Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour was not surprised to see Unai Emery sacked as head coach as he believes the players did not understand their roles under the Spaniard.

Emery was dismissed on Friday, less than 12 hours on from the Gunners' 2-1 Europa League defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in front of a sparse Emirates Stadium crowd.

Arsenal fans had grown increasingly frustrated with displays under Emery, who oversaw only one win in nine matches in all competitions prior to his dismissal.

Parlour, a three-time Premier League winner with the London club, felt the Frankfurt loss was "the final straw" when it came to the under-fire head coach's future.

"I'm not surprised," he said on talkSPORT. "I think that was the final straw last night, boos at the end, the performance again... it's been coming, and you could sense the crowd turning on the manager.

"You look at his tactics – the players don't seem to know what their jobs are. Southampton could have gone and won there; Wolves should have won – they had 24 shots on target. They get a lead and they don't know how to defend it.

"Even going back to the Europa League final last season in Baku, I know [Eden] Hazard turned it on, but I looked at the players and I was amazed with how they were playing, especially in the first half.

"It was up to Arsenal to win to get in the Champions League as Chelsea were already in there and I didn't see a performance out of anybody."

Freddie Ljungberg has been confirmed as interim head coach and will take charge of Sunday's league game away to Norwich City.

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri and even Mauricio Pochettino, sacked by Tottenham this month, have all been linked with the permanent Arsenal job.

Parlour would like to see former team-mate Patrick Vieira to take the job, although he admits it would be "a gamble" to put the ex-captain in charge.

"Allegri has been linked. Would he want to go to Arsenal? I don't know," said Parlour. "[Mikel] Arteta and Rafa Benitez have been linked.

"I said I want Patrick Viera, but he's gone down the pecking order. He's a young manager, a gamble."

Arsenal sack Unai Emery

November 29, 2019

Arsenal have sacked head coach Unai Emery following a seven-match winless streak, the Premier League club confirmed on Friday.

The Gunners lost patience with Emery following Thursday's shock 2-1 Europa League loss at home to Eintracht Frankfurt in front of a sparse crowd.

Emery leaves Arsenal languishing eighth in the Premier League, eight points adrift of the Champions League places.

The Spaniard's coaching team have also departed, with former Gunners midfielder Freddie Ljungberg promoted to take charge of first-team affairs on an interim basis.

Speaking on behalf of the Arsenal board and owners Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, Josh Kroenke said: "Our most sincere thanks go to Unai and his colleagues who were unrelenting in their efforts to get the club back to competing at the level we all expect and demand.

"We wish Unai and his team nothing but future success."

The statement added: "The decision has been taken due to results and performances not being at the level required.

"We have asked Freddie Ljungberg to take responsibility for the first team as interim head coach. We have full confidence in Freddie to take us forward.

"The search for a new head coach is underway and we will make a further announcement when that process is complete."

Emery arrived as Arsene Wenger's replacement ahead of the 2018-19 season, but the former Paris Saint-Germain boss was unable to deliver.

Despite glimpses of improvement, Arsenal failed to qualify for the Champions League last season after finishing fifth.

They subsequently broke their transfer record by paying £72 million to prise Nicolas Pepe from Lille for the 2019-20 campaign, while Kieran Tierney and David Luiz also moved to the Emirates.

However, their arrivals have not resulted in an upturn of fortunes, with Emery's task made even harder by having to strip Granit Xhaka of the club captaincy.

Xhaka was withdrawn to widespread boos during the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on October 27 and reacted by cupping his ear and mouthing obscenities to supporters.

The Switzerland international subsequently lost the armband and did not make a first-team appearance until the Eintracht game.

Mikel Arteta, Massimiliano Allegri, Nuno Espirito Santo, Patrick Vieira and Eddie Howe have all been suggested as potential replacements for Emery, as has former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino.

Unai Emery refused to discuss his future after Arsenal's 2-1 Europa League defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt piled further pressure on the head coach.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the Gunners in front in first-half stoppage time as Granit Xhaka played for the first time since being stripped of the captaincy.

But a promising showing unravelled spectacularly after the interval as Daichi Kamada netted a fine brace and the hosts disintegrated.

"I am thinking about the next match and how we can improve and achieve confidence with the players," Emery told reporters afterwards, looking ahead to Sunday's trip to Norwich City and his side's latest opportunity to end a winless run that now stands at seven matches.

"They know we are a little down in our feelings, but if we continue with our first-half performance, that is the way.

"My work and my job is firstly analysing that match, how we are in the Europa League, in our feelings and how we are going to play on Sunday.

"In the first half we were happy with the performance as a team and individually. We started the second half the same but lost control of the game in 15 minutes and they scored twice.

"At the end we changed two players because of injuries and we couldn't make more offensive changes to bring on fresh players. We didn't take chances to draw or win the match."

David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi were forced off, while Xhaka appeared to be playing through the pain of a knee injury.

Nevertheless, forwards Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette looking on as unused substitutes raised questions of Emery's game management after opposite number Adi Hutter introduced Mijat Gacinovic and Dominik Kohr at half-time to change the complexion of the contest.

"We needed to achieve confidence here [at Emirates Stadium] and play well and we improved. We improved some things to take three points, but in 15 minutes we lost all the work of the first half," Emery said.

"I spoke with the players to be consistent and be positive but really, we need to win.

"To recover confidence, we need to win and feel better here with our supporters in the Emirates. Maybe we deserved more, but it is the first match we lost here [this season]."

Xhaka was applauded, after receiving treatment, by a fanbase that barracked him on his previous appearance against Crystal Palace.

In the context, it amounted to a rare positive for the embattled Emery.

"It's very good news with Granit," Emery added. "The supporters helped him and I think it's good news."

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown believes Unai Emery should consider standing down as head coach after "an absolute shambles of a performance" in the 2-1 Europa League loss to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Daichi Kamada's fine second-half brace overturned Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's opener and stretched the Gunners' winless streak to seven matches in all competitions.

A sparsely populated Emirates Stadium, where the officially announced figure of 49,419 tickets sold was hardly represented by the attendance, booed Emery and his players at full time.

Keown, who played in the decorated Arsenal sides managed by George Graham and Arsene Wenger, feels the ex-Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain boss has run out of road – as evidenced by their "relegation form".

"I think he may well have taken the team as far as he can," Keown told BT Sport in his role as a pundit.

"We just witnessed an absolute shambles of a performance in the second half. The team selection, the team motivation, the substitutes, the performance. Everything was missing here. It was a dreadful performance.

"Is he able to motivate this team? He seems to have lost the players. The desire seems to have ebbed away."

Injuries to defenders David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi further compromised Emery, while Granit Xhaka – back in the side for the first time since being stripped of the Arsenal captaincy – completed 90 minutes despite appearing hindered by a knee problem suffered before half-time.

Forwards Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette looked on as unused substitutes while their team-mates unravelled.

"I could question players," Keown said. "Xhaka stayed on the pitch, perhaps should have gone off; Mustafi couldn't get off quick enough.

"The substitutions that he made, the players that are sitting on the bench. You've got Pepe there, you've got Lacazette – you're trying to get back into the game.

"It's not enough. The manager might be in a position where he might even feel he has to step to one side.

"Serious questions really need to be asked. It's as bad as I've seen it. I know change was needed, Wenger was at the football club just a little bit too long.

"Now it looks as if the club has gone in a different direction. We're going only one way at the moment. This is relegation form.

"Do the club really realise how trying this is now going to be? Football people at the top of the club, make the decisions that need to be made. Otherwise Arsenal are going to plunge even further down the table."

Keown added: "It's a sad day. We don't say these things lightly because we still love the club. The club will never be taken away from former players.

"You have your view. They do their talking with their management and what they do on the pitch, we do that as pundits.

"I feel it's very sad. There were hardly any fans there tonight. They're voting with their feet. They knew what was coming there.

"Where's the desire, where's the identity of the football club. It was there under Wenger and it's ebbed away far too quickly. We've got to get it back."

Steven Gerrard suggested Alfredo Morelos proved he is worth more than £50million as he scored twice in Rangers' 2-2 Europa League draw at Feyenoord.

Rangers' superstar striker has repeatedly been linked with moves to the Premier League, but boss Gerrard claimed coming into Thursday's match that even a huge offer could not tempt him to sell the Colombian.

Morelos responded with a pair of superb headers as Rangers moved within a point of reaching the last 32.

When Gerrard's claims about the £50million valuation of Morelos were brought up in a post-match news conference, the manager laughed.

He replied: "Do you believe me now? He's not for sale. He's not for sale at any price."

Between his two goals, Morelos could also have had a penalty as he bowed under a challenge from Leroy Fer inside the area.

Gerrard had been frustrated by Rangers' first-half performance but reserved most of his ire for referee Damir Skomina, calling for an explanation from UEFA.

"I asked the players [at half-time] to remember what we stand for, what we're about, how hard we've worked to get this opportunity," Gerrard told a news conference.

"I asked for the real Rangers in the second half and we got it. We won the second half 2-1 and we deserved it.

"We should have had a blatant penalty. I'm sure when the referee sees that, he'll be devastated. I'd like an explanation as to why, from UEFA, we never got a penalty.

"We certainly deserved to take something from the game after our second-half showing. I was proud of our performance second half."

He added: "It's a blatant penalty, a blatant penalty. [Fer] is climbing all over [Morelos]. It's desperate defending. He just crushes him to the floor.

"Anywhere else on the pitch, it's a foul. So it's a penalty."

Daichi Kamada's second-half brace secured a 2-1 Europa League win for Eintracht Frankfurt and piled further pressure on Arsenal head coach Unai Emery.

The Gunners are now without a win for seven matches across all competitions, with two rasping strikes from Japan forward Kamada adding to the impression Emery was on borrowed time at a sparsely populated Emirates Stadium.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Arsenal a deserved lead at the end of a first half they dominated, with Granit Xhaka slotting back into the midfield for the first time since being stripped of the captaincy.

But the brittle nature of their collapse spoke of a club in turmoil and a positive result at Standard Liege in a fortnight's time may be needed to be absolutely sure of progress to the knockout stages.

Who might be in their dugout at that stage feels less clear.

Arsenal were on top early on. Bukayo Saka raided down the Frankfurt right in the 11th minute but Joe Willock and Aubameyang appeared to get in each other's way and the latter headed wide.

Gabriel Martinelli passed up chances to add to his haul of three Europa League goals this season when he shot too close to Eintracht goalkeeper Frederik Ronnow from a Xhaka corner and saw Gelson Fernandes clear his header from the subsequent set-piece off the line.

Ronnow dashed out to deny Saka when the winger darted in behind David Abraham, also saving from the teenage winger in the 41st minute.

David Luiz departed with a chest injury in between those two chances and Aubameyang blasted in via Ronnow's leg and the crossbar during the resulting period of stoppage time.

Martinelli played in Willock shortly after half-time but the midfielder misjudged his dinked finish and Ronnow was able to save.

It meant Kamada's spin infield and shot into the top corner from the edge of the box in the 55th minute was against the run of play.

The same could not be said when, after Emiliano Martinez saved sharply from Filip Kostic, Kamada was afforded ample room from similar range to dispatch a partially cleared  64th-minute corner.

To compound matters, Shkodran Mustafi hobbled off and Arsenal never recovered their poise. It remains to be seen whether Emery will be given the chance to recover his own poise.

What does it mean? Emery crisis at breaking point

If Emery could not get Arsenal back on track here, the obvious question was 'when on earth might he do so?'. A Frankfurt side they beat 3-0 in September were on a run of three straight defeats before this rematch and they lie 10th in the Bundesliga. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, a lot, as it happened, as the hosts missed chances to put the game to bed and suffered injuries before collapsing. Frankfurt coach Adi Hutter changed the match with the half-time introduction of Mijat Gacinovic and Dominik Kohr. In the circumstances, Emery's failure to adequately respond feels grimly significant for his own job prospects.

Kamada's double delight

If the space Arsenal afforded Kamada for his first goal was foolish, the room he enjoyed for his second bordered on gross negligence. Nevertheless, both finishes from the 23-year-old forward were of the highest order and the Gunners never recovered from his initial sucker punch.

Willock wastefulness proves costly

Arsenal's promising youngster have generally proved immune to their club's wider disfunction on these midweek occasions, but the richly-gifted Willock found himself sucked in here. He either needed to finish or get out of Aubameyang's way early on and did neither, while his team-mates surely would not have unravelled to such an extent had he made it 2-0 after half-time.

What's next

Arsenal and their embattled boss will try and claim a first win since the start of October when they travel to Norwich City on Sunday, while Frankfurt can recuperate until Monday when Mainz welcome them in the Bundesliga.

Celtic sealed top spot in Europa League Group E with a comfortable 3-1 home win over Rennes on Thursday.

Neil Lennon's men had already reached the knockout stage after matchday four, but Lazio's victory against Cluj ensured the Hoops will finish at the summit of a European group table for the first time. 

Already-eliminated Rennes scarcely looked capable of stalling the hosts and Lewis Morgan and Ryan Christie had the Scottish Premiership champions two up at the break.

Mikey Johnston came off the bench to add a third, while fellow substitute Adrien Hunou grabbed a consolation for Rennes, but Celtic can look forward to a trip to Cluj with little on the line, while domestic title rivals Rangers remain engaged in a tense group-stage tussle.

Faced with fairly lacklustre opponents, Celtic soon took control and a pair of smart Edouard Mendy saves from Olivier Ntcham efforts sandwiched the opening goal.

James Forrest cut the ball back from the left-hand side of the penalty area for Morgan to provide a devastating low finish at the near post after 21 minutes.

A deserved second followed in first-half stoppage time as Mendy failed to get a firm hand to Christie's 20-yard drive and saw the ball skip into the net.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Celtic lacked urgency following the restart and were grateful to Forster for a magnificent triple-save.

The former England goalkeeper instinctively blocked from Flavien Tait inside the six-yard box, leapt on Jordan Siebatcheu's rebound to deflect the ball onto the post, then sprung to his feet to gather a tame James Lea Siliki attempt.

Johnston ensured the points were safe, setting off on a dazzling run from left to right and finishing into the far corner, before Rennes finally got their goal with an 89th-minute Hunou header.

Nuno Espirito Santo was proud to deliver a night to remember for Wolves fans after a 3-3 draw in Braga secured a spot in the last 32 of the Europa League.

The Premier League side roared back from a goal down to lead 3-1 by the break in Portugal, with Raul Jimenez, Matt Doherty and Adama Traore on target – the latter two strikes coming 81 seconds apart.

But Braga maintained their grip on top spot in Group K courtesy of second-half goals from Paulinho and Fransergio.

The point ensured Wolves' qualification for the last 32 with a game to spare and Nuno was particularly delighted for the sizeable travelling contingent.

"I'm extremely proud – 6,000 fans here is amazing," he said, in quotes reported by Wolves' official website. "It requires a lot of effort from them, flights and travel, on a night like this, that's what makes us proud.

"The journey we started together, since the Championship. If we can achieve more, we will try. It's the same group of players that started, that are trying to grow, our fans are always with us supporting and that's what makes me happy."

Despite his evident satisfaction at extending Wolves' continental campaign into 2020, Nuno noted areas for improvement after a game the visitors really ought to have won.

"The first half was good. We started bad, we conceded a goal and that can happen, but the reaction was very good," he said.

"We pressed well, we stayed organised and achieved good combinations, so naturally we were finishing goals, the way the team reacted in play was good.

"Second half not so good, not so well organised, allowing passes to Braga that unbalances and conceded in situations that we must improve.

"The season has been long and it was another demanding match. We started very early in the season, however the balance so far has been good. The team is improving, the players are responding.

"We need to keep this momentum because in a couple of days we have a key game against Sheffield United and we want to develop and improve.

"We don't have limits, we always keep going and we're going to the next one."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt a lack of experience cost his youthful Manchester United side in the 2-1 defeat to Astana but found plenty of cause for optimism.

Jesse Lingard captained a starting XI featuring three full debutants and seven teenagers and gave United a 1-0 lead, with their progress from Europa League Group L already assured.

Dmitriy Shomko equalised after a dreadful miss from United midfielder Tahith Chong and one of the visiting players making his senior bow, Di'Shon Bernard, was unfortunate to put through his own goal and hand Roman Grygorchuk's men the points.

"The performance was very good. At times we were excellent and for short spells we let them push us back, which cost us in the end," Solskjaer told MUTV, having also introduced D'Mani Bughail-Mellor, Ethan Galbraith and Largie Ramazani to first-team action from the bench.

"For a 10-minute spell in the second half I felt you could see they were growing in the game. That's where you want these boys to learn from this.

"Maybe stay down for two minutes or get organised. But we had chances ourselves and there were some excellent, excellent debuts.

"You've got to put them on the pitch before you know they're good enough. The full debuts today from, Di'Shon, Ethan Laird and for Dylan Levitt were excellent."

The Old Trafford boss expressed particular sympathy for 19-year-old centre-back Bernard.

"That's the only time he put a foot wrong – he didn't even put a foot wrong, sometimes that happens in football. I thought he was excellent," he said.

"These boys have given me food for thought and I'm very pleased with many of them.

"It's a very, very tight-knit group and it's been excellent. I'm just sorry they didn't go away from here with a win because I thought they deserved to win the game."

United will qualify as group winners if they avoid defeat in their final group game against AZ next month.

Wolves were left stunned by Braga's second-half revival as both sides sealed progress to the last 32 of the Europa League following a 3-3 draw.

After storming back from a goal down to lead 3-1 at the interval, Wolves somehow let maximum points and top spot in Group K slip from their grasp in a thriller in the rain in Portugal.

The visitors, unchanged from the 2-1 Premier League win over Bournemouth, fell behind after six minutes when Andre Horta's deflected effort found the back of the net in sodden conditions.

But Raul Jimenez – involved in all three of his side's goals – swiftly levelled matters with his 15th of the season before a quick-fire double from Matt Doherty and Adama Traore put Nuno Espirito Santo's men in the ascendancy.

That was far from the end of the story, though, as Paulinho cut the gap and Fransergio grabbed a late equaliser to keep Braga top. Third-placed Slovan Bratislava's 2-1 defeat at Besiktas spelled the end of road for the Slovakians, with their Turkish opponents already out of the running.

Braga won the reverse fixture with Wolves at Molineux courtesy of Ricardo Horta's goal and it was his brother who put them ahead on Thursday, Andre Horta's low strike taking a telling touch off Ruben Neves to send the ball beyond Rui Patricio.

Wolves, sitting fifth in the English top flight, were quick to respond and Jimenez headed home after Jonny's looping cross had left Eduardo flapping at thin air.

Nuno's side came close to forging ahead midway through the first half, but Traore's teasing ball across the six-yard box was just beyond the reach of Diogo Jota.

Undeterred, Wolves continued to push forward and got their reward with two goals in 81 seconds – Doherty leaping to nod in Jimenez's lofted delivery before Traore coolly slotted in the third.

A smart stop from Eduardo spared Braga further punishment as he parried away Jota's header five minutes into the second half.

The hosts lost a tearful Wallace to injury just before the hour mark but were soon celebrating halving the deficit through Paulinho's close-range finish, after excellent work from Wenderson Galeno.

Despite Wolves still appearing to carry the greater threat, they were rocked by Fransergio's 79th-minute header from Nuno Sequeira's assist as the spoils were shared in an unlikely classic.

Record-breaker Alfredo Morelos hit a brilliant brace but could not secure Rangers' place in the last 32 of the Europa League in a gripping 2-2 draw at Feyenoord on Thursday.

Steven Gerrard's Gers needed a first away victory in the UEFA Cup or Europa League since 2008 to progress to the knockout stage on matchday five due to Group G rivals Porto's win at Young Boys.

But despite leading through Morelos' second-half double, cancelling out Jens Toornstra's opener in a previously dominant Feyenoord display, the visitors could not hold on at De Kuip.

Morelos became the first Rangers player to score in four consecutive European matches, yet Luis Sinisterra netted a leveller, leaving the Scottish side still requiring a point against Young Boys back at Ibrox.

Granit Xhaka has been selected for Arsenal's Europa League match against Eintracht Frankfurt in what will be his first appearance since being stripped of the club captaincy.

Switzerland midfielder Xhaka has not featured in the five matches across all competitions since he reacted angrily to being substituted during last month's 2-2 Premier League draw at home to Crystal Palace.

The Emirates Stadium faithful booed Xhaka on his way off the field and he gestured provocatively in response before removing his shirt in frustration.

The 27-year-old later acknowledged he got "carried away" and reacted "disrespectfully" towards Arsenal's supporters, while under-fire head coach Unai Emery named Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang his new captain.

Arsenal have not won since Xhaka was consigned to the sidelines and Aubameyang also starts against their Bundesliga opponents.

The former Borussia Dortmund striker is supported in attack by Brazilian youngster Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, who was on target during a 3-0 win in Frankfurt back in September.

Emery's position has been the subject of mounting speculation over recent days, with his cause hardly helped by Nuno Espirito Santo – reportedly a favourite to succeed him in the Arsenal dugout – leading Wolves to a 3-1 lead at half-time at Braga in their own Europa League encounter.

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.

Astana came from behind to beat Manchester United 2-1 in Nur-Sultan as a dream outing for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's youngsters turned sour.

With qualification from Europa League Group L already secured, Solskjaer took the opportunity to field an entirely changed XI from the 3-3 draw at Sheffield United featuring seven teenagers.

Jesse Lingard took the captain's armband and gave United an early lead but the contest turned against the Premier League club after a horror miss from Tahith Chong in the 54th minute.

Left-back Dmitriy Shomko levelled less than a minute later and Di'Shon Bernard, one of three full debutants, put decisively through his own goal in the 62nd minute – sealing a famous win for the already-eliminated Kazakh champions.

United's youngsters began brightly but it was two of the older heads who combined for the breakthrough after 10 minutes – Luke Shaw cutting in from the left to feed Lingard, whose strike from 20 yards took a slight deflection to nestle in the far corner.

Astana should have equalised in the 22nd minute when Abzal Beysebekov's clever diagonal pass caught Shaw napping and Dorin Rotariu shot wastefully wide.

United then picked their opponents apart 10 minutes into the second half, with Shaw and Angel Gomes exchanging passes before Chong chipped over with the goal at his mercy.

And Chong paid for his wastefulness instantly when Shomko fired an unerring finish across Lee Grant into the bottom-right corner from Roman Murtazayev's pass.

A quickfire turnaround was achieved in the space of seven minutes after Antonio Rukavina raided unchecked down the United left and the unfortunate Bernard diverted the cross past Grant.

Runar Mar Sigurjonsson fizzed a half-volley wide as Solskjaer's side were almost picked off on the counter-attack in the 73rd minute.

United found a second wind and Astana needed heroics from goalkeeper Nenad Eric to repel a Gomes free-kick and deny Mason Greenwood from close range.

What does it mean? Encouraging glimpse of the future gives Solskjaer a problem

Before a lack of experience caught up with them after the break, United's youthful starting XI acquitted themselves very well. The rate at which Solskjaer gives these players further first-team opportunities will be intriguing as he is faced with a balancing act.

Throwing too many into a misfiring side would be unhelpful, but the sight of Gomes cleverly and inventively buzzing around the final third was a reminder of the creativity those more experienced professionals at Old Trafford too frequently fail to provide.

Lingard back on the goal trail

Handed the honour of captaining his boyhood club, Lingard led by example and deserved his first-half goal. That it was only his second strike of 2019 and first since January does much to explain why he has dropped out of the England reckoning. For a player who should be entering his prime as he turns 27 next month, this was hopefully a step in the right direction.

All goes wrong after Chong miss

The imposing midfielder was one of the key elements in United's impressive start, driving the visitors onto the front foot. But Chong's failure to make it 2-0 was a wretched and a highly costly error he is likely to stew on for some time.

What's next

A more familiar United line-up will host Aston Villa on Sunday at the start of a crunch seven days that includes Jose Mourinho's return to Old Trafford with Tottenham before the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium. The conclusion of Astana's domestic campaign means they are next in action when they wrap up the Europa League group stage at Partizan Belgrade next month.

Astana came from behind to beat Manchester United 2-1 in Nur-Sultan as a dream outing for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's youngsters turned sour.

With qualification from Europa League Group L already secured, Solskjaer took the opportunity to field an entirely changed XI from the 3-3 draw at Sheffield United featuring seven teenagers.

Jesse Lingard took the captain's armband and gave United an early lead but the contest turned against the Premier League club after a horror miss from Tahith Chong in the 54th minute.

Left-back Dmitriy Shomko levelled less than a minute later and Di'Shon Bernard, one of three full debutants, put decisively through his own goal in the 62nd minute – sealing a famous win for the already-eliminated Kazakh champions.

United's youngsters began brightly but it was two of the older heads who combined for the breakthrough after 10 minutes – Luke Shaw cutting in from the left to feed Lingard, whose strike from 20 yards took a slight deflection to nestle in the far corner.

Astana should have equalised in the 22nd minute when Abzal Beysebekov's clever diagonal pass caught Shaw napping and Dorin Rotariu shot wastefully wide.

United then picked their opponents apart 10 minutes into the second half, with Shaw and Angel Gomes exchanging passes before Chong chipped over with the goal at his mercy.

And Chong paid for his wastefulness instantly when Shomko fired an unerring finish across Lee Grant into the bottom-right corner from Roman Murtazayev's pass.

A quickfire turnaround was achieved in the space of seven minutes after Antonio Rukavina raided unchecked down the United left and the unfortunate Bernard diverted the cross past Grant.

Runar Mar Sigurjonsson fizzed a half-volley wide as Solskjaer's side were almost picked off on the counter-attack in the 73rd minute.

United found a second wind and Astana needed heroics from goalkeeper Nenad Eric to repel a Gomes free-kick and deny Mason Greenwood from close range.

What does it mean? Encouraging glimpse of the future gives Solskjaer a problem

Before a lack of experience caught up with them after the break, United's youthful starting XI acquitted themselves very well. The rate at which Solskjaer gives these players further first-team opportunities will be intriguing as he is faced with a balancing act.

Throwing too many into a misfiring side would be unhelpful, but the sight of Gomes cleverly and inventively buzzing around the final third was a reminder of the creativity those more experienced professionals at Old Trafford too frequently fail to provide.

Lingard back on the goal trail

Handed the honour of captaining his boyhood club, Lingard led by example and deserved his first-half goal. That it was only his second strike of 2019 and first since January does much to explain why he has dropped out of the England reckoning. For a player who should be entering his prime as he turns 27 next month, this was hopefully a step in the right direction.

All goes wrong after Chong miss

The imposing midfielder was one of the key elements in United's impressive start, driving the visitors onto the front foot. But Chong's failure to make it 2-0 was a wretched and a highly costly error he is likely to stew on for some time.

What's next

A more familiar United line-up will host Aston Villa on Sunday at the start of a crunch seven days that includes Jose Mourinho's return to Old Trafford with Tottenham before the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium. The conclusion of Astana's domestic campaign means they are next in action when they wrap up the Europa League group stage at Partizan Belgrade next month.

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