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."

Jose Mourinho might well have had empathy for his Manchester United successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had Tottenham raided Old Trafford for maximum spoils.

The Portuguese knows more than most about the scrutiny and pressure that comes with the United manager's job, himself seen off by an awful stretch this time last year that provided neither style nor substance.

For Solskjaer, Mourinho's return will be followed by a trip to Manchester City, and the twin fixtures looked a daunting dual threat to a team and manager who before the Tottenham game were winless in three across all competitions.

At kick-off, Solskjaer was second favourite with the bookmakers to be the next Premier League manager sacked, trailing only Marco Silva, the struggling Everton boss who could not ended his team's Anfield derby hoodoo.

But rather than bury the United great, Spurs - this uncharacteristically unpredictable early Mourinho outfit - granted Solskjaer a reprieve, with his future prospects also belatedly boosted by a determined home display.

Supporters certainly seemed to have Solskjaer's back, still raucously chanting his name throughout, and United had, in Marcus Rashford, the star of the show.

Greater concerns surely belonged to Tottenham fans.

The usual stingy defending of a Mourinho team has not yet replaced the haphazard backline efforts of the final throes of Mauricio Pochettino's reign, while even the encouraging attacking endeavours of matches one, two and three - 3-2, 4-2 and 3-2 wins - did not materialise here.

Dele Alli scored a masterful 39th-minute equaliser, teed up with a touch reminiscent of his breathtaking 2016 goal against Crystal Palace, but the rest of his work was of underwhelming 2018-19 humdrum.

Unable to get his recent star performer into the game, just about everything went against Mourinho besides that leveller.

At the same end of the stadium where little over a year earlier, three weeks before his departure, Mourinho fumed at a Rashford miss against Young Boys and drew the ire of United commentators, the England striker laid early siege to Paulo Gazzaniga's Spurs goal.

Rashford's first strike provided the opener, creeping under Gazzaniga at the goalkeeper's right-hand post. A free-kick from Rashford was then whipped wide, and Gazzaniga touched a magnificent long-range effort against the crossbar before batting away a fourth attempt from United's main threat.

Mourinho, meanwhile, took a blow to the knee as Harry Winks cynically chopped down Daniel James in front of the dugout - an incident that granted the Spurs head coach a greater role in proceedings to that point than Alli, stifled and increasingly frustrated.

The attacking midfielder's stunning strike should have roused Tottenham but half-time intervened, and then so too did Moussa Sissoko, a man who painfully knows a thing or two about conceding penalties early in halves.

The felled Rashford tucked away the spot-kick for his 12th club goal of the campaign and, again, it was difficult not to be reminded of Mourinho's failure to get the best out of such a gifted player. The striker represents one check next to Solskjaer's name.

Much huffing and puffing followed from both teams, with United just about on top, but neither outfit truly convinced that their issues are behind them.

Unlike at times under Mourinho, United were indeed united, battling until the final whistle - led by Fred and the returning Scott McTominay - to protect the advantage secured by Rashford. Three points should ensure Solskjaer sees out the week, while a reality check might serve Tottenham well.

There is work to do for both United and Mourinho, long since separated, but each at least seem happier than at this time 12 months ago.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed a dominant first-half performance from Manchester United against Tottenham, describing it as his side's best display "for a long time".

United were winless in three in all competitions coming into a first meeting with Jose Mourinho since his sacking as their manager at Old Trafford.

But Solskjaer's men ended Mourinho's winning start at Spurs with a 2-1 success, scoring early in both halves through the inspired Marcus Rashford.

Dele Alli scored a wonderful equaliser six minutes before half-time, which Solskjaer acknowledged was tough to take after controlling the game to that point.

"Especially first half, that's probably the best we've played for a long time," he told Prime Video. "We dominated the game and could have, should have finished the game there and then.

"There were some great saves by their keeper, but they get the goal right before half-time and you think about getting in here, settling all the heads and going again."

The United manager added: "We're best when we're on the front foot, we're best when we attack quickly, we're best when we're aggressive. I thought the boys followed the plan and executed their skills all night."

Solskjaer praised a "fantastic performance" from Rashford, who drew several further saves from Paulo Gazzaniga.

Rashford was delighted to deliver against another 'Big Six' side, although he recognised United must still make progress against lesser opponents, having drawn with Sheffield United and Aston Villa in their previous two league matches. 

"I think that's the hardest we've had to work to get a result," he said. "But with the position we're in now, we want these games.

"We want to show people we can play against the top teams. We know we need to improve against the other teams. Game by game, we're trying to improve."

Marcus Rashford netted a double as Manchester United earned a 2-1 Premier League win at home to Tottenham on Jose Mourinho's return to Old Trafford.

Spurs had won their three matches across all competitions since Mourinho was appointed as Mauricio Pochettino's replacement last month, but they slipped to defeat on Wednesday after a below-par showing.

Rashford put United ahead and, after a superb individual effort from Dele Alli levelled the scores, the striker converted a penalty to end United's three-game winless run.

Victory moves Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men above Spurs and into the top six in the table, denying Mourinho - sacked by United a year ago - the chance to be the first Tottenham manager to win his first three Premier League games in charge.

United took the lead in the sixth minute, Rashford profiting from a series of ricochets to beat Paulo Gazzaniga at his near post, the goalkeeper making a poor effort to keep the shot out.

Gazzaniga improved by blocking a Mason Greenwood strike before tipping Rashford's swerving long-range drive on to the crossbar as United continued to dominate.

Spurs equalised out of nowhere before the break, though, Alli's sensational first touch deceiving both Fred and Ashley Young, with the midfielder then slotting in his fourth goal in three games.

Rashford restored United's advantage early in the second half, tucking away a penalty he won himself by being clumsily brought down by Moussa Sissoko.

Fred made a good block to repel a Son Heung-min shot, but it was United who continued to make the running, Gazzaniga denying Daniel James twice in quick succession.

David de Gea was called into action late on but comfortable saves from Serge Aurier, substitute Tanguy Ndombele and Alli ensured United closed out victory.
 

What does it mean? Mourinho suffers first Spurs loss

Spurs had a perfect record under Mourinho, but in this game they were well off the pace, needing a moment of magic from the resurgent Alli to undeservedly go into the interval all square.

But Sissoko's lack of concentration immediately after the restart allowed Rashford to restore United's lead and thereafter the result was not in doubt.


Reliable Rashford maintains hot streak

Anthony Martial's latest injury meant Rashford played off the left to accommodate teenager Greenwood in a central role, but the England striker continued to be United's main man in attack.

In his past 10 games for club and country, Rashford has scored nine times, drawing only two blanks.


Gazzaniga tries in vain to atone for error

Still deputising for injured captain Hugo Lloris, Gazzaniga made a series of saves that would usually have made for a good individual performance. Unfortunately, his misjudgement of Rashford's early strike left Spurs with it all to do at Old Trafford.


What's next?

Solskjaer's side make a short trip for a derby clash with Manchester City on Saturday. Spurs host Burnley on the same day.

In August 2018, Mauricio Pochettino guided Tottenham to a 3-0 victory over Jose Mourinho's Manchester United at Old Trafford.

In hindsight, it was a defeat that appeared to signal the beginning of the end for Mourinho at United, with the Portuguese coach sacked four months later, replaced – initially on a temporary basis – by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Pochettino was heavily linked with the United hot seat, but Solskjaer's impressive run earned him the job permanently. But while Spurs went on to reach a Champions League final, the Red Devils' form dropped off dramatically.

Now, 16 months on from that clash at Old Trafford, Mourinho returns to his former stomping ground for the first time since his December 2018 sacking, having taken over from Pochettino at Spurs – who dismissed the former Argentina international following a poor start to 2019-20.

Two 3-2 wins on the bounce in the league, either side of a 4-2 comeback victory over Olympiacos in the Champions League, have seen Tottenham climb up to fifth place, two points above United, who could only draw with Aston Villa on Sunday.

Can Mourinho show his old side just what they are missing, or will Solskjaer prove his credentials in a match over which the spectre of Pochettino could loom large.

 

THE 'SPECIAL ONE' RETURNS

Glory in the EFL Cup and Europa League made Mourinho's first year in charge of United a successful one, though those were the only major trophies he won during his stint in Manchester.

After finishing second – well behind neighbours Manchester City – in Mourinho's sophomore year, United's form tailed off at the start of the former Chelsea boss' final campaign in charge.

Their home defeat to Tottenham followed on from a loss at Brighton and Hove Albion, while they also went down to both West Ham and City as they suffered four defeats from their opening 12 matches.

A run of three successive draws against Crystal Palace, Southampton and Arsenal paved the way for a 3-1 reverse at Liverpool to result in Mourinho's departure.

But after almost a year out of management, he was handed a way back into the big time with Spurs, who seem rejuvenated – albeit still with some glaring weaknesses – and Mourinho is now aiming to become just the third manager to win a Premier League away game at Old Trafford with two different clubs.

United, on the other hand, have managed just four league victories this season and head into Wednesday's encounter without a victory in three matches across all competitions.

In fact, since Solskjaer was appointed on a permanent basis on March 28, United have claimed all three points in just six Premier League games.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: MARCUS RASHFORD V HARRY KANE

One shining light for United in recent weeks has been the form of Marcus Rashford, who seems to have taken up the mantle of leading the Red Devils' youthful attack.

Meanwhile, Harry Kane's goals were not enough to save Pochettino's job, but the England captain is still as reliable as ever when presented with a chance.

Both players are on seven league goals for the season, with Rashford's 14 appearances one more than Kane.

Rashford has also played slightly more than Kane in terms of minutes, racking up 1,219 compared to the Tottenham striker's 1,165.

Kane is proving more efficient, with the 26-year-old scoring his seven goals from a total of 36 shots, resulting in a conversion rate of 19.44 per cent, while Rashford's rate stands at 16.67 per cent.

Not much separates the pair in terms of goal frequency – Kane edging this one with a strike every 166 minutes, compared to Rashford's 174.

However, Kane is the clear winner when it comes to expected goals. By this metric, Rashford (8.66) should be on at least eight goals for the campaign, while his opposite number at Spurs has only been expected to score five goals from the chances he has had this term.

FORM GUIDE

Pochettino managed two draws in his final matches in charge of Spurs, meaning Mourinho's side are now unbeaten in four league games.

Should Tottenham win, Mourinho will become their first manager to win his first three top-flight matches in charge. 

Dele Alli seems to have recaptured his best form, scoring twice and providing an assist in the two Premier League matches since Mourinho's arrival – as many as he had in his final 12 appearances under Pochettino.

United's haul of 18 points from their opening 14 Premier League matches this season means the Red Devils have endured their worst start to a domestic season since the 1988-89 campaign, when they also had 18 points and went on to finish 11th.

Both United and Tottenham are equal in one sense, however, with both having dropped 12 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season.

HISTORY SAYS…

United's hopes will not be boosted by the fact they have lost three of their past seven home league meetings against Spurs, after losing only two of their previous 36 at Old Trafford.

However, Tottenham have lost more Premier League games to United than against any other side, though Mourinho can take solace in knowing the away team won in both top-flight meetings last season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted his Manchester United players lacked composure after Jack Grealish's goal gave Aston Villa the lead in a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Red Devils turned the game around as Marcus Rashford forced a Tom Heaton own-goal and Victor Lindelof headed a second for the hosts, but Tyrone Mings plundered an equaliser to earn Villa a point.

The result left United with just two wins from their last nine Premier League matches and, while offering a reminder of the youthfulness of his team, Solskjaer pointed to a lack of composure during a disjointed first half.

"Any home game you'd want to win and you go into the game believing you'll win but you have to play an opposition and the first half wasn't good enough," said Solskjaer.

"Their first goal knocked us a little bit emotionally. We didn't find our composure until we got the half-time talk.

"The boys have character; they're young, there's loads of energy, they played [in the] second half miles, miles better of course but it's a game of two halves as everyone says.

"Poorly defended by us, we should have done better. But then again we have to learn from this. You say that after every goal you concede - there's little details that go wrong. We didn't go out together as a team."

United are ninth in the Premier League table, having lost four and drawn six of their 14 matches this season, and Solskjaer must prepare his players to face Tottenham at home on Wednesday before the Manchester derby at Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The former Red Devils striker gave an upbeat assessment of morale in the squad ahead of a week that could have a huge bearing on a faltering season and his own future at the club.

"These boys will improve and learn from this experience," said Solskjaer. "Of course we, as Man United, as a club, we don't like to be in the position we are but that's the reality now and we just take one game at a time.

"We've got Wednesday, we've got a big game coming up on Saturday again so these boys are looking forward to every game. Sometimes inconsistency will happen with young boys, ups and downs.

"You see in moments we play some fantastic football and at times it's too open. We failed to control the game at times, but we can't do anything about that now.

"We have to keep improving; we have to be better. We have to work on us as a team and becoming a better unit."

Tyrone Mings took advantage of Manchester United's sloppy defending to score his first Premier League goal as Aston Villa came from behind in a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford.

United had to chase the game after the impressive Jack Grealish opened the scoring 11 minutes into an error-strewn contest that saw the hosts equalise through a Tom Heaton own goal and then go ahead when Victor Lindelof scored for the first time this season.

Any hopes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had of seeing his side protect the lead were dashed within two minutes as the unmarked Mings volleyed home an equaliser from close range to help Villa claim a share of the points their performance deserved.

The result leaves United with one win from their last four domestic outings and, with Tottenham arriving in midweek before the Manchester derby against City on Saturday, Solskjaer must address problems in a defence that has not kept a clean sheet in nine league games.

United started brightly, winning midfield battles and launching swift attacks through Juan Mata, but they were caught on the counter 11 minutes in.

Anwar El Ghazi's cross from the Villa right floated beyond United's defenders and landed at the feet of Grealish, who cut inside Andreas Pereira before launching a shot that curled over the rooted David de Gea and found the top corner of the net.

But United were let off the hook for a poor first-half performance when Marcus Rashford found space in the box as Pereira hung a tantalising cross at the far post and the England forward's header bounced in off Heaton's arm.

United increased the tempo after the interval and they had the wind in their sails when Fred's cross was flicked to the far post by Villa striker Wesley for Lindelof to send a header back across Heaton's goal and into the far corner of the net.

But nobody marked Mings as Villa poured forward and the England defender - played onside by Brandon Williams - connected with Matt Targett's chipped ball into the box, lashing home a low volley that beat De Gea for power.

Solskjaer sent on Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood to try and force a winner but Dean Smith's men held firm, with Heaton saving from Fred before the final whistle.

What does it mean? Solskjaer on thin ice

United's results are forcing their board to contemplate the reality of a finish outside the top half of the Premier League and, with bosses dropping like flies at rival clubs, Solskjaer likely needs December victories to save his job.

Grealish's swagger serves Villa well

The confidence with which Grealish set about finding holes in the United defence seemed to fill his team-mates with the belief that they could get a result and while comparisons with Eric Cantona might be kind on the Birmingham-born playmaker, his goal was reminiscent of the Frenchman in his pomp.

Pereira's cross fails to paper over cracks

There is no denying the quality of the cross Pereira delivered to tee up United's equaliser but the Brazilian was otherwise ineffective, providing neither grit nor guile and giving Grealish an easy ride.

What's next?

United have a tough week ahead, with games against Tottenham at home in midweek and Manchester City away on Saturday, while Villa travel to Chelsea on Wednesday before entertaining Leicester City on Sunday.

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

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

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

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

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

RELENTLESS REDS MARCH ON AGAINST PALACE

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

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

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

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

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

MOURINHO BACK WITH A BANG

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

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

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

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

GUARDIOLA SETS UNWANTED RECORD IN CITY WIN

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

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

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

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

BRAMALL LANE DRAMA LEAVES SOLSKJAER WITH MIXED EMOTIONS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford insists there is no better manager for the club than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer despite suggestions they could be interested in Mauricio Pochettino.

Tottenham sacked Pochettino this week and replaced him with former United boss Jose Mourinho, with Spurs having won only four of their past 18 matches in all competitions.

There has been talk that United could consider turning to Pochettino to take over from Solskjaer, whose side have only managed two more points than Spurs from their opening 12 Premier League games of the season.

However, Rashford - who signed a new four-year contract in July – said Solskjaer's plans were part of the reason why he committed his future to the club.

"There was no hesitation from me over signing a new contract," he told Sky Sports News.

"And it was the same for Ole as well – I could see where his head was at, where he wanted the club to be at and for me it was just a no-brainer.

"We were on the same page and wanted the same things for the club. Ole is a great guy and he has the club's interests at heart so there's not a better person for the job in my opinion."

While he supports Solskjaer, Rashford admits he will not be happy if United end the season in the Premier League's top four but without winning a trophy.

The Red Devils have not won meaningful silverware since claiming the EFL Cup and Europa League in Mourinho's first term in charge in 2016-17.

With the Premier League title seemingly out of their reach already this season – leaders Liverpool are already 18 points ahead of United after 12 matches – Solskjaer's routes to success lie in the cup competitions.

There is pressure on United to return to the Champions League after failing to qualify last season, but Rashford does not think 2019-20 can be considered a success unless they also win at least one of the EFL Cup, FA Cup or Europa League.

"It's been a while," the England international added about United's barren run of titles. "If we come out of this season with top four but without a trophy, I wouldn't be happy.

"If we manage to get some trophies and get ourselves into the top four then, of course, it has been a successful season.

"For me, it is just about putting markers down for what we can do in the future because we know that this period is not going to change overnight, Ole's not going to get what he wants overnight.

"We have to bide our time and just be patient, as long as we keep working hard and believe in what we are doing – which I think the team do 100 per cent – then I think we will be fine."

Marcus Rashford believes England's "frightening" attacking talent can power the World Cup semi-finalists to a successful Euro 2020.

Gareth Southgate's side cruised through qualifying for next year's tournament, winning seven of eight matches and scoring 37 times.

Only once before – in 1908 – have England struck more goals in competitive matches in a calendar year than the 38 scored in 2019.

Question marks remain over certain positions in the starting XI but in Rashford, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling there looks to be a defined and dangerous attacking trio.

"I think it is a good combination," said Manchester United forward Rashford.

"But we have played games without that particular front three and it is frightening what we can do as a group of attackers.

"I think all of these games are just gearing you up for the summer and if we go into the summer anywhere near the sort of form we have been in recently then it will be a successful tournament."

Rashford was among the scorers as England signed off from qualifying with a 4-0 win over Kosovo on Sunday.

Jadon Sancho, Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi, who started in Pristina, are among those pressing for spots, while Jamie Vardy could add another element to the squad if the in-form Leicester City striker reverses his international retirement.

Rashford said: "I have been in two tournaments now and the squad is so important.

"With the qualities that every individual has in this team, it is something we have to use to our advantage. People are going to be playing at different moments but when you are on the pitch you have to do your best and try to come up with the goods.

"It is good competition. We really do have that kind of environment when we are in the camp together and it is positive."

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.

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