Manchester United’s squad at the end of last season was the most expensively-assembled on record, according to a UEFA report.

The Red Devils’ squad at 2023’s financial year-end cost a collective 1.42 billion euros (£1.21bn) in transfer fees, eclipsing the figure of 1.33 billion euros recorded by Real Madrid in 2020.

The United squad at the end of 2022-23 included £82million Brazilian winger Antony, £80m England defender Harry Maguire, £73m signing Jadon Sancho and the £60m Brazil midfielder Casemiro.

Further recruits last summer such as Mason Mount, Andre Onana and Rasmus Hojlund are not counted within the figures.

UEFA’s European Club Finance and Investment Landscape report found three other clubs’ squads – Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid – cost more than one billion euros in transfer fees in their most recently disclosed financial year-end figures. Chelsea’s most recent figures go up to the year end June 30, 2022, and therefore do not include their heavy spending in the summer of that year or the January 2023 window.

United have become one of 15 English top-flight clubs recognised within the report as being part of a multi-club investment group, with the purchase of a 25 per cent stake by Ineos founder Sir Jim Ratcliffe almost complete. Ineos also holds majority stakes in French side Nice and Swiss club Lausanne.

In all, 105 top-division European clubs (13 per cent of the total number) have a cross-investment relationship with one or more other clubs, the report found.

There were 31 purchases of majority stakes and seven purchases of minority stakes in 2023 by groups holding a stake in at least one other European club, according to the report.

However, less than one transfer per club on average is actually executed within the same multi-club structure, the report found.

As the size of multi-club investment groups has increased, that proportion has even decreased (0.6 transfers per club in 2023 compared to 0.8 in 2021), suggesting the multi-club investment trend is not entirely driven by player transfer considerations.

Andrea Traverso, UEFA’s director of financial sustainability and research, said: “More than 300 clubs are part of multi-club investment groups, leading to an increased risk of seeing two clubs with the same owner or investor facing each other in the same competition, creating potential integrity risks at the European level.

“The current context demands strict enforcement of cost control regulations and more harmonisation of financial rules between leagues. This is paramount to limit overspending, ‘creative finance’, and rules circumvention.

“As long as differences on key regulatory matters continue between leagues, inflationary tensions will persist, contributing to imbalances and instability.”

Elsewhere, the report found spending on player wages dropped by 1.1 per cent among the clubs with the 20 largest player wage bills, with United spending 88m euros (£75m) less on player wages in 2023 compared to the year before. Barcelona and City had large increases in player wages spending – 158m euros and 68m euros (£134.8m and £58m) respectively.

Ange Postecoglou has talked up Tottenham’s chances of FA Cup success and insisted he is driven by adding another trophy picture to his collection.

Spurs exited the Carabao Cup at the first hurdle in August after a penalty shoot-out loss at Fulham and face more Premier League opposition in a domestic cup on Friday night.

Burnley are the visitors in the FA Cup third round and Postecoglou, who has won silverware with South Melbourne, Brisbane Roar, Australia, Yokohama and Celtic, is eager to create new memories in England’s historic cup competition.

“From my perspective it’s an opportunity for us to try to win a competition and for a club of our stature that has to be the ambition every year, that you go into every competition with the aim and the hope of winning some silverware,” Postecoglou said.

“I love winning. It is what I have done all my career. I don’t say that dismissively and I don’t have (pictures) on the ceiling, but that’s what drives me.

“Every year I start the year hoping there is a picture by the end of the year of me with a team lifting a trophy.

“That is what I have tried to do my whole career and I have got plenty of evidence of that, so that’s what my intent is here. I don’t have to visualise it – it’s what I do.”

Postecoglou’s sentiments will be music to the ears of Tottenham supporters who have craved silverware with no trophy win since 2008.

While Spurs reached the Champions League final in 2019, their home dressing room only has pictures of club successes like the 1961 double-winning side or the eight teams who inspired FA Cup glory, most recently in 1991.

Postecoglou added: “The people who have had success at this football club are rightly honoured.

“If you walk around the home dressing room, those are the only pictures we have got up there, teams and individuals that have won things because we know how important they are to this football club.”

Spurs have been hit by more absentees this month with captain Son Heung-min away at the Asian Cup with South Korea Pape Sarr and Yves Bissouma in Africa Cup of Nations action for Senegal and Mali respectively.

Postecoglou was happy to play down any controversy ahead of next weekend’s trip to Manchester United, who have been allowed to keep goalkeeper Andre Onana until that fixture, and also refuted claims these tournaments could put Tottenham off signing Asian or African players in the future.

“I don’t think it’s fair or unfair,” Postecoglou commented on Onana’s delayed link-up with Cameroon.

“Not bothered at all what other clubs do.

“We’ve got a generational player (Son) from Asia that’s been representing our club. If we lose him every four years for five weeks, I think it’s a real small price to pay.

“I love international football, I think it’s important. The tournaments they are going to now are significant tournaments.

“You’ve got to understand these guys, this is where they were brought up. This is where a lot of who they are today comes from and when they go and represent their country, it’s not just another game of football for them.

“I’m sure Sonny and Pape would have loved to have been here with us but it doesn’t diminish what they do there.”

Andre Onana will link up with the Cameroon squad for the Africa Cup of Nations after Manchester United play Tottenham on January 14, the PA news agency understands.

It had been reported that United were in talks with Onana’s national team over the goalkeeper’s release date for the tournament in Ivory Coast that gets under way a week on Saturday.

The 27-year-old is now set stay with the club for their Premier League match against Spurs at Old Trafford the following day before joining up with Cameroon – whose campaign then starts on January 15 with a match against Guinea.

United also have one fixture before the Tottenham game, playing at Wigan in the FA Cup third round next Monday.

The Cameroonian football association is understood to have agreed to be flexible on the release date for a player who was persuaded to come out of international retirement earlier this season.

Onana, who joined United from Inter Milan in a £47million deal last summer, had quit international football after the 2022 World Cup following a dispute with head coach Rigobert Song.

Erik ten Hag’s side could be boosted further for their clash with Tottenham after confirming that Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez have both returned to training following long-term injuries.

Brazil midfielder Casemiro has not played since the Carabao Cup defeat to Newcastle on November 1, while influential defender Martinez has been sidelined since September.

United said on Wednesday that the pair had started full training with the team after working individually in recent weeks.

Premier League clubs will lose key players to international duty over the next few weeks.

The Asia Cup in Qatar runs from January 12 to February 10, while the Africa Cup of Nations will be held in Ivory Coast from January 13 to February 11.

Here the PA news agency looks at how those tournaments could impact domestic football during a busy time of Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup action, and discover who are the big winners and losers.

Oh Mo, Salah’s away

Study the stats and it is easy to see why Liverpool fans have every right to be concerned. Mohamed Salah tops the list for Premier League goal involvements with 22 – 14 goals and eight assists. Salah registered a 150th Premier League goal for Liverpool with a brace in the New Year’s Day win over Newcastle, and his absence comes with the Reds top of the pile, in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup and ready to get their FA Cup campaign underway. Just for good measure, Liverpool will be without Japan midfielder Wataru Endo over the next few weeks.

Spurs without Son

Tottenham have maintained their unexpected title bid despite a lengthy injury list, but can they cope without talismanic skipper Son Heung-min? The South Korea captain heads to the Asia Cup with Spurs fifth in the Premier League, a point behind neighbours Arsenal and Manchester City and six adrift of Liverpool. Son’s importance is underlined by his 12 league goals – only Salah and Erling Haaland have scored more – while Spurs will also be weakened by AFCON-bound midfielders Pape Sarr and Yves Bissouma.

Premier League losers

If Liverpool and Tottenham are missing headline acts, there are plenty of other losers. Manchester United will be without their first-choice goalkeeper, Cameroon’s Andre Onana, and Turkey international Altay Bayindir is set to make his debut in his absence. Wolves will also feel the loss of South Korea’s Hwang Hee-chan, their 10-goal top scorer, while Antoine Semenyo (Bournemouth), Yoane Wissa (Brentford), Nicolas Jackson (Chelsea), Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace), Alex Iwobi (Fulham) and Mohammed Kudus (West Ham) are among high-profile AFCON players, while Nottingham Forest have no less than six players at the tournament.

Burnley boost

South Africa striker Lyle Foster will miss AFCON as he focuses on his well being. Foster has received specialist care for his mental health this season and did not play for eight weeks before returning last month. Burnley boss Vincent Kompany said Foster was not ready to travel to represent his country. But he will be available for the Clarets, and that spells good news as the 23-year-old scored his first goal since his return to action at Aston Villa on Saturday.

Champions City and Newcastle unaffected

As well as Burnley in their battle against relegation, champions Manchester City and Newcastle do not have any players away on international duty. Pep Guardiola’s City will hope to take advantage of a Salah-less Liverpool, as Arsenal cope without Egypt midfielder Mohamed Elneny and Japan defender Takehiro Tomiyasu. Aston Villa have only lost Burkina Faso’s Bertrand Traore. Newcastle boss Eddie Howe will be relieved his squad has not been weakened further as he seeks to engineer a New Year revival on Tyneside amid worrying injury issues.

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has insisted he has full confidence in Andre Onana and said there would be nothing to be gained from taking his under-fire goalkeeper out of the spotlight.

Onana’s form is once again under scrutiny after the Cameroon goalkeeper was culpable for two of Galatasaray’s goals in Wednesday’s costly 3-3 draw in Istanbul, as United surrendered a two-goal advantage to leave their Champions League fate out of their hands.

But Ten Hag has strongly defended his £47million summer signing, a player he previously worked with at Ajax, and pointed to statistics showing that Onana is second in saves made, save percentage and goals prevented in the Premier League.

“Players always need trust,” Ten Hag said. “After Alisson he is the best stopper in the league from preventing expected goals. You deserve to play.”

Onana has played in every game for United this season, with Ten Hag opting not to rest him even in the League Cup. That means Turkish stopper Altay Biyindir, a summer signing from Fenerbahce, is still awaiting his debut.

Asked if Onana might benefit from a break, Ten Hag said: “It won’t help him. I have trust in Tom (Heaton) and Altay, clear. But Andre, you see after Alisson, he prevented the most expected goals in the whole league.

“In the Champions League, he has so much experience with Ajax and last year with Inter Milan. Last year he was with (Manuel) Neuer and (Thibaut) Courtois the best goalkeeper, so he is a great keeper.

“He has the potential, so we have to work on him so that he does it consistently and we will work with him and we will support him. The manager, coaches and players all support him.”

That support was not obvious in Istanbul, when United players did not go over to Onana at the final whistle as he threw his gloves to the floor in disgust at his own performance.

But Ten Hag insisted that was not a sign that his players might be losing confidence in their goalkeeper.

“That will not happen,” he said. “This dressing room is together. Football is a game of mistakes and everyone can make mistakes. But this team has to cover that so we will operate.

“Nobody is undroppable, that is also clear. We have a strong belief that he will help us win trophies.”

Onana is expected to be called into Cameroon’s squad for the Africa Cup of Nations in January, having resolved a dispute with head coach Rigobert Song that saw him quit international football following last year’s World Cup.

Onana could miss four Premier League matches if he is called in, with some reports suggesting the 27-year-old is now concerned he could lose his place in the United side during that time.

Asked if any decision had yet been taken over his participation, Ten Hag said: “When they call him, he has to go. But we are in talks.”

Marcus Rashford will be available again for United’s trip to Newcastle on Saturday after missing the midweek drama through suspension.

Alejandro Garnacho, who has been in electric form with two goals in two including last weekend’s outstanding bicycle kick against Everton, prefers playing off the left side in the same position as Rashford, but Ten Hag said it was no problem to accommodate players in his side.

“Against Copenhagen they were both in the team, against Everton they were both in the team and now ‘Rashy’ was suspended,” he said.

“‘Rashy’ can play from the right and he likes to play from the right, but he can also play through the middle and he can play from the left, so he is really multi-functional.”

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has defended under-fire Andre Onana and insisted the Cameroon international is among the best goalkeepers in the Premier League.

Onana has repeatedly been in the spotlight since United spent £47million on the 27-year-old this summer to replace David De Gea, and although it had been felt his form was improving in recent weeks, Wednesday’s 3-3 draw against Galatasaray was a clear setback as he was at fault for two goals.

Onana also made a mistake for a goal in United’s Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich, but while he has struggled in Europe, Ten Hag pointed to the statistics that say Onana is second in saves made, save percentage and goals prevented in the Premier League.

“If you analyse it well then you see he is the second best goalkeeper in the Premier League based on stats, so his expected defending goals is the second best in the Premier League,” Ten Hag said.

“He’s doing well. Also he knows that in the Champions League he makes some mistakes but all over you see the first five months he is doing particularly well.”

Onana will face another major test on Saturday evening when United travel to Newcastle, who are on a five-game winning streak at St James’ Park.

But Ten Hag does not expect Onana to suffer any hangover from Wednesday night.

“You have seen how he is reacting on a bad performance like in Munich,” Ten Hag said.

“At Burnley (three days later) he was outstanding. He is a strong character, he is a personality and he will deal with it.”

United said on Friday that left-back Tyrell Malacia, yet to feature this season after knee surgery, is on course to return early next year after requiring a second operation.

Mason Mount was also back in training on Friday but there is no timeframe yet for the midfielder’s return.

Mount’s absence has helped open the door for 18-year-old Kobbie Mainoo, who excelled in last weekend’s 3-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park and was impressive again in Istanbul.

“He showed on Sunday (at Everton) he was ready,” Ten Hag said. “It looks like he always has time.

“He is scanning, he is running free, he is scanning to see the options and make the right decisions. He can delay, can speed up, he makes the right decisions.”

Saturday’s trip to the north east is a third straight away game for United, and another intimidating atmosphere after they faced an angry Goodison Park and the bear pit that is Galatasaray’s Rams Park.

“I really respect them,” Ten Hag said of Newcastle. “It’s a difficult team to play but it’s a good challenge and I like to play against it.

“We have to rise to the occasion, be our best against them because the way they play is very organised.”

United go into the game on the back of five wins in their last six Premier League games, having put a rocky run of domestic form behind them to close in on the top four.

It stands in contrast to their European form, but Ten Hag believes performances have been good across the board.

“On Wednesday, we played very good, also in Copenhagen,” he said. “Even in Bayern Munich we played very good. But we have to do some things better.

“Eliminate individual errors, defensive transition, but we can sort this out and I would be more concerned if we didn’t play well.”

Erik ten Hag says Manchester United are conceding too many goals but refused to blame Andre Onana despite the goalkeeper’s errors at Galatasaray severely damaging their chances of Champions League progression.

Having lost three of four Group A games, Wednesday’s key clash in Istanbul began in dream fashion as Alejandro Garnacho’s early effort was followed up by a Bruno Fernandes rocket.

Hakim Ziyech pulled one back from a free-kick that Onana will be disappointed to have been beaten by and he was guilty of an even worse error after Scott McTominay scored United’s third.

The summer signing somehow failed to deal with another Ziyech free-kick and substitute Kerem Akturkoglu soon lasered past him as a mad match ended 3-3.

The result leaves United bottom of their pool heading into the final round of fixtures, with the concession of 14 goals in just five Group A games the key issue.

“We scored also quickly after each other,” United manager Ten Hag said.

“It’s about the point when you are leading, when you are 2-0 up and you have to manage the game. Not so easy.

“We give free-kicks away and we have to defend them better twice. I have to say also that is Hakim. He is brilliant, I know that. He is extraordinary.

“To give free-kicks, it’s difficult to defend as well. In such areas, we have to be in more control.

“It is always about incidents, always about details and some incidents we can manage better.

“As a team, we have to learn from it because we are conceding too many goals and it is unnecessary and avoidable.

“I am sure our team is experienced enough and capable enough to manage this and we will do better.

“What is enjoyable is the progress we have and the way we play football. We dictated the game, we scored so many goals – it was about plan, creativity, being proactive and brave. That makes me happy.”

United should have scored more but Onana will be under the spotlight after this draw, having also been guilty of errors in the losses away to Bayern Munich and at home to Galatasaray.

While his key stoppage-time penalty save secured a win against Copenhagen, he endured another difficult Champions League night on Wednesday.

“I think as a team we played very well,” Ten Hag said when asked about Onana. “We win and lose together. You see the progress in this team.

“I take many positives from this game. Some mistakes. We played like I want my team to play.

“It was enjoyable to watch that proactive, dynamic, brave and we scored great goals.

“Even after we had some setbacks, we kept going until the end and we should have won with big chances from Scott McTominay and (Facundo) Pellistri.

“Of course, I am disappointed because we should have managed the game better, we will learn from that. Because this team is in development.”

Asked how Onana is, he said: “He is OK. As I said, it is not about individuals.

“Of course, individual errors in football can make a difference and you take responsibility for it but it is always about the team.

“This team is good, all the players in the squad are good and deserve the best to play for Manchester United because they are brilliant players.

“And that counts for the whole squad.”

United are now sweating on their place in Europe, let alone the Champions League, heading into their group finale against already-qualified Bayern at Old Trafford.

“It would be more frustrating if we play poor,” Ten Hag said.

“But the performance is very good, it is enjoyable to watch how we dictate the game, how we create chances, that is actually fantastic.

“But now there is more, if you can sort better the management of the game out then you start playing football.

“The football is good, the performances are good but now we have to learn better how to manage this game.”

Manchester United’s Champions League hopes are hanging by a thread after Erik ten Hag’s men imploded in a chaotic, thrill-a-minute 3-3 draw on an ear-splitting night at Galatasaray.

Having lost three of their four Group A fixtures, the Red Devils knew defeat in Istanbul would extinguish their hopes of reaching the knockout phase with a game to spare.

United avoided a loss but blew a two-goal lead on in an incredible night in Istanbul, meaning their knockout hopes will be over if Copenhagen beat Bayern Munich in Wednesday’s late fixtures.

This was a wild, helter-skelter encounter befitting of a Champions League campaign punctuated by goals, madness and mistakes.

A rocking Rams Park witnessed a dream United start to a breathless match, with Alejandro Garnacho completing a fine team move before Bruno Fernandes rocketed the visitors further ahead in the 18th minute.

Hakim Ziyech’s free-kick all too easily beat Andre Onana to give Galatasaray hope, which Scott McTominay appeared to extinguish when scoring in the 55th minute.

But United, not for the first time in Group A, unravelled as Onana’s howler allowed Ziyech to score another free-kick before substitute Kerem Akturkoglu levelled with a scorcher.

Fernandes hit the post from distance and Facundo Pellistri somehow failed to score as the visitors laid siege to Galatasaray’s goal, with the draw leaving them bottom of Group A and facing an early Champions League exit.

FC Copenhagen coach Jacob Neestrup has warned Manchester United the atmosphere at Parken will be 100 times more intense than Old Trafford ahead of Wednesday’s key Champions League clash.

Harry Maguire’s header and Andre Onana’s stoppage-time spot-kick save secured Erik ten Hag’s stumbling Red Devils a much-needed 1-0 victory against the Danish champions a fortnight ago.

It was a crucial win having lost their first two Group A games to Bayern Munich and Galatasaray, but United must now build on that triumph in Copenhagen.

The hosts need a win themselves having secured one point despite going close in their first three fixtures and Neestrup believes Parken’s intense atmosphere will be different for United.

“What can they expect? I would say with all the respect I felt when I stepped into Old Trafford, then I felt the historical atmosphere,” the 35-year-old said.

“But you can’t compare Old Trafford with Parken because the intensity is times 100 in terms of what we played in two weeks ago.

“Then this is a standard (that), for me, is way above Premier League, to be honest.”

Neestrup’s bold comments about the contrasting atmospheres was put to United midfielder Christian Eriksen, who knows the stadium better than most.

“I’ve never played against Copenhagen in here, I’ve only been here with the national team,” the Denmark international said with a smile.

“I do know the atmosphere with the national team is very special, so I do expect a special atmosphere.

“But I don’t know if it’s 100 times more theatrical than it would be at Old Trafford! I’m not sure about that.”

United boss Ten Hag was also asked about readiness to play in front of a hostile crowd.

“We are looking forward (to it),” he said of the game at Parken. “This team is experienced and experienced hostile.

“For instance, last year, Barcelona and we can get good performances and we can get good results. We know that.”

United are under scrutiny as they head to the Danish capital, having edged past Fulham 1-0 as they responded to back-to-back 3-0 home defeats to Manchester City and Newcastle.

Put to Neestrup that Copenhagen are facing a side in unconvincing form, he said: “But I don’t care. I also thought it was a perfect time to play Bayern Munich.

“We play at home, we are a big, big club in Copenhagen, so for me it really doesn’t matter.

“If we’re going to play a team tomorrow who have won 20 games in a row or, in terms of your words, are struggling a little bit, because for us it’s the same.

“We need a result. Best case three (points), next best it’s one. But the shape that the opponent arrive in I don’t care, really.”

Wednesday’s match will see Rasmus Hojlund return to his hometown club, where his younger brothers Emil and Oscar currently play.

Copenhagen midfielder Rasmus Falk, who played alongside the United striker during his time at Parken, said: “His strength is he is very, very fast, very, very strong, then his mentality.

“He wants to score goals, he wants to do the best all the time and the hunger he shows in the game is, for me, his biggest strength.”

Pep Guardiola believes Andre Onana’s penalty heroics in the Champions League will give the under-fire goalkeeper a confidence boost ahead of the Manchester derby on Sunday.

Guardiola is a long-term admirer of the Cameroonian, singling him out as Inter Milan’s most dangerous player ahead of last season’s Champions League final which Manchester City won 1-0 to claim a historic treble.

Since moving to Manchester United in the summer, Onana has made a number of errors but he preserved an important 1-0 Champions League win over Copenhagen in midweek with a penalty save in added-on time.

Onana was mobbed by his team-mates in the aftermath and will now head into this weekend with his spirits raised, according to Guardiola, who has been well aware of the ex-Ajax shot-stopper for several years.

The Manchester City boss said: “I remember we have a common friend who spoke very highly of him but personally I met him in Amsterdam. He’s an exceptional player and now at United.

“Before the game I always expect the best of the players we are going to face. I prefer to see the strengths than the weakness they have.

“He saved a penalty in the last minute which helped Manchester United to stay in contention to qualify for the last 16. Mentally it’s a good boost for them and for him.

“Everyone needs time (to adapt to the Premier League), not just the managers but players, keepers. Everyone. Sometimes people are quicker but I have a high opinion of him as a keeper.”

Jack Grealish was restored to City’s starting XI for their 3-1 Champions League victory at Swiss outfit Young Boys on Wednesday and he stood out on the left wing before his influence waned after half-time.

The England midfielder has recently been a bit-part figure following a month on the sidelines with a dead leg and he has been on the bench for City’s four most recent Premier League matches.

But Guardiola, who will be without suspended defender Manuel Akanji for the visit to Old Trafford after his dismissal in the win over Brighton last weekend, says Grealish is still integral to his thinking.

“The plan is for him to play like he did in Switzerland,” Guardiola said. “We need him, we need everyone. I am very pleased for the game he played.

“We trust a lot in him. We know his ability and he has to fight with his mates to play a lot and play as best as possible in every single action, every single minute, every single game.”

Second-placed City are already six points ahead of their rivals after just nine fixtures but Guardiola insisted it is too soon to be making definitive judgements on the campaign.

“It’s too early,” Guardiola added. “All the teams are there and the teams behind can be there.

“When you play just nine games, many things can happen from my experience. We have been behind with few points in February and March and have been able to win at the end.”

Andre Onana has defended Manchester United team-mate Alejandro Garnacho after the winger used gorilla emojis in a post about the goalkeeper.

The 19-year-old Argentina international posted a photo of United players congratulating Onana after the Cameroon goalkeeper had saved a stoppage-time penalty in Tuesday’s 1-0 Champions League win over Copenhagen.

Garnacho’s post on X, formerly known as Twitter, featured two gorilla emojis without any words, and was quickly deleted.

The social media post could land Garnacho in hot water with the Football Association but Onana wrote on the same platform: “People cannot choose what I should be offended by.

“I know exactly what @agarnacho7 meant: power & strength. This matter should go no further.”

However, the FA has punished players in the past for making racial slurs on social networking sites.

Former United striker Edinson Cavani was banned for three games and fined £100,000 in 2020 for using the Spanish phrase ‘Gracias negrito’ – which translates as ‘thanks little black’ – below a friend’s Instagram post.

Cavani also underwent a two-hour face-to-face training course for a comment said to be a term of endearment in his native Uruguay.

In 2019, Bernardo Silva was given a one-match ban and fined £50,000 by the FA for his tweet to Manchester City colleague Benjamin Mendy.

Silva tweeted an image of a young Mendy alongside an image of the cartoon brand mascot of Spanish confectionery brand Conguitos, with the caption “Guess who?”

Cavani and Silva were both punished by the FA after deleting their messages.

Erik ten Hag praised goalkeeper Andre Onana for putting a difficult start to life at Manchester United behind him and saving the day in a narrow Champions League escape against Copenhagen.

Having kicked off Group A with defeats to Bayern Munich and Galatasaray, the Red Devils could ill-afford any slip-up against the Danish champions in Tuesday’s Old Trafford encounter.

Onana was guilty of poor performances in both of those Champions League losses but helped make amends in a brilliant conclusion to an emotional first home game since the death of Sir Bobby Charlton.

The United keeper saved Jordan Larsson’s stoppage-time penalty with what proved to be the last touch of the match, ensuring Harry Maguire’s second-half header sealed a crucial 1-0 win.

“He showed personality and he knows that before was not the levels what his skills are,” manager Ten Hag said of the summer signing from Inter Milan. “He didn’t match his skills and he could do better.

“I think Saturday (against Sheffield United) was a very good performance and today as well.

“Also, don’t forget that brilliant save just after half-time in the counter-attack.

“But, of course, that is one of his skills, he is a very good penalty saver.”

Onana’s save sparked wild celebrations at a rocking Old Trafford, where he was mobbed by team-mates before United’s substitutes poured onto the pitch.

“You see there is a very good spirit in the dressing room,” said Ten Hag, who claimed not to have seen Alejandro Garnacho scuffing the penalty spot.

“They are together, they fight together and they celebrate together.

“If we have setbacks, they support each other. I think that spirit is always needed to be a successful team.”

United have won three straight matches in all competitions despite some unconvincing performances and improvements are needed against reigning Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday.

“First half no good, difficult,” Ten Hag said. “They were well organised, Copenhagen.

“It was difficult to create chances. We didn’t get the right build-up, so we didn’t get the tempo in the game.

“The second half I think was better. In the first half, we got some press on but not in many occasions or in a long period.

“In the second half, both things were better and the build-up was better

“The construction was better, more switches and also we created more chances. I think finally the win was justified but it was a narrow escape.”

This was certainly a let-off for a United side who had the frequently-criticised Maguire to thank as well as Onana.

The defender’s future appeared elsewhere having been stripped of the captaincy during a summer of speculation, but he has now made three straight starts and scored the key goal on Tuesday.

“He is playing much more proactive in possession, stepping in, passing vertical,” the Dutchman said. “Defending also on the front foot, also stepping in, defending forward.

“Very confident in the duels. I think he is dominating, in the right moment putting in the aggression and dominating his opponents.

“Then you see you also get rewarded, of course it’s a very good skill from him his heading, but I have to say great pass from Christian (Eriksen) as well but a very good finish.”

These sides now return to domestic matters before resuming battle in Denmark in the reverse fixture on November 8.

Copenhagen head coach Jacob Neestrup said: “We all know that we played a match where we allowed ourselves to get at least one point.

“We had a big chance to score in the closing seconds, so that hurts. It really hurts.

“I don’t believe in bad luck in football. Football is decided by important saves or goals, and in terms of that, we have been unable to tip it in our favour in the first three matches, which have led to one point. Those are the hard facts.”

Harry Maguire’s header and Andre Onana’s stoppage-time penalty save secured Manchester United a vital Champions League win against Copenhagen in their first home match since the death of Sir Bobby Charlton.

Tuesday’s Old Trafford encounter allowed the club to come together and pay tribute to the World Cup winner and all-round gentleman following his death at the age of 86 on Saturday.

Charlton starred for United and in 1968 led them to European Cup glory at Wembley, where Erik ten Hag’s men would love to return for June’s Champions League final.

First comes qualification from Group C, which misfiring United continued to make hard work of as they rode their luck to claim a 1-0 win against Copenhagen after losses to Bayern Munich and Galatasaray.

Maguire temporarily quietened his doubters with a second-half header against the impressive Danish champions, who pushed until the end and looked set to act as party poopers.

Scott McTominay brought down Mohamed Elyounoussi in the box in stoppage time, but goalkeeper Onana – so unsteady since joining from Inter Milan – saved Jordan Larsson’s penalty in a jaw-dropping ending.

New Manchester United goalkeeper Andre Onana cannot wait to create his own legacy at Old Trafford after he completed his move to the club on Thursday night.

United reached an agreement with Inter Milan to sign Onana for an initial 51m euros (£43.8m) with add-ons on Tuesday, and the 27-year-old has now sealed his switch to the Premier League club.

Onana has signed a five-year deal and targeted helping boss Erik Ten Hag secure more success.

He said: “To join Manchester United is an incredible honour and I have worked hard all my life to get to this moment, overcoming many obstacles along the way.

“Walking out at Old Trafford to defend our goal and contribute to the team will be another amazing experience. This is the start of a new journey for me, with new teammates and new ambitions to fight for.

“Manchester United has a long history of incredible goalkeepers, and I will now give everything to create my own legacy in the coming years.

“I am excited by the opportunity to work again with Erik ten Hag, and I can’t wait to play my part in the success I know he is determined to deliver at this great football club.”

Inter Milan goalkeeper Andre Onana is set to join Manchester United after a deal was struck with both player and club, the PA news agency understands.

The 27-year-old shot-stopper has been top of Erik ten Hag’s wish list this summer as United replace long-serving David De Gea.

United have now reached an agreement with Serie A side Inter to sign Onana for an initial 51m euros (£43.8m) with a potential further 4m euros (£3.4m) in add-ons.

Personal terms are also understood to have been agreed with the goalkeeper, who is set to sign a five-year deal with the option of a further season.

A medical is imminent but it remains to be seen whether the respective paperwork will be completed in time for Onana to be on Wednesday’s flight to the United States for their pre-season tour.

The Cameroon international will become United’s second signing of the summer after bringing in Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount earlier in the month for an initial £55m.

The goalkeeper should slot seamlessly into Ten Hag’s system thanks to his ability and confidence on the ball, which he used to great effect at Inter and prior to that under the Dutchman at Ajax.

A new goalkeeper had not initially been a key priority for the United boss this summer, but towards the end of the campaign it was decided to pursue a new number one.

Onana is now set to succeed De Gea after his recent departure on a free transfer, while speculation continues over the future of Dean Henderson and Tom Heaton.

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