Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to see Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood take up the mantle of Manchester United's last ruthless front three of Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney.

One of United's finest modern forward lines led Alex Ferguson's side to two league titles, an EFL Cup, the Club World Cup and back-to-back Champions League finals, one of which they won, between 2007 and 2009.

Ronaldo and Tevez left for Real Madrid and Manchester City respectively that year and United have struggled since to form a similarly effective trident in attack.

However, there are encouraging signs around Rashford, Martial and Greenwood, who have scored more goals combined in all competitions this season than Liverpool trio Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Solskjaer thinks it will take time to match the understanding of the Premier League leaders' attacking players but, ahead of Sunday's trip to Anfield, he believes in the potential of his forwards.

"The front three that they've got have been playing together for ages, not ages, but for seasons now," he said. "You can see the rotations, movements, the understanding between them, and we hope that our three get that understanding. I've probably only started them once together, the Newcastle United game, so we've got a way to go to get to the level of the three [at Liverpool], the understanding and consistency they have. But we scored four goals in that game [against Newcastle], so it's probably something I've got to look at more often.

"I believe in ours. We're going to add to them as well, definitely, but in the years to come I'm sure we'll see lots of them three. But Liverpool have scored more goals than us outside the front three so I'm not going to say ours are better than theirs or theirs are better than ours.

"We've got them on long contacts, developing into a very, very exciting front three. Ronaldo, Tevez, Rooney were different, floating, but that's what we want as Man United supporters - you want to see them express themselves, go to places like Anfield and put fear into their defenders. But we've got Dan James as well, who adds to that, so I'm very excited about it."

Solskjaer agrees that United's goalscoring threat belies the insinuation made by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, after the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in October, that the Red Devils are overly defensive against their fierce rivals.

"I don't think it's an accusation. You take it as a compliment that they didn't create chances against us," Solskjaer said. "When the opposition manager is frustrated, that's a good sign for you as a manager. Of course, I think we've been closer to winning both those games, so I don't know what the problem has been."

Ashley Young is set to join Inter provided he passes a medical on Friday and Solskjaer confirmed there were no plans to sign a replacement full-back.

For now, the United boss is putting faith in young Brandon Williams to rise to the challenge of playing at Anfield.

"Does he look like I need to speak to him? I don't think so," Solskjaer replied when asked if Williams might need guidance ahead of a traditionally tempestuous match.

"He's been absolutely outstanding since he's come in. Every challenge we've put in front of him, he's tackled head on and he's only 19, had 10, 11 starts. He reminds me so much of the mentality of Gary Neville and I think he'll enjoy going to Anfield, put it that way."

There is continued speculation United are trying to finalise the signing of midfielder Bruno Fernandes, but Solskjaer would only say: "I can't tell you about any players that play for other teams. We're focusing on this game at the moment. That's my only concern."

With United's arrival expected to be greeted by Liverpool fans outside the ground, Solskjaer says he has no particular concerns about a hostile atmosphere.

"No safety fears, no," he said. "They want to try to intimidate us but as long as it's within the boundaries. I've been sat in a coach going into Europe or Anfield and whatever they shout and scream at you, you don't really notice.

"We need a very, very good performance to go there and win, but we beat Manchester City last month, we had the Paris Saint-Germain game – we need to get to the level of those performances definitely when you go away to a team that's top of the league.

"The last two performances we've had against Liverpool, we've played at Old Trafford twice, drawn twice and been closest to winning both those games, so we've got games to look back at that will give us lots of belief.

"if we perform to our best, we've got a chance to win."

With Liverpool looking likely to end a title drought stretching back to 1990, Solskjaer thinks such an unexpectedly long gap between league triumphs for their bitter rivals should serve as a warning to United.

"We're working hard to make sure it doesn't happen," he said when asked if he feared United, who last won the title in 2013, could experience a similar dry spell. 

"Let that be a lesson for us. They've been close a few times and we can't let ourselves for another 24 years without winning the league. I'm sure we won't. I believe in this club. We've started something that takes a little bit of time, but we'll get there."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer tempered the excitement surrounding Manchester United talent Mason Greenwood, adamant it is too early to be thinking of potential England involvement at Euro 2020.

United academy product Greenwood has enjoyed a breakout season, making 17 Premier League appearances – all but two of them from the bench – after being introduced to the first-team fold by Solskjaer last term.

The 18-year-old has four goals in the league this season, plus another five across the EFL Cup and Europa League, in which only four players have scored more.

With Harry Kane a doubt for the Euros after suffering a torn hamstring that required surgery and Jamie Vardy unavailable for selection following his international retirement, Greenwood has emerged as an option for England manager Gareth Southgate.

Greenwood made four appearances for the England Under-21s last year and for the time being Solskjaer thinks he should be allowed to focus on United and Young Lions duty.

"I think Mason will have a top and long career," Solskjaer said ahead of Wednesday's FA Cup third-round replay with Wolves.

"Let the boy settle in now first, before we talk about England and the Euros.

"His focus has to be on playing more for us and improving, and when he plays more for us, that [and England call-up] will happen by itself.

"He's just been picked for the England Under-21s, so he's focusing on his football."

Greenwood is just one of three forward thriving at United this season, with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial also enjoying strong campaigns.

Rashford already has 19 goals from 30 matches across all competitions, while Martial has 11 in 22 outings – but Solskjaer does not think he deserves a pat on the back for their respective improvements.

"I don't want credit for getting more out of them," he said. "They're working hard to improve their game, I think they've all done well.

"Of course, Mason is in his first season, so to have nine goals is fantastic. Marcus is really growing and improving all the time, and Anthony has missed about six-to-eight weeks.

"I'm impressed by them. They're working well, working on their finishing patterns, we want consistency and I think we'll see more and more of them as they're still very young."

Liverpool continued their relentless march towards the Premier League title with a 1-0 victory over Tottenham while Sergio Aguero sent records tumbling in Manchester City's resounding win at Aston Villa.

The Reds moved 16 points clear at the top thanks to Leicester City's defeat to Southampton – as Danny Ings kept up his superb form – though the gap was reduced slightly when City thrashed Villa on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Manchester United ended a three-match winless streak with a resounding 4-0 triumph over lowly Norwich City.

We review the key top-flight matches with the help of Opta data.

 

CHAMPIONS-ELECT SET NEW BENCHMARKS AS TITLE TILT CONTINUES AT PACE

Barring a collapse of epic proportions, it seems certain that the Premier League title will be Liverpool's for the first time come the end of the season – or earlier, at this rate.

Roberto Firmino's fifth goal in his past six appearances handed Jurgen Klopp's side the points at Tottenham, who lost successive league matches for the first time this season, and have also conceded 20 goals in 13 matches under Jose Mourinho.

Liverpool sit on 61 points at the top of the pile, the most any side has ever registered after 21 matches in a single season across Europe's big five leagues.

Klopp's team have amassed 104 points across their past 38 Premier League games, winning 33 times and drawing on five occasions; this is a record total by any team across a 38-match run in the competition's history.

It is 38 league games since Liverpool last suffered a defeat. In the same amount of time, Spurs have lost 16 matches – including three defeats to the Reds.

AGUERO SMASHES RECORDS IN SIX-GOAL ROMP

It was a waltz in Villa Park for City on Sunday, as Aguero's hat-trick and a masterclass from Kevin De Bruyne propelled Pep Guardiola's side to a 6-1 win and up into second place.

With his second goal – which came early in the second half to put City 5-0 up – Aguero became the highest-scoring non-British player in Premier League history, moving ahead of Thierry Henry.

Aguero moved onto 177 top-flight goals when he thumped in his third, making the former Atletico Madrid forward the outright record holder for hat-tricks in the Premier League with 12 to his name – one ahead of Alan Shearer's tally of 11.

After his first-half double and assist for Aguero's hat-trick goal, Riyad Mahrez is the only Premier League player to both score and assist 20 goals or more since the start of last season in all competitions. 

De Bruyne, meanwhile, is now on 15 assists for this campaign after teeing up two of City's goals.

INGS KEEPS GETTING BETTER

Two of the Premier League's leading scorers went head-to-head at the King Power Stadium, but while Jamie Vardy failed to inspire Leicester City to victory, Southampton's Ings proved the match-winner as the Saints gained revenge for their 9-0 defeat in the reverse fixture.

Ings' effort nine minutes from time was his 14th of the season and his ninth goal in his past 10 top-flight appearances.

It means 40 per cent of Ings' 35 Premier League goals have come in this campaign, while he is also the highest-scoring Southampton player since Jay Rodriguez in 2013-14.

Dennis Praet put Leicester ahead and is the 14th different player to have scored for the Foxes in the Premier League this term, while Brendan Rodgers suffered successive home defeats for the first time since he took over.

UNITED'S FORWARDS RUN RIOT IN OLD TRAFFORD ROUT

Missing leading scorer Teemu Pukki, Norwich City never looked likely to trouble United, who cruised to a convincing win to lift themselves into fifth place.

It is the first time United have scored four goals in consecutive home games in the league since September 2017, while the Canaries have not won in nine Premier League matches.

Marcus Rashford scored twice and is now on 19 goals in all competitions this season – only Raheem Sterling, with 20, has more among Premier League players.

Juan Mata set up two goals, the first time he has provided two assists in a league match since October 2012 – also against Norwich – while Mason Greenwood has scored four top-flight goals this term, more than any other teenager in the competition.

Manchester United bounced back from defeat to Manchester City in emphatic fashion, as Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata inspired a comfortable 4-0 win over rock-bottom Norwich City.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men were woefully inept in the 3-1 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg loss at Etihad Stadium, but on Saturday they found their groove, playing some eye-catching football en route to a straightforward win.

Norwich, who were without injured talismanic forward Teemu Pukki, rarely troubled United in a first half dominated by the home side, who went into the interval 1-0 up after Mata teed up Rashford.

Rashford got his second from the penalty spot early in the second period, before Mata – starting only a third Premier League game since the start of October – set up Anthony Martial to extend the lead and Mason Greenwood finished Norwich off, as United held on to fifth place to stay five points adrift of Chelsea.

Despite establishing control almost immediately, United struggled to create clear chances during the early exchanges.

But Juan Mata carved the Canaries open in the 27th minute, cutting in off the right flank and playing a lofted pass towards the back post for Rashford to turn in.

Norwich highlighted the precariousness off United's slender lead just before the break, when David de Gea just about reached Todd Cantwell's curling effort.

Tim Krul was less impressive at the other end just after the break, however, rushing out and sending Brandon Williams tumbling in the box, allowing Rashford to sweep home the resulting penalty.

Martial got in on the act two minutes later, heading in Mata's right-wing cross after Norwich switched off at a corner.

Williams should have increased the lead when he blazed over from a couple of yards out, but there was to be another moment for United to savour, as Greenwood – Rashford's replacement – drilled into the bottom-right corner from 20 yards to wrap up the win in 76th minute.

What does it mean? Solskjaer can rest easy… For now

After the loss to Pep Guardiola's men, and the manner of the defeat, the pressure on Solskjaer was ramped up once again, as it was a third successive match across all competitions without a win.

There is no denying United were massively improved on Saturday, with the midfield trio of Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira and Fred using the ball much quicker than perhaps they have been known to, but with a trip to Anfield on the horizon, Solskjaer cannot assume he is completely safe.

Mata makes it happen

Given United's problems breaking many teams down this season, it is surprising Mata has only been afforded six Premier League starts. Against Norwich, he made two key passes and both lead to goals, making a decisive impact.

A day to forget for Krul

While there was not a great deal Krul could have done for most of the goals, his decision to rush out and foul Williams for the penalty was unnecessary and left Norwich with a mountain to climb.

What's next?

United return to FA Cup action on Wednesday, as they host Wolves in their third-round replay, before going to league leaders Liverpool four days later. Norwich host Bournemouth next Saturday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Erling Haaland "knows what he wants to do" amid increasing speculation about the Salzburg striker joining Manchester United, who drew 1-1 at home to Everton on Sunday thanks to Mason Greenwood's equaliser.

Solskjaer described Greenwood as "different class" in his post-match news conference, but discussion soon turned to 19-year-old Norway international Haaland.

Reports suggest the United boss could be given the resources to bring his compatriot to Old Trafford after impressing in Salzburg's ultimately unsuccessful Champions League campaign.

"I don't comment on those speculations," Solskjaer said of the transfer talk. "[Haaland] knows what he wants to do, and he knows what he's going to do, so I don't have to give any advice to any other team's players."

Discussing Greenwood after the teenager followed up a midweek Europa League brace with another goal, Solskjaer said: "It's so natural for him. He just knows exactly what to do.

"Too many chances are missed with strikers rushing the finish, stressing, but the best ones have that little extra half a second, and he does."

Greenwood's strike rescued a point for United and extended their unbeaten Premier League run to six consecutive matches, but they could not break down Everton.

Solskjaer felt his side did not deserve to go behind in the first half, claiming United goalkeeper David de Gea was fouled before Victor Lindelof's own-goal, and expressed his disappointment that the VAR did not bring about a different decision.

"It's a foul. It's as clear as that, but there's no point me complaining," he said. "It [VAR] will be better next year, for sure. We'll have to look at it. That's a clear and obvious foul.

"They got the goal and had something to hold onto. I don't want to go down the route [of saying] that we always struggle against teams that lay low, because we don't.

"It's a work in progress and these young boys are learning. The tempo of the ball wasn't good enough and it has to move quicker, but these boys will learn that."

Reflecting on his first 12 months in charge at Old Trafford, he added: "I've really enjoyed it. I feel that we're on the right track. I'm looking forward to going into work tomorrow because these boys want to learn and improve."

Mason Greenwood scored 13 minutes from time to salvage a 1-1 draw for Manchester United and deny Everton caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson a second consecutive Premier League victory.

United went into the game hoping to claim a third consecutive league win for the first time since January but David de Gea's failure to clear a first-half corner led to Victor Lindelof putting through his own net.

Everton defended resolutely as they sought to build on their 3-1 victory over Chelsea at Goodison Park, and the commitment shown by a side lacking a number of key players will raise inevitable questions about Ferguson taking the manager's job on a permanent basis.

But United substitute Greenwood produced the cutting edge in attack that the hosts had been lacking and his strike ensured Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men extended their unbeaten streak to six league matches.

Jesse Lingard dragged a shot wide on the turn from eight yards after United swept forward from the kick-off.

Marcus Rashford and Daniel James both went close, feeding on incisive long passes Lindelof and Scott McTominay, before Jordan Pickford parried a dipping Rashford free-kick away from danger as Everton continued to come under pressure.

Without the pace to hit United on the counter-attack, the visitors took a more patient approach and were rewarded when Leighton Baines' corner was misjudged by De Gea and the ball grazed the goalkeeper's knuckles before bouncing off Lindelof's leg and into the unguarded net.

Luke Shaw surged down the United left after an hour and fired a powerful drive that Pickford did well to parry away, and nine minutes later Lindelof curled a shot over the crossbar from the edge of the box with Everton pinned back.

United's late pressure paid off when James found Greenwood on the edge of the box and the teenager tucked a low drive into the bottom corner of Pickford's net to spare United's blushes.

What does it mean? Low press remains a problem for Solskjaer

Manchester City's open, attacking play created space for United to play in when they won the derby, but Everton's packed rearguard proved trickier for Rashford and James to unpick until Greenwood's intervention.

Meanwhile, Solskjaer still cannot rely on the composure of a defence that has conceded in 12 consecutive league games – the first time United have done so since 1971.

Holgate and Davies fill the gap

With Gylfi Sigurdsson and Djibril Sidibe falling ill before the game, responsibility in the middle of Everton's midfield fell to Tom Davies and Mason Holgate, who coped admirably in protecting the back four and breaking up play.

Lacklustre Lingard highlights Pogba absence

Neither Juan Mata nor Lingard have made convincing claims to be United's first-choice attacking midfielder in Paul Pogba's enforced absence this season, and the latter was too often a bystander here while his team-mates struggling to turn the game.

What's next?

After Colchester United visit Old Trafford in the League Cup on Wednesday, Manchester United travel to Watford in the Premier League while Everton entertain Leicester City in the cup and Arsenal in the league.

Paul Pogba says Manchester United's young players must make the most of their chances in the first team as they are playing for "maybe the biggest club in history".

Sunday's Premier League game against Everton at Old Trafford is due to be the 4,000th in a row in which the Red Devils have included at least one academy graduate in the matchday squad.

That run, which stretches back to 1937, has been kept alive by manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's commitment to promoting youngsters into the first team this season.

Thursday's 4-0 Europa League defeat of AZ saw nine players with United academy backgrounds included in the squad.

Pogba, who joined United as a 16-year-old, is now encouraging the youngsters at Solskjaer's disposal not to take their opportunities to impress for granted.

"I've said to a lot of the young players who have been with the first team: 'Guys, you don't know how lucky you are.' Unfortunately for us, we've had a lot of injured players and it's therefore a big chance for the young players to be involved with the first team," Pogba, sidelined with an ankle injury since September, told United's website.

"They have the chance to do well and stay there. So, I said to them: 'Take this luck and take this opportunity because it's important until the other players come back fit.' You never know, there could be an injured player and a young player comes in and plays a great game and they stay with the first team until the end of their career.

"So, I've told them: 'Guys, be ready and always take the opportunity.' If they have the quality to be with the first team then why not take the opportunity and play and enjoy yourself?

"Mason [Greenwood], since the first training session that I saw him in, and Brandie [Brandon Williams], Jimmy [James Garner], Angel [Gomes], Chongy [Tahith Chong] and all the players. Axel [Tuanzebe] as well, although I don't see him as a young guy, for me, he has been in the first team for a long time, Timo [Tim Fosu-Mensah] as well, but the younger ones, they have the quality, they have everything to be in the first team.

"They've been playing and having some minutes and they should enjoy it when they're on the pitch and work hard. Mason is scoring goals, Brandie has been playing games like he's been there for six months already. This is about what the club is about and what the manager wants."

Pogba, who is still being linked with a move away from United, continued: "I think and I hope I can help them. This is one of the biggest clubs in the world and maybe the biggest club in history and they have the chance to be in this club. So I say to them: 'Take your chance, play, you are young, you have quality, you have nothing to be afraid of.'

"I hope I can give them the good example when I'm on the pitch and outside the pitch and, even though I don't see myself as old, I hope that the young players will, one day, come and take my position [when I finish playing]. That's how it is, I won't play forever.

"We all give our best on the pitch and I hope these young players will become legends here at the club. They have to enjoy it and really appreciate the chance they have here."

Pogba admitted it was a daunting experience to join the club as a teenager in 2009, when Alex Ferguson was manager.

"When I arrived here, everything felt big!" he said. "The training ground was big, all the players were big, the pitch was big, everything was big and I had my eyes open the whole time. Then I put the shirt on for the first time and I said: 'Wow, I came to Manchester United.' I just couldn't believe it.

"When I started training with the first team, I was 17, and I remember Vida [Nemanja Vidic] was there and Park Ji-sung and I touched Vida and I saw how tough and how strong he was! I knew then I had to work hard to get into the first team.

"It was a really great experience as a young kid to come here at 16 and see everything so big, and see all these top players and a top manager. To be there, having them sat next to us around the training ground, was a dream come true."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed how he first identified Mason Greenwood's talent when the Manchester United prodigy was aged just seven.

Greenwood, now 18, became the youngest player to notch a brace for the club in a major European competition when he struck twice in the 4-0 Europa League win over AZ on Thursday.

The teenage attacker has scored six times in total this term despite starting only seven matches.

Solskjaer described Greenwood's finishing as "different class" after the AZ win and explained the origins of his admiration for the exciting homegrown prospect.

"I actually remember when I met him the first time," the United manager told reporters.

"My son was training at The Cliff [United's former training base] as an eight-year-old. Mason was seven. The first time I saw him he stood out.

"I took a picture with him and he's now here. It's just what we do. When he signed his contract, we had a nice little memory."

Asked who requested the photo, Solskjaer joked: "I asked him because I knew he was going to be a [great] player! He's probably got it [the photo]."

Greenwood may still have to settle for a place among the substitutes when United entertain Everton on Sunday.

The Toffees will again be under the stewardship of interim manager Duncan Ferguson, who celebrated a 3-1 victory against Chelsea last weekend.

Solskjaer suggested the trend of ex-players taking charge of their former clubs could become commonplace in the Premier League.

"Duncan knows Everton, Frank [Lampard] knows Chelsea, Frederik [Ljungberg] has been at Arsenal and knows Arsenal well, I know this club well," the Norwegian said.

"I don't know how other clubs think, but I know we have traditions we need to keep, and we need to stick to them.

"We need to stick to the values of the club and probably others might start thinking the same."

The Red Devils boss indicated Jesse Lingard is expected to be fit to face Everton after sustaining a knock in the Manchester derby, while Paul Pogba will "probably" return to full training next week alongside Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has suggested he is ready to delve into the January transfer market.

Mason Greenwood scored a superb brace as United built on consecutive 2-1 wins over Tottenham and Manchester City by breezing past AZ 4-0 to top their Europa League group.

Solskjaer has leant on Greenwood and other promising youth products, much to the delight of United fans, but he is keen to deepen his squad and could act during the mid-season window.

"We are looking to strengthen in many positions," he said at his post-match news conference.

"If you look at our squad compared to the others, we are getting there but we still need two or three players to have enough numbers to rotate through a long season.

"So we'll see what we sign."

Irrespective of who comes in, Solskjaer has a talent in Greenwood he insists he will be happy to use frequently on the big stage.

"He played against Tottenham and was class. I'm not afraid of playing him in the Premier League," he added.

"Not at all. But it's about sharing the minutes and finding the right minutes for him. Of course he's ready to play in the Premier League."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer distanced Mason Greenwood from comparisons to Wayne Rooney after the teenage forward starred in Manchester United's 4-0 win over AZ.

United continued their December resurgence despite a lacklustre first half against their Eredivisie opponents, with Greenwood to the fore.

After Ashley Young opened the scoring, the 18-year-old striker fired home two sublime finishes either side of winning a penalty that Juan Mata converted.

All the goals came in the space of 11 second-half minutes, with Solskjaer's men now seeded for Monday's knockout-stage draw.

"He's different class as a finisher," Solskjaer told BT Sport. "In and around the box you expect him to get a shot off and on target. He's so precise in his finishing.

"He's good how he creates space for himself."

Solskjaer was asked to draw parallels with another famous European night at Old Trafford, when an 18-year-old Wayne Rooney marked his Champions League debut with a hat-trick against Fenerbahce.

"No, no, no. He's a different type of player, Mason than Wazza, but he must have enjoyed tonight," he said.

"The thing is with Mason, he's just going to look forward to Sunday tomorrow – he's not going to rest on his laurels."

Following 2-1 wins over Tottenham and Manchester City, Solskjaer heads into Sunday's home match against Everton with the feeling his squad is going from strength to strength.

"It's very good. A lot of things can change in a week, but for us we just want games coming. It's a good group," he added.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how this December goes because they're growing into a good group."

Mason Greenwood starred with a superb brace as Manchester United thumped AZ 4-0 to seal top spot in Europa League Group L.

The first half was in keeping with the fact both teams had already qualified but United sprung into life with a flurry of four goals inside 11 second-half minutes.

Teenage forward Greenwood was to the fore after Ashley Young opened the scoring, dispatching a pair of fabulous finishes either side of winning a penalty that Juan Mata converted.

AZ were left to rue a pair of missed chances from Calvin Stengs as United romped clear to be assured of a seeded spot in Monday's draw for the knockout stages.

Andreas Pereira forced AZ goalkeeper Marco Bizot into an early near-post save but the lack of jeopardy in the game was initially reflected by its entertainment levels.

Netherlands forward Stengs dragged unconvincingly wide before the interval and appeared to be caught be surprise when Owen Wijndal's low 47th-minute cross found him in the midst of a disorganised United backline, prodding too close to Sergio Romero.

Anthony Martial fired wastefully over on the half volley after some fine work from Greenwood, and United's 54th-minute opener came from a more unlikely source.

Pereira cleverly twisted out of a tight space by the left corner flag and combined with Mata and Nemanja Matic before the former cut across the six-yard box for the onrushing Young to find the roof of the net from an acute angle.

Greenwood swiftly doubled the lead with an unerring finish from the edge of the box, although AZ were aggrieved that James Garner was not punished for a foul on Fredrik Midtsjo in the build-up.

AZ continued their collapse when Jordy Clasie clumsily brought down Greenwood, and Mata dispatched his penalty beyond Bizot's dive.

There was more to come from the 18-year-old striker, who danced inside Stijn Wuytens and lashed inside the near post in the 64th minute to complete the scoring.
 

What does it mean? Solskjaer keeps revival running

Following the restorative 2-1 wins over Tottenham and Manchester City in the Premier League, United were faced with the sort of challenge they have come to dread of late – a match they entered as favourites. A torpid opening period suggested a return to familiar struggles but then they turned on the style.

Greenwood lives up to his billing

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is no stranger to unhelpful hyperbole, but Greenwood seems to relish measuring up to the tag of being "one of the best finishers I've ever seen". His opener might have come with a slice of controversy but each of his goals were dispatched with crisp precision.

Midtsjo not spared by ref reprieve

Although replays suggested he was on the receiving end of a foul from Garner, it should be asked what on earth Midtsjo was doing when he dribbled diagonally into a crowded area 25 yards from his own goal. It was exactly the sort of decision that can turn a difficult moment into a rout.

What's next?

United host managerless Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday, with second-placed AZ welcoming champions and leaders Ajax in the Eredivisie.

Mason Greenwood replaces the injured Anthony Martial in the Manchester United team as Jose Mourinho returns to Old Trafford for the first time since his sacking.

Martial was substituted towards the end of United's last match, a 2-2 Premier League draw with Aston Villa, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told MUTV the France forward could be out for "a little while".

Taking Martial's place in the United attack is 18-year-old striker Greenwood, who starts a Premier League game for the first time this season, while Scott McTominay is fit to come into midfield.

Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira and Brandon Williams drop out of the team that started against Villa, with Ashley Young, McTominay and Jesse Lingard drafted into the XI.

Menwhile, Mourinho's selection sees Harry Winks return to the Tottenham midfield at the expense of Tanguy Ndombele, who drops to the bench.

Eric Dier has also been left out following the win over Bournemouth at home, Lucas Moura coming into the team instead.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer selected seven teenagers and three full debutants in his Manchester United starting XI for Thursday's 2-1 Europa League defeat to Astana in Nur-Sultan.

Jesse Lingard was named captain and gave United a 10th-minute lead, but that impressive opening to the contest crumbled after half-time.

Dmitry Shomko equalised in the 55th minute before the unfortunate Di'Shon Bernard put through his own goal.

Teenage prospects D'Mani Bughail-Mellor, Largie Ramazani and Ethan Galbraith also came off the bench for United, who have already qualified for the knockout stages. Here, we run the rule over the seven starters under 20.

Di'Shon Bernard

Formerly of Chelsea's youth set-up, Bernard's senior debut will unfortunately be remembered for the decisive moment where he diverted Antonio Rukavina's cross beyond veteran goalkeeper Lee Grant.

He had acquitted himself well enough until that point, appearing assured under Astana's set-piece assault early in the second half. No United player made more than Bernard's five clearances and two interceptions.

Ethan Laird

A mixed outing for the right-back, who added penetration to the United attack but struggled at times defensively – most notably when Shomko's equaliser came down his channel.

Tahith Chong

Chong's wretched miss with the goal at his mercy in the 54th minute was fairly inexplicable. That chip over from six yards after Angel Gomes and Luke Shaw opened up Astana was compounded because the hosts equalised within a minute.

However, it should not be forgotten that Chong's all-action opening to the contest, where he broke up play and drove United forward, was a key ingredient in them enjoying the better of the first half.

Angel Gomes

Bright, inventive and always United's most likely creative spark. Gomes jinked in from the left with intent, having an early shot blocked and showing an eye for effective link-up play with Mason Greenwood.

Rukavina streaking clear down the United left to craft the winning goal did not speak well of Gomes' defensive awareness, but his three key passes were more than any United attacker and he almost stole a point with a sumptuous 78th-minute free-kick.

James Garner

Showed a shrewd eye for a pass during the initial exchanges, breaking lines with a creativity Solskjaer's more experienced pros too frequently lack. Garner's influence waned during the second half but he completed 82 of 84 passes before making way for Ramazani in the 84th minute.

Dylan Levitt

The Wales Under-21 international arguable edged out Gomes as the most impressive United youngster on show. Silky and effortless in possession at times, Levitt oozed class and racked up 104 passes. He found a team-mate with 94.8 per cent of those.

Mason Greenwood

A comedown from the high of his maiden Premier League goal during the undulating 3-3 draw at Sheffield United last weekend. Greenwood, comfortable with either foot, presents an obvious threat to any defence, but his timing was slightly off here, as evidenced by him being flagged offside on three occasions.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will resist the temptation to grant Mason Greenwood a regular starting spot despite another fine showing from the teenager.

Greenwood scored one and assisted another as United eased to a 3-0 win over Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League on Thursday.

The 18-year-old forward combined well with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in a mature 90-minute performance.

Solskjaer admires Greenwood's ability but will not easily bow to calls for him to be handed a first Premier League start for the season.

"I think we're finding the right balance between playing him, resting him and training him," Solskjaer said.

"He needs to learn the man's game. He's gone up from the Under-18s last year, now he's training with the first team every day and you can't just turn that switch on and off. You've got to perform every day if you're going to be accepted into a group like this."

Solskjaer continued: "The DNA of this club, and it's always been in our philosophy and my philosophy, is to give young players with the right attitude a chance.

"If that takes a couple of years for him to really, really come through, it's worth it. I'm managing for Man United, I'm not managing for me. I'm managing the best way I think we can get the best out of Mason. 

"If he really stamped his authority every single day in training and [had] been the best option he would have played every game.

"But as a young boy you expect ups and downs, and he's had some downs. I think he's on the way back up again."

Martial and Rashford joined Greenwood on the scoresheet against Partizan as United cruised through to the Europa League knockout stages.

While eager to improve the club's middling Premier League results, Solskjaer accepts the knockout competitions are where the Red Devils can realistically contend for silverware.

"I don't want to stop winning in cups," he said.

"We've spoken about that before. The Premier League trophy is out of our reach, we're too far behind the top teams, but any trophy you can get your hands on, we're going to go for.

"But we need to improve our league form, definitely."

United have the chance to do that at home to Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday.

Solskjaer expects Harry Maguire to be fit but Victor Lindelof, who has failed to train this week, is in doubt with a foot problem.

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."

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