Manchester United booked their place in the last 16 of the Europa League after an uninspiring 0-0 draw with Real Sociedad at Old Trafford on Thursday. 

With their progress to the next round all but secured after a thumping 4-0 first-leg win in Turin last week, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opted to start with Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw on the substitutes' bench, while Dean Henderson replaced David de Gea in goal. 

Mikel Oyarzabal should have taken advantage of a sluggish start from United, but his early penalty flew well over, while Bruno Fernandes and Daniel James went close for the hosts before the break. 

Substitute Axel Tuanzebe saw an effort ruled out during an insipid second half, though it mattered little in the end as United booked their place in Friday's last-16 draw with the minimum of fuss.

La Real were given a golden opportunity to take a 13th-minute lead when James clumsily brought down Andoni Gorosabel in the penalty area, but Oyarzabal blazed the resulting spot-kick over.

Only a superb touch from Victor Lindelof prevented Alexander Isak tapping home at the back post soon after, while Anthony Martial was denied by Alex Remiro at the other end as United belatedly woke from their slumber. 

Fernandes then whipped a fine effort against the crossbar from 16 yards before Remiro pawed away James' header shortly before half-time.

Rashford replaced Fernandes at the break and flashed a 30-yard free-kick past Remiro's left-hand post soon after, while Modibo Sagnan headed against the crossbar for the LaLiga side. 

Tuanzebe thought he had scored his first United goal shortly after the hour mark, but his powerful header was ruled out for a foul by Lindelof following a pitchside review by referee Lawrence Visser.

Shola Shoretire became United's youngest ever player in European competition at the age of 17 years and 23 days when introduced with 14 minutes remaining as the Red Devils stretched their unbeaten run at home in the Europa League to 15 games.

Jose Mourinho lavished praise on Tottenham youngster Dane Scarlett following an impressive Europa League cameo, likening him to Manchester United star Marcus Rashford.

The 16-year-old made his fourth senior appearance for the club on Wednesday, coming off the bench for the final 10 minutes a 4-0 win over Wolfsberger.

And he made a telling impact almost immediately, hustling a defender out of possession to set up Carlos Vinicius for the hosts' fourth goal.

Mourinho could barely contain his delight at the rapid progress of a player whose quality reminds him of another major talent he once helped develop.

"He is a diamond, a kid with incredible potential," the Portuguese told BT Sport.

"He has worked many times with the first team and that gives him a different personality. He is still 16, 17 soon [in March] and I believe next season he will be a first-team squad player because he has a lot of talent.

"He is going to be a fantastic player and I hope everything around him goes well. He is a striker, a number nine, I have been playing him from the sides similar to Marcus Rashford and he is very clever.”

Mourinho praised Scarlett even further in his post-match media conference, revealing the teenager is already splitting his time between the senior squad and Under-23s.

"Dane has incredible talent. I don't want to speak too much because tomorrow I arrive in the building and the kid's boss is going to kill me," he added.

"I don't want that so I don't want to speak too well about him. I just want to say that he will be 17 next month and I want him to be part of the first-team squad next season.

"So this season he is there and here, goes to training sessions with us and matches with the kids of his age and trains there.

"Next season he has to be a first-team player. Immense talent. Very good physical development.

"He's very good, he's going to be very good. I hope that nothing is going to destroy that potential. He must have feet on the ground and head on his shoulders because he has a fantastic talent."

Manchester City are reportedly considering a double swoop for Erling Haaland and Giovanni Reyna.

The Borussia Dortmund stars have been linked with moves, with Haaland in particular in high demand across Europe.

And high-flying City have their eyes on the duo.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY CONSIDER HAALAND, REYNA

Manchester City are considering moves for Dortmund stars Haaland and Reyna, according to 90min.

Haaland, 20, has scored 17 goals and provided three assists in 17 Bundesliga games this season.

Reyna, the 18-year-old American, has three goals and four assists in 21 league games.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United continue to be linked with centre-backs. But the Daily Mail reports the Premier League club are unwilling to meet Sevilla defender Jules Kounde's £68million (€79m) release clause, although they remain interested in the 22-year-old.

- With Liverpool enduring a difficult season, Jurgen Klopp's future has become a talking point. Bild reports Klopp could take over as Germany coach after the 2022 World Cup despite having a contract with Liverpool until 2024.

- Another club linked with a move for Haaland are Chelsea. Metro reports Tammy Abraham, who has scored 12 goals this season and is out of contract in 2023, is unwilling to discuss a new deal with the club amid the Haaland rumours.

- Jesse Lingard is attracting interest after an impressive start to his West Ham career. The Daily Express reports Leicester City are prepared to challenge West Ham if they try to sign Lingard, who is on loan from Manchester United, permanently ahead of next season.

- Still without a club, it remains to be seen where Maurizio Sarri ends up next. CalcioMercato reports Fiorentina again met with the former Juventus and Chelsea boss, but a potential agreement remains complex.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has encouraged Marcus Rashford to follow the example of Cristiano Ronaldo in order to make the most of his Manchester United career. 

February 25 marks five years since the forward's memorable debut for the Red Devils, when he scored twice in a 5-1 Europa League defeat of Midtjylland at Old Trafford. 

Having been drafted hastily into Louis van Gaal's first-team squad due to injuries and then thrust into the starting line-up when Anthony Martial was hurt in the warm-up, Rashford, then 18, struck twice in 12 minutes to help his side progress. 

Rashford has since developed into a key part of United and England's plans, with 85 goals and 38 assists in 253 games in all competitions at club level, plus 11 goals in 40 appearances for the national team. 

His strike in the 3-1 win over Newcastle United last Sunday drew him level with David Beckham for United goals, just 33 behind Ronaldo. 

Manager Solskjaer hopes Rashford takes inspiration from the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, who leads the goalscoring charts in Serie A this season after turning 36 three weeks ago. 

Speaking ahead of Thursday's Europa League last-32 second leg against Real Sociedad, Solskjaer said: "He's had an incredible impact on and off the pitch. He's matured, grown into a real proper young man.

"He knows what it takes to be a Manchester United player on and off the pitch, he's taken responsibility on it and off it. I do remember [his debut]: a young little lad coming on, two nice goals, celebration with his team-mates in the stand and I think he's living proof of what we want to do at the club. 

"When you sign for Man United, whether you're five, six, 10, 14, you have a chance to make dreams come true and long may it continue, he's got 10-15 years left in him. 

"You have to be meticulous to last for a long career. We've had the best possible example of that in world football with Cristiano. The way he has looked after himself, the way he came into the club and we all took notice the way he developed throughout his career and the way he looked after himself is major. 

"I'm sure Marcus as well is looking after himself. That's the only way to be at the top: you can't get distracted and if you play until you're 35 you can do whatever you want after that." 

Rashford scored in United's commanding first-leg victory in Turin, a result that puts them in a strong position to progress to the last 16. 

With Edinson Cavani, Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay and Donny van de Beek sidelined and a Premier League game at Chelsea to come on Sunday, Solskjaer could well hand opportunities to youngsters such as Shola Shoretire and Amad Diallo, although Hannibal Mejbri will miss out through injury.

"Amad and Shola will be involved, they're in the squad and I'm not going to tell you if they're starting or not," he said.

"I believe in the youth, I believe if young players, if they get a chance, they can really develop, improve, impress, even surprise you and that's just part of this club and it's part of me.

"I've always loved working with young players and hungry players with a good attitude. If you've got a good attitude, you've got a good chance; if you don't, then there's less of a chance."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still speaks to Erling Haaland and said "let's see what life brings" when asked about the striker's future.

The Norway star was a target for the Red Devils before he joined Borussia Dortmund from Salzburg in January 2020.

Haaland's progress in Germany has been remarkable, the 20-year-old having scored 27 goals in all competitions this season, second only to Robert Lewandowski among Bundesliga players.

Clubs including United, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich continue to be linked with a bid for the player, who scored twice against Sevilla last week to become the first player in Champions League history to reach as many as 17 goals in his first 13 appearances.

Solskjaer is still in touch with a youngster who progressed through the system at Molde and is proud of the way he has developed.

"I think when you've had kids and players through as a coach you follow them, and I keep in touch with Erling," he said on Wednesday. "It's great to see him become the player he has become and I know he will improve.

"He's a Dortmund player and we wish him well there. Let's see what life will bring later on."

When pushed further on interest in Haaland last year and how well that reflects on United's recruitment efforts under Solskjaer, he said: "You know I can't speak about Erling because he's with Borussia Dortmund and it's disrespectful to talk too much about it, apart from that I know him and speak to him.

"Who wasn't interested in him a year ago? Everyone would say you take the best players in the world and he's a top player.

"In recruitment, we've done well. The signings we've made since I came to the club have contributed and added to the squad and that's what we have to do: we have to complement what we have with different types of players. I'm happy with our recruitment model and the processes we go through."

United are expected to sanction more outgoings in the next transfer window, with Juan Mata, whose contract expires at the end of the season, among those tipped to leave.

Although United have the option to extend the 32-year-old's deal by a further year, he has only started eight times in 2020-21 and has recently been linked with Serie A giants Juventus, Milan and Inter.

"I'm not surprised teams are interested in him," Solskjaer said. "He's a very good footballer, and a fantastic professional and human being.

"When the contracts are running towards the end, there'll be interest. I'm sure Juan has been able to speak to other clubs if he wanted to.

"I keep in touch with him all the time. We have a good dialogue."

What does the future hold for Andre Silva?

Silva has scored 18 Bundesliga goals this season, second only to Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski.

He could find himself at Manchester United if Eintracht Frankfurt reportedly pursue a permanent deal for Luka Jovic.

 

TOP STORY – SILVA BOUND FOR MANCHESTER?

Manchester United could be offered the chance to sign Eintracht Frankfurt star Andre Silva if Edinson Cavani leaves Old Trafford, according to The Sun.

Silva is taking the Bundesliga by storm this season, but Eintracht are reportedly looking to raise funds to re-sign Luka Jovic – who is currently on loan in Frankfurt – permanently from Real Madrid.

Portugal international Silva could become available if veteran forward Cavani departs after the former Paris Saint-Germain star arrived on a one-year deal at the start of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Eurosport claims Chelsea are growing increasingly confident of winning the race to sign Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland. The Norway international forward has been linked with Madrid, BarcelonaManchester City, Liverpool and United, as well as Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

Everton have joined United and Bayern Munich in trying to sign Norwich City full-back Max Aarons, reports Fabrizio Romano.

Tottenham will target Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope if PSG make a move for Hugo Lloris, says the Daily Mail.

- The Sun claims United veteran Juan Mata is being tracked by Serie A trio, Juventus, Inter and Roma.

Erling Haaland can be a star for the next decade but only 10 clubs are realistically in the running to buy the striker when he leaves Borussia Dortmund, according to Mino Raiola.

The Norway international has been prolific since joining the Bundesliga club midway through the 2019-20 season, soring 43 goals in as many appearances in all competitions.

Only Robert Lewandowski (56) at Bayern Munich and Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo (50) have managed more for a team in the top five European leagues since the start of January last year – and Haaland is still only 20. His minutes-per-goal average of 79.51 is better than both, though.

Haaland's contract at Dortmund is rumoured to include an agreement allowing him to leave for a €75million fee at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

In an interview with BBC Sport, Raiola - who is the player's agent - explained why the list of potential buyers only just reaches double figures, with four possible destinations in the Premier League.

"It is obvious that everybody is looking at Erling as one of those potential new future stars because it's so difficult to do what he does at his age at his level," Raiola said.

"He will be one of the future stars of the next decade because we see that stars such as [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi are coming to an age where everyone asks themselves: 'How long can we still enjoy them?' So everyone is looking for the new generation.

"Only a maximum of 10 clubs can afford to buy [Haaland] and give the platform you would like after you've been in Dortmund… and four of those clubs are in [England].

"I don't think there's a sports director or trainer in the world who would say 'not interested'. It's like saying: 'Is there a Formula 1 team who would not be interested in having Lewis Hamilton?'"

Raiola made clear he does not expect the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic to have an impact on "extraordinary talents" such as Haaland and Paul Pogba, another of his clients.

He caused a stir in December when suggesting ahead of Manchester United's crucial Champions League game with RB Leipzig that the midfielder was not happy at Old Trafford, making a contract extension appear unlikely.

United lost that game in Germany, a result that saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side miss out on the knockout stages of the competition.

"I don't think that it destabilised anybody, because they had a fantastic run and they were even first, for a period, in the league," Raiola said of his comments.

"You think big players like Pogba - or Solskjaer, who won everything in his life - get destabilised by what Mino Raiola says? Come on, please."

Romelu Lukaku has revealed how training sessions at Inter are like a war zone, as well as making clear he wishes "nothing but the best" for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United.

Lukaku offered Twitter followers the chance to send in questions via social media – and the striker duly replied to a wide range of topics during the session, one that he moved forward to make sure he was free to play NBA 2K later on Tuesday.

The Belgian striker has once again been pivotal for the Serie A leaders this season, scoring 17 goals to help the Nerazzurri stride four points clear at the summit in their pursuit of a first league title since 2010.

Inter coach Antonio Conte was known for a combative approach during his playing days and, according to Lukaku, he will not accept seeing any of his squad hold back – even when they're facing each other!

Asked to name the hardest player to go up against in training, the 27-year-old replied: "Training is actually a war zone. Our manager don't play lol. He doesn't like it when we hold in haha. I love it."

Former Chelsea and Manchester United striker Lukaku has formed a successful forward partnership with Lautaro Martinez, who struck twice in the emphatic 3-0 win over city rivals Milan to take his tally in the league this season to 13.

Lukaku was also on target at San Siro on Sunday, in the process becoming the first Inter player to score in four successive derby meetings since 1950.

"Communication is key! We have a great feel for each other but most importantly we work for the team!" Lukaku tweeted about his on-field connection with Martinez.

Before moving to Italy, Lukaku spent time with four different Premier League clubs.

He started out in England as a teenager with Chelsea and first seriously caught the eye when on loan at West Brom and then Everton, who then signed him for £28million.

Despite being unable to make a significant breakthrough at Stamford Bridge, Lukaku insisted he had "nothing but love" for the Blues, saying: "They gave me an opportunity to come to the Premier League as a kid. You can't have everything in life and I'm cool with that. I'm glad that experience got me to where I am today."

There were also kind words for his former United boss in Solskjaer, who was in charge when Lukaku departed Old Trafford in August 2019.

When asked if he had a good relationship with the Norwegian, Lukaku responded: "He is doing great. You guys have to know I love him as a manager and as a person and I wish him nothing but the best."

Sergio Aguero is being targeted by four European giants, while Bayern Munich are looking at Christian Pulisic.

Aguero, 32, is out of contract with Manchester City at the end of the season and his future is uncertain.

The forward has only played nine games this season, but he is still wanted by several European clubs.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA, JUVENTUS CHASE AGUERO

Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter are interested in signing Aguero, according to the Mirror.

Aguero has been at City since 2011 and is the club's all-time leading goalscorer.

The Argentina international has struggled with injury and coronavirus this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Another player who has battled injuries this season is Pulisic. Todofichajes.com reports Bayern Munich have contacted Chelsea about a possible move for the former Borussia Dortmund star.

- Juventus want to keep Alvaro Morata. Goal reports the Serie A side are keen to extend the forward's loan for another season and are prepared to pay Atletico Madrid €10million.

- Barcelona seem set to sign a forward ahead of next season. ESPN reports the LaLiga giants have intensified their interest in Real Sociedad striker Alexander Isak.

- Struggling for game time at Manchester United, Dean Henderson could make a move. Chelsea, Tottenham and West Ham are interested in the goalkeeper, according to the Manchester Evening News.

- Hector Bellerin may leave Arsenal. CBS Sports reports the full-back is eager to test himself away from the Premier League club and Paris Saint-Germain are ready to revive their interest.

Juventus, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and now Manchester United are all reportedly chasing Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Days out from his 22nd birthday, Donnarumma has reportedly closed a deal with the Red Devils.

Is David de Gea's future in doubt?

 

TOP STORY – RED DEVILS SWOOP FOR RECORD-BREAKER

Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has agreed to a provisional deal with Manchester United, according to Todo Fichajes.

The report claims the deal would make the Italy star the best paid goalkeeper ever in world football.

United have had goalkeeping issues this season, with number one keeper David de Gea making a number of errors, while understudy Dean Henderson has made a handful of appearances.

Donnarumma, who celebrates his 22nd birthday on Thursday, became the youngest player in Serie A history to reach 200 appearances in Sunday's 3-0 derby defeat to leaders Inter.

The 21-year-old's current deal with the Rossoneri expires at the end of this season and he has been linked with a host of clubs including Serie A champions Juventus, Champions League holders Bayern Munich and Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain.

Manchester City showed few signs of slowing as they recorded another win at Arsenal on Sunday.

The runaway Premier League leaders remain 10 points clear of both Manchester United and Leicester City, who each enjoyed victories of their own.

West Ham complete the top four, meanwhile, after a long-awaited triumph for manager David Moyes.

We start at the London Stadium in recapping the best of Sunday's action with the help of Opta data.
 

West Ham 2-1 Tottenham: Moyes ends miserable run against Mourinho

Moyes finally got the measure of Jose Mourinho as West Ham climbed into the top four with a 2-1 home win against Tottenham.

This was Moyes' first victory over Mourinho in 16 attempts in all competitions, halting his worst winless record against any one coach.

Michail Antonio's fifth Premier League goal against Spurs and 42nd in total - all of which have come from inside the box - opened the scoring early on, before another swift strike in the second half took the game away from Tottenham.

Scorer Jesse Lingard, whose best spell of his United career came under Mourinho, has netted as many goals (three) for Moyes in four league games on loan at West Ham as he did in 36 appearances for Red Devils manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Although Lucas Moura's header halved the deficit, Mourinho has now suffered 15 defeats and picked up only 81 points from his first 50 league games as Tottenham coach - the worst such returns of his career.
 

Aston Villa 1-2 Leicester City: More Villa Park joy for Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers maintained his 100 per cent winning record away to Aston Villa as Leicester won 2-1 at Villa Park.

Rodgers has won all six of his Premier League games at Villa Park as manager, the past two with Leicester ensuring the Foxes have enjoyed back-to-back away top-flight wins against Villa for the first time since October 1960.

James Maddison's eighth Premier League goal of the season broke the deadlock and made this his best scoring campaign in the top tier, before Harvey Barnes added his 13th in all competitions in 2020-21 - second only to Jamie Vardy (14) among Leicester players.

Bertrand Traore got a goal back and has now been involved in eight in the league for Villa since his debut, but the absent Jack Grealish, the only man at the club this season to better that tally (10), was sorely missed.

0.9 - Under Dean Smith, Aston Villa have averaged 1.5 points-per-game in league competition when Jack Grealish has featured compared to 0.9 points-per-game without him, losing all three Premier League matches without the Englishman since the start of last season. Centrepiece. pic.twitter.com/QafEdQ7IKY

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 21, 2021  

Arsenal 0-1 Manchester City: Records stacking up for Pep's class of 2021

City equalled their own record for consecutive away wins across all competitions by a team from England's top flight, landing a 1-0 success at Arsenal.

An 11th straight victory on the road - tying their 2017 run - also made City the first visiting team to ever enjoy four league wins in a row at Arsenal without conceding.

In all, Arsenal have lost eight league matches on the bounce to City, tying Leeds United's benchmark streak against the Gunners from 1973 to 1976, and a familiar foe proved their undoing.

Raheem Sterling has scored in three consecutive league games at Emirates Stadium and no player in the division has more than his 20 on the road since the start of last season.

City stood firm at the other end with a 15th league clean sheet of the campaign and more achievements might be on the horizon, as a 25th game without defeat across all competitions takes them closer to their best run under Pep Guardiola of 28 in 2017.
 

Manchester United 3-1 Newcastle United: Red Devils dominate Magpies again

United's dominant home record against Newcastle United only briefly looked at risk as they won 3-1 in Sunday's final match.

Newcastle have won on just one of their past 36 league visits to Old Trafford, where Marcus Rashford's 40th goal in all competitions since the start of last season broke the deadlock - his tally is only bettered in that time by Mohamed Salah (47), Harry Kane (45) and Sterling (44).

Allan Saint-Maximin soon equalised - his fifth goal involvement of the campaign - but Dan James restored the home advantage from Bruno Fernandes' pass.

Fernandes secured the points from the penalty spot and now has 15 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League this season, the third player to reach double figures in both goals and assists in Europe's 'top five' leagues (also Kane and Thomas Muller).

United, who have just one defeat in 19 in the league, have now scored 53 times in 25 league matches, their best return at this stage of a season since their title-winning 2012-13 campaign (60).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United will focus only on themselves while preparing for any "surprises" in the Premier League run-in.

United beat Newcastle United 3-1 on Sunday to stay second, ahead of Leicester City on goal difference but 10 points behind runaway leaders Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola's City would appear clear favourites for the title having capitalised on United's slip-ups over the past month.

Prior to seeing off Newcastle with goals from Marcus Rashford, Daniel James and Bruno Fernandes, Solskjaer's side had just one win in five league matches.

But victory at Old Trafford, where United have lost to Newcastle only once in the Premier League era, got the Red Devils back on track and maintained their outside interest in the championship.

"We can't control any other team; we've just got to control ourselves and be the best possible Man United every single game," Solskjaer told BT Sport.

"That's the demands, the season is going to be demanding. You never know - things happen. There are many surprises in football."

Allan Saint-Maximin equalised six minutes after Rashford's opener and Newcastle finished the first half having had more attempts (six) than United (five).

Indeed, David de Gea finished the match with more saves (five) than opposite number Karl Darlow (four), but Solskjaer was much happier with the second-half display.

"We had to up the tempo a little bit – especially in the last third – and I felt we managed to do that," the manager said.

"It's always difficult after an away game in Europe to get going. We've had enough games this season. It took until half-time really.

"Even though we dominated possession and had all the ball, we still couldn't create too many big opportunities.

"It was about moving the ball quicker, be a bit clever in our positioning, and I felt second half we found our positions better – and some good goals."

The decisive goal came from James, who improved his tally to five for the season in all competitions.

Those strikes have come from just 13 outings, while the Wales winger netted only four times in 46 games in 2019-20.

After reaping the rewards of James' first league start of 2021, Solskjaer added: "He's never disappeared. He's been working hard behind the scenes, always been available.

"He's always a player that you can use in a few different positions with his energy and pace. He's learning the game, so I'm very happy for him.

"We worked with him. We try to help everyone, but of course, Dan came from the Championship up to Man United, hit a few goals in the first games, it's bound to take some energy away from you, all the headlines and media attention.

"But he's knuckled down and he's really worked to get back to full fitness and, maybe more so, confidence to believe in himself.

"That's the main thing. As soon as you come away from that little doubt, now he knows he's a good player."

Daniel James repaid Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's faith with another goal in Manchester United's 3-1 Premier League win at home to Newcastle United.

James had netted in United's victories against Southampton and Real Sociedad - his most recent two appearances - and kept his place in the XI for Sunday's game.

It was a decision that worked for Solskjaer, who needed someone to step up in a stuttering second half at Old Trafford after Allan Saint-Maximin had cancelled out Marcus Rashford's strike.

James lashed in just before the hour mark and set the stage for a more straightforward finale in which Bruno Fernandes added a third from the penalty spot to ensure United would lose no more ground on Manchester City, who are still 10 points ahead as clear title favourites.

Newcastle had scored first in six of their previous seven meetings with United and again started the brighter of the two sides, with Joelinton's deflected shot requiring a touch over the crossbar from David de Gea.

But United's first effort of note provided the opener after half an hour when Rashford ran at Emil Krafth, cutting inside to fire in a low finish that squeezed past Karl Darlow at his near post.

It was a short-lived lead, however, as Saint-Maximin, denied by De Gea moments earlier, seized on Harry Maguire's poor headed clearance and side-footed into the roof of the net.

De Gea clung to a fierce Saint-Maximin drive at the start of the second half, before a rare United foray in the 57th minute saw James restore the hosts' advantage, blasting beyond Darlow when Fernandes' vital touch evaded Jamal Lewis.

Darlow stood tall to parry from Anthony Martial, but the Newcastle goalkeeper could not repeat his St James' Park penalty save from Fernandes, who made the most of Joe Willock's trip on Marcus Rashford in the area.

An agile Darlow save following Maguire's header at least capped the scoring at three, scant relief for the relegation-threatened visitors.

Members of Manchester United's coaching staff have been forced to self-isolate but Sunday's Premier League game against Newcastle United will go ahead as planned.

United announced unnamed members of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's backroom staff are isolating in a brief statement.

The club did not disclose whether or not the personnel in question had tested positive for coronavirus.

Nicky Butt and Mark Dempsey will join Solskjaer on the Old Trafford bench for the Newcastle game.

Assistant manager Mike Phelan and first-team coaches Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna are usually the main members of the United boss' matchday support staff.

United are second in the Premier League, 10 points behind leaders Manchester City, who travel to Arsenal earlier on Sunday.

Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea and Juventus.

Europe's elite are lining up to sign Erling Haaland, but who will he join?

Whoever it is, Haaland is set to command a mammoth contract.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND ASKING FOR LUCRATIVE DEAL

Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland wants a contract in the region of £78million (€90m) as speculation intensifies over his future, according to the Daily Star.

Haaland is a player in demand following his exploits for Bundesliga side Dortmund, linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Manchester City, Chelsea and Juventus.

The report claims Haaland wants a five-year deal worth around £300,000 (€346,000) per week.

 

ROUND-UP

- Should Kylian Mbappe leave for Madrid, Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain want to replace him with Tottenham star Harry Kane, claims the Mirror.

- Bild says Chelsea, Liverpool and United are interested in signing RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. His centre-back partner Dayot Upamecano is set to join Bayern Munich at the end of the season, having been linked with the Premier League's elite.

Liverpool are preparing a £40m bid for Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White, reports Football Insider. Jurgen Klopp is desperate to bolster his injury-hit defence amid a difficult 2020-21 campaign.

- The Daily Mail says United are considering a move for Everton youngster Jarrad Branthwaite. The 18-year-old defender has impressed since joining the Toffees.

Leipzig lead the race to sign Ajax sensation Brian Brobbey, according to Diario AS. United, Milan and Bayern have also been linked.

Milan and Inter target Odilon Kossounou – who plays for Club Brugge - is also wanted by Premier League duo Arsenal and Wolves, claims The Sun.

- Calciomercato reports Juventus are eyeing Leicester City winger Timothy Castagne, who arrived from Atalanta at the start of the season.

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