England manager Gareth Southgate is relishing the attacking riches at his disposal as he believes the Three Lions are heading into Euro 2020 in better shape than they were before the World Cup.

Southgate's England secured Euro 2020 qualification with minimal fuss, winning seven of their eight matches and scoring a whopping 37 goals.

Eleven of those goals have come in their past two matches, with Thursday's 7-0 demolition of Montenegro followed up by Sunday's comfortable 4-0 triumph away to Kosovo.

Southgate appears to have settled on a first-choice front trio of Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling, with the former pair netting in both matches this week.

Sterling returned to the starting XI on Sunday after being dropped as a result of his spat with Joe Gomez and, while he was somewhat below his best, he set up Rashford's strike with a driving run and pass.

England secured their spot at next year's tournament on Thursday, and Southgate is impressed by the standard his players are at.

"I would say that we're definitely further ahead than we were heading into the Russia World Cup but we made massive strides in this period [between the end of World Cup qualifying and the finals]," Southgate told reporters.

"We've got to make sure that to get the level of performance next summer, we have to improve in the way that we did over that spell.

"I think the team have belief, for sure. You can see the confidence. They don't come into these matches worrying about what might go wrong. They've got the confidence to control games with possession and they know they're going to score goals.

"We've got to have some confidence about what we're doing. That said, we've got a lot to keep improving on and we know that. None of us are complacent in any way.

"We keep pushing the players for the fine details of the game all the time and they want that. They're hungry for that, which is a really good sign for us.

"Our forward players and I mean, Raheem [Sterling], Harry [Kane], Marcus [Rashford] are so exciting to work with. Then, with the younger ones that are supporting that.

"They thrive from each other, they create for each other, they are all scoring goals – which wasn't the case 18 months ago, particularly for Marcus and Raheem, but they work so hard for the team. That's, for me, the biggest thing.

"What we don't know, because we haven't had those tests more recently against the top eight or 10 [nations], is exactly how we're going to cope in those moments, and to win the European Championship is, at the moment, no easier than the World Cup.

"The final four at the World Cup were all European and you've got to add Spain, Germany, Portugal and all the others into that. It's a really high-level tournament."

Harry Winks and Mason Mount scored their first senior international goals as England rounded off Euro 2020 qualifying with a 4-0 victory in Kosovo, where Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford were also among the goals.

Tottenham's Winks provided the finish to a rare moment of first-half quality, although his combination with Declan Rice and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield did not always deliver the cohesion England need in their engine room.

Kane added a second 11 minutes from time and substitute Rashford swept home four minutes later.

Mount's late strike added gloss to the scoreline but Bernard Challandes' impressive Kosovo side can still reach the European Championship via a play-off place secured by virtue of their Nations League performance.

After matching England for long spells at Stadiumi Fadil Vokrri they will be confident of making it count.

Liverpool's unbeaten Premier League season continued in some style as they turned on the style in a 3-1 win over Manchester City, who they have not lost to at Anfield in the top flight since May 2003.

Meanwhile, it was another tough weekend for Premier League fans across North London, with Arsenal and Tottenham both dropping points as the dark clouds continue to gather around both clubs.

Arsenal's defeat at high-flying Leicester City left the Gunners winless in their last four top-flight outings, while Spurs are without a victory in five attempts after their 1-1 draw at home with Sheffield United.

With Arsenal failing to win, Manchester United had the opportunity to narrow the gap between sixth and seventh to just one point and they did just that, bringing Brighton and Hove Albion's two-game winning streak to an end in a 3-1 victory.

All four games produced a feast of milestones and telling stats, the best of which are brought to light below.

DEFEAT LEAVES GUARDIOLA WITH LOWEST CITY POINTS HAUL

Trips to Liverpool have rarely been kind to Pep Guardiola during his time at Manchester City and Sunday's defeat was his fourth during his time in the Premier League.

City have amassed 25 points this season - Guardiola's lowest return after 12 games of a Premier League season - and he is more than three points behind the league leaders for the first time at this stage of a season.

Liverpool sit eight points clear of second-placed Leicester City and only Manchester United in 1993-94 have been further ahead after 12 games in the Premier League era.

The Reds prospered courtesy of goals from Fabinho, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, the latter scoring at Anfield in the league for the 22nd time since August 2018.

No other top-flight player has scored more at a single venue in the same period.

RASHFORD REVELS IN UNITED'S HOME IMPROVEMENTS

Marcus Rashford gave the Old Trafford crowd a rare moment to savour in a difficult season when his shot ricocheted off the underside of the crossbar to put Manchester United 3-1 up against Brighton.

It was the 22-year-old's 30th goal on home turf for the Red Devils, six of which have come in 2019-20, and he needs three more to equal his best goal return in home matches (nine in 2017-18).

Rashford's form has been key to United's recent upturn in fortunes at Old Trafford, where they are unbeaten in their last four Premier League matches and their last seven across all competitions - their longest run under the same manager since March 2018 (eight unbeaten under Jose Mourinho).

Solskjaer named his youngest Premier League starting line-up of the season, averaging 23 years and 350 days, and his side extended Brighton's miserable run on the road against the top flight's "big six": the Seagulls are winless in 15 such games.

ARSENAL IN WORST START FOR 37 YEARS

Unai Emery might be running out of chances after a 2-0 loss to Leicester City condemned Arsenal to their worst record at this stage of a top-flight season since 1982-83.

The Gunners accumulated 17 points from 12 games in 2014-15, as many as they have now, but could at least lay claim to a positive goal difference of +5 at that time, unlike the -1 that resides next to their disappointing points tally this term.

Saturday's trip to the King Power Stadium marked Emery's 50th Premier League match in charge and his 13th defeat.

He has overseen 25 victories and led the club to 87 points, two fewer than Arsene Wenger accrued over his final 50 matches as manager.

The contrast could not be greater to electrifying Leicester, who have now won five successive Premier League home games and boast one more point (26 in total) than they did at this point of their title-winning 2015-16 campaign.

SON SHINING BUT SPURS STILL STUCK IN DARKNESS

If there is some comfort to be found for Arsenal, it is in the malaise affecting north London rivals Tottenham.

Mauricio Pochettino's men could only draw 1-1 with Sheffield United, who became the third promoted side – after Blackburn Rovers (1992-93) and Nottingham Forest (1994-95) – to go unbeaten through their opening six away games of a Premier League season.

George Baldock's goal earned a share of the spoils and means Spurs have dropped a league-high 12 points from winning positions this season.

Worse still, the Champions League finalists have banked only 14 points, their lowest tally after 12 games since 2008-09, a season that cost Juande Ramos his job.

Son Heung-min, scorer of the opener, is one player pulling his weight. The South Korea star has netted five times in his past five appearances in all competitions.

Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were to the fore once again as Manchester United saw off Brighton and Hove Albion 3-1 at Old Trafford to move back into the top half of the Premier League table.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men impressed in Thursday's 3-0 Europa League victory over Partizan Belgrade, which Martial and Rashford both scored in, and the forwards both played crucial roles again as a resilient Brighton were dispatched fairly comfortably.

United looked as though they were going to cruise to victory during the early exchanges, as they found themselves 2-0 up thanks to a couple of fortuitous goals from Andreas Pereira and Davy Propper, who beat his own goalkeeper.

Lewis Dunk pulled one back for Brighton just past the hour, but Rashford - set up by Martial - lashed in soon after to seal the points, though United arguably should have added several more goals, with the England star, Daniel James and Brandon Williams all going close.

United began with real purpose but were extremely fortunate to open the scoring in the 17th minute.

Pereira was guilty of overplaying on the counter and was dispossessed, but the ball came to Martial and he teed the Brazilian up again, with the eventual shot finding the net via a massive deflection.

The hosts were lucky again soon after, as Scott McTominay attempted to bundle over the line and Propper prodded it into his own net.

Chances came at both ends just past the hour – Mat Ryan unconvincingly knocking Fred's long-range effort on to the crossbar, before Dunk lost Pereira at a corner to emphatically head Brighton back into the contest.

Rashford restored the two-goal lead two minutes later, however, crashing an effort in off the crossbar after Martial teed his strike partner up.

An awful miss from Rashford was followed by saves to deny him, Williams and James, but Brighton were unable to make United rue their wastefulness.

A late ankle injury suffered by McTominay, which left the midfielder in considerable pain, was the only significant dampener on an otherwise fine day for the Red Devils.

 

What does it mean? United moving in the right direction

It has not been a straightforward start to the season, but in recent weeks United have shown signs of getting back to the side they were during Solskjaer's days as caretaker manager.

In that period, Rashford and Martial were vital and it is no surprise to see them central to most of what is good about United at the moment. While seventh place is hardly impressive, they are now just a point adrift of Sheffield United and Arsenal.

Fred finding his feet

This was arguably Fred's best performance in a United shirt. His passing was crisp, he moved the ball on quickly and played a role in two of the three goals. Perhaps he is not the dud many claimed he was.

Pereira out of his depth

While he did manage to score a goal, there was little to recommend in Pereira's performance. It remains something of a mystery how he manages to retain a place in the starting XI.

What's next?

United travel to high-flying Sheffield United next Sunday, while Brighton host Leicester City the day before.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed Scott McTominay suffered an ankle injury in Manchester United's win over Partizan Belgrade, while he played down concerns over Harry Maguire.

United booked their spot in the Europa League last 32 thanks to Thursday's 3-0 win, which came thanks to goals from Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford.

McTominay came off during the second half of the victory due to an ankle injury, while Maguire was also a worry.

But while he has fewer worries about Maguire, United manager Solskjaer confirmed some concerns surrounding McTominay.

"I think Harry will be okay. He finished the game anyway," he told MUTV.

"Scott is more of a concern, so let's see how he recovers in the next few days.

"He said he was going to be okay out on the pitch and he said 'I'll be fine'. He's tough, but he had to come off.

"I hope he'll recover for Sunday, but I don't know. Inside of his ankle. I think he went over on his ankle."

Sitting 10th in the Premier League table, United host Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday.

The win over Partizan gave Solskjaer's men a boost and the performance of his young attack featuring Greenwood, Rashford and Martial was particularly pleasing for the manager.

"The reason we put the three of them together is that we know they are a dangerous trio, with players behind them who can provide chances," he said.

"Well done to Mason for a very, very calm finish. He was composed and waited for the keeper. The second one was from Anthony and was probably the skill of the night.

"Then it was great to see Marcus finishing with his left foot. He will get into those positions quite often in a game. For him to go on the outside, on his left, it is not great for defenders to see.

"It is good for us because he can go inside on his right and then finish with his left."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has acknowledged Manchester United must now take their Europa League form into the Premier League after his side dismantled Partizan Belgrade 3-0 at Old Trafford.

Goals from Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford - starting together for the first time - paved the way for a routine win on Thursday, as United ensured their progression from Group L with two games to spare.

Scott McTominay's late injury was the only blemish, though Solskjaer was frustrated by some wasteful finishing early on.

However, with a clean sheet and three well-taken goals, Solskjaer has now demanded his side, who sit 10th in the Premier League with just three wins so far, show improvement domestically.

"That's the foundation, it's a platform to perform from," Solskjaer told beIN SPORTS.

"We know we've worked on defending this year and have been solid, we just want to see more of this in the Premier League. Score goals, create chances and see smiles on the players' faces.

"Parts of the game were really good, parts of the performance were really high quality.

"You want to see five or six or seven [goals] but at times I think maybe some players started thinking of Sunday, started to recover a bit and we were a bit sloppy at the end but at times we looked really dangerous.

"First 10 or 15 minutes we should have buried the game and it should have been over by then, but we managed to get the goals and got the clean sheet which is always important for confidence for the goalkeeper and back four. Now we can just look forward to Sunday.

"Very happy [with qualifying]. It means in the last two games we can give game time to other players that need it, some players will come back from injury, so we'll use them to of course try to win the group, but it makes me think about resting a few anyway."

Rashford missed several gilt-edged chances in the first half but came up with a superb finish shortly after the break to put the result beyond doubt and, after United's dismal defeat at Bournemouth last time out, the England forward was delighted the side bounced straight back.

"A good performance which is the main thing, very happy, we take the game as a big positive so we move on and improve," Rashford told BT Sport.

"It's something we've been focusing on, as the forward players. Hopefully today was just the start of it and we can keep improving and be more natural.

"That's the main thing, trying to help each other score and score goals ourselves. We have a big emphasis on that and at the same time try to work for the team then it's a big positive.

"The main thing when you lose a game is you want to win the next one, that's the main thing as a player. It's not nice to lose but it feels very nice to win, to put it right and today we managed to do that."

Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford were on target as Manchester United ensured their place in the Europa League knockout stages with a convincing 3-0 win over Partizan Belgrade.

Knowing a win would be enough to see them through - courtesy of a better head-to-head record against Partizan in Group L - United wasted little time in asserting their authority, with Mason Greenwood capping a dominant start in the 21st minute.

Martial added a magnificent second soon after, with Rashford, who had been wasteful in the first half, making it 3-0 shortly after the restart as United cruised into the round of 32 with two matches to spare.

Martial and Partizan's Umar Sadiq both had goals disallowed for offside in the opening five minutes, before Rashford drilled wide from 10 yards out.

Rashford had another opportunity three minutes later, only for Vladimir Stojkovic to rush out and deny the England forward, but Greenwood made no such mistake.

Having benefitted from some dreadful Partizan marking, Greenwood kept his cool to slot beyond Stojkovic after setting himself from Rashford's neat pass.

United were two ahead just after the half hour - Martial prodding in an excellent finish after driving through Partizan's defence with some sublime footwork.

Rashford finally found his shooting boots after the restart, slamming home a brilliant first-time finish from Ashley Young's cushioned touch.

Young almost went from provider to scorer with a terrific free-kick moments later, his strike glancing the side netting before Fred drew a fine stop out of Stojkovic.

A fine night for United was blemished with 15 minutes remaining - Scott McTominay forced off through injury - but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side will be able to reflect on a job well done at Old Trafford.

 

What does it mean? United finally making life easier for themselves

It has been a hard slog of a campaign so far for Solskjaer, whose side had appeared to turn a corner prior to their defeat at Bournemouth last time out. 

However, with progression in this competition secured, United can at least now switch their full focus to correcting their dismal league form.

United's vibrant attack come good

It was an ideal night for United's strikers, with all three of them getting in on the act. While starting both of his first-choice forwards in the form of Rashford and Martial may have been a risk, it paid off for Solskjaer, while Greenwood - who became the youngest player to score and assist in a single European game for the Red Devils - continued his impressive start to life in United's first team.

McTominay's fitness a cause for concern

McTominay has been one of United's most consistent performers so far this term, but after a robust challenge from Aleksandar Scekic, the Scotland international was unable to continue and could now be a doubt for Sunday's clash with Brighton and Hove Albion.

What's next?

United host Brighton the Premier League on Sunday, while Partizan are in action against Indija in the Serbian top flight.

Marcus Rashford believes misfiring Manchester United are capable of securing a spot inside the Premier League's top four this season.

United finished sixth last term and have so far shown few signs of improving on that position in their first full campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Last weekend's 1-0 loss to Bournemouth, their fourth defeat in 11 league games, left them 10 points adrift of the Champions League places.

Leicester City and Chelsea, both teams United have beaten, occupy the spots behind leaders Liverpool and champions Manchester City.

"It's going to be tough but it's nowhere near impossible," Rashford told Sky Sports.

"We don't need to focus on any other teams, we play our best football when we focus on ourselves and us improving.

"That's the only way Man United play good football and we need to get back to doing that. It can be very simple for us and at the same time, you don't want to make it complicated for yourself. The main thing is bouncing back."

Solskjaer's men have a good chance to do exactly that leading into the international break.

United entertain Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League on Thursday, before Brighton and Hove Albion arrive at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Goals will be crucial for confidence after the blank at Bournemouth, which stalled the scoring momentum gained in victories over Norwich City and Chelsea.

And Rashford, deployed on the left of a front three at the Vitality Stadium, is relishing the chance to work alongside the fit-again Anthony Martial.

"He has been a big miss," the England international said of the Frenchman.

"As a number nine, it's always easier if you have someone you can work off and get close to and right now we're having a good period.

"We've been playing good football but we can definitely score more goals and assist more and that's what we'll be looking at more as a pair."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has given Manchester United a solid base for an encouraging future, according to Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe.

Scrutiny on Solskjaer's position as United manager has intensified during a mostly disappointing start to the new season.

While he has been praised for promoting academy players into the first-team picture, problems with goalscoring and a failure to replace Romelu Lukaku and Ander Herrera in the transfer window has led many to fear Solskjaer's long-term plan for the club will come at too great a cost in the short term.

However, a draw with Premier League leaders Liverpool and three subsequent away wins - the most recent a 2-1 defeat of Chelsea in the EFL Cup on Wednesday - has helped to restore confidence in Solskjaer's methods.

Howe has certainly been impressed with the way Solskjaer has begun to reconstruct the team with a view to turning the 13-time Premier League champions back into title-challengers.

"Certainly, looking at their last few games, which I have in great detail, I think they have played very well," Howe said on Friday. "The game against Chelsea was a very strong performance.

"They'll be pleased with their attacking play and defensive structures. Then, looking back at Norwich City, playing them away is a tough game and I thought they were very professional, did the job and got a really good [3-1] win.

"There's positive signs for them. They've got quality players, a very good manager who has given them real stability. He's working to the future to build a new Manchester United.

"I imagine it is [hard to work under that level of pressure]. I think he's handled himself really well and done an excellent job to this point."

United face Bournemouth on Saturday looking to extend a seven-game unbeaten run against the Cherries.

Their most recent visit to the Vitality Stadium was only settled by a 92nd-minute Marcus Rashford goal, though, and Howe is confident they can give United another stern test.

"Last year was a really tight game. It swung their way in the last few seconds, but we gave them a good match," he said.

"The game we won here in our first Premier League season, that was a historic moment for us. That gave us real confidence in a time when we needed it.

"We've had some tough games at Old Trafford, some difficult moments, but here [at home] we've been pretty good against them.

"We need a good start, we need the crowd absolutely with us and we really want this ground pumping."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer agrees Scott McTominay has become a leader at the club.

McTominay's form has been one of United's major bright spots during a difficult first three months of the season, in which the Red Devils have won only three Premier League matches.

The 22-year-old midfielder produced another standout display in the 2-1 EFL Cup success at Chelsea on Wednesday to help United to a third away win in succession, with Solskjaer's side having shown signs of recovery since their 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Old Trafford.

Some supporters have begun to discuss the prospect of a future captaincy for McTominay, who was brought into the first team by Jose Mourinho and even given a special 'manager's player of the year' prize at United's end-of-season awards in 2018.

When asked about the prospect of McTominay wearing the armband, Solskjaer told reporters on Friday: "He's been excellent. Him and Fred, they're working a good relationship, they have played well together.

"They did that last season: Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, there were quite a few games where they played together when we had some injuries. Now they're working as a pair.

"But Scotty has been excellent. He's a leader, he's a Man United boy, he's come through the ranks – you can see he's been a striker with the goal he scored against Norwich [City], on the half-turn – but he's developing into a very good midfielder."

United's win over Chelsea was secured by two goals from Marcus Rashford – a penalty and then a stunning free-kick.

The England international has now managed four goals in his past four appearances in all competitions, and Solskjaer is happy to see him thriving alongside fit-again Anthony Martial.

"Anthony's come back, Marcus has flourished as well, blossomed," he said. "He is probably happier facing goal, being direct, driving at people, taking players on, instead of being a target man with back to goal.

"But Marcus wants to master all the skills in the end. He's only 22, just turned 22, so I'm sure we'll see him up front as a number nine if he'd like, maybe as a two with Anthony, maybe now as a three like we did against Norwich, or wide like we did against Chelsea… there are different ways of playing with Marcus.

"It was important for him and for me that he stepped up and took that penalty against Chelsea."

United face Bournemouth on Saturday seeking to triumph in a fourth match in a row for the first time since the eight-game winning run they enjoyed when Solskjaer was named caretaker manager last December.

Solskjaer believes a combination of good work in the most recent international break, the return of some stars from injury and the boost from a positive performance against Liverpool have all contributed to their recent upturn in form.

"The international break came at a great time for us," he said. "We did some work and prepared well for the Liverpool game.

"When you get a decent performance and result against the league leaders, that gives you a bit more energy, and from then on the boys have just… they were happy with the work we did, maybe the change of system helped, so the coaches have done a great job.

"Every new game is an opportunity to show what you can do. I didn't play every game, so every game I played for this club was a chance for me to show the manager that I should play the next game. That's what these boys feel like as well now because we're getting players back – we don't just have the 11, 12, 13 fit ones.

"At the moment, the boys look like they're playing on instinct than having that extra split second to think, which I spoke about a few weeks ago."

Manchester United could be without Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof for Saturday's Premier League trip to Bournemouth.

All three players sustained knocks in the 2-1 EFL Cup victory at Chelsea on Wednesday, a result that stretched United's winning run away from home to three games in all competitions.

Rashford, who scored a penalty and then a stunning free-kick to seal the win, was seen with an ice pack on his knee after being substituted at Stamford Bridge, while Lindelof was replaced by Anthony Martial 66 minutes in and Maguire was seen limping in the closing stages.

When asked for an update on the trio on Friday, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told a news conference: "It's still early. Hopefully we can get them back on the pitch tomorrow.

"They had some treatment yesterday, a little more treatment today, a light session. Hopefully, they're ready. I can't tell you exactly now."

United will also be without Luke Shaw, Axel Tuanzebe and Nemanja Matic against Bournemouth, with Solskjaer not expecting them to be available until after the next international break.

"They are not ready for tomorrow. That's the update," he said. "[They will be back] Probably after the international break. That's always the risk, if you push them back too early.

"But if we have the two extra weeks, after the international break, they should be ready for then."

United head into the match in seventh place in the Premier League, ahead of Bournemouth on goal difference.

A win will move them to within four points of the top four before Chelsea's match away to Watford.

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold admitted he was guilty of underestimating Manchester United star Marcus Rashford and consequently experienced his most difficult outing.

Rashford was deployed wide on the left by Jose Mourinho and scored twice in the first 24 minutes when Liverpool visited Old Trafford and suffered a 2-1 defeat on March 10, 2018.

Alexander-Arnold was making just his 15th Premier League start and had a torrid time against the United attacker but was not replaced until the 80th minute.

The 21-year-old right-back has since lined up against teams including five-time Ballon d'Or winners Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo but that battle with Rashford remains his most testing appearance.

"[That match against United was] the toughest in terms of a direct opponent and someone getting on top of me in professional football. I'd say I underestimated him," Alexander-Arnold said of Rashford to The Athletic.

"It was a massive learning curve for me. It was something that I hated happening. As a Liverpool player it's probably the worst game of the season to perform like that. But when things like that happen you have to learn from them.

"It was a wake-up call. You hate days like that. You don't want to experience that. You remember how it felt and that makes you try everything you possibly can to ensure you don't have another one like it."

Alexander-Arnold was key to Liverpool's Champions League success and Premier League title challenge last season, when they finished just one point behind Manchester City. 

Having already conquered Europe, the defender says the Reds have their sights set on dethroning City and ending a 30-year wait for a top-flight crown.

"I want to help this club achieve as much success as I possibly can. We had a taste of it in Madrid and now we want more," said Alexander-Arnold.

"If there was one trophy that would mean the most to the fans it would be the Premier League. It's been too long. It's something all of us are desperate to achieve and hopefully that's the next step for this team. We've put ourselves in a strong position. Now we need to kick on."

City and Liverpool look primed for another two-team tussle for Premier League glory in 2019-20.

Asked if the rivalry with City is bigger than in games against United and Everton, Alexander-Arnold replied: "Traditionally, no, because of all the history with United and Everton. But in terms of intensity, quality, concentration and tempo, they're probably the biggest games of the season now.

"You know that if you step one foot out of line against City you'll get punished. You need to be bang on all the time. The two games last season were so marginal. The 0-0 at home and then the 2-1 defeat away when one went in off the post and one was cleared off the line. Tight as you like. Those sort of games can define a season these days.

"Last season City away was probably the one game when we looked back with disappointment and thought if we had done better there things would have been different [in the title race]."

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard said N'Golo Kante will resume training "in the next two or three days" as he steps up his recovery from a groin strain.

Kante missed Chelsea's 2-1 loss to Manchester United in the EFL Cup fourth round at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

The France international has not featured since injuring his groin during the warm-up ahead of his country's Euro 2020 qualifier against Iceland on October 14.

Lampard provided an update on Kante post-match and revealed the Chelsea star is set to return to training before Saturday's clash with Premier League strugglers Watford.

"Training in the next two or three days," Lampard told reporters. "Hopefully [before the international break]. It's important, he's a top player.

"I'd have liked to have given Jorginho and [Mateo] Kovacic a rest tonight because of the work they've put in, but I couldn't today because of N'Golo, Ross [Barkley] and Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] long-term. I couldn't make the changes I wanted to today. It is what it is."

Chelsea succumbed to Marcus Rashford's stunning 73rd-minute free-kick in London, where United moved through to the quarter-finals.

Michy Batshuayi had cancelled out Rashford's 25th-minute penalty after the hour before the United star stepped up and scored a jaw-dropping, Cristiano Ronaldo-esque set piece.

Lampard added: "We've had seven wins on the trot. We've had taxing games in the Champions League. We want to get into the next stage of that. Our form in the league has been really good.

"They're the priorities. But we want to win matches and give everything. Today, I had to look at my squad and who deserves minutes. The young players. The competition has an element of that for us.

"I saw a lot of things that were good for us for the future. A lot of positive things about us. I hate losing. We all do here. But there's a big picture here and a lot of big games to come, and a busy fixture list. Now we focus on what happens next."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer compared two-goal hero Marcus Rashford to Cristiano Ronaldo following his stunning free kick against Chelsea in the EFL Cup.

Rashford's spectacular 73rd-minute free kick sealed a 2-1 victory away to Chelsea and United's place in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Michy Batshuayi had cancelled out Rashford's 25th-minute penalty after the hour before the United star stepped up and scored a jaw-dropping, Ronaldo-esque set piece.

United great Ronaldo spent six years at Old Trafford, where he netted a number of free kicks as he won three Premier League titles and the Champions League before leaving in 2009.

"It's very Cristiano-like, isn't it?" Solskjaer told MUTV. "The boy has got nerves of steel, takes a penalty, no problem. Steps up and hits the ball like he does and wins us the game, fantastic. I think he works too much on [free-kicks]. I've always tried to get Marcus scoring the simple tap-ins and be inside the box, he always scores great goals Marcus, he practises and today he got his reward.

"Marcus has that strike in him. I've seen him in training so many times and it's got to be hitting the target soon, you think, because he's had a few efforts and finally it goes in. My first ever game when I came back at Cardiff he hit a ball from 30 yards, scored after three minutes, so he's encouraged to do more of that."

United defender Victor Lindelof also compared Rashford to five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo post match.

In a Tweet midweek, Lindelof posted almost identical pictures of Ronaldo and Rashford's free-kick routines, with the caption: "Sure I've seen that somewhere before…"

Wednesday maintained United's good form, which extended to three successive wins following a Premier League victory at Norwich City, having won their Europa League clash away to Partizan Belgrade.

"We're hitting form," Solskjaer told Sky Sports. "Of course, three wins in a row away from home now is good for the boys. We've travelled a lot the last week, but when you get the results, the team spirit, camaraderie, we stay together, so it shows the character of the team.

"We get the games where we want them, or we've been leading 1-0 many, many games this season but we haven't kicked on from there. I thought today we were excellent, counter-attacking football, fast-flowing forward passing, that's Man United and we're trying to get back to that."

Marcus Rashford believes Manchester United are "definitely going places" after their 2-1 EFL Cup victory over Chelsea on Wednesday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side made it three away wins in a row in all competitions thanks to Rashford's double at Stamford Bridge, which secured their place in the quarter-finals.

Rashford, who missed a penalty before scoring in the weekend's 3-1 Premier League win at Norwich City, broke the deadlock from the spot in the first half and secured the win with a spectacular free-kick after Michy Batshuayi had drawn Chelsea level.

The Red Devils appeared to be facing a crisis when they lost 1-0 to struggling Newcastle United on October 6, but they claimed a creditable 1-1 draw with Liverpool before their three-game winning run on the road.

Their upturn in form has left Rashford feeling confident that better times are on the horizon.

"We have been in a tough place," he told Sky Sports. "We are still getting through that phase and the only way to do it is to fight your way through it.

"The main focus for us is just improvement and development because we are definitely going places.

"We have done a lot of good work. The start of the season wasn't exactly what we expected but we have got to get through it and get back to winning games."

Rashford's decisive strike, his fifth career goal against Chelsea, was a stunning free-kick from 30 yards out that dipped and swerved past the helpless Willy Caballero.

The England international says training with the EFL Cup ball gave him the belief to try his luck from distance.

"To be honest, it was the balls," he said. "When we were training with them and we were shooting, there was this up-and-down motion and they can go anywhere. Thankfully, today it went in the top corner. It is a positive day."

Rashford was also relieved to keep his cool from the penalty spot, having been denied by Tim Krul against Norwich.

"You always step forward to take it and when the moment comes it is just about trying to be relaxed. Thankfully, today I was," he added.

"It made the game a little bit easier for us but the second goal was the one that killed the game."

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