Ole Gunnar Solskjaer again compared Marcus Rashford to Cristiano Ronaldo after Manchester United's win over Newcastle United.

Rashford scored his 11th Premier League goal of the season – his best tally in a campaign – in the 4-1 Boxing Day victory at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer has compared the 22-year-old to former United star Ronaldo previously and the manager did so again after Rashford's superb header.

"He is a physical specimen. He's looking after himself, working hard in the gym," he told a news conference.

"When you've got that spring, it's just about having courage and getting up there.

"I remember a boy I used to play with that used to head it quite well when he was close to goal. And we compare them quite often.

"So, that's another string to his bow Marcus that Cristiano used to get when he was getting to that age as well."

Anthony Martial netted a brace and Mason Greenwood also scored against Newcastle, who had taken the lead through Matty Longstaff.

Martial is up to six goals in the Premier League this season and Solskjaer said his team needed to make better use of the France forward.

"The key is to give him the ball. He's not going to be the one who runs down the channels all day long," he said.

"We need to give him the ball and feed him. I think the boys have said that many times themselves. We need to feed Anthony more, play forward more and into the frontmen.

"Especially Anthony, it's important for him to touch the ball a lot then he feels in the game. Today was almost the same goal as he scored against [Manchester] City, down to the bottom with his left foot. It could have been his hat-trick."

United are seventh, four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, and make the trip to Burnley on Saturday.

Manchester United return to winning ways as Anthony Martial scored twice in a 4-1 triumph over a generous Newcastle United side at Old Trafford.

Having lost 2-0 to then-bottom Watford last time out, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side appeared to be suffering a Christmas hangover when they fell behind to Matty Longstaff's 17th-minute opener on Boxing Day.

Manchester United's defence had been given an early reprieve when Dwight Gayle carelessly blazed over when clean through, but Longstaff – scorer of the only goal in the reverse fixture back in early October – made them pay, collecting Joelinton's layoff before angling a low shot beyond David de Gea.

However, any thoughts Steve Bruce may have harboured of completing a league double over his former club had disappeared by half-time.

Martial drew the home side level when his low first-time shot from Andreas Pereira's cushioned pass crept in at the near post, the ball squeezing beyond Martin Dubravka to reach the net.

Newcastle then gifted the hosts a second, their attempts to play their way out of trouble only seeing Fabian Schar play a pass straight across his own penalty area to Mason Greenwood, who let loose a thumping left-footed drive that flashed beyond Dubravka with the aid of a slight deflection.

Marcus Rashford climbed above Schar to head home Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s inviting cross and make it 3-1 by the interval, while Martial added a fourth when converting a one-on-one opportunity early in the second half.

The Frenchman was once again the beneficiary of a present from the visitors, played clear by Sean Longstaff's under-hit back pass. Denied a hat-trick by a post, he was withdrawn with the crowded festive fixture list in mind.

Marcus Rashford can do "much, much more" and still has plenty of scope to mature into a better player, Manchester United team-mate Nemanja Matic says.

Rashford has scored 14 goals for United in all competitions in 2019-20, which is already his best return for a whole season in senior football.

The 22-year-old has emerged as something of a leader in manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's young side and has been a consistent performer amid a hugely up-and-down few months for the team at Old Trafford.

Matic, though, thinks Rashford can still become a much better player, provided he is given time to develop.

"Marcus has great potential," he told Omnisport. "He's a great guy also off the pitch, but I think he hasn't used all his qualities yet. He needs to mature more and I can say every year, every month, he's getting better and better.

"I think in the future, in the next two or three years, he will show what he can really achieve because he can do much, much more in my opinion. But he's still young. We can't expect him to play 40 games at the same level because he's still young, still learning, he's still developing his body, his mentality.

"He can be one of the best strikers in the world, for sure."

United have mostly performed well against stronger opponents this season, beating Tottenham and Manchester City this month, but Sunday's 2-0 loss to bottom-of-the-table Watford underlined their struggles against the Premier League's so-called lesser lights.

Matic thinks the playing field has mostly levelled in England's top flight, though, given the amount of funds at the disposal of the clubs.

"I think every year the Premier League improves," he said. "Top-six teams have always been top six and they always play good football. They always had the best players but, over the last 10 years in the Premier League, I think the small clubs have improved a lot.

"They've started to invest more. Even the clubs who fight to stay in the league, they can buy players for 30, 40million. I think the standards in the Premier League are higher and that's why the big teams find it very hard now to win. I think this is good for football, good for the Premier League and I think in the future it will be even harder for the top teams."

Former United stars have been quick to criticise the current team when on duty as television pundits, something Matic thinks can be unfair at times when it is focused on the younger players.

"I think it's their job if they go on television, it's their job to say something," he said. "Sometimes they say the truth, probably; sometimes they criticise the younger players, which isn't good, in my opinion, especially if you're an ex-player of Manchester United and you criticise the players and you know you've been there 10, 15, 20 years ago.

"You have to help the players if you can. But they probably get money to work there and they have to say something. To be honest, I don't watch that much, when I see some clips or something, yeah, but I know what my job is and for me, the most important opinion is my coach, my club. If they're happy with my work, that's it."

Matic has watched former Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard enjoy an encouraging first season as Chelsea head coach, and the Serbia international is thrilled to see him making the most of a challenging role.

"I'm very happy because I saw Lampard, I saw Petr Cech is back at the club and I think it's very important for Chelsea because they know what Chelsea is, they have experience in football, and I'm happy that they are there," Matic added.

"I'm sure they can help the team and if you speak about Frank, I played with him, and he's great, a great person, he was amazing as a player, as you know, and I'm sure that he will improve Chelsea and he will do great. I wish him all the best."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said his Manchester United players are looking forward to "a nice little draw" after they were pitted against Manchester City in the EFL Cup semi-finals following their 3-0 win over Colchester United.

Goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial either side of a Ryan Jackson own goal ensured the Red Devils made light work of their League Two opponents at Old Trafford, but Solskjaer felt his players let their standards slip across the course of the game.

Colchester held Crystal Palace and Tottenham to draws before beating both sides on penalties in earlier rounds of the competitions and Solskjaer was more impressed by his side's performance in a goalless first half against the U's than he was after the interval.

"We dominated, created chances, but you're never sure until you get the first goal," said the former United striker.

"They've had 0-0 against Palace and Tottenham, they are a good, hard team to break down. We created enough chances first half to put it to bed but then at least we got goals in the second half.

"If we kept playing like the first half I would have been happy but in the second half we were miles worse.

"We created more chances in the first half, we dominated, we were more patient; second half we did not make as many good decisions but we scored the goals."

United will play City in the semi-final over two legs, during weeks commencing January 6 and 27.

Solskjaer's men beat City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium on December 7 and the United boss seemed pleased with the draw.

"You always want to win trophies and you want to win games and we got a nice little draw," he said.

"It'll be exciting times coming up.

"I don't feel anything is written in the stars; you just work hard, take what you get and do the best out of it.

"We've shown before that we can do well against City and teams like that."

Marcus Rashford said he is "bang up for another derby" after Manchester United were paired with rivals Manchester City in the EFL Cup semi-finals.

Both clubs knocked out lower-league opposition on Wednesday to set up a two-legged meeting in the last four, with the matches set to be played in January 2020.

Rashford starred in a comfortable 3-0 victory over Colchester United at Old Trafford, extending his fine run of form by scoring his 14th club goal of the season.

The England striker was also on target when United recorded a shock 2-1 win against Premier League champions City at the Etihad Stadium earlier this month.

Rashford has a strong record in the derby having also hit the winner in the fixture during his breakthrough campaign at United.

The 22-year-old is looking forward to the next chapter of one of football's historic rivalries.

"Made to work for it but job done tonight getting into semis," Rashford wrote on Twitter after United's defeat of Colchester midweek.

"Bang up for another derby too. Best games to play. Best games to win."

United's last EFL Cup title was in the 2016-17 season when they beat Southampton in the final.

City have won the tournament in three of the past four years, including each of the past two seasons.

Marcus Rashford scored his fourth goal in five games as Manchester United netted three times in 10 second-half minutes to beat Colchester United 3-0 in the EFL Cup quarter-finals.

After Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men put the Old Trafford faithful through a drab first half in which they failed to make 80 per cent of the possession count, Rashford broke the deadlock six minutes into the second period with a fine solo effort.

Rashford would have had a second five minutes later had Colchester's Ryan Jackson not put through his own net, and the in-form forward then provided an assist for Anthony Martial to score his seventh goal of the season in all competitions.

The flurry of goals was no less than the Red Devils deserved for a fluid second-half display, with Colchester, who are ninth in League Two, made to pay for errors that had been absent in penalty shoot-out victories over Crystal Palace and Tottenham earlier in the competition.

Rashford sent a free-kick dipping wide from an acute angle early on, and Colchester goalkeeper Dean Gerken was then forced into a low reflex save when the England man's cross was deflected goalwards by Brandon Comley.

Colchester defended with 11 players behind the ball for much of the first half and, in doing so, exposed Anthony Martial's limitations as a target man, the France international's presence largely nullified by the visitors' packed, physical rearguard.

When Martial did receive the ball in space on the cusp of half-time, he hit a swerving shot from 20 yards that whistled narrowly wide of the top corner.

Ryan Jackson missed a one-on-one wtih Sergio Romero early in the second half whereafter Nemanja Matic immediately released Rashford, who burst through on goal, skipped across the penalty area, with Colchester defenders scrambling, and lashed the ball high into the net from 12 yards.

The second soon followed when Mason Greenwood's dangerous cross from the right hit Jackson's thigh and dropped into the net, with Rashford lurking.

The third was the pick of the bunch, Juan Mata sending a curling, weighted pass to Rashford's feet in the box, where the forward crossed first time for Martial to bundle home.

The visitors improved in the final 20 minutes and two chances fell to striker Luke Norris, but the best he could muster was a shot into Romero's midriff as the minnows' fine run ended without a consolation goal.
 

What does it mean? Silverware in sight for Solskjaer

In a season that has at times been gruelling for Solskjaer, winning any trophy would feel represent significant success, and he will hope the likes of Rashford and Martial can maintain the sharpness they are showing in front of goal going into the semi-finals.

Rashford leads the line

On an evening when it took him a few fluffed chances to get his eye in, Rashford kept up his recent habit of turning games in Manchester United's favour with an opening goal that oozed confidence.

Jackson goes from dangerous to bad

A matter of moments after he looked set to score a goal that would have been the crowning moment of his career, Colchester full-back Jackson could only watch as Rashford exploited the space he left vacant to score with ease.

What's next?

Solskjaer takes his men to Watford on Sunday for a clash with the Premier League's bottom club, giving United the chance to go seven top-flight games unbeaten. Colchester are at home to Carlisle United in League Two on Saturday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer compared Manchester United's current strike force to the combination of Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez as he hailed the versatility of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Daniel James.

Rashford and Martial were on target as United beat Manchester City in last weekend's derby at the Etihad Stadium, and Solskjaer believes the young England forward is showing signs he can follow in the footsteps of five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo.

Solskjaer and Ronaldo spent four years together as players at Old Trafford, before the Norwegian worked with his former team-mate as a forwards coach, and few people are better placed to compare the Juventus star with Rashford.

Speaking about the fluid movement and interchanging positional play of Rashford, Martial and James, Solskjaer told Sky Sports: "I think that's a big strength of ours as a team.

"If Marcus runs in behind, Anthony will get some space because it stretches the opponent. It can be the opposite way around too, with Anthony and Dan running in behind and Marcus coming to feet to get on the ball.

"I see this attack as being quite similar to the one we had with Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez, with the interchanging of positions and the fast, flowing football."

Under Solskjaer, Rashford has equalled his best Premier League goal return in a single season within the first half of the 2019-20 campaign.

Rashford's 10th league goal of the season came from the penalty spot against City and Solskjaer praised the 22-year-old's versatility while drawing comparisons with Ronaldo, who played on the wing and as a striker during his time in Manchester.

"Of course it's hard to say with certainty that he's going to be as good as Cristiano, but you can see the similarities more and more in terms of Marcus' traits on the pitch," said Solskjaer.

"He can play through the middle, he can play as a number nine, he can cut inside from the left and finish. He can even play on the right, as Cristiano did when he came here. He's got the same physical stature and more or less all of his attributes are very, very similar. Even their stats are similar, in terms of goals scored after a certain amount of games."

"You have to remember that, as well as playing with Cristiano, I coached him in my first year as a forwards coach here," he added.

"Both players are very professional, very dedicated, very in love with football. And you can see that Marcus is getting more of a taste for that now, both with us and with England. He is pushing himself and seeing the results."

Marcus Rashford labelled Ole Gunnar Solskjaer comparing him to Cristiano Ronaldo as "nice", but the Manchester United forward said he still had a way to go to reach those heights.

Rashford was compared to Ronaldo by his manager after starring in United's 2-1 Premier League win over Manchester City last week.

But while happy with such talk, the 22-year-old said he needed to improve to match the five-time Ballon d'Or winner and United great.

"The Ronaldo thing was nice, definitely a compliment," Rashford told BBC Sport.

"But I understand how far I've got left to go to reach the heights he reached so I am very clear-minded and focused on myself."

Rashford came through the academy at United and has already made 191 senior appearances for the Premier League giants, scoring 58 goals.

The forward has a painting on the walls at Carrington after coming through the youth system and Rashford said he knew the responsibility he held.

"It is a bit overwhelming but it is the process of development. The players I looked up to are obviously older now. The younger players look up to us," he said.

"The transition happens so fast. When I understood that, my perception of that picture changed a little bit.

"When I was younger and saw people such as [David] Beckham and [Paul] Scholes on the walls, it gave me that determination every time you went to training. I wanted to reach those heights. I knew they were on the other side of the building, training every day and working hard. I was so far away from them but so close at the same time.

"It's happening now where people like me and Scotty [McTominay] are an example to some of the academy lads who are coming in. It will be the same in a few years' time, when it's the next lot of kids.

"While that happens, I don't see United's breeding of players slowing down."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Marcus Rashford can reach the level of superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Rashford continued his excellent form to start the season with another goal in United's stunning 2-1 derby win at Premier League champions Manchester City on Saturday.

The 22-year-old United and England star has scored 13 goals this term – 10 of those coming in the Premier League.

And Solskjaer backed Rashford to emulate five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo, who claimed three Premier League titles and the Champions League with United before leaving for Real Madrid in 2009.

"It's very easy to compare the two of them, yeah," said United boss Solskjaer. "Both with skills, body shape, attitude, attributes - everything.

"The boy [Rashford] has every chance in the world to become a top, top player. Let's hope he continues like this.

"I don't want to talk about the amount of goals. As long as he keeps being positive and being direct and thinking about getting in front of the goal and getting chances, he'll score goals."

United – up to fifth in the Premier League standings following wins over City and Tottenham – welcome Everton to Old Trafford on Sunday.

Not before United face AZ in their sixth and final Group L Europa League fixture on Thursday.

Manchester United have the firepower to push for a top-four finish in the Premier League, says Harry Maguire, but the defender stated Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side must not get ahead of themselves.

United claimed their second successive victory as they secured a 2-1 derby victory over Manchester City on Saturday, three days after defeating Tottenham - managed by former boss Jose Mourinho - by the same scoreline.

The wins have taken United up to fifth, five points shy of fourth-place Chelsea, who on Saturday lost 3-1 to managerless Everton - United's next opponents in the league.

With Marcus Rashford having already matched his total tally of league goals from last season and Anthony Martial having netted what proved to be the winner against City, Maguire believes United's frontline has the quality to push them towards Champions League qualification.

However, the England centre-back is adamant United's squad will stay grounded, with the league outside of the top four still heavily congested.

"I think you need to look after your own results, don't look elsewhere, keep winning games," Maguire told Sky Sports. "We've won back-to-back games against Spurs and City. We've got another big game next week now.

"The top four is in sight but we just keep looking after our own results, keep trying to get the three points and keep improving.

"Over the last month or so, I feel like as a defender I look at the forwards and think they're going to score goals.

"At the start of the season, we didn't really score more than one goal in a game but now I think it's a few games on the spin where we're back to scoring goals.

"They're a big threat, they're top players, great talent and I think it's all coming together now."

Before hosting Everton on Sunday, United face AZ in their final Europa League group match, with an EFL Cup quarter-final against Colchester United coming up prior to the festive period.

Pep Guardiola conceded Manchester City could not live with the pace of Manchester United's attacking players in Saturday's 2-1 derby defeat.

Visitors United constantly exposed their opponents on the counter at the Etihad Stadium, helping them move into a two-goal lead inside the opening half-hour.

Marcus Rashford won and then converted a penalty before Anthony Martial fired in a second after being picked out by Daniel James.

Guardiola talked up United's counter-attacking threat on the eve of the match, but the City head coach has admitted his side ultimately had no answer to the trio.

"I like how my team played," he said at his post-match news conference. "We conceded a little bit more space - not more than usual, but more than last year against United.

"We knew about the pace they have, with James, Martial and Rashford, but sometimes it is not possible to control it."

Nicolas Otamendi pulled a goal back for City five minutes from the end, but there was to be no comeback for the reigning champions as their title hopes were dealt another blow.

"In general, we did what we like," Guardiola added. "We arrived in the final third many, many, many, many times. 

"Unfortunately, we couldn't finish a little bit more, but I like to watch my team. I know nobody agrees but I like it."

Third-place City are now 14 points adrift of leaders Liverpool, who beat Bournemouth 3-0 earlier on Saturday, and travel to Arsenal for their next league outing.

The home loss means Guardiola has the lowest points tally after 16 games of a season in his senior coaching career, but he is not surprised by the drop-off in form since last term.

"Sometimes it happens," he added. "Sometimes you don't win and the others are better and you lose. Normal is not winning the league always, sometimes you lose.

"It is important not to give up and try to do what we do as a team. All the games we play a season we play the game I want my team to play. 

"After that, the counter-attacks, the final third, when we struggle in some departments okay, it's part of the process. Maybe next season we will be better."

Marcus Rashford believes racism has become a "big negative" in the United Kingdom after Manchester United players appeared to be targets of discriminatory abuse in Saturday's derby, while Gary Neville pointed the finger at politicians for creating such a climate.

United claimed a 2-1 win that left rivals Manchester City's title defence in tatters, but the contest was marred by an incident in the second half.

While waiting to take a corner, several projectiles were thrown from a section of the Etihad Stadium crowd towards Fred, who was hit by one object.

During the same break in play, one fan appeared to make racist gestures towards the midfielder, with United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer later calling for a lifetime ban for anyone found to have abused Fred or Jesse Lingard, who was nearby.

City confirmed they are working with police to investigate the incident and said they will issue life bans to anyone found guilty of racial behaviour.

Rashford – who was targeted with racist social media comments earlier in the season – rued the frequency at which such incidents are occurring in the country.

"We seem to be speaking about it an awful lot over the last six to eight months," Rashford told the BBC. "Even speaking about it now is not nice.

"The necessary departments need to do the right things to stop it in the game. It is a big negative in the sport and the country."

Former United captain Neville, now a television pundit, suggested part of the blame lies with politicians and pointed to comments about immigration in a pre-election debate as a possible way in which discriminatory behaviour is fuelled.

"You're watching the debate last night [Friday] where the prime minister is talking about immigration, people coming into this country and having to have certain levels - it fuels it [racism] all the time," Neville said on Sky Sports.

It's March 2016. Excitement and expectation are through the roof for one particular teenager ahead of his first Manchester derby.

The local lad had already risen to the occasion in the Europa League and against Arsenal, but this was a far bigger deal for the 18-year-old who'd grown up a Manchester United fan.

Marcus Rashford started in attack with Antony Martial and their pace and mobility proving a lethal combination, particularly with respect to the former.

Highlighting his ice-cold mentality on the big stage, Rashford was decisive. Roasting Manchester City defender Martin Demichelis in the 16th minute, the striker nutmegged him at pace and left the experienced centre-back for dead before clinically dispatching past Joe Hart.

If onlookers hadn't sat up and taken notice already after his heroics against Arsenal and Midtjylland, they were now. Rashford proved he was no mere flash in the pan.

A leader's mentality

Since that bright debut derby, Rashford has gone on to feature another seven times against City and he'll be desperate to leave is mark in Saturday's clash. It is the sort of occasion that has started to typify his status as a big-game player with an elite mentality.

Rashford's most recent Manchester derby came in April, as City comfortably dispatched of United 2-0 at Old Trafford. It was this encounter that seemed to suggest their wretched form after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's permanent appointment was anything but a blip.

More than anyone, Rashford was scathing of United.

"It was quite clear who the better team was," Rashford said to Sky Sports. "We didn't play like Man United and the last few weeks it hasn't felt like Man United. It's not right. The bare minimum should be to work hard and give your all for the supporters and the badge.

"We need the mentality and willingness of running for your team. We never call each other out but we have to be real with each other. It's a matter of trying to improve each other."

While some may have put Rashford's comments down to 'holier than thou' posturing in an attempt to win a new contract, which duly arrived in July, there's little doubt he is now the talisman that should be speaking out.

Motivation an issue?

Rashford has become the player many fans are still hoping Martial will develop into. With nine goals in 15 Premier League matches, the England international is already just one behind his personal best for a full campaign.

With 12 goals in his past 13 matches for club and country, Rashford is in the form of his life – yet even as recently as this season he has been a target for criticism.

It has been suggested he struggles to make the difference against opponents who sit back, the games United are expected to control and data backs this up.

In 85 matches against teams not in the current top four or traditionally part of the so-called 'big six', Rashford has scored just 19 times, an average of one every 275.9 minutes.

It's a record that does raise valid concerns – after all, the best strikers score against pretty much everyone and anyone.

At home on the big stage

But what highlights Rashford's true ability and gives a clear insight to his mindset is the forward's record against the biggest clubs.

In 41 Premier League meetings against the 'big six' and Leicester, he has an impressive haul of 17 goals, one every 163.4 minutes.

Rashford's effectiveness in front of goal increases remarkably in such matches. Even though his shot frequency goes down from one every 28.8 minutes to 39.1 minutes, his accuracy is boosted significantly.

Against the biggest sides, Rashford's shot accuracy rises to 48 per cent from 40 per cent, while his chance conversion increases from 10 per cent to 24 per cent.

Rashford proved his decisiveness last time out against Tottenham and former manager Jose Mourinho, who often did little good for his confidence.

He suggested United generally do better against teams who don't invite pressure on to themselves – backed up by the fact they've only lost two of 11 matches against the rest of the 'big six' and Leicester.

And with a City side that hasn't kept a clean sheet in the Premier League for nearly two months next up, Rashford has another chance to prove any lingering doubters he's worthy of being regarded United's new talisman.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer encouraged Marcus Rashford to maintain his impressive scoring form as he urged Manchester United to show consistency in Saturday's derby.

United head to the Etihad Stadium with renewed belief following their 2-1 midweek win over Tottenham but will again be without the injured Paul Pogba, who has not played since September.

Anthony Martial will be available, albeit potentially from the bench, as United seek to make a dent in Manchester City's title aspirations.

Rashford scored both goals against Spurs and has now been directly involved in 14 goals in his past 13 games for club and country, having found net the freely since mid-October.

His pace on the counter will be crucial to United's hopes of breaking down a side that has not kept a clean sheet in eight attempts, and manager Solskjaer backed the England international to continue blossoming as a reliable goalscorer.

"He's doing that at the moment," said the United boss.

"How he didn't get the goal against Aston Villa is beyond me but he's consistently scoring now. It's not like four in one and two or three without. It's not just in spurts and that's encouraging.

"He's consistently getting chances and getting into better positions. On Wednesday he was unbelievable and we want to see that again."

Solskjaer sought to extract the same response from Rashford's team-mates after United ended a three-match winless streak with the Old Trafford triumph over Tottenham.

United have not won consecutive Premier League matches since March.

"We're going away against arguably the best team in England, so of course it's going to be a difficult game but we need consistency," Solskjaer said.

"I said it before the Tottenham game, everyone was doom and gloom, but it's a chance to turn that doubt into belief and for us, if we can manage to get another performance, the confidence [will grow].

"The way we played against Tottenham, if we can do that at the Etihad I'm sure we can come out of it with a result.

"People say: 'Why do you not have better results in other games?' But the Premier League is hard, no matter who you play, it's margins. I think it's a compliment to the league."

Solskjaer said he hoped midfielder Pogba would return from his long-running ankle injury before the end of December.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lauded Marcus Rashford after his brace led the Red Devils to a 2-1 win over Jose Mourinho's Tottenham in the Premier League.

Mourinho's return to Old Trafford was an unhappy one as Rashford's match-winning performance snapped the former United manager's 100 per cent record since replacing Mauricio Pochettino.

Rashford opened the scoring in the sixth minute before converting a 49th-minute penalty after Dele Alli had equalised prior to half-time.

The 22-year-old Rashford took his Premier League tally to nine goals this season and 12 across all competitions, earning post-match praise from Solskjaer.

"The boy is 22 and today he played like he was in a back yard or garden, a playground with his mates," Solskjaer told reporters. "He's just enjoyed himself.

"Sometimes maybe the expectations and pressure on him… we do expect a lot from him because he's showed it so many times. We want them to enjoy themselves, we want them to go out there and face players, take them on with no fear of losing it.

"I love to watch that and that's what the Stretford End loves to watch. Man United fans love to watch wingers or forwards play with courage."

Solskjaer also hailed midfielder Scott McTominay, who starred on his return from injury as United climbed into the Premier League's top six – leapfrogging Tottenham.

McTominay had missed three matches, but the Scotland international proved his fitness before Mourinho's midweek Manchester reunion.

"We can almost say he's undroppable at the moment, definitely," Solskjaer said of McTominay. "There's no chance I wasn't going to try and push him through for this game.

"The physical presence and leadership he gives us in midfield also releases Fred. I thought Fred was excellent today, the one chance they had he blocked. I thought Fred was top class and they're a good partnership.

"[McTominay] trained yesterday and that was just a light session with the reserves but he's a tough boy. There's no chance he's going to say 'no thanks' if he felt okay. It's the first time I've really pushed on players who haven't had the foundation but he's so fit anyway."

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