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.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted he had no regrets over his team selection after Manchester United lost 3-1 at Leicester City in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

Former Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho scored twice either side of Youri Tielemans' solo strike as Brendan Rodgers' men booked a Wembley semi-final against Southampton.

Mason Greenwood equalised shortly before half-time in a rare moment of inspiration for United, as Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek combined to fine effect.

But the midfield duo were only fit to play for an hour, having recently returned to action, and Bruno Fernandes was unable to have a decisive impact from the bench.

Solskjaer felt such juggling was a necessity after a packed schedule in which his side overcame Milan in the Europa League on Thursday.

"I would have started the same team again. We felt [Pogba and Van de Beek] had more than 45 minutes in them," he said.

"They're important players for us, that's why we started them.

"We picked a team that we felt was going to win the game or give us a foundation to win the game.

"We knew players like Donny and Paul wouldn't last more than an hour."

Fernandes' 23 goals and 13 assists mean he leads the way in both categories for United this season.

However, among outfield players, only captain Harry Maguire (3,945) and fellow defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka (3,651) have played more minutes than the Portugal playmaker's 3,488 for the Red Devils across all competitions.

"Every team selection has reasons behind it. Bruno has played very, very much football," Solskjaer said.

"The boy is a human being. He has played a game every three or four days.

"It was a chance to start both Donny and Paul. The accumulation of games maybe caught up with us.

"With Bruno, I know he wants to play but sometimes you make decisions for the benefit of both the team and him."

While plenty of managers will be apprehensive about the forthcoming international break and what it might mean for their players at the business end of the season, Solskjaer believes it comes at a good time for certain members of his squad.

"I think the international break will give Paul and Donny chances to play, it'll give Anthony [Martial] a chance to go away," he said.

"They will get a change of scenery. You get energy from that. The boys have been at Carrington training ground now every day for a long, long time.

"The break comes at a good time and we'll be ready at Easter, don't worry about that."

Solskjaer added: "If and when we're successful, we have to handle [fixture congestion] and hit a higher level than we did today.

"That's what we're striving towards and, under these circumstances, which are unprecedented, I've been impressed by my boys.

"They've been excellent. The run we've been on has been excellent. Unfortunately we couldn't find our normal selves tonight and sometimes that happens."

Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho continued his hot streak with a brace as Brendan Rodgers' side beat Manchester United 3-1 to book a place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

Iheanacho pounced on a first-half error from Fred to open the scoring and headed home Marc Albrighton's free-kick to complete a deserved triumph at the King Power Stadium and book a Wembley date with Southampton.

In between his goals, he laid on Youri Tielemans for Leicester's second and the Nigeria international now has 15 goal involvements in his past 15 starts across all competitions – 11 goals and four assists.

This month, Iheanacho has been on fire, with seven goals in four outings – a return of one every 48 minutes that places him among Europe's elite.

Only Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski (eight, 38.75 mins/goal) has outscored the 24-year-old during this period.

Hot on Iheanacho's heels are Erling Haaland, Karim Benzema and his international team-mate, Simy Nwankwo of Crotone, on six.

Paris Saint-Germain favourite Kylian Mbappe has five in five since the calendar turned, one more than Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne, Youssef En-Nesyri and Gerrard Moreno.

"I'm enjoying it - I just need to focus and keep going," Iheanacho told BBC Sport.

"It's not easy to get an opportunity but I think I am taking mine - I just need to keep working hard every day and they opportunities will keep coming."

Iheanacho's rich vein of form is timely for Leicester, given Jamie Vardy is enduring an unusually barren spell in front of goal.

The former England striker has not scored for eight matches, although he weighed in with two assists as Iheanacho scored a hat-trick in last weekend's 5-0 demolition of Sheffield United and Rodgers is delighted with how the pair are working in tandem.

"Kelechi has always contributed. Maybe his confidence was lower [before] but he works so hard every day and always comes in and gives his all," the Foxes boss told BBC Sport.

"You see his confidence now. He's at the top of his game.

"It's a different structure [up front]. Kelechi is probably best with someone up there with him. Those two are working very well."

The former Manchester City youngster added: "The partnership is really helping us in the team I am really happy playing alongside Jamie.

"It's helping me a lot [in terms of] creating space and getting the shot in behind, so I hope we can keep working hard together."

 

By contrast, United's forwards are struggling at present.

Mason Greenwood got their goal, his first in 16 matches. After bursting onto the scene last season, the teenage striker has scored two FA Cup goals to his solitary effort in the Premier League this time around.

Marcus Rashford was an injury absentee at Leicester and has been, by far, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's most impressive attacker this season with 18 goals and 10 assists.

Anthony Martial's brace in the 9-0 shellacking of Southampton remain his only goals since New Year's Day, while Edinson Cavani has not completed 90 minutes since February 14 due to injury.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pinned the blame for Manchester United's limp FA Cup exit on his side's hectic schedule as they suffered a 3-1 quarter-final loss at Leicester City.

United were beaten by a double from in-form Kelechi Iheanacho and one from Youri Tielemans at the King Power Stadium as the Foxes secured just a second victory over the Red Devils in 26 meetings in all competitions.

Mason Greenwood's first-half leveller – his first goal in 16 games – ended up being a mere consolation for the visitors as Brendan Rodgers marked his 100th game in charge by leading Leicester to their first FA Cup semi-final since 1982.

For United, it was a first away defeat in domestic competition since January 19 last year, with manager Solskjaer citing a busy fixture list that has recently included a tough two-legged Europa League tie with Milan.

"We didn't have the spark, but it's understandable," he told BBC Sport. "This team have been fantastic in the last three or four months. We played every three days and have been on a great run. It just caught up with us, all the games and travel.

"Thursday night in Milan was a big night and took a lot of out of us physically. We didn't have the extra zip, authority and confidence.

"We tried to get on the front foot and start well because sometimes you can get that adrenaline boost and confidence if you get a goal and that can carry you over the line.

"We've got too many players that have played too many games and too many that haven't really had much football; Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, Paul Pogba and others are trying to get in who haven't had enough football. We didn't have enough against a tough team."

The first goal came about after a woeful mistake from Fred, whose attempted pass back to Dean Henderson gifted former Manchester City striker Iheanacho a simple finish.

But the Norwegian refused to point the finger at any individuals, insisting such mistakes come with the territory of playing out from deep.

"We want to build from the back and want the players to be confident," he said. "Sometimes it doesn't work and that's one time it didn't.

"When we win, we win together, and when we lose, we lose together. We're not pointing fingers and blaming.

"The second one is a good goal by the boy but maybe with a zip of energy we could've got to him and wouldn't have been done as easily in the middle.

"That's been one of our strengths, keeping clean sheets and being dogged, but we didn't have the opportunity."

Solskjaer is now looking ahead to what remains of United's season, which still holds the prospect of continental silverware and a shot at sealing second spot in the Premier League.

"We've got the Europa League and Premier League to concentrate on," he said. "Yes, we would've liked to go to Wembley, but now all the focus is on the games we do have.

"We're in a good position in the league and we want to keep improving; of course, Leicester are just behind us, so it won't be easy, but we want to keep going and get as far as possible in the Europa as well."

Leicester City reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1982 after a 3-1 win over Manchester United in Sunday's quarter-final clash.

Two goals from Kelechi Iheanacho and one from Youri Tielemans were enough to give the Foxes only a second victory over the Red Devils in 26 meetings in all competitions.

United, who levelled in the first half through Mason Greenwood before Tielemans' fine winner, looked well short of their best for much of a contest for which they made five changes from their Europa League win in Milan three days earlier.

Iheanacho headed in a third 13 minutes from time to make certain of victory as United lost an away match in domestic competition for the first time since January 19 last year.

Fred had twice lost possession in United's half before his dreadful backpass to goalkeeper Dean Henderson gifted Iheanacho an easy finish.

Despite their changes, United played like a team struggling with fatigue in the first half, as Leicester pressed them into errors without managing to take full advantage.

It was therefore something of a surprise when the visitors levelled seven minutes before the break. Pogba's low cross from the left was dummied superbly by Donny van de Beek, giving Greenwood the chance to smash home his first goal in 16 appearances.

Leicester regained their lead in prompt fashion in the second half, though, Tielemans drilling a fine shot beyond the reach of Henderson after drifting easily away from Nemanja Matic and Fred.

Jamie Vardy should have made it 3-1, skipping beyond Harry Maguire only to drag a shot wide of the left-hand post with only Henderson to beat, prompting Solskjaer to make four changes to breathe life into United's display.

It was one of those substitutes, Scott McTominay, who conceded a cheap free-kick near the box and then allowed Iheanacho to drift behind him to nod home Marcus Albrighton's delivery.

 

Manchester City will take on Chelsea in the semi-finals of the FA Cup next month.

Late goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne saw City past a dogged Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday, keeping the Premier League leaders and EFL Cup finalists in contention across four major competitions.

That result meant City have won 25 of their past 26 games in all competitions, with Chelsea similarly enjoying a rich vein of form.

The Blues are undefeated in 14 games under head coach Thomas Tuchel, with Hakim Ziyech – their midweek Champions League hero against Atletico Madrid – sealing a 2-0 win over Sheffield United on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.

The other semi-final will see the winner of the match between Leicester City and Manchester United take on Southampton

Ralph Hasenhuttl's men swept aside Championship outfit Bournemouth 3-0 on Saturday, with Nathan Redmond netting a second-half brace.

A tougher test likely awaits against United or Leicester, each of whom boast 9-0 wins against Saints over the past two seasons.

The ties will be played at Wembley on the weekend of April 17-18.

FA Cup semi-final draw in full:

Leicester City or Manchester United v Southampton
Chelsea v Manchester City

Thomas Tuchel confirmed Tammy Abraham sustained a recurrence of an injury which has kept him out of action in recent weeks, urging the Chelsea forward to be cautious with his recovery.

Abraham has not featured for Chelsea since February 22, due to a combination of injury and his form in training.

Coming into the FA Cup quarter-finals, no player had scored more goals in the competition this season than Abraham, who had netted four times across the third, fourth and fifth rounds.

However, the 23-year-old was again absent from the squad at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, and Tuchel – who on Friday instructed Abraham to be patient as he waited for an opportunity – revealed Chelsea's number nine had suffered an injury.

"Yes, he quit training yesterday after a five-minute warm-up so there was more or less no chance he could join the squad," Tuchel told a news conference after Chelsea's 2-0 win over the Blades.

"It was the same injury, more or less, but he had a re-injury in more or less the same spot where the first injury was so he is in pain and he had to quit the session after five minutes with no chance he could join us today.

"The most important thing for Tammy is be fit. The second is then to take things step by step, to train and fight for his way back.

"His way back is maybe to be a substitute and to be hungry and full of quality in training. These are the next steps.

"Now is not the time to worry about the first eleven because he is out now for many games, unfortunately too many games.

"It's absolutely not his fault and he is hungry to come back. He tries all the time but this is the risk with pushing the players to be back as soon as possible.

"It was an accident in training. So nobody's fault. So now is a kind of restart and we hope he can use the next two weeks to get fit again."

Despite his recent struggles, Abraham is Chelsea's leading scorer this season with 12 goals in 30 matches across all competitions.

He has taken 10 of 16 'big chances' – opportunities from which Opta would expect a player to score – far better than Timo Werner's rate of eight from 26.

Of Chelsea's three central strikers, Olivier Giroud (103) boasts a better minutes per goal ratio than Abraham (127), while Werner is down at 284.

Creatively, Werner has been far more profitable, crafting 31 opportunities, in contrast to 13 from Abraham.

Marcus Rashford will likely link up with the England squad next week despite a foot injury keeping him out of the FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.

The forward was hurt during Manchester United's 1-0 win over Milan in the Europa League last-16 second leg at San Siro on Thursday.

Rashford struggled to walk on Saturday and United manager Solskjaer confirmed scans showed he has sustained damage, meaning he was unavailable for the clash with Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.

Anthony Martial returned from a hip injury to take Rashford's place in attack, while Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek were also recalled to the starting line-up after only recently regaining full fitness.

Solskjaer said Rashford was never likely to feature against Leicester, but he will not stop the 23-year-old from joining up with Gareth Southgate's Three Lions squad for this month's World Cup qualifiers.

"No, he wasn't close [to playing]," Solskjaer told BBC Sport. "We took him off [against Milan] and he thought he'd be ready but, yesterday, he had no chance of walking on his foot.

"The scans show there's an injury there but, of course, we've got players coming back – Anthony and Donny are back in, so there are positives as well.

"The doctor will speak to the English [national team] but I think he'll travel and report [for international duty]. Maybe he'll be fit for them."

England face San Marino next Thursday before further matches against Albania on March 28 and Poland on March 31.

 

 

Thomas Tuchel was not surprised Chelsea failed to keep control of their FA Cup tie with Sheffield United following a grueling run.

Chelsea were rather hanging on for much of the second half at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, though Hakim Ziyech's stoppage-time effort secured a 2-0 win, with Oliver Norwood's own goal having put the Blues ahead after 24 minutes.

The hosts have progressed to their 25th FA Cup semi-final, the third most of any club behind Everton (26), Manchester United and Arsenal (both 30), while they remain unbeaten in Tuchel's 14 matches in charge.

Chelsea have kept clean sheets in each of their last seven games – their best run since December 2005 (also seven) – while of sides within the 'big five' European leagues, only Manchester City (14) have won more games across all competitions than Chelsea (10) since Tuchel took over.

The Blues had fewer shots on target (three compared to four) than the Blades, with David McGoldrick squandering a golden chance to restore parity midway through the second half, but Tuchel revealed he was expecting a drop-off in his team's performance levels.

"It was a tough match, we had a good first half where we controlled everything but in the second we lost control, we were clearly tired," Tuchel told BBC Sport.

"I could see after the 14 matches, I could see us tire, a lack of concentration, many faults and strong opponents in the second half, so we were lucky to keep the clean sheet but I think it was the first time in 14 matches that we were lucky and allowed too many chances.

"It can happen, it's important in the end in the cup to go through. This was the target and we reached it.

"We let them come back, because we had full control in the first half, we had a big chance with Christian [Pulisic] in the second half to finish the game very early and after that we made too many easy mistakes, lost duels and lost a bit of concentration, momentum.

"Honestly I could feel it in training, some days we feel a bit tired and a lack of concentration, it's normal. It gets more problematic to keep the level up. I'm happy we got help from the bench."

It was a sentiment echoed by Pulisic, who turned in a bright performance up front for Chelsea, forcing Aaron Ramsdale into two impressive saves.

"They didn't make it easy on us," the United States international told BBC Sport.

"We knew that they had quality, we had to suffer a bit in the second half but in the end it's another clean sheet and a good performance.

"We definitely have a confident bunch of guys. Obviously, when you go on a streak like this you're feeling really good, we think we can beat anyone, it's a good feeling."

Chelsea's unbeaten start under Thomas Tuchel rolled on as Oliver Norwood's own goal and a late Hakim Ziyech strike sent the Blues into the FA Cup semi-finals with a 2-0 win over Sheffield United.

Appearing in their 15th FA Cup quarter-final since the turn of the century – the most of any side – Chelsea were not at their sharpest at Stamford Bridge on Sunday but, as they have done in many of their 14 matches under Tuchel so far, managed to grind out a result.

Norwood's own goal put Chelsea ahead, with David McGoldrick missing a golden chance to restore parity when he headed wide from five yards out.

Chelsea made their fortune count, holding firm in rather nervy fashion before hitting the Blades on the break and securing their progression thanks to Ziyech, reaching the semi-finals for the fourth time in five seasons.

Playing at the end of a difficult week personally following the death of his brother, Phil Jagielka might have put United ahead early on but failed to generate enough power on his header to trouble Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Yet United's bright start ultimately proved fruitless – Chelsea striking first when Norwood diverted Ben Chilwell's effort beyond Aaron Ramsdale.

Norwood was almost at fault for another goal before half-time when his stray pass was intercepted by Christian Pulisic, though Ramsdale rushed out to spare his team-mate's blushes.

Displaying some terrific footwork, Pulisic engineered another chance straight after the restart, but Ramsdale again stood firm.

McGoldrick should have built on Ramsdale's save, only to head wide of a gaping goal from point-blank range.

Kepa had work to do soon after – McGoldrick's strike partner Oli McBurnie forcing a smart save out of the Spaniard.

Rhian Brewster then saw a strike deflected into the side netting, yet for all United's pressure, Chelsea dealt the knockout blow when substitute Ziyech drilled in from close range at the end of a sweeping counter to ensure the Blues progressed.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed the club are in contract discussions with Edinson Cavani.

Cavani joined United as a free agent on a one-year deal at the start of the season and the 34-year-old has impressed in Manchester, where the Uruguayan has scored seven goals and supplied two assists across 25 appearances in all competitions.

Paris Saint-Germain's all-time leading scorer, Cavani has been linked with Argentine powerhouse Boca Juniors following comments made by his father Luis.

But Solskjaer said United – second in the Premier League standings – are in talks with Cavani over his future at Old Trafford.

"We're speaking to Eddy," Solskjaer said ahead of Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester City.

"Edinson is a top striker and whatever he decides to do, let's see. We're in good dialogue with him.

"We want a competitive squad and we need someone up there to score the goals for us. So we're looking at it."

Earlier this month, Cavani's father Luis claimed the veteran was not happy in the Premier League and "would like to play for Boca".

"My son is not happy in England and wants to return nearer his family. He wants to play in South America," he told TyC Sports.

"I want Edinson to play for a team which fights for important trophies. He has had many conversations with [Boca vice-president Juan Roman] Riquelme and would like to play for Boca.

"At the halfway point of the year, he'd like to return to South America. My son’s idea is not to continue there [in Manchester]. He wants to return.

"I think he's going to come back in June this year."

Cavani Sr cited his son's punishment by the Football Association (FA) for using a racially insensitive word in a social media post as a factor in his unhappiness.

"There are things which sometimes annoy us as humans, as people. The whole ban issue annoyed him," Luis Cavani added.

"That has been playing on him, sometimes players can't find form either. These things can weigh heavy on you. Sometimes mentally you can get dragged down."

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City's form over the past four months is one of the "greatest achievements" since he joined the club in 2016. 

City claimed a 2-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday to reach the FA Cup semi-finals for the third season in succession – the first time they have achieved the feat since between 1931-32 and 1933-34.

The result marked a new club record of 17 consecutive away matches unbeaten, breaking the record previously set between January and September in 1999. 

Since City's defeat to Tottenham on November 21, they have won 29 of their 33 matches across all competitions, losing just once – to neighbours Manchester United in the Premier League earlier this month. 

And Guardiola attributed his side's stunning form to their ability to adjust to different challenges. 

"We have to adapt; every game is different," he told a media conference after the win at Goodison Park. "Managers know what they have to do.

"But when you win a lot of games like we have in the last four months, it's because you can adapt. That pleases me the most. It's not just tactics, it's mental; being ready every game.

"What we have done is more than remarkable. It's incredible. One of the greatest achievements we have done together.

"We haven't won anything yet, so we will be focused and we will see how far we arrive in the competitions.

"In this period, playing every three days, with incredible commitment in every competition, I don't have any words to express that."

While City dominated proceedings against the Toffees – restricting the hosts to their lowest possession figure (26 per cent) in all competitions since March 2018 – they had to wait until the 84th minute to make the breakthrough. 

It came courtesy of Ilkay Gundogan's 12th goal in all competitions since the turn of the year, which is more than any other Premier League player. 

Kevin De Bruye added a second six minutes later, and Guardiola was pleased with his side's patience against dogged opponents.

"We knew how tough it would be; the FA Cup, away, against Everton," he added. "They defend incredibly well and have pace with Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

"Every throw is like a corner and they have big players, like [Yerry] Mina. These games need patience. We knew the team who scored would win the game.

"All the players were fantastic and Riyad [Mahrez] and Kevin in the last minutes could change the rhythm. We found the goal and we are in the semi-final.

"We knew it would be one of the toughest games we would face."

Thomas Tuchel has warned his Chelsea stars they must not develop a fear of losing as they bid to extend their unbeaten run under his leadership.

Former Paris Saint-Germain head coach Tuchel believes having an obsession with avoiding defeat can peck away at the appetite to win, and he pointed to discussions with a top cycling boss as reinforcing his views.

Tuchel did not name the Team Sky leader with whom he once spoke about the mentality needed to be a champion in sport.

That individual was likely to have been Dave Brailsford, the long-time manager of the cycling squad which has since been rebranded as Team INEOS.

"I spoke many years ago here in London to the leader of the cycling team of Sky, and he was very, very concerned about the feeling, not to enter a state of mind where you fear the loss more than the hunger, than the adventure to maybe win," Tuchel said.

"To refocus is always at the process. If we look too much at what we have achieved... maybe you step back and want to protect it, but I want us always to be brave and go for the next win and not to avoid the loss."

Chelsea face Sheffield United in the FA Cup quarter-finals at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, looking to go deeper into the competition as Tuchel looks for a trophy from his first half-season at the helm.

By racking up 13 games unbeaten since taking over, Tuchel has established a club record for the longest run of games without defeat by a new Chelsea boss.

"The record is already history and the next game is Sheffield. This one game, this is the most important," Tuchel said.

"I demand from myself and the team and everybody the maximum and then we will see. If we have all this, it is possible to have big records, but I hope we don't enter into situations where we are more afraid of losing a record than winning the next game."

The Blues are also through to the Champions League quarter-finals and are chasing a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Tuchel says he has never treated any match as more important than another and says his players must "control our energy and our mentality", even if they cannot be certain of achieving the right results.

"This is what I demand from my team: to prepare in the best way possible and get the head straight and be out with the same competitive attitude like we played the last 13 matches," he said. "This is it at the highest level. You can never relax."

When it comes to his squad, Tuchel knows he cannot keep every player entirely happy, with the likes of Tammy Abraham and Billy Gilmour struggling to break into his team at present.

He is determined to stay close to every player and keep them fully connected with his plans for them.

"Is there always good news in these talks? No, there is not," Tuchel said. "But if you need to give the feedback, this is clearly my job to do, to give honest feedback, open feedback, direct feedback.

"And so, it makes it easier for them to understand what we expect and what role they can fulfil, even if it maybe does not match with the way they wanted to have it.

"There are hard decisions to make, which is a good thing, because it shows you have a good squad."

Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has warned his team-mates that opponents will try to derail their quadruple bid with negative tactics.

City claimed a 2-0 win over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday to reach the FA Cup semi-finals for the third season in succession – the first time they have achieved the feat since 1931-32 and 1933-34.

The victory, courtesy of goals from Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne, was hard fought as a defensive-minded Everton side packed men behind the ball, happy to surrender the majority of the ball to City. 

Indeed, Everton's total possession of 25.9 per cent was their lowest since a fixture against Pep Guardiola's side in March 2018 (18 per cent).

Midfielder Gundogan praised City's patience against the Toffees and predicted matches of this ilk will become common as they chase an unprecedented clean sweep of trophies.

"There will be a few more games like this I think," Gundogan told BT Sport.

"But we have to be ready for them. If you want to win trophies and fight for everything, you have to find a way to win.

"We don't always make the best kind of football but it's about staying in the game and finding the right moments, being patient.

"Everton did really well, they defended well and they are a great team, so it's not easy. We knew that we could struggle before the game but we overcame it and we did really well."

Gundogan has scored 12 goals in 2021, more than any other Premier League player in all competitions, as he bagged his first headed goal for City since December 2018 against Crystal Palace..

The Germany international, who has also netted in three consecutive matches for City for the first time, is relishing his current goalscoring form.

He added: "I just tried to be there waiting for the rebound. I think the timing was perfect - it was a great win. 

"I'm enjoying it at the moment, everyone put in the hard work. This is not a given, it's not granted, so we need to make the right decisions.

"I think we struggled a little bit to find spaces in the first half. We weren't all together in the right positions. We tried to stay in the game and thankfully it turned out well for us.

"The next target now is to come back healthier and in the best shape from the international break - and then having a big game at Leicester."

Late goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne clinched Manchester City's place in the FA Cup semi-finals after a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The Toffees packed men behind the ball in an attempt to nullify City's attacking threat and chances were rare for both sides.

The deadlock was eventually broken six minutes from time when Aymeric Laporte's shot rebounded off the crossbar and Gundogan reacted quickest to nod the ball home.

De Bruyne added a second in the 90th minute when he fired into the roof of the net after he was put through by Rodri.

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