Manchester United's search for a new permanent manager continues, with Mauricio Pochettino the favourite.

Ralf Rangnick has been appointed on an interim basis until the end of the season, though Michael Carrick is set to preside over a third game as caretaker manager on Thursday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked last month after a poor run of results at the end of a trophy-less tenure.

 

TOP STORY – MANCINI EMERGES AS SHOCK MAN UTD CONTENDER

Former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has emerged as a contender for the vacant Man Utd managerial role, claims The Telegraph.

The current Italy head coach, who led the Azzurri to the Euro 2020 title, is under "careful consideration" by United chiefs, according to the report.

Mancini is contracted with Italy until 2026 on a lucrative deal but may potentially be available to take over from Rangnick pending Italy's World Cup qualification play-offs in March.

 

ROUND-UP

Milan want to sign Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette as soon as possible and will make a move for him in January rather than wait for him to become a free agent at the season's end, according to Sport Italia journalist Rudy Galetti.

Man Utd have been offered the opportunity to sign Brazil attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho by Barcelona, reports Sport.

- Sport also claims Barcelona have a "total agreement" to sign Man City's Spanish forward Ferran Torres, although they want the English champions to lower their asking price of £60million.

Ajax are looking to do a deal with Tottenham to sign Dutch forward Steven Bergwijn on loan, according to De Telegraaf.

- Calciomercato claims Juventus have pulled out of the race to sign Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni, with Chelsea leading the contenders.

Louis van Gaal feared the Netherlands would blow their chance to secure automatic qualification for the 2022 World Cup.

The Netherlands wrapped up top spot in Group G on Tuesday after a cagey 2-0 victory over Norway thanks to late goals from Steven Bergwijn and Memphis Depay.

Netherlands head coach Van Gaal had suffered a fall from a bike and injured his hip ahead of the game so was forced to watch the match from the stands in a wheelchair.

Van Gaal cut a nervous figure as Danny Blind relayed his instructions via telephone on the touchline in a fixture played without any fans at De Kuip due to growing coronavirus cases.

Despite a tense game, the Netherlands got the job done as their stubborn defence – which has conceded just eight goals in qualifying – stood firm.

The Netherlands are now unbeaten in seven matches since Euro 2020, winning five times.

"The mood was a bit down the day after [the draw with] Montenegro, then I was afraid that it might go completely wrong," Van Gaal told NOS Journaal.

"But all in all it was a fantastic week despite everything. We got to know each other through lows and highs.

"We scored two goals today, and Jasper Cillessen kept a clean sheet. We dominated and controlled the game for 90 minutes. Norway may have had half a chance.

“I complimented the team at half-time, but also told them to play a little more forward.

"We played provocative pressing in the second half, which gave us a little more space. And of course we have the attackers for that."

Netherlands captain Virgil van Dijk made a team-high four clearances, two tackles and won 88.9 per cent of his duels as Norway failed to register a single shot on target.

The Liverpool defender spoke of his excitement at potentially playing at his first major international tournament, having missed out on the rescheduled Euro 2020 earlier this year through injury.

"We are going to Qatar and it's well deserved, we almost didn't give anything away. In my opinion, nothing at all," said Van Dijk.

"We had to show a reaction after last Saturday and we did. Of course there are many things that could be improved, but the result was the most important.

“I am extremely proud of this team. It can be tricky to play around with the idea that any mistake can be fatal, but we've embraced it. 

"We showed real character, it was not easy to switch quickly after the 2-2 in Montenegro, but we did it.

"I was very sorry that the national coach was there from a distance and the fans were not there at all. We're going to celebrate well inside. I can't wait for the World Cup."

Louis van Gaal feared the Netherlands would blow their chance to secure automatic qualification for the 2022 World Cup.

The Oranje wrapped up top spot in Group G on Tuesday after a cagey 2-0 victory over Norway thanks to late goals from Steven Bergwijn and Memphis Depay.

Head coach Van Gaal had suffered a fall from a bike and injured his hip ahead of the game so was forced to watch the match from the stands in a wheelchair.

He cut a nervous figure as Danny Blind relayed his instructions via telephone on the touchline in a fixture played without any fans at De Kuip.

Despite a tense game the Netherlands got the job done as their stubborn defence – which has conceded just eight goals in qualifying – stood firm.

The Netherlands are now unbeaten in seven matches since the European Championships, winning five times.

"The mood was a bit down the day after [the draw with] Montenegro, then I was afraid that it might go completely wrong," Van Gaal told NOS Journaal.

"But all in all it was a fantastic week despite everything. We got to know each other through lows and highs.

"We scored two goals today, and Jasper Cillessen kept a clean sheet. We dominated and controlled the game for 90 minutes. Norway may have had half a chance.

“I complimented the team at half-time, but also told them to play a little more forward.

"We played provocative pressing in the second half, which gave us a little more space. And of course we have the attackers for that."

Netherlands skipper Virgil van Dijk made a team high four clearances, two tackles and won 88.9 per cent of his duels as Norway failed to register a single shot on target.

The Liverpool defender spoke of his excitement at potentially playing at his first major international tournament, having missed out on the rescheduled. Euro 2020 earlier this year through injury.

"We are going to Qatar and it's well deserved, we almost didn't give anything away. In my opinion, nothing at all," said the Liverpool defender.

"We had to show a reaction after last Saturday and we did. Of course there are many things that could be improved, but the result was the most important.

“I am extremely proud of this team. It can be tricky to play around with the idea that any mistake can be fatal, but we've embraced it. 

"We showed real character, it was not easy to switch quickly after the 2-2 in Montenegro, but we did it.

"I was very sorry that the national coach was there from a distance and the fans were not there at all. We're going to celebrate well inside. I can't wait for the World Cup."

Steven Bergwijn and Memphis Depay made sure of the Netherlands' place at the 2022 World Cup with late goals in a 2-0 victory against Norway on Tuesday.

Turkey's 2-1 win against Montenegro kept the pressure on the Netherlands, but they still needed only a point to secure their qualification and got more than that in the closing stages at De Kuip.

Bergwijn netted with six minutes left when he fired high into the net before Depay put the result beyond doubt with a goal on the break in injury time.

While the Oranje finished as Group G winners, Norway slipped to third and missed out on a place in the play-offs having failed to register a shot on target across the entire contest.

Nuno Espirito Santo is unsure if Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn will be available for Tottenham's Premier League clash with Chelsea after limping off in the 2-2 draw with Rennes on Thursday.

Tottenham hit back through Pierre-Emilie Hojbjerg's deft finish to claim a point in their opening Europa Conference League group match after Flavien Tait and Gaetan Laborde had struck to cancel out an early Loic Bade own goal.

The draw at Roazhon Park came at a cost for Nuno, however, as Bergwijn hobbled off in the first half with an ankle problem and Lucas was replaced before the hour after being caught by a strong challenge from Tait.

Spurs are already without Son Heung-min due to an injury sustained on international duty last week, while Eric Dier is also sidelined and a trio of South American players – Cristian Romero, Giovani Lo Celso and Davinson Sanchez – are in quarantine.

With a huge home match against London rivals Chelsea up next in three days' time, Nuno has been left to rue his side's growing list of absentees. 

"It's been terrible, I must be honest," he said at his post-match news conference. "Let's not hide behind anything.  After the Watford game, everything that has happened has not been very good for us. 

"But this is football. And we know it’s a moment we have to overcome. Today, we tried to show the players solutions, thinking about the game on Sunday. But it's about overcoming obstacles. That will make us stronger for the future, for sure."

Asked if either of the pair will be ready to take on Chelsea, Nuno said: "It's too early to say. The physios are working with them." 

Star striker Harry Kane played just under an hour of the Rennes match and had only one shot in total – albeit an improvement on the zero attempts and zero touches in the opposition box managed against Crystal Palace last Saturday.

Kane was one of four players to retain his place in the side from that 3-0 loss at Selhurst Park as Spurs battled to a share of the spoils in their Group G opener at a raucous Roazhon Park.

Tottenham took the lead when Bade turned Lucas' cross into his own net, but Tait curled an impressive equaliser past Pierluigi Gollini and the Spurs keeper could only push Kamaldeen Sulemana's shot into the path of Laborde for Rennes' second.

Substitute Hojbjerg rescued a point, however, and Nuno was pleased with the overall display to take a point back to north London in what was his side's toughest fixture on paper, with Vitesse and Slovenian side Mura also in the pool.

"We scored then we lost control," Nuno said. "We played a good team who caused some problems. It is hard to judge the game, but I think we finished well against a hard team to play against. 

"But the attitude was good and with a lot of players playing out of position it is hard to properly judge."

Tottenham slumped to a 2-1 home defeat against Aston Villa in their first game since reports emerged Harry Kane is intent on leaving the club at the end of the season. 

Kane, who has been linked with a move to a host of Premier League rivals, was a peripheral figure as Spurs suffered a second defeat in three top-flight games in front of 10,000 returning fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium following the loosening of coronavirus restrictions.  

Steven Bergwijn had put Ryan Mason's side ahead with his first goal of the season, but a spectacular Sergio Reguilon own goal and an Ollie Watkins strike before half-time put the visitors ahead. 

While Spurs improved after the interval, they never really looked like finding a goal that would have prevented Dean Smith's side securing just a second win against them in their last 14 matches. 

Tottenham went ahead in the eighth minute when Bergwijn picked Marvelous Nakamba's pocket, powered into the penalty and unleashed a superb half-volley past Emiliano Martinez.

Watkins was convinced he should have been given a penalty soon after when Hugo Lloris clattered into him, but referee Craig Pawson and VAR were unmoved.

The visitors pulled level in slapstick fashion after 20 minutes, however, when Reguilon inexplicably sliced Nakamba's cross into his own net from 15 yards.

It went from bad to worse for the Spanish left-back six minutes before the interval, Watkins slotting in from close range after his attempted pass had been cut out by Bertrand Traore.

Martinez twice denied Bergwijn inside the opening five minutes of the second half, while Traore curled wide for Villa after a swift counter-attacking move on the hour mark. 

Kane's first shot did not arrive until the 75th minute, Martinez keeping him out at his near post.

But Tottenham's home campaign this season ended with a whimper, with Villa debutant Carney Chukwuemeka striking the post in the best chance of the final moments.

 

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