches when Chelsea faced Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

He came up short, failing to find the net as the Blues lost 2-1, but his performance did no harm to his growing reputation as one of the deadliest strikers in the top flight.

The 21-year-old scored seven goals in three games to ensure he will be a marked man this season, plundering braces against Norwich City and Sheffield United, before netting a hat-trick in Chelsea's 5-2 win at Wolves.

Abraham is averaging a goal every 58.2 minutes, which puts him right up there with Sergio Aguero (one goal every 55.8mins) among the league's most dependable finishers and his shot conversion rate of 38.8 per cent compares well to Aguero's (32 per cent).

The former Swansea loanee has created six chances for team-mates - more than Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (four) or Alexandre Lacazette (two) - and while his passing accuracy (71.95 per cent) is not among the league's highest, he has a better duel success rate (35.38 per cent) than Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (30.91).

MASON MOUNT

Lampard knew he could rely on Mason Mount to step up, having had his faith in the 20-year-old repaid time and time again while they worked together at Derby County last season.

But even the Chelsea boss will not have dared hope Mount would acclimatise to life in the top flight as quickly as he has in his six matches in the Blues' first team.

After a frustrating full debut in the 4-0 defeat at Manchester United, Mount announced himself to the Stamford Bridge faithful with Chelsea's only goal in a 1-1 draw with Leicester City.

The attacking midfielder has since netted in Chelsea's wins at Norwich and Wolves, putting him level with Marcus Rashford and Roberto Firmino on three league goals this season.

Mount brings a lot more than just finishing prowess to Lampard's Chelsea side and his ability to run with the ball and create chances for team-mates has put him among the Premier League's most dangerous players this season.

A dribble success rate of 64.71 per cent puts Mount ahead of Rashford, Raheem Sterling and Daniel James, while he is level with Salah and Sadio Mane on 12 chances created.

CHRISTIAN PULISIC

Christian Pulisic has started three of Chelsea's six league games this season but that has been enough for him to demonstrate his prowess as a potentially consistent creative force.

The 21-year-old signing from Borussia Dortmund has created four chances from open play - one more than Manchester United's much-talked-about new arrival James and as many as Arsenal talisman Aubameyang.

Pulisic has yet to score a league goal in a Chelsea shirt, attempting just four shots, but he selflessly played in Mount for the Blues' second in their 3-2 win at Norwich City.

Pulisic, who has three years' worth of experience at international level with the United States, has impressed with his touch and composure, and his passing accuracy of 85.05 per cent is better than that of Manchester City lynchpin Kevin De Bruyne (83.69) and Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen (83.57).

Having completed eight out of his 19 attempted dribbles, Pulisic does not boast the league's best success rate when running with the ball, but he has shown potential even on quieter outings.

Paul Pogba is expected to return from injury in Manchester United's EFL Cup clash with Rochdale at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

The midfielder has been unavailable since withdrawing from the France squad at the start of September with an ankle injury.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes Pogba will play at least some part of the Rochdale game with a view to building up fitness ahead of next Monday's Premier League meeting with Arsenal.

"He'll probably get some minutes against Rochdale," Solskjaer said on United's official website. "But we definitely think he's ready for Arsenal."

Pogba's return is a welcome boost for United in the wake of a deeply disappointing 2-0 league defeat at West Ham on Sunday.

The former Juventus star has not played for United since the 1-1 draw at Southampton on August 31.

Marcus Rashford suffered a groin injury at London Stadium and will be unavailable for the Rochdale match, with United still unclear over how long he will need to recover.

Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw are also still sidelined, while Eric Bailly continues his recovery from a serious knee injury.

Mason Greenwood, who missed the loss to West Ham due to tonsillitis, is hoping to be available.

The 17-year-old, who scored his first senior goal for the club to earn a 1-0 win over Astana in the Europa League last week, is United's only central attacking option in the absence of Rashford and Martial.

Fit-again Jesse Lingard was used as a makeshift striker against the Hammers following Rashford's injury.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Jose Mourinho has a right to voice his opinion on Manchester United after the former Red Devils boss strongly criticised their performance in a 2-0 Premier League loss at West Ham.

Andriy Yarmolenko and Aaron Cresswell scored to consign United to defeat at London Stadium, with Solskjaer's men without a win away from home in nine matches in all competitions.

Mourinho, appearing as a pundit for Sky Sports, said he could find no positives to take from United's display, adding: "We were bad last season, but I don't see any improvement this season."

Solskjaer, though, noted United were beaten on their previous visit to London Stadium, sliding to a 3-1 loss under Mourinho's leadership in September 2018.

"I think he's got a right to his opinion," Solskjaer told a news conference when asked about Mourinho's comments.

"We lost here last year, it's always a difficult ground to go to and we hoped to do better than we did. We hope for better.

"But the key moments they grasped and we didn't. I have to say, two fantastic finishes from two left feet. We just didn't take the chances when we had them.

"Of course, when you lose a game you're disappointed. It's a game that can go both ways, as you expect away from home in the Premier League.

"It's a good group to work with, they're determined. Sometimes along the road you hit some bumps, some highs and lows, this group is determined and they have desire. It's a good atmosphere in the dressing room and they've got their focus right."

Solskjaer confirmed Marcus Rashford - who has only scored once since a brace in the 4-0 win over Chelsea on opening weekend - needs a scan after he was taken off with a groin injury but could be out for "a little while".

That left United having to field Jesse Lingard as a striker as teenager Mason Greenwood was unavailable due to tonsillitis and Anthony Martial was sidelined by injury.

United allowed Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to join Inter without signing any replacements in attack, but Solskjaer continues to stand by that decision.

"It's one of these moments, we've had historically lots of centre-backs struggling with injuries," he added. "We've come down here and Michael Carrick's played centre-back, Darren Fletcher has, now it's strikers. 

"It's just how it's gone. Hopefully Mason and Anthony will be back for Arsenal [on September 30], definitely, hopefully one of them for Rochdale [on Wednesday in the EFL Cup]."

Pressed on why Sanchez was permitted to depart on loan, leaving United short of options, Solskjaer said: "We made a decision on that and I still think it was the best one for us, and for Alexis, and we agreed on that one.

"We didn't create enough chances but we created big chances, some big moments that we didn't take, and they scored although they didn't create too many either. It's a game that could have gone both ways. When you've got Rashford and Dan James I don't think pace is the problem.

"There's a few in the first half we turned down a key pass, we had two chances in the second half we could have again and I'm sure we'd score more than we miss.

"This group, they want to do what we want to do, they work in training. Like I said, there's key moments in games that can tip them in our favour compared to theirs. You can make a bad decision on a pass, left, right or centre, but the attitude is there.

"That's not the problem. It's the quality in our decision-making and sometimes in their execution."

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford is likely to be "out for a while" with a groin injury sustained during the defeat to West Ham, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

England international Rashford limped off in the 61st minute of United's 2-0 loss, with Solskjaer forced to play midfielder Jesse Lingard in attack as he was without Anthony Martial (thigh) and Mason Greenwood (tonsillitis).

Solskjaer confirmed Rashford will have a scan on Monday and he will be hoping for good news given the dearth of attacking options at his disposal following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to Inter.

"He felt his groin," Solskjaer told MUTV.

"We'll do a scan tomorrow to see how badly he's injured. I don't know how long he'll be out, I'm not a doctor. But he'll probably be out for a little while."

United face Rochdale in the EFL Cup on Wednesday then have three games in seven days against Arsenal, AZ and Newcastle United.

Solskjaer added: "Hopefully Mason and Anthony will be back for the Arsenal game and at least one of them for Rochdale."

The defeat at West Ham left Solskjaer's side with just eight points from six Premier League games.

Marcus Rashford was forced out of Manchester United's clash with West Ham after he suffered an apparent hamstring injury that could leave manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a shortage of attacking options.

With Mason Greenwood sidelined by a bout of tonsilitis, Solskjaer sent Jesse Lingard on to replace Rashford in the 61st minute with the Red Devils trailing 1-0 at London Stadium.

Anthony Martial missed the game with a thigh injury, leaving Solskjaer with Lingard, Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong as the only forward players among his substitutes, and he will anxiously await news of Rashford's condition.

Solskjaer will likely rest first-team regulars when United face Rochdale in the League Cup on Wednesday, after which they face a tricky run of fixtures with Premier League games against Arsenal and Newcastle United either side of a trip to AZ in the Europa League.

The Premier League confirmed on Friday it is in talks with representatives from Twitter over the "discriminatory and hateful conduct" that has led to the abuse of numerous players, including Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba and Tammy Abraham over recent weeks.

Officials from the EFL and the FA also attended a meeting with bosses from the social media platform to discuss the problem of users aiming racist abuse at footballers.

Manchester City star Raheem Sterling has been among those leading calls for English football's governing bodies to take action to combat racism in the game, and the Premier League indicated that talks with Twitter would continue with the aim of tackling the problem online.

A statement on the Premier League's official website read: "The Premier League, EFL and FA met Twitter today [Friday] with respect to the ongoing concerns surrounding discriminatory and hateful conduct taking place on the platform.

"The meeting was productive and positive, and gave both the football authorities and Twitter an opportunity to examine some of the specific issues around this unacceptable behaviour both online and offline.

"All parties agreed to take these constructive discussions forward."

Manchester United and England defender Harry Maguire previously used the platform to call for an authentication process to be put in place to combat the problem.

After hateful language was directed at Pogba, Maguire posted: "Disgusting. Social media need to do something about it."

Rashford also reacted at the time, saying: "Enough now, this needs to stop. Manchester United is a family.

"Paul Pogba is a huge part of that family. You attack him you attack us all."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hopeful the goals will soon start to flow again for Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford.

England international Rashford endured a frustrating outing in the 1-0 Europa League win over Astana on Thursday, with teenage forward Mason Greenwood on hand to bail out Solskjaer's side by opening his senior account in the 73rd minute.

Rashford's only goal from open play this season, alongside a couple of penalties, came on the opening weekend of the Premier League season against Chelsea, but Solskjaer feels the 21-year-old is close to a breakthrough.

"He's getting the chances. He could have had three [against Astana]. The keeper made a few fantastic saves," he said.

"I don't worry about that. We're working every single day in training with Marcus and he wants to improve and wants to be better.

"He could have finished once with his left foot instead of his right on Thursday. It was just one of those days. Their keeper was excellent."

There is an extra burden on the likes of Rashford and Anthony Martial this season, after United opted against replacing Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, and Solskjaer is happy with the results so far.

"All the goals we've scored have come from our forwards, with Marcus and Anthony and Dan James. I'm sure they'll chip in with many, many goals," he said.

"Marcus is still young. He'll improve. You won't hit your peak as a striker until you're 26 or 27. He's still learning what finishes to make in different circumstances."

Solskjaer does not expect Martial and fellow France international Paul Pogba to feature in Sunday's Premier League match at West Ham.

The duo are yet to return to full training following respective thigh and ankle injuries and are sidelined alongside Luke Shaw (hamstring).

James also sat out the Astana game, having sustained a knock during last weekend's 1-0 win over Leicester City, but could return.

"He's not trained the last few days. Hopefully [he will be ready], but not sure," Solskjaer said. "We'll have a recovery day with everyone and then we'll see on Saturday."

United have not won on the road in the Premier League since February but Solskjaer insisted he has no concerns over their away form.

"I think we should have won at Southampton and Wolves. It’s still the same sized pitch – green, white lines, some fans," he said.

"You've got to block out the mental part and play the game as you do in the park."

Marcus Rashford believes Manchester United did not have this "togetherness" two years ago as praised the team's performance in their Europa League opener.

United kicked off their Group L campaign with a stuttering 1-0 victory thanks to teenage sensation Mason Greenwood at home to Astana on Thursday.

Greenwood, 17, scored his first senior goal to lead Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United past the Kazakh visitors in Manchester.

United were far from their best as Solskjaer named a youthful XI, but Rashford was happy with what he saw at Old Trafford.

"It wasn't the best performance but there was a lot of good stuff, they're tough to break down," Rashford told reporters.

"If I look back to two years ago, I don't think the team had the togetherness to come through a game like that.

"Everyone expects it to be easy but the opposition have come to win so it's always tough."

Portuguese full-back Diogo Dalot was also in the starting line-up as United named their youngest XI in a Europa League or Champions League game since December 2012.

It was Dalot's first appearance of the season after injury postponed the start of the 20-year-old's campaign at the Theatre of Dreams.

However, it was all about team-mate Greenwood, who is set to take on more responsibility this term following the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

"He's been working hard," Dalot said. "Mason, [Tahith] Chong, Angel [Gomes], the kids, myself, are working hard for this moment. He helped us today and I'm so happy for his goal."

On United's young players, Dalot added: "I think this club is all about that – if you're good enough you're old enough, that's another thing we want to keep in this club. If we keep working hard, I think Ole will give us a chance."

Roberto Firmino is Liverpool's most important player as he "makes everything tick" for Jurgen Klopp's side, according to former striker Emile Heskey.

Firmino came off the bench to help the Reds beat Newcastle United 3-1 on Saturday and extend their run to 14 consecutive victories in the Premier League.

Liverpool were level when Firmino replaced the injured Divock Origi, with Sadio Mane having cancelled out Jetro Willems' opener, but the Brazil international helped set up Mane's second within three minutes of his introduction.

A sublime backheel to Mohamed Salah led to the home side's third at Anfield, which secured a result that puts them five points clear of champions Manchester City after five matches.

Heskey, who spent four years on Merseyside and was often used as a link between midfield and strike partner Michael Owen, believes Firmino turns Liverpool into a stronger side as he makes life easier for his attacking team-mates.

"I would say Firmino [is most important] and the reason I say that is he's the one that makes everything tick when it comes to the front three," Heskey told Omnisport.

"Take him out of there, yes, they will get you goals, yes, they will cause havoc but they won't do it in the same fashion that they do with him.

"He makes everything tick, everything goes through him and it just looks smoother when it goes through him, and they create more chances when he's in the team."

While Firmino's selflessness is an asset to Liverpool, Heskey believes Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford would benefit from being more single-minded.

Rashford's penalty gave United a 1-0 win over Leicester City on Saturday and took his tally to three goals in five league games this term, but Heskey thinks the England forward's versatility is perhaps holding him back from becoming a more ruthless finisher.

"I would like to think Marcus Rashford's best position is centre-forward," Heskey said. "But as you say, he can play all along the front line because he's got that ability. He's very direct, he's very quick, he's got a skill in him, and he doesn't mind providing.

"Now, if you're a centre-forward that wants to score goals, and goals only, you don't want to be pushed on the left or the right because you know you're not going to score from there. You want to be right in the middle where you can score goals. He's more of an unselfish player that you could actually play in different positions."

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