Manchester United have lost the air of "invincibility" which characterised Alex Ferguson's trophy-laden reign at Old Trafford.

That is the view of former England striker Emile Heskey, who sees Erik ten Hag's Red Devils as a group of expensively assembled individuals, rather than a coherent team. 

United have made an underwhelming start to their second season under Ten Hag, sitting eighth in the Premier League table after 11 matches despite Saturday's last-gasp 1-0 win at Fulham.

In Europe, the Red Devils began their Champions League group-stage campaign with back-to-back defeats to Bayern Munich and Galatasaray before needing Andre Onana to save a stoppage-time penalty in a hard-fought 1-0 win over Copenhagen.

With Ten Hag attracting criticism from supporters and pundits, Heskey believes his tenure shares many similarities with those of his predecessors Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jose Mourinho.

Asked why Ten Hag has failed to revive United's fortunes, Heskey told Stats Perform: "It's the million-dollar question, isn't it? You look at Ole… he never got [United into form], Jose never got that either. 

"There's a consistency with… I wouldn't say this bunch of players, but with the club bringing players in that they're not able to string together and gel. 

"I don't see them as a team, I don't see them as a team that's going to fight for each other. Look at Spurs, a team that's going to really dig down and fight for each other. 

"It happens with eras, you go through that. They've lost that invincibility. 

"[United] won the game before the actual game started in my era. Teams that would go there and you're already set up to lose. 

"[Now] teams are actually going to Old Trafford and saying, 'Well, we're going to win this, this is how we're going to set up'. They've lost that invincibility."

Forward Marcus Rashford is among the United players attracting scrutiny after failing to reach the heights he hit last term, when he scored 30 goals across all competitions. 

Rashford was criticised by Ten Hag for going out to celebrate his birthday just hours after 3-0 defeat to rivals Manchester City recently. Having missed Saturday's win at Fulham through injury, he then hit out at what he described as "malicious rumours" regarding his future on social media.

Rashford signed a new five-year contract with United in July, but Heskey does not believe that has impacted his form, saying: "I don't think it's anything to do with the contract. 

"As fans, we're looking for something. The reality is there's a lot of onus on him being a local lad, there's a lot of pressure on him. 

"He needs to figure out how to deal with that pressure again, like he did last season, because there was a lot of pressure on him but he managed to still get the goals. 

"The fascinating thing is he's probably giving the same sort of performance as last season, but he was finishing his chances. 

"Now, when you're not finishing your chances, everyone's looking at the money, everyone's looking at your lifestyle. Everyone's looking at what you do here, what you don't do there.

"You just want to concentrate on football. But if you just concentrate on football and it eats away at you and you have a mental breakdown, then you're saying, 'why didn't you go and do something else outside of football?'

"I think for Marcus, he just needs to figure out, 'what's good for me?'"

Rashford has only scored once in 14 appearances for United across all competitions this season, despite attempting 38 shots totalling 3.82 expected goals (xG) in those matches.

Marcus Rashford has told a Manchester United fan channel to “stop spreading malicious rumours” over his future.

Popular fan channel The United Stand published a video on Monday titled: ‘Rashford’s future in doubt?’, with one contributor questioning his commitment to the club.

Rashford was not involved in United’s 1-0 Premier League win at Fulham on Saturday as manager Erik ten Hag said the England forward had picked up an injury and failed a fitness test on the morning of the game.

“Please STOP spreading malicious rumours,” Rashford wrote on social media in response to The United Stand video.

Rashford scored 30 goals last season but his form has dipped this season amid United’s own struggles.

The 26-year-old has scored only once in 14 appearances across all competitions and was criticised by Ten Hag after going to a nightclub party following the 3-0 defeat to Manchester City at Old Trafford on October 29.

Ten Hag said the post-derby night out was “unacceptable” but Rashford was involved in the Carabao Cup tie with Newcastle three days later, coming on as a 65th-minute substitute in another 3-0 home defeat.

United are next in action on Wednesday, away to Danish club Copenhagen in the Champions League.

Marcus Rashford was not included in Manchester United’s squad for the game at Fulham.

The England striker was forced to apologise to United boss Erik ten Hag after attending a nightclub party following last weekend’s embarrassing derby defeat to Manchester City.

But Rashford was missing at Craven Cottage due to injury after taking a “heavy knock” in training.

Reports emerged the day after the City match that the England international, who turned 26 on Tuesday, had gone to the Chinawhite nightclub for a pre-arranged birthday party hours after the Old Trafford loss.

“Yes, I am aware of it,” manager Ten Hag said of Rashford’s post-derby night out.

“I spoke with him about it. It’s unacceptable, I told him, he apologised and that’s it. For the rest it’s an internal matter.

“He’s very motivated to put things right. So, he makes a mistake, but that doesn’t say he’s not fitting in. I see him every day in training, what he’s doing, I know.”

Following the team announcement at Craven Cottage, Ten Hag told MUTV: “(Rashford) is OK, but not OK to start. He is not fit enough to start but it is about players who are available.

“(Alejandro) Garnacho can do the job very well, we have seen that often so I am confident.”

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag says it was “unacceptable” of Marcus Rashford to go a nightclub party after last weekend’s embarrassing derby defeat to Manchester City.

The homegrown talent has managed just one goal for the misfiring Red Devils during a poor start to the season on both an individual and collective level.

Rashford has looked a far cry from the player that plundered 30 goals for United last term and his off-field decision-making came into question after last Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to City.

Reports emerged the following day that the England international, who turned 26 on Tuesday, had gone to the Chinawhite nightclub for a pre-arranged birthday party hours after the Old Trafford loss.

“Yes, I am aware of it,” manager Ten Hag said of Rashford’s post-derby night out.

“I spoke with him about it. It’s unacceptable, I told him, he apologised and that’s it. For the rest it’s an internal matter.”

Ten Hag repeated it was an “internal matter” when asked if Rashford had been fined for an incident that he says will not impact his availability for Saturday’s crunch Premier League trip to Fulham.

The United boss also clarified that his place among the substitutes in Wednesday’s 3-0 Carabao Cup exit to Newcastle was due to rotation rather than punishment.

Rashford was dropped to the bench at Wolves last season for timekeeping, but Ten Hag rejected the notion that the academy graduate is not attuned to his demands.

“Your suggestion is not right,” the United boss. “He’s fitting in, he’s very motivated to put things right.

“I know which effort he is putting in. He’s totally with us.

“So, he makes a mistake, but that doesn’t say he’s not fitting in. I see him every day in training, what he’s doing, I know.

“So, he makes one mistake but also, off the pitch, what he is doing, how he lives, and I’m sure he is doing everything right to help the team to perform and to let us win.”

Ten Hag can ill afford any distractions right now but it was notable how much public backing he showed Rashford despite his clear annoyance at his post-derby decision.

“He has to be as close as possible to the opponents’ goal, because there are his qualities,” he said.

“There he is so important for us and he will contribute so much to our success.

“We have to get him there as a team and he, as an individual, also he has to make his movements to arrive in the right moments, so his timing is right and I’m sure he will be back.”

How the Red Devils and their manager could do with Rashford getting back his scoring touch at Fulham on Saturday lunchtime.

The midweek loss to Newcastle was their eighth defeat in 15 matches in all competitions, making this United’s worst start to a season since 1962-63.

That run has led to scrutiny and speculation about Ten Hag’s position, but the “fighter” will not give up on a job that nobody has able to successfully fill since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013.

“It’s possible, I’m convinced (United can be successful),” the defiant Dutchman said.

“Sometimes you have difficult periods and when you stick together – and we are together – then we come through these difficult periods.”

Asked whether the structure is right for club to be a success, Ten Hag said: “I wouldn’t work here if I thought it wasn’t right.”

All the focus right now is righting the United ship before November’s international break, with games against Fulham and Luton bookending the crunch Champions League clash in Copenhagen.

“Always, when the team is not playing well, you think about it, to get it right,” Ten Hag added. “I’m not thinking about things away from the team.

“Of course, sometimes I need my relaxation to get energy, but for now it’s 24/7. You think about ‘how do I get this right?’”

Manchester City defender Kyle Walker has warned that his England team-mate Marcus Rashford remains an opponent to be feared.

The Manchester United striker has been in poor form this season and has scored just one goal for the club heading into Sunday’s derby against City at Old Trafford.

It is a far cry from last term when the 25-year-old netted 30 goals in all competitions, including the winner in the corresponding Premier League fixture against City.

Walker said: “I think Marcus has shown over the years that he’s the sort of player who can create problems for any side if they don’t match him.

“He’s been important for both United and England since he was a teenager because of the threat he offers to any team he’s in. He’s got a lot of different qualities and we know he can be dangerous at the weekend.”

Rashford’s decisive 82nd-minute strike on City’s last trip across town in January capped a controversial fightback by the home side.

United had cancelled out Jack Grealish’s opener just four minutes earlier through Bruno Fernandes despite Rashford having been in an offside position during the build-up.

After bouncing back spectacularly by winning the treble – and beating United in the FA Cup final – Walker insists City are not motivated by revenge.

“I don’t think we think like that,” said the right-back. “Last season is done, we lost at Old Trafford and went on to win the treble. Ultimately that’s what matters.

“Of course this game means a lot but it’s part of a bigger picture and, OK we lost last season and the luck didn’t go in our favour, but we bounced back from that and did what we did.

“We want to win the game because of what it means and because ultimately it will help us in trying to win the Premier League again. We don’t need to think beyond that.

“We’ve had some great games against them in recent years and our focus is on giving the fans something to enjoy again on Sunday.”

City are in a strong position despite a blip before the recent international break, when they lost to Wolves and Arsenal, and lacking the intensity they showed at the end of last season.

Walker said: “People keep saying how hard it must be to get motivated because of what we achieved last season but we’re all competitors who want to win. We’ve shown that year after year.

“If it was hard to get motivated then we wouldn’t have won three Premier Leagues in a row.

“We go into every game wanting to win, for ourselves, for this club and it’s the reason we’ve been so successful. That doesn’t go away just because we did something special last season.”

Jude Bellingham insists there is a belief among the England camp that they can achieve “something special” at Euro 2024 as he hailed manager Gareth Southgate.

The 20-year-old midfielder has been starring for new club Real Madrid this season and was the best player on the pitch as England beat Italy 3-1 at Wembley on Tuesday night to book their spot at next summer’s European Championship.

Bellingham won a penalty which was converted by Harry Kane to draw the hosts level before driving forward to play in Marcus Rashford, whose finish turned the game in England’s favour before captain Kane added late gloss with a third.

The Euro 2020 runners-up will no doubt be among the favourites at the finals in Germany and Bellingham feels there could be a good chance to go one better than two years ago.

“As well as the young players, there’s a great mix of experience who guide us throughout the game and throughout the camps and there is a belief that we could do something special,” he said.

“But it’s all about delivering. It’s all about when the time comes, being there, being present, being ready to take on the challenge and it’s about combining all those things, our past experience and what we have in the dressing room to make sure we’re going to be successful.”

Euro 2024 will be a fourth consecutive tournament under the stewardship of Southgate, who also guided England to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup before reaching the quarter-finals in Qatar last winter.

While he has yet been unable to bring in the first major silverware for the men’s national team since 1966, Bellingham believes Southgate deserves to be spoken of among the world’s elite coaches.

Asked if he should be considered alongside Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, Bellingham told beIN Sports: “100 per cent – look at his record as England manager, no-one’s done it as well as him for however many years.

“He takes the time to understand players personally and he knows what kind of things motivate them and get them going for games and I think that is what makes him so top in my opinion, he makes everyone feel so comfortable to play and it’s a pleasure for me to play under him.”

Bellingham will now turn his attention back to LaLiga and the Champions League with Real but admits he is looking forward to returning to Germany, where he previously played for Borussia Dortmund, after England got the job done on Tuesday.

“I can’t wait to go back there,” he added.

“Obviously, it’s a long season until then and it’s about building that momentum until then but you can’t take it for granted.

“There are a lot of players who don’t get to play at those kind of tournaments when their team don’t qualify and I’m sure they’d prefer to be there than sitting at home.

“So we never take it for granted. I’m really grateful that we put in a performance like that to see us through.”

Gareth Southgate says England are ready to fight for European Championship glory having progressed from what he believes was the toughest qualifying group with two matches to spare.

After bouncing back from December’s World Cup quarter-final exit to France by winning in Naples in March, three further wins and a draw away to Ukraine put the Euro 2020 runners-up within touching distance of progress.

Unbeaten England only needed a point against Italy to wrap up qualification for next year’s finals in Germany but went on to secure all three thanks to an impressive 3-1 comeback victory at a sold-out Wembley.

“Really pleased to win the game tonight,” manager Southgate said after sealing their spot at Euro 2024. “That’s the first thing.

“We know that the games against the top, top nations are the ones that we want to make a step forward with.

“We still need to win the games next month because it can affect seeding.

“Nice to get it done early. I think it’s probably the toughest qualifying group, with Ukraine, Italy and the results that North Macedonia have had, not only in this qualification but also in previous qualifications.”

The pressure is off as England welcome Malta next month, before rounding off 2023 away to North Macedonia buoyed by an impressive victory against Italy.

Former West Ham striker Gianluca Scamacca had put the Azzurri ahead on Tuesday as these nations met at Wembley for the first time since the Euro 2020 final.

But Harry Kane levelled from the spot and Marcus Rashford finished off a fine second-half team move, before the skipper added his second on a night that underlined their place among the Euro 2024 favourites.

“I think we have to accept that,” Southgate said. “I think pressure comes when expectation is different to reality and the reality is we are going to be one of the teams capable of winning.

“There are others. You know, it’s a very strong (line-up). You’ve only got to look through the top 10 European nations and on any given night one can beat another.

“We’re seeing in a Rugby World Cup now that teams that were ranked one and two in the world in those moments haven’t been able to get there.  That’s tournaments.

“But we’re comfortable with that. I’ve talked about that from when we played at Naples and we delivered that night.

“I think we’ve continued to do that through this calendar year. I think our performances have been good.

“I think the players that played against Australia did a brilliant job for us.

“If we didn’t have the depth that we’ve got and the mentality to come through what was a really tough night for them, we wouldn’t have been able to have the freshness that we had tonight to give ourselves the best chance of winning the game.”

One of the keys to success next summer will undoubtedly be the brilliance of midfielder Jude Bellingham.

The Real Madrid star is arguably the best player on the planet right now and earned the first half penalty scored by Kane, before winning the ball and playing in Rashford.

“With Jude, his mentality is incredible for his age,” Southgate said.

“To have such an impact at such a young age, to show such maturity but also humility. We’re very lucky to have him.”

As for Italy, Tuesday’s defeat under the arch leaves them in third in Group C and three points behind second-placed Ukraine.

But Luciano Spalletti’s men have a game in hand on Sergey Rebrov’s outfit, who they face in the final round of fixtures.

“We have to win our next game so we can then travel away to Ukraine to compete,” the Italy boss said, looking ahead to November’s home clash with North Macedonia.

“I saw a team trying to do what I asked of them and I saw some good things. We made a few errors as well.

“With the things we did well, we weren’t able to score but as soon as we made a mistake, we conceded.”

England wrapped up qualification for Euro 2024 with two matches to spare as Harry Kane’s brace helped Gareth Southgate’s side secure a 3-1 comeback win against Italy.

Having kicked off Group C with an impressive victory in Naples, it has long been a case of when rather than if the unbeaten Euro 2020 runners-up would seal their spot in Germany.

Italy stood in their way of early progress as these nations met at Wembley for the first time since they pipped Southgate’s men to European Championship glory on penalties.

England have come a long way in the intervening 27 months and emphatically bounced back from former West Ham striker Gianluca Scamacca’s early gut punch under the arch.

Kane struck from the spot after Giovanni Di Lorenzo brought down brilliant Jude Bellingham in the box, putting the hosts on course for the point they needed to go through.

But England wanted more and returned from the break with the bit between their teeth, with Real Madrid star Bellingham beginning a brilliant counter-attack that ended with him playing in Marcus Rashford to rifle home.

It will have been a special moment given the England forward missed one of the penalties against Italy and Kane added late gloss as the skipper looks forward to leading the national team to next year’s Euros.

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford escaped unhurt after being involved in a car crash on Saturday night.

The PA news agency understands the crash happened after Manchester United had returned to their Carrington training base following their Premier League victory over Burnley at Turf Moor.

The players returned to the training ground by team bus to collect their own cars before setting off home.

Pictures and footage posted online in the aftermath of the incident showed the damage suffered by Rashford’s Rolls Royce.

It is understood emergency services attended the scene, but Rashford did not require medical attention and no arrests were made.

The England international, 25, played the whole game at Turf Moor as United won 1-0.

Marcus Rashford says he is fully committed to England and does not care if onlookers criticise or question his dedication to the national team.

The 25-year-old is preparing for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia having withdrawn from March’s meet-up through injury.

Rashford has had to pull out of numerous camps over the years but his decision to head to New York while England were winning their Group C opener 2-1 in Italy sparked debate.

Boss Gareth Southgate defended the 51-cap forward’s decision to jet off to the United States at the time and the Manchester United forward says he was unmoved by critical voices.

“I didn’t see it, to be honest with you,” Rashford said. “I didn’t see it until I got home.

“I need time to switch off and recover, so I took a short trip, four days, then went back to do rehab and just try and get ready as soon as possible.

“With injuries, you can’t predict when they’re going to happen.

“Thankfully I have very few muscle strains and them type of injuries, but occasionally you do get impact injuries. The majority of my injuries have been that.”

Asked if people questioning his commitment to playing for his country hurt, Rashford replied: “Honestly, it doesn’t.

“I know that I’m committed to it 100 per cent, people are going to say what they’re going to say. It doesn’t really bother me.”

Rashford laughed off that talk as he prepares to play in his first qualifier since England won 4-0 away to Kosovo in November 2019 – the last international before the schedule paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He will surely get minutes in Friday’s Euro 2024 qualifier at Malta, but the availability of England’s Manchester City quintet is unclear.

Jack Grealish, Kyle Walker, Phil Foden, John Stones and Kalvin Phillips arrived at St George’s Park on Tuesday after days celebrating their treble triumph.

Saturday’s Champions League win over Inter Milan saw City join Manchester United as the only English sides to win the Premier League, FA Cup and European Cup – a bruising moment for the red half of the city.

“To be honest, it’s not nice (to see City’s success) but at the same time it’s football,” United product Rashford said.

“The best team that’s consistently playing the best football is going to win the most trophies and they’ve managed to win three this year.

“Well done to them and we just move on now and it’s up to them to keep it up, and it’s up to the rest of us to try and catch them up.”

Asked if City’s achievements provide extra motivation, United’s homegrown star said: “Yeah, 100 per cent.”

Rashford’s attention now is squarely on international matters as a mammoth, unrelenting campaign finally comes to a conclusion.

He has made an eye-watering 61 appearances for club and country in an unprecedented campaign that had the World Cup in Qatar wedged in the middle.

That figure could reach 63 if he plays against Malta and at Old Trafford against North Macedonia on Monday – a qualifier that is just 23 days before United’s first pre-season match.

Rashford, when asked about the need for the calendar to be looked at, said: “I think that’s evident.

“It’s mad that at club level we’re playing against teams that are playing one game a week, and we’re playing three games a week from November up until we got knocked out of Europa League.

“It’s difficult but at the same time we’re used to doing it, but I don’t think it’s right.”

Rashford does not know what he would like to see altered but said he is “not the one that’s supposed to have the answers”.

“The players are going to push ourselves to the absolute limits,” he added.

“I did say it’s nothing new so it’s not a complaint or a dig, I’m just giving you my honest opinion and I don’t think it’s correct.

“We need to be given more time to recover between certain games and at different stages of the season.

“That’s my opinion but I don’t think it’s down to the players. We shouldn’t have to put ourselves in a position to speak out about something that we’re not in control of or we’re not going to make the final decision on.”

Marcus Rashford says he is fully committed to England and does not care if onlookers criticise or question his dedication to the national team.

The 25-year-old is preparing for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia having withdrawn from March’s meet-up through injury.

Rashford has had to pull out of numerous camps over the years but his decision to head to New York while England were winning their Group C opener 2-1 in Italy sparked debate.

Boss Gareth Southgate defended the 51-cap forward’s decision to jet off to the United States at the time and the Manchester United forward says he was unmoved by critical voices.

“I didn’t see it, to be honest with you,” Rashford said. “I didn’t see it until I got home.

“I need time to switch off and recover, so I took a short trip, four days, then went back to do rehab and just try and get ready as soon as possible.

“With injuries, you can’t predict when they’re going to happen.

“Thankfully I have very few muscle strains and them type of injuries, but occasionally you do get impact injuries. The majority of my injuries have been that.”

Asked if people questioning his commitment to playing for his country hurt, Rashford replied: “Honestly, it doesn’t.

“I know that I’m committed to it 100 per cent, people are going to say what they’re going to say. It doesn’t really bother me.”

Rashford laughed off that talk as he prepares to play in his first qualifier since England won 4-0 away to Kosovo in November 2019 – the last international before the schedule paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He will surely get minutes in Friday’s Euro 2024 qualifier at Malta, but the availability of England’s Manchester City quintet is unclear.

Jack Grealish, Kyle Walker, Phil Foden, John Stones and Kalvin Phillips arrived at St George’s Park on Tuesday after days celebrating their treble triumph.

Saturday’s Champions League win over Inter Milan saw City join Manchester United as the only English sides to win the Premier League, FA Cup and European Cup – a bruising moment for the red half of the city.

“To be honest, it’s not nice (to see City’s success) but at the same time it’s football,” United product Rashford said.

“The best team that’s consistently playing the best football is going to win the most trophies and they’ve managed to win three this year.

“Well done to them and we just move on now and it’s up to them to keep it up, and it’s up to the rest of us to try and catch them up.”

Asked if City’s achievements provide extra motivation, United’s homegrown star said: “Yeah, 100 per cent.”

Rashford’s attention now is squarely on international matters as a mammoth, unrelenting campaign finally comes to a conclusion.

He has made an eye-watering 61 appearances for club and country in an unprecedented campaign that had the World Cup in Qatar wedged in the middle.

That figure could reach 63 if he plays against Malta and at Old Trafford against North Macedonia on Monday – a qualifier that is just 23 days before United’s first pre-season match.

Rashford, when asked about the need for the calendar to be looked at, said: “I think that’s evident.

“It’s mad that at club level we’re playing against teams that are playing one game a week, and we’re playing three games a week from November up until we got knocked out of Europa League.

“It’s difficult but at the same time we’re used to doing it, but I don’t think it’s right.”

Rashford does not know what he would like to see altered but said he is “not the one that’s supposed to have the answers”.

“The players are going to push ourselves to the absolute limits,” he added.

“I did say it’s nothing new so it’s not a complaint or a dig, I’m just giving you my honest opinion and I don’t think it’s correct.

“We need to be given more time to recover between certain games and at different stages of the season.

“That’s my opinion but I don’t think it’s down to the players. We shouldn’t have to put ourselves in a position to speak out about something that we’re not in control of or we’re not going to make the final decision on.”

Erik ten Hag expects Marcus Rashford to be ready to face Chelsea on Thursday night but admitted he is not sure whether Manchester United’s top scorer is fully fit.

Rashford has missed United’s last two fixtures, first with a leg injury and then through illness, but has returned to training this week.

Asked if the 29-goal forward was ready to play, Ten Hag said: “It looks like (it). Yesterday, he returned to training, he looks quite fit but we have to see today what is the outcome of the training, how did we recover and then we will make our choices.”

Rashford’s absence against Wolves and Bournemouth – both games United won without him – once again brought into focus United’s lack of depth in the forward positions.

Anthony Martial was handed a rare start on the south coast on Sunday, but headed straight down the tunnel when he was withdrawn after an hour before later returning to the bench.

Martial’s reaction led to fresh speculation over his United future. The 27-year-old, who finished last season on loan at Sevilla, has scored eight times in 27 appearances for United this season, but has struggled at times with injuries.

“If you are not available, you can’t score,” Ten Hag said. “When he was available we played better, the team is winning games, he’s also scoring goals but he has to be available.”

And Ten Hag also batted away a question about speculation linking United with Paris St Germain’s Brazil forward Neymar by offering his stock answer on transfer rumours, saying: “When we have news, we will tell you.”

United will secure a top-four place and a return to the Champions League for next season if they take at least a point against Frank Lampard’s side.

“It’s clear, we want to win every game,” the Dutchman said. “That is what we do all season so tomorrow we want to do the same, we want to win the game, play dominant football and get the job done…

“First, we have to win the game tomorrow and get the job done. Then, it’s about judgement from others if it’s a good, bad or normal performance.

“We are in a project, we want to go back and win trophies, we win one trophy but we want more trophies, compete with the best, we are still in a journey but we think we are in the right direction but it can always be better. Because good is not good enough.”

With the League Cup trophy already in the cabinet, booking a return to Europe’s premier competition would be another significant marker for Ten Hag in his first season at Old Trafford.

“If we want to compete with the best, then you have to be in the Champions League,” he said.

“We want to compete with the best and be in the Champions League. In the Premier League, you have to be one of the first four, that’s not easy, many are competing for it, many think they should be in and we are one of them.”

Marcus Rashford has boosted Manchester United’s top-four Premier League hopes by returning to training.

England striker Rashford, who has scored 29 goals this season, missed Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Wolves with a leg injury.

“There is good news regarding Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay, who have both returned to training,” a United statement read after Erik ten Hag’s first-team squad trained at Carrington on Wednesday.

“Our leading scorer took part in the session after missing the win over Wolves due to injury.”

Scotland midfielder McTominay is also closing in on a return, having not played since scoring in a 2-0 win over Everton on April 8.

France defender Raphael Varane, who Ten Hag said was replaced late on against Wolves as a precaution, also trained on Wednesday.

Marcel Sabitzer this week joined Lisandro Martinez and Donny van de Beek on the sidelines for the rest of the season.

Fourth-placed United continue their bid for Champions League football at Bournemouth on Saturday.

After their trip to the south coast, United conclude their league campaign with home games against Chelsea and Fulham.

Pedro Porro and Son Heung-min rescued a much-needed point for Tottenham but their Champions League hopes hang by a thread following a 2-2 draw with Manchester United.

Ryan Mason was instilled as interim boss following Cristian Stellini's exit in the wake of Sunday's crushing 6-1 defeat at Newcastle United, though matters did not start well, with Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford putting Erik ten Hag's side in control.

Yet Porro's terrific goal injected life into Spurs before Son completed the comeback late on.

A draw might stop the rot for Spurs, though their Champions League hopes are fading fast, with United still six points clear in fourth with two games in hand.

Spurs effectively picked up where they left off on Tyneside, cracking after seven minutes when Sancho cut back into the box and powered a low strike past Fraser Forster.

Desperate defence from Ivan Perisic on the goal-line denied the winger a second after an effort ricocheted off Forster and towards a gaping net.

United would not be denied their second however, with Rashford superbly bringing down a sweeping long ball from Bruno Fernandes before tucking home.

Clement Lenglet hit the bar as Spurs came out of the blocks after the restart, and they had their equaliser when Porro prodded a wonderful finish beyond David De Gea.

Fernandes missed a golden chance two minutes later, smashing a one-on-one opportunity against the crossbar.

His misfire was punished in with 11 minutes remaining – Son on hand to tap in at the left post following Harry Kane's lovely assist.

Ryan Mason demanded a reaction from Tottenham's players after stepping up to replace Cristian Stellini as acting head coach, ahead of Thursday's visit of Manchester United.

Former Spurs midfielder Mason took charge on Monday, with Stellini removed from his role following a dismal 6-1 defeat at Newcastle United – who led 5-0 within just 21 minutes.

While Tottenham appear highly unlikely to contend for a top-four finish, there are still European spots up for grabs as they prepare to host Erik ten Hag's Red Devils.

Asked what he expected to see from Spurs against United, Mason said: "A reaction, absolutely.

"Obviously Sunday was disappointing for us, and I would hope and expect there's a reaction from not only the players, but everyone in the building and everyone involved in the club.

"I've been in football long enough to know things can turn around very quickly. I believe we can make a positive impact. We have a game on Thursday to try and react and get back to winning ways.

"So the feeling and the thought isn't on the whole situation – it's about how we're going to influence the players and get some positivity back."

United approach Thursday's game in high spirits, having reached the FA Cup final through Sunday's penalty shoot-out win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

Possessing a six-point lead over Tottenham with two games in hand, United could effectively end their hosts' ailing top-four hopes with a victory.

Asked how important the game was to United's own bid for Champions League football, Ten Hag said: "Very. You see the table. It is quite clear.

"But our approach will not change. Our approach is we want to win every game.

"I have to make sure that our players are ready for tomorrow. I have to make sure that they have energy and are on the front foot to go into battle."

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Tottenham – Harry Kane

Kane has scored 99 Premier League home goals for Tottenham, and is bidding to become the first player to reach a century of goals in both home and away games in the competition.

He has scored five league goals against Manchester United in his career, but only one of those has come at home – in the final game played at White Hart Lane in May 2017.

Manchester United – Marcus Rashford

Having scored 10 goals in his first 10 Premier League appearances following the World Cup break, Rashford has now scored just once in his last five outings in the competition.

Just three of his 15 league goals this term have come away from home, but with the Red Devils harbouring doubts over Bruno Fernandes' fitness, Rashford will be required to step up in north London.

MATCH PREDICTION – TOTTENHAM WIN

United have won their last three Premier League games by an aggregate score of 5-0. They have not won four successive matches in the competition without conceding since their final season under Alex Ferguson in 2012-13, winning six consecutive games to nil between February and March 2013.

The Red Devils have won 39 Premier League games against Tottenham. No side has beaten a single opponent more often in the competition's history, while they are also unbeaten in seven midweek (Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday) games in the Premier League this term (W5 D2).

However, the visitors have conceded 29 away goals in the Premier League this season, only ever shipping more on the road in a single campaign last term (35), and their injury problems may inspire hope of a new manager bounce for Spurs.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Tottenham 42.0 per cent

Manchester United 30.1 per cent

Draw 27.9 per cent

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.