Jose Mourinho claims Manchester United "big boss" Alex Ferguson would dismiss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's theory that cup trophies can be "an ego thing" for managers.

In almost two and a half years at the Old Trafford helm, Solskjaer has yet to deliver silverware for the club, and he says the team should be judged by their league progress.

United sit second in the Premier League table, which suggests there has been achievement on that front, and they remain in the hunt in the Europa League.

The latter is a tournament that Mourinho won with United, and he also landed an EFL Cup triumph to make it a double in the 2016-17 season.

United lost only five times in the Premier League in that campaign but a league-high 15 draws meant they could only finish sixth, yet in the following campaign they were runners-up to Manchester City.

Mourinho's United career began to unravel, but he left knowing he had helped to replenish the trophy cabinet, and he disagrees with Solskjaer that such moments can be ego-stroking moments for managers and clubs.

"It's his opinion. I'm pretty sure that his big boss Sir Alex has a different opinion about it," Mourinho said, speaking ahead of his Tottenham side's clash with United on Sunday.

"But I respect what Solskjaer thinks. I think different. Freedom of thinking, freedom of ideas, and if that's the way he thinks that's fine for me.

"It's not being disrespectful for anyone. But I believe his big boss and the biggest of Premier League history has a different view in relation to that."

Ferguson's first United trophy was the FA Cup in 1990, which led to a European Cup Winners' Cup the following year, and in 1991-92 his team added a League Cup success.

It was the beginning of an era where United harvested trophies season by season, moving on to the Premier League and peaking at the end of the decade with their most famous Champions League triumph, Solskjaer famously scoring a stoppage-time winner against Bayern Munich.

It was an empire that was built on a foundation of cup success, with that essentially being United's entry level to the most dominant period in their history.

Mourinho and Tottenham had their tails up in October as the visitors rampaged to a 6-1 win at Old Trafford, but they have since slid from title contention to their current sixth place.

They have an EFL Cup final against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City coming up on April 25, however, which could see Spurs secure their first major trophy since 2008, when they won the same competition.

Needing a strong run-in to barge into the top four, it would be hugely helpful to Spurs this weekend if they could end United's 22-match unbeaten away record (W14 D8) in the Premier League and complete a first league double over the Red Devils since the 1989-90 season.

Should they achieve that feat, Mourinho would be the first former United manager since Dave Sexton in 1981-82 with Coventry City to manage such a double.

United will inevitably be wary of the threat posed by Tottenham's Harry Kane, who scored a double in the Old Trafford game and is one goal short of hitting 20 in a Premier League season for the fifth time.

Kane would be just the fourth player in the Premier League era to achieve this feat after Alan Shearer (7 times), Sergio Aguero (6) and Thierry Henry (5).

If anyone gives Tottenham value for money, it must be Kane.

Mourinho spoke about the financial muscle of Manchester City, who rewarded Kevin De Bruyne with a bumper new contract this week, reportedly worth over £16million per season.

The Spurs boss has no problem with De Bruyne doing so well out of his City career, and only wishes he could pay Tottenham's biggest stars such money.

"Good for him. He deserves it, he's a fantastic player," Mourinho said.

"If Pep [Guardiola] or any coach of the top teams has X millions to spend, good for them. No problem. I enjoy to work in my club, I enjoy to do what I'm doing, and I'm not jealous of the ones that can do other things. I would love my players to get the same contract as David de Gea or Kevin De Bruyne."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is "pretty, pretty sure" his Manchester United players will be looking to prove a point when they visit Tottenham on Sunday.

United lost the reverse fixture 6-1 at Old Trafford, their joint-heaviest Premier League defeat and worst since another home humbling in the 2011 Manchester derby.

Spurs looked like title contenders while United were marooned in the bottom half of the table, their hapless display - in which Anthony Martial was sent off - described by former captain Gary Neville as "spineless" and "absolutely pathetic".

But United have recovered to sit second in the table, albeit 14 points behind Manchester City, while Tottenham are sixth.

Jose Mourinho's men are desperate for points but will face motivated opponents at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Solskjaer suggested.

"I think the players will remember that game with a lot of pain," Solskjaer said. "Their pride has been hurt, their professional pride. The manner we lost is not ourselves and our team-worthy. We know that.

"We gave ourselves a difficult game by having 10 men, pre-season was short and we were not up to the standard required, but we were so poor.

"I'm pretty, pretty sure we'll see some players wanting to prove we're better than that."

United took the lead in that match through a second-minute Bruno Fernandes penalty, but that was one of just five shots while Spurs attempted 22.

Solskjaer felt his side's early-season fitness issues were a key contributing factor in that October defeat.

"The biggest thing that we've improved on is our fitness levels," he said. "We were way short of what [Tottenham] were at.

"It was our third game, was it? And we didn't look anything like [ready]."

While that is no longer an issue, there are concerns about the status of Marcus Rashford, who played through a persistent ankle problem at Granada on Thursday and scored a vital goal.

Across Europe's 'top five' leagues, no player has made more appearances in all competitions this season than Rashford (47 - tied with Fernandes).

Indeed, the three most-used players all represent United, with captain Harry Maguire third (46 appearances). Aaron Wan-Bissaka is in a tie for fourth (44).

With 3,466 minutes in the tank despite an injury issue that kept him out of the recent international break, Solskjaer was asked if England should be worried about Rashford ahead of the European Championship.

"I don't think you need to be concerned about his fitness, no - of course, barring any injury," Solskjaer said.

"His fitness is really good, he's an athletic boy, a fit boy, a strong boy. When he goes into headers and challenges, he can look after himself.

"But at one point, of course, you hope to get to a position where he doesn't have to play every game, every minute.

"At the moment, we have to take him off because he's a little bit sore. Hopefully that will improve as the season goes on."

Rashford has been relied on so heavily in part due to Edinson Cavani's limited involvement.

Widely linked with a move to Boca Juniors, Cavani has started only 14 games this term, playing 1,474 minutes, although his tally of seven goals is a match for Martial and outperforms Mason Greenwood (six).

"I've kept in touch with Edi, of course," Solksjaer said. "We keep an open dialogue. He's still unsure what he wants to do next season, which I find fine.

"It's not been an easy year either for him or the rest of the world, so he still wants time to make his mind up.

"I'm very sure that we'll get a good version of Edinson for the rest of the season. Hopefully we can keep him fit the next six, seven weeks."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has doubled down on his claims Jose Mourinho should not have been content with guiding Manchester United to second place during his Old Trafford reign.

Solskjaer and United again go head-to-head with Mourinho on Sunday as the Red Devils visit Tottenham looking to avenge their 6-1 home defeat earlier this season.

Mourinho is looking to become the first former United manager since Dave Sexton in 1981-82, then Coventry City boss, to complete a league double over the club following his departure.

The Portuguese won the EFL Cup and Europa League at Old Trafford but his best league finish was second in 2017-18.

Mourinho claimed that performance, behind record-breaking rivals Manchester City, as one of his "greatest achievements".

But Solskjaer, at the time in his previous role as Molde coach, responded: "I don't think any of the Man United supporters, ex-players or players are happy with second place."

Solskjaer subsequently took charge of United in late 2018 and has only now guided them back to second, again behind City.

Given the opportunity to backtrack and hail both his own and Mourinho's achievement ahead of the Spurs match, Solskjaer refused.

While United have shown signs of progress this season, their manager wants more.

"We should never settle for second place at Man United," he said. "We'll never settle for second place.

"That's the point here - we have seen the heights and know what this club is capable of.

"For me, I've been here now a little while myself and it's taken time for us to be in this position. Hopefully we can be better next season, because this is below our ambitions."

Tottenham could become the first team to record a Premier League double over Solskjaer's United. The ex-Molde coach was last beaten twice by the same side in a league season by Ranheim in the 2018 Norwegian Eliteserien.

In fact, Spurs have never claimed a Premier League double over United, last doing so in the league in the 1989-90 campaign under Terry Venables.

Few would forget the previous meeting between Tottenham and Manchester United – least of all Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Red Devils manager described the 6-1 battering at Old Trafford as "my worst day ever", and "very embarrassing" as he tried to come to terms with United's heaviest defeat since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 and some deeply worrying performance levels from his players.

It marked the first time since 1986-87 that United had lost their first two league games of a season, with Crystal Palace having humbled them 3-1 on matchday one. The intervening match was a borderline miraculous 3-2 win at Brighton and Hove Albion, when Bruno Fernandes scored a penalty in the 100th minute after the hosts had hit the woodwork five times.

While Jose Mourinho could celebrate vengeance on his old club, fans and pundits feared for his successor. Gary Neville blasted the "spineless" players as "absolutely pathetic"; Patrice Evra, sitting shellshocked in a Sky Sports studio, told the United stars: "Look in the mirror and be honest – you're an embarrassment."

In fact, it seemed Solskjaer was alone in promising United would bounce back. His vow to fight to turn things around sounded almost blindly optimistic, as Spurs suddenly looked the most obvious dark horse to challenge Liverpool and Manchester City in the title race.

And yet, ahead of Sunday's match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, only one manager is facing serious, persistent questions about his future – and it's not the man from Norway.

Now, it's Spurs who look to be going backwards, as the clamour for a change in the dugout grows and the incumbent looks increasingly unable to fix the problems.

ROLE-REVERSAL

Spurs' 6-1 win moved them to seven points from their first four matches and left United four points and 11 goals behind in the table.

Since that game, the two teams' trajectories have been very different. United have taken 57 points from their most recent 27 matches, 15 more than Spurs, who have played a game less. Solskjaer's men in that time are behind only Man City when it comes to most points, most wins (16), most goals scored (53) and fewest conceded (22), with each side suffering a league-low two defeats.

Spurs, by contrast, have won 12 and lost eight since that Old Trafford visit, scoring 39 goals (the second-lowest in the top seven) and conceding 27 (the joint-most in the top seven). They have lost more times in home games since then (three) than United have in total (two), while the Red Devils have won eight of their most recent 14 away league matches as part of a club-record run of 22 on the road without defeat.

Goals have been a particular concern for Spurs despite the spectacular form of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min. Spurs outperformed their expected goals by nearly a factor of two in the win over United and have surpassed their seasonal xG in the Premier League by eight, showing the benefit of their ruthless centre-forwards. Such figures are always likely to even out eventually: in their most recent game at Newcastle United, xG suggests a 2-2 draw was just about the best result they could have hoped for on the day given the quality of chances they created and conceded.

'A BRITTLE HORSE'

Arsenal loanee Joe Willock's 85th-minute equaliser for Newcastle saw Spurs drop yet more points due to late drama. This season, they have given up 11 points thanks to goals conceded in the final 10 minutes of matches, the most of any side in the division.

Kane's double meant they had been winning at half-time, making that game at St James' Park the sixth in 2020-21 in which they have failed to win after leading at the break – again, the worst such figure in the top flight.

It has become a worrying habit for Mourinho's teams. During his first 120 Premier League games in charge of Chelsea, Mourinho saw his side drop only 14 points from winning positions and just six in their title-winning seasons in 2004-05 and 2005-06. His United side gave up 18 points from winning positions in 93 matches; in 56 games at Spurs, he has watched his players surrender 26 points.

By contrast, United have become better at holding onto results. After giving up 14 points from winning positions last season, they have only surrendered seven in 2020-21, the same number as leaders City. Crucially, they have gained more points from losing positions (25) than any other Premier League side this term, underlining Solskjaer's demands for more "robustness" from his players.

That difference in holding onto points between Mourinho's old and present team has little to do with luck, or 'Spursyness', or even Bruno Fernandes penalties (he's scored four in 17 league games in 2021). Rather, it seems a natural result of stylistic differences, of percentages (mostly) playing out in United's favour.

THE 'UNITED WAY' IS WORKING

While United have scored 53 goals in 27 league games since losing to Spurs – fewer only than Man City (60 in 28) – Mourinho's men have scored 39 in 26, the sixth-best tally in that time frame.

Like Spurs, United are outperforming their xG for this season (by seven), but their superior goalscoring – and results – have emerged from what appears to be a broadly more attacking attitude since that October hammering.

United have attempted 390 shots since that defeat, fewer only than Man City (424). Of those shots, 163 have been on target, just one down on the league leaders. As for Spurs, they have attempted 268 shots in their most recent 26 games – that's the sixth-lowest figure in the league, and three behind Steve Bruce's much-maligned Newcastle United.

It follows that their chances created (186) is also the sixth-lowest number in the division in that time, and 124 behind United, who are again second only to Man City in this category.

The best Mourinho teams have been famously intransigent when it comes to giving up chances to their opponents, but again, Spurs do not fall into such a category. Since beating United, Spurs have faced 337 shots, more than 11 other clubs including north London rivals Arsenal (298), struggling Fulham (297) and Southampton (285). They have conceded 27 goals in that time; only West Ham (33) have let in more among sides currently in the top seven in the table.

In the same time period, United have faced 284 shots – that may only be the sixth-best in the league, but it's a major improvement on Spurs' tally – with only 22 finding a way in.

United are not the finished article, of course, and Spurs could yet end this troubled season with a top-four finish and an EFL Cup. Still, Solskjaer is making much stronger progress than Mourinho – something that seemed implausible six months ago.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was proud of the battling qualities displayed by Marcus Rashford as he played through the pain to help Manchester United beat Granada.

Troubled by a niggling ankle problem, Rashford opened the scoring at the Nuevo Los Carmenes on Thursday, latching onto Victor Lindelof's long pass before finishing with composure.

The goal took Rashford to 20 for the season in all competitions, making him the first United player to hit double figures in consecutive campaigns since Wayne Rooney 11 years ago.

The England forward, who was taken off 10 minutes after scoring in last weekend's 2-1 Premier League win over Brighton and Hove Albion, battled on against Granada before being substituted with a little over 25 minutes left.

Solskjaer, who hopes Rashford will be fit to face Tottenham on Sunday, was delighted with Rashford's impact against stubborn opposition.

"Marcus, fantastic goal," he said. "Great pass by Victor, great run and the skill to bring the ball down like this, we've seen it a few times before, and it's a top, top quality goal.

"It's the same thing as before, he's not recovered from it. Hopefully, it's not got any worse from this. He lasted 60 or 70 against Brighton, 65 now, so hopefully he's ready. I think he should be ready for Sunday."

When asked if he ever told former manager Alex Ferguson he was fully fit to play when struggling with injury, Solskjaer replied: "Yeah, I probably did! I did a few times. It's not like I couldn't perform, but I probably knew I wasn't at 100 per cent. But when are you at 100 per cent as a footballer? I think that's very rare.

"We know he's someone we have to protect, and he was ready, and he was vital for us today."

While comfortable in defence, United offered little threat of a second goal until Bruno Fernandes scored his 19th penalty for the club after being pushed in the face by Yan Eteki.

The Portugal star, who was struggling with his vision in one eye after the foul, squeezed a shot beneath goalkeeper Rui Silva in the 90th minute.

With Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Scott McTominay suspended for the second leg after receiving yellow cards, Solskjaer was relieved to be heading back to Old Trafford with a more commanding advantage.

"It was an important goal, the second one. A 1-0 lead, losing three players, is not a good position to be in," he said.

"I don't think we deserved those five yellow cards, but that's happened. I'm delighted with the result, of course.

"[The second goal] is so vital away from home and we've created a good starting point for ourselves next week.

"Scoring with one eye is a skill! He drives the team and drives himself. He's got such enthusiasm and hunger to win and to do well. I've played in teams with a lot stronger personalities than that, to be honest.

"That's the way for us to improve and reach the next level: always demand more, and more, and more."

Shaw was taken off at half-time, but Solskjaer added of the left-back: "I had to protect Luke, but I think and hope he should be okay for the weekend."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sounded an ominous warning to Europa League opponents Granada as he declared scoring goals was in Manchester United's DNA.

United are away to the Spanish side on Thursday for the first leg of their quarter-final tie in a competition that represents their last realistic hope of silverware this season.

Despite having scored only four times in their past five away games in all competitions, United boss Solskjaer insisted his team would go on the offensive.

"I think that's what we do best. It's always going to be in our DNA that we want to go and score goals," he told the club's official website.

"Of course you want a defensive foundation, but we know about away goals and also how good we are at Old Trafford as well.

"We've got a proud record at Old Trafford in Europe, so if we get a good result to build on, that's all we can ask."

United did smash four past Real Sociedad in Turin and also secured a pivotal 1-0 victory against Milan at San Siro, with Solskjaer taking confidence from those performances in the competition. 

"I think we've proved to ourselves and everyone that we are a good side home or away, but of course the neutral game against Sociedad was a very good one for us," he said. 

"We played against a very good team. Granada is a different team and a different set-up than Real Sociedad with different strengths and a different way of playing, so we've got to find a way to get the best possible performance."

Forward Anthony Elanga is in contention to make his United debut and Solskjaer has full faith in the 18-year-old.

The Swedish striker signed a new contract last month and Solskjaer insists he has not only been included in the squad for experience and is ready for action.

"I've got faith in the young lads of course and, in Anthony, we have a player with good skills, a great attitude and he scores goals from either the right or left, and he's got good pace," said the Norwegian.

"He's not just there for experience, he might actually play a part, who knows? He's got that X-factor and I like players with speed and acceleration and he's definitely got that."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised David de Gea and Dean Henderson for how they are handling the competition to be Manchester United number one.

Henderson had deputised for De Gea while he was absent from the squad for the birth of his child last month.

But the England international has retained his place in the squad since his fellow goalkeeper's return.

That included, for the first time since the switch was made, a match in the Premier League when United took on Brighton and Hove Albion last time out.

A key week sees United play two away matches. The Red Devils are against Granada in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday before taking on Tottenham in the league on Sunday.

Solskjaer was asked about the ongoing battle between his keepers ahead of the trip to Spain.

"Every time I try to explain to players why they aren't playing in this particular game and what they have to do - all those discussions remain private of course," said the United boss.

"David has been a top, top keeper and is still a top, top keeper. He is working to be ready when he plays.

"When it is David or Dean I'm very comfortable to play either of them and I'm pleased that either of them are happy to be a sub. 

"I cannot prioritise the league or Europa League. The next game is the most important one. 

"With the keepers I have two very, very good options and whoever plays will play well I'm sure."

Solskjaer compared the battle for the number one spot to his own playing career at Old Trafford, where he was often part of a squad rotation system and coming up against big-name signings.

He added: "When you are a part of Man United, there will always be players that come in and they are not just there to fill the squad. 

"Everyone has got the ambition to take your shirt. 

"I was there myself as a striker. We signed Ruud van Nistelrooy, Diego Forlan, Louis Saha, we signed loads of top strikers - Teddy Sheringham, Dwight Yorke. 

"The aim for me then was to prove to the manager I could be important. I'm going to give everything I can to play. It's the same whatever position you play. 

"David has had 10 fantastic years at Man United. He's had challengers who of course wanted to play. 

"Sergio Romero has probably played less games than he deserved. Dean comes in and also gives his all. It's a healthy competition, of course it is. 

"The goalkeeping departments are a very tight-knit group. They work together in prep, they have different gym sessions, they stay together more and naturally create a bond.

"The spirit in the goalkeeper department has been top. All of them want to play and that includes Lee Grant, Nathan Bishop and Sergio Romero. That is a competition I like."

United are hot favourites to progress against Granada, who sit ninth in LaLiga and are playing in Europe for the first time this season.

But Solskjaer is not taking them lightly after defeating Serie A heavyweights Milan in the previous round.

He added: "Complacency? No. When you beat Real Sociedad or AC Milan you just get more of a taste for it. You know you have jumped a couple of high hurdles. 

"Granada beating Napoli, getting through the group and then beating Molde last time is a sign of a team that has got quality. 

"It is going to be a difficult game. We have of course set our eyes on the final and improving on last season. We want to win this tournament.

"It is very big for us, of course. The next game is always the most important, we have to live by the principle. 

"If you get the chance to play in a quarter-final in Europe for Man United, every player knows this is a massive game and an important game for you. 

"We have beaten Milan away, we have beaten Real Sociedad, and have drawn against them both at home. This game can give us even more momentum."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is excited by the potential of forward Anthony Elanga, who is in contention to make his Manchester United debut against Granada in the Europa League.

United are away to the Spanish side on Thursday for the first leg of their quarter-final tie in a competition that represents their last hope of silverware this season.

Elanga, 18, has been added to the United squad for the competition and will travel to Spain with the first-team.

The Swedish striker signed a new contract last month and Solskjaer insists he has not only been included in the squad for experience and is ready for action.

Even if his debut does not come against Granada, it sounds like Elanga will be featuring for United soon.

"He'll be in the squad, he'll be on the bench," Solskjaer said about the inclusion of Elanga. "He has impressed when he has been in training with us.

"He was very unlucky when he got a bad injury about two or three months ago because he was about to move into the first-team squad then. He has worked really hard to come back.

"He has got some x-factor, some attributes, it's not like a gift, but the pace and acceleration and speed that he has got - that's a given for wingers.

"When he's got that speed, he's always got qualities I like. He is a confident goalscoring winger.

"He has an appetite and hunger to improve and when he has been training with us the last while he has been here - he has not been fazed by it. 

"He has a lot of quality, speed and he is a goalscorer. He likes to beat men and has a right foot and left foot. 

"He has an appetite to develop and to keep learning. It's not just for the experience. He's ready to play a part."

Forward Amad Diallo, who scored against Milan in the round of 16, is also pushing for a first United start.

"Of course he is [getting closer]," added Solskjaer of the €40million signing from Atalanta.

"He is getting more and more used to our expectations, our standards, our training, the level of intensity in the games over here. 

"He did well when he played 45 minutes against Milan, definitely a bright start, and we will see him gradually start games. 

"It might come now or it might come in a little while."

Defender Eric Bailly is still in the Ivory Coast as he needs a negative coronavirus result before being allowed to return.

Marcus Rashford, meanwhile, was forced to come off against Brighton and Hove Albion last time out, a match in which he scored.

He will travel to Spain after training on Wednesday but Solskjaer will not take any unnecessary risks with the England forward.

The United boss added: "I can't disclose my team now, we're not going to do that. 

"Marcus is travelling and we have got to make a decision if he starts or is on the bench. I don't think he'll be 90-minute man, but let's see where we're at on Thursday.

"I don't pick players when we know there is a risk. There's always a risk when you step out on to the pitch, but if the physio says it's too much of a risk I would never pick him. 

"Now, Marcus joined in training this morning and let's see how he reacts. His back has recovered and it's a tough one. 

"He wants to play and wants to give his all for Man United. We'll listen to what he says like we did on Saturday when he came off and said it was too sore."

Granada are playing in their first European campaign and are the first side since RB Leipzig in 2017-18 to reach the quarter-finals of a major continental competition while doing so.

The last side to reach the semi-finals in such a season was Villarreal in 2003-04 (UEFA Cup).

United, meanwhile, are in the quarter-final stages of a major European competition for the 27th time, progressing from 17 of the previous 26. 

They are winless in the first leg of each of their last three two-legged quarter-final matches in Europe (D2 L1).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed "the fireworks had to be lit at half-time" after Manchester United roared back to beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 on Sunday.

Danny Welbeck's header against his former club put relegation-threatened Brighton in front at half-time, but United raised their game after the break.

Marcus Rashford equalised with a clinical finish and Mason Greenwood also marked his return from injury with a goal, heading home to secure the points seven minutes from time.

Victory for the Red Devils strengthened their grip on second place, 14 points adrift of champions elect Manchester City with a game in hand and 11 clear of fifth-placed Tottenham.

Solskjaer suggested he delivered a few harsh words at the break after his side failed to register a shot on target during the first half, although Greenwood hit the post early on.

The United boss, who revealed Eric Bailly was absent after testing positive for coronavirus. said: "It's a long way up [to City] but we want to consolidate second place. In the second half, we played some good stuff. The fireworks had to be lit at half-time."

Solskjaer was impressed with the character shown by his side as they produced a fightback to win after conceding first for the eighth time this season.

He said: "You don't really want to be in a position where you're 1-0 down. It was a sloppy mistake in midfield, we don't stop the cross and we don't defend the cross.

"We gave ourselves work to do and then I think we've done that so many times this season that the team doesn't panic.

"We know we have to build momentum, the ball has to move quickly, we have to be more in tandem with each other and the two goals we scored were two good goals to win the game."

Solskjaer preferred Dean Henderson to David de Gea but said the Spanish goalkeeper can force his way back into the team.

"With Dean and David's situation I know it's something that will create headlines, fish and chips wrapping paper in a little while," he added.

"I've got two great goalkeepers and it's about finding games that both will play. Both deserve to play more than what they do and it's just a decision I have to make every time."

Solskjaer stated ahead of the game that Anthony Martial looks set to miss the rest of the season with a knee injury and the United manager will be hoping a knock picked up by Rashford is not serious.

Anthony Martial could miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed. 

The forward suffered a knee injury in France's World Cup qualifying win over Kazakhstan last weekend.

Should he miss the rest of United's 2020-21 campaign, it seems unlikely he would return to full fitness in time for the rescheduled Euro 2020, which kicks off on June 11. 

Speaking ahead of United's Premier League clash with Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford on Sunday, Solskjaer said: "Unfortunately, he sprained his knee with France.

"It's always when they go away on internationals… you can keep your fingers crossed and hope they come back fit.

"Losing Anthony for what might be the rest of the season is very disappointing, especially when reports from there [France] was that it wasn't anything serious, but it looks a bad one."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer elected to stick with Dean Henderson for Manchester United's clash with Brighton and Hove Albion, despite David de Gea's return.

Henderson started United's previous three Premier League games in the run up to the international break, with De Gea having travelled to Spain to attend the birth of his child.

The England international impressed in those matches, keeping three clean sheets, though he was largely at fault for Milan's equaliser in the first leg of the Europa League last 16 tie – which United eventually won 2-1 on aggregate.

De Gea returned to United's camp in time to feature against Brighton, but instead Solskjaer decided to hand Henderson a chance to continue his strong form.

Henderson did not start any of the England's three World Cup qualifiers during the international break, with Nick Pope given the opportunity to impress in Jordan Pickford's absence.

In front of Henderson, Harry Maguire was given his 100th appearance as a United player, partnering Victor Lindelof, with Luke Shaw replacing Alex Telles, who started in the 3-1 FA Cup reverse to Leicester City two weeks ago.

Despite not featuring for England, Marcus Rashford was passed fit to start against the Seagulls, with Edinson Cavani featuring from the off for the first time in the league since March 3.

Anthony Martial sustained an injury on France duty and did not make the cut, with Solskjaer confirming the forward could be out for the rest of the season.

Mason Greenwood completed United's attack, with Bruno Fernandes, Fred and Paul Pogba making up the midfield.

United head into Sunday's game with history on their side – they have won each of their last five meetings with Brighton in all competitions, netting exactly three goals in each of the last four.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has ruled out a move for Sergio Aguero due to the soon-to-be free agent's long association with fierce rivals Manchester City.

City confirmed on Monday that Aguero is to bring an end to his decade-long spell at the Etihad Stadium when his contract expires at the end of the campaign.

He will bow out as City's all-time leading scorer, with a current tally of 257 goals in 385 games, the most recent of those appearances coming against Leicester City on Saturday.

The 32-year-old has won four Premier League titles, one FA Cup and five EFL Cups, a tally he can add to before leaving as City remain on course for a quadruple this term, including a first Champions League triumph.

But despite the Premier League's fourth-highest ever goalscorer being available on a free transfer, Solskjaer does not expect Aguero to join one of the Citizens' domestic rivals.

"When I played for Man Utd, if a rival club would try to sign me and I'd gone to a rival club, where's the loyalty?" Solskjaer said.

"Of course, loyalty is one of the values I rank highly. So I wouldn't expect any player who had played for a club for 10 years to want to go to a local rival.

"I know we're professional but when you play for Man Utd, you don't go to Man City."

Peter Schmeichel, Andrew Cole and Carlos Tevez are previous high-profile examples of players to have moved between neighbours United and City during the Premier League era.

In an apparent swipe at some of his former team-mates, Solskjaer criticised those who show a lack of loyalty to their clubs by crossing the divide.

"We've had examples of that and I didn't really agree to those moves, to put it that way. I don't want to name names, but you all know who I point my finger at. Enough said," Solskjaer added.

Cole is one of three players to have scored more goals than Aguero in Premier League history with 187, along with Wayne Rooney (208) and Alan Shearer (260).

Aguero, a £38million signing from Atletico Madrid in July 2011, has scored 181 goals in the English top flight in 272 appearances - a goal every 108.69 minutes.

Among forwards currently at United, Edinson Cavani boasts the best goals-per-game return in the competition with one every 153.5 minutes, albeit having played just 18 games.

Anthony Martial is next on the list, scoring 55 Premier League goals in 167 matches (209.44), followed by Marcus Rashford (221.62) and Mason Greenwood (247.45).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer vowed Manchester United will conduct their transfer business in "the right way" as he refused to discuss a possible move for Erling Haaland.

Borussia Dortmund striker Haaland is a player coveted by a host of European giants, with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City thought to have looked at the 20-year-old Norway international.

His father, former Leeds United and Manchester City player Alf-Inge Haaland, and agent Mino Raiola arrived in Spain on Thursday and reportedly headed for talks with new Barcelona president Joan Laporta.

There were also claims that Haaland senior and Raiola held discussions with senior Real Madrid officials on the same day. Dortmund director Michael Zorc said the Bundesliga club had "made our intentions very clear" to Raiola, which was generally taken to mean that Haaland will not be allowed to leave on the cheap this year, if at all.

Solskjaer would surely love to bring compatriot Haaland to United, having previously coached him at Molde, but he is not prepared to allow such club business to carry on in the public eye.

"There's only so many places that a player can go to and for us, we want to focus on the ones who are here," Solskjaer said. "I've worked with Erling, but it's not right for me to talk about him. I can talk about him as an ex-coach of his, but he will make his own mind up.

"Who we're in for and who we will go for, I'm not going to comment on that."

Since leaving Salzburg to join Dortmund in mid-season during the 2019-20 campaign, Haaland has scored 49 goals in 49 games across all competitions at club level, including 33 in 31 appearances this term.

Only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (67) and Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo (55) have scored more club goals among players from Europe's top five leagues during the same 15-month period.

Among players with at least 25 goals in that time, only one has beaten Haaland's big chance conversion rate of 62.5 per cent.

Opta defines a big chance as "where a player should reasonably be expected to score", and the player who has bettered Haaland's rate is already at United, with Bruno Fernandes finishing 69.44 per cent of such opportunities.

Solskjaer hinted United could announce some surprise signings, given the way he prefers the club to operate.

He said: "I think the way the world works at the moment, you'd like to do all your business on the quiet. But there's platforms everywhere, the media makes that more difficult. But hopefully we can see soon with players that no one has written about. We conduct our recruitment business, scouting and the players we're interested in, we do it the right way."

United face Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Sunday, and Solskjaer's choice of goalkeeper will come under scrutiny, with Dean Henderson and David de Gea battling to be the established number one.

Given Henderson is now an England squad member, sitting on the bench is not ideal for the 24-year-old's development, yet De Gea has been a near fixture in the United team for a decade.

"I understand the question and the narrative in the media," Solskjaer said. "Where there can be potential tension or controversy, that's where everyone wants to hear a comment from me.

"What I can say is what I've said so many times, that I've got great options playing the two of them. Top keepers but of course both want to play as much as possible. That will be decided on merit. We'll have to see who we think is going to give us a win on any given day."

De Gea has seen more action for United this season, playing 2,565 minutes across all competitions to Henderson's 1,695 minutes. But it is Henderson who has clearly the better save percentage, with a 79.03 per cent success rate compared to 65.09 per cent achieved by De Gea.

"They both know we value them highly," Solskjaer said. "It's a difficult decision to leave one of them out."

Whether one of the goalkeepers leaves in the next transfer window is one of a number of matters for Solskjaer to consider.

The former Cardiff City manager, whose side sit second in the Premier League heading into the weekend, says United have a strong sense of how their ins and outs will transpire in the close season.

"Of course, we have a plan ahead. It's a plan that we think is going to happen," he said.

"There are obviously a couple of players where their future is not decided yet. Some without contracts, some with contracts and we do have a certain picture of how we think the squad is going to look in August."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Paul Pogba can help Manchester United get their spark back as the midfielder prepares to make his Premier League return.

Pogba is set to play his first top-flight game in almost two months since suffering a thigh injury against Everton on February 6.

Following his return from injury he scored in the Europa League against Milan and featured against Leicester City in the FA Cup prior to the international break, when he played three times for France to continue building up his fitness.

United have only scored more than one goal in one of their last eight games across all competitions.

But Solskjaer hopes a refreshed Pogba can help to reverse that trend, starting with Sunday's home Premier League clash against Brighton and Hove Albion.

"It is a massive boost," Solskjaer said about the return of Pogba. "He has come back bright and is ready to go. 

"We know how important he will be for us and how important he has been. 

"To have players of his quality out for longer periods shows the quality of the others, that we have done so well. 

"But towards the end of this season having Paul back fit and getting our forwards firing again, hopefully we can get that spark back and score more goals again."

Forwards Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood are in contention to play if they emerge unscathed from training on Friday and Saturday.

Edinson Cavani is also poised to continue his comeback after a frustrating run of injuries.

But fellow attacker Anthony Martial and defender Victor Lindelof missed the first of those two training sessions.

Brighton have won consecutive matches against Southampton and Newcastle United going into the clash with the Red Devils.

Solskjaer added: "Since I came we have played them quite a few times and we have always had some hard-fought games, difficult games. 

"When you prepare for a game against Brighton you can see all our players with bright eyes because they respect the way they play and the quality they have had against us. 

"We know we have to be on our best to earn the right to play. You have to work really hard to get the ball off them."

Brighton have never won away against Manchester United in 12 previous visits, losing on each of their last six trips to Old Trafford.

United are looking to keep five consecutive Premier League clean sheets for the first time since August 2017, when they were managed by Jose Mourinho.

But if Brighton are able to win a third straight top-flight game, it will be the first time they have achieved the feat since October 2018.

They would also become the first team in over a decade to win away at both Liverpool and United in the same Premier League season.

Manchester United have been let down by "sloppy results" this season but are constantly improving under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to midfielder Scott McTominay.

Solskjaer's side were eliminated from the FA Cup by Leicester City in the last match before the two-week international break – their first domestic away loss in 30 matches.

United were also knocked out of the EFL Cup by Manchester City at the semi-final stage and exited the Champions League in the group phase earlier in the campaign.

However, the Red Devils have advanced past Real Sociedad and Milan to reach the last eight of the Europa League, where Granada await, while they sit second in the Premier League.

United may be 14 points adrift of leaders Manchester City, albeit with a game in hand, but McTominay believes they are heading in the right direction.

"We've got a good group of players with top, top quality," he told ESPN.

"People are quite quick to forget how well we've done at times. It's the sloppy results that have let us down. This team is evolving. It's not a time to panic."

McTominay has appeared 39 times for United in all competitions this season, which is the most times he has featured for his boyhood club since making his debut in 2016-17.

He ranks particularly highly among United midfielders in the Premier League this term for duels won, his average of 6.54 per 90 minutes behind only Paul Pogba (8.08).

The Scotland international's game has also improved in other areas since last season.

McTominay's average of 46.54 successful passes per game in the top flight is an increase on 41.59 from last season, while his passing accuracy has gone from 80.91 per cent in 2019-20 to 87.58 this term.

Meanwhile, his tally of four goals puts him behind only Bruno Fernandes (16) in regards to United's highest-scoring midfielders.
 
"'I'm not perfect every game and I know that," McTominay said as he looked ahead to the future. "I've got a lot to improve on but there's also things I do well so I'm just trying to improve and kickstart my game to another level. 

"I just want to do my best. It's about consistency and playing well over the course of a season."

United return to action on Sunday with a Premier League meeting with Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford, where they will be aiming to make it six wins in a row against the Seagulls in all competitions, netting exactly three times in the last four.

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