Harry Kane was substituted against Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League with a knee issue but should be fit to face London rivals Arsenal on Sunday, according to Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho.

Spurs star Kane had scored both goals in Thursday's 2-0 Europa League last-16 first leg win over Croatian giants Dinamo at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

An effort in either half turned the tie in Tottenham's favour and took the England captain's club tally to 26 for the season, the most of any Premier League player.

But Kane's hopes of improving his scoring record further this weekend were dealt a blow as he went down under a challenge from Arijan Ademi with eight minutes remaining.

Mourinho swiftly replaced his main man, having also seen Tanguy Ndombele exit the field shortly after the second goal.

But Mourinho is confident both players will be keen to recover quickly and get ready for this weekend's Premier League derby.

Asked if there was any concern for Ndombele, Mourinho told BT Sport: "I don't think so really. Even Harry, I don't believe it's anything big.

"There is a match that everybody wants to play and little things are not going to stop them playing, I believe."

Mourinho added: "I don't have that feeling [Kane is injured]. As I was saying, everybody wants to play the game on Sunday. I believe they are going to be okay."

Kane, who had three shots and created two chances, has now been involved in six goals (four goals, two assists) across Tottenham's past two games.

The goalscorer also won five of his seven duels, earned four fouls – including the kick from Ademi – and even blocked Rasmus Lauritsen's goal-bound header 13 minutes from time.

Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris said: "He even saves the ball on the corner in front of me. No, he's just enjoying his football. As you can see today, he attracts the ball.

"The first action Erik Lamela made an amazing job. I think he deserved the goal, but unfortunately it hit the post and Harry was there at the right time, at the right moment to score.

"And the second goal gives a little bit of relief to the team before the second leg."

Kane has made 36 headed clearances and 38 total clearances in all competitions this season, the most of any forward in the Premier League.

Mourinho said: "He is doing everything. He's doing the striker's job of scoring goals, he's doing the team work of creating space and assists and linking the play, he's doing the extra work that not many strikers do - the defensive one, the pressing, the coming behind, on set-pieces.

"He has very good timing to attack the ball on defensive set-pieces. He helps us a lot. We have his stats; he has an incredible number of clearances from crosses and corners.

"We couldn't be happier. I gave a rest to many of the players - and I'm so happy with that Vinicius is giving us - but the truth is when we have Harry on the pitch, it's a different story for us.

"This is a very important match and we want to qualify for the quarters. We decided for him to play and of course he was happy to do that for us."

Gabriel and Mohamed Elneny scored late on as Arsenal atoned for defensive sloppiness to take a 3-1 lead in their Europa League last-16 tie with Olympiacos.

Having taken the lead through Martin Odegaard's stunning first goal for the club, Arsenal looked set to be the masters of their own downfall in Piraeus.

After surviving a David Luiz mistake late prior to half-time, the Gunners gifted Olympiacos an equalsier when Youssef El-Arabi robbed Dani Ceballos of possession.

Yet with El-Arabi, who scored the winner when Olympiacos knocked Arsenal out last season, squandering another gilt-edged chance, Gabriel headed in a second away goal to give the Gunners the edge before Elneny's wicked strike put them in control ahead of the return leg.

Kieran Tierney's strike inspired Arsenal's comeback against Benfica at the same stadium on February 25, and the full-back should have had an assist to his name in the third minute of this game, but Odegaard dragged wide from his neat cut-back.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's deflected header looked set to put Arsenal ahead three minutes later, only for Jose Sa to make a superb save onto the crossbar.

Odegaard more than made amends for his earlier miss when he struck in the 34th minute, slamming a powerful, left-footed shot beyond Sa from 30 yards.

Arsenal's work was almost undone by David Luiz's error moments later – Giorgos Masouras blazing over.

Thomas Partey forced Sa into action shortly after the restart, before he was taken off for Ceballos, and that change quickly backfired.

Bernd Leno's sloppy pass put Ceballos in trouble, and El-Arabi nipped in to fire home.

El-Arabi could have taken his tally of goals against Arsenal to three when Lazar Randjelovic drilled in a cross, but he failed to divert it on target.

Olympiacos were made to pay – Gabriel rising high above Yann M'Vila to meet Willian's cross and send a looping header into the right-hand corner before Elneny's swerving strike clipped in off the woodwork to give Arsenal breathing space in the tie.

Harry Kane was withdrawn with a knock after netting twice in a 2-0 home win to put Tottenham in command of their Europa League last-16 tie with Dinamo Zagreb.

A first leg of few chances threatened to cause Spurs some problems, although Kane's breakthrough strike after 25 minutes settled the nerves.

Jose Mourinho's side were still kept on their toes approaching the final 20 minutes, but Kane added another and the hosts protected a vital clean sheet ahead of the second leg.

Before then they face Arsenal, though, and the late substitution of Kane, nursing his right knee, caused Mourinho concern.

The one moment of genuine quality in an energetic first half provided the opener as Erik Lamela shrugged off Lovro Majer's challenge on the edge of the Dinamo box before advancing into the area, feinting away from two defenders and stabbing against the post.

Kane, who had started the move in his own half, was on hand to calmly slot the rebound into the net.

Pressure built on the Dinamo goal in the second period, but Tanguy Ndombele was denied a penalty after tangling with Majer, while the visitors threatened on the counter on occasion.

The failure to add to Tottenham's lead prompted Mourinho to introduce Gareth Bale, who immediately crossed for fellow substitute Steven Bergwijn to volley goalwards, drawing a low Dominik Livakovic save.

Of course it was Kane who stole a precious second, though. Serge Aurier's volleyed cross was miscontrolled by Kevin Theophile-Catherine, allowing the striker to steady himself before firing low past Livakovic.

Only Arijan Ademi's foul on Kane could halt the forward, prompting a free-kick, which Livakovic saved well from Bale, before the two-goal talisman's withdrawal. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer conceded Manchester United fell well short of the standards set against Manchester City at the weekend as Simon Kjaer's late header secured a 1-1 draw for Milan in their Europa League last-16 first leg. 

United were in fine form on Sunday as they brushed aside Premier League leaders City on their own ground, yet the Red Devils were well off the pace against Stefano Pioli's side at Old Trafford on Thursday. 

Amad Diallo became the youngest non-British player to score for United in major European competition (aged 18 years and 243 days), netting with his first ever attempt for the Red Devils in the 50th minute, but Kjaer scored a vital away goal for the Rossoneri deep into stoppage time.

It was the first Europa League goal United have conceded in the 90th minute or later, while they have been eliminated from six of their past eight ties in European competition when they have failed to win the first leg at home, most recently against Barcelona in the 2018-19 Champions League.

United could not complain Milan's leveller was undeserved, though, the visitors having enjoyed 15 shots to their hosts' seven, and Solskjaer could not hide his disappointment.

"I'm very disappointed to concede with one of the last kicks of the ball," he told BT Sport. "That makes it harder, of course, but it was always going to go down to the second game.

"We were a long way [from the performance against City]. Possession-wise, 50-50, we were a bit too slow with the possession, though.

"It's sometimes hard, on the back of a game like we had, but that's the learning we have to get into ourselves. We have to perform every single week because we're playing against good teams and these are definitely a good team."

While Solskjaer accepted a draw was a fair result, Harry Maguire and Daniel James were guilty of shocking misses for United.

"The one with Dan James, second half, it happens at times, you don't connect with the ball as you want to," Solskjaer added. 

"We could have scored one or two more, but they had loads of attempts, especially the header second half [from Rade Krunic], back stick, could have gone in. Probably, a draw is a fair result."

Filip Helander's away goal boosted Rangers as Slavia Prague were held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie.

Nicolae Stanciu's classy early strike brought Steven Gerrard's side back down to earth, four days after Rangers ended a 10-year wait to be crowned champions of Scotland again.

Helander levelled in a first half where Slavia - conquerors of Leicester City in the previous round - had much the better of the play at Sinobo Stadium, yet an improved Rangers wasted chances to win it after the interval.

Defender Helander's away goal means Rangers could be considered to hold an advantage ahead of the second leg at Ibrox in seven days' time, with Slavia unbeaten in 29 home games but left to rue not being able to build on such a great start.

Stanciu stunned Rangers when he bent a sumptuous right-footed finish into the far corner of the net from just outside the penalty area in the seventh minute.

Jindrich Trpisovsky's side would not let Rangers settle and Lukas Provod prodded tamely wide before he tested Allan McGregor with a free-kick from wide on the right.

The Glasgow giants warmed to the task and they were level nine minutes before the break, when Slavia failed to deal with Borna Barisic's free-kick and the alert Ianis Hagi squared to set up Helander for a tap-in.

Slavia suffered a blow when David Zima was booked for upending the industrious Alfredo Morelos, ruling him out of the second leg, before Joe Aribo sliced wide just after the hour mark.

The lively Aribo was causing Slavia problems and Ryan Kent met his cutback with a scuffed left-footed shot that was brilliant palmed away by Ondrej Kolar when it looked destined to find the far corner.

Rangers were firmly on top and Connor Goldson somehow failed to get a head on Barisic's brilliant whipped free-kick.

Yet the visitors were relieved when McGregor brilliantly kept out Lukas Masopust's downward header in the closing stages to ensure it ended honours even.

An injury-time header from Simon Kjaer secured a 1-1 draw for Milan at Manchester United in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie.

Teenager Amad Diallo's expert header from a Bruno Fernandes pass had put an out-of-sorts Red Devils ahead in the 11th meeting between these clubs but the first outside of Europe's elite club competition.

Each side was missing key players but it was Milan who coped the better and had two goals disallowed, although Harry Maguire produced arguably the miss of the season with the scores at 0-0.

Diallo's impact came in the 50th minute but, with barely 90 seconds to play, Kjaer headed a corner past Dean Henderson to snatch a potentially crucial away goal.

Rafael Leao blasted beneath Henderson five minutes in but the forward had strayed well offside before Kjaer's long ball.

United were perhaps more fortunate to avoid going behind just six minutes later, Franck Kessie's sumptuous half-volley disallowed after a VAR check spotted the midfielder had handled the ball.

Milan had been the better side before Maguire somehow failed to put United ahead from a Telles corner, the captain sending the ball spinning away off the post when standing almost on the goal line.

Anthony Martial was limping at the end of the half and was replaced at the break by Diallo, leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with a further problem in attack as Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford were already sidelined.

The teenager needed just five minutes to make an impact, racing onto Fernandes' lofted pass and nodding a backwards header over keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Milan responded well to the setback and should have levelled through Rade Krunic, who headed over the crossbar after being picked out by Davide Calabria.

Daniel James spurned a great chance to make it 2-0, putting the ball wide from Mason Greenwood's cross with the goal gaping, and they were punished when Kjaer got free in the box and Henderson could only parry his header into the roof of the net.

Milan legend Paolo Maldini has dismissed suggestions Zlatan Ibrahimovic is bigger than the club.

Ibrahimovic has been a revelation since returning to Milan for a second spell in late December 2019, with the evergreen 39-year-old spearheading the club's Scudetto charge this term.

The former Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain striker – out of contract at the end of this season – has scored 14 Serie A goals in 2020-21 to help Milan up to second position, six points adrift of city rivals Inter.

Maldini is now technical director at Milan and rates Ibrahimovic as a "huge resource", but he believes the club sit well positioned to withstand the Swede's departure if he does not extend his contract at San Siro.

"The truth is, the club is above any player because the players pass through, and the club remains," Maldini told So Foot.

"There are players who leave a different mark than others, and Zlatan is one of them.

"He's a motivator. He's a character that can seem complicated to deal with, but for those who manage to draw all of his qualities, he's a huge resource.

"The club is above any player, and that goes for everyone, because it comes from our way of being leaders in our field."

Milan's excellent season has given them a chance of securing a first Serie A title since the 2010-11 campaign, while they are on course to return to the Champions League for the first time since 2013-14 when they were knocked out in the last 16 by Atletico Madrid.

Despite their lengthy absence from European football's showpiece competition, Italy and Rossoneri great Maldini is adamant Milan are still a hugely attractive proposition for new players.

"Trust me, Milan haven't qualified for the Champions League for eight years, but when Milan call, players around the world are still dreaming," he said.

"Of course, we are looking to the future, but the past, which we must respect, matters. When your name is Milan and you call a player, you are one of the three most successful clubs in the world. We must always remember this.

"I believe that Milan, in Italy without the slightest doubt and in Europe as well, is considered a virtuous club."

Milan faced Manchester United in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 clash on Thursday, and they host Napoli in Serie A on Sunday.

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of football's all-time greats and cannot be blamed for Juventus' early Champions League exit, according to international team-mate Bruno Fernandes.

Juve were eliminated from Europe's elite club competition by Porto at the last-16 stage on Tuesday, crashing out 4-4 on away goals after extra time at the Allianz Stadium.

Sergio Oliveira scored the decisive goal late on from a free-kick that went straight through the Juve wall, with Ronaldo sheepishly turning his back on the effort.

Former Bianconeri boss Fabio Capello singled out Ronaldo on the back of the two-legged defeat, in which the five-time Ballon d'Or winner failed to find the back of the net.

Ex-president Giovanni Cobolli Gigli went as far to suggest Juve should never have spent €100million to sign the forward in 2018, meanwhile, but Fernandes has defended his compatriot.

"Cristiano is one of the greats in football history. His mentality inspires those who practice this sport," Fernandes told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "He has won a lot, but no one can win alone. 

"I understand that his presence at Juve had created enormous expectations for the Champions League, but when a team lose, the whole squad lose, not one single player.

"I'm not surprised [by the result]. Porto have a winning mentality. They play aggressive football and I expected them to create problems for Juventus."

While Ronaldo and Juve are enduring a difficult campaign, Fernandes is going from strength to strength at Manchester United.

The former Sporting CP star has scored 16 goals and assisted 10 more in the Premier League this campaign, which is the highest direct goal involvement of any midfielder in Europe's top five leagues.

Fernandes spent five years in Italian football with Novara, Udinese and Sampdoria, though it was not until joining Sporting in 2017 that his career truly took off.

"I had to complete my physical growth," Fernandes said of his time in Italy. "I was moving from one country to another.

"I didn't fully establish myself because the role of the attacking midfielder isn't easy in [Italian] football."

Fernandes cited the example of Juve attacker Paulo Dybala, who has often struggled for consistency, before explaining the differences between Italian and English football.

"The story of Dybala seems enlightening to me," he said. "Everyone expects something special from him, but we are always strict towards him.

"Udinese was, also for the years spent with the Friuli, the most important stage, but the change of coach didn't help me.

"It was too bad, because I had found a real teacher in Francesco Guidolin. If I had spent more time with him, it might have been different.

"Anyway, I can only thank Italy for what it has given me. I was happy, I lived an experience of growth, I measured myself with a country where the football is of the highest level."

He added: "There's a lot of intensity in the Premier League. The pace is high.

"The smaller sides have quality and they make you suffer. In Italy, the tactics are like a university of sport."

Fernandes is expected to start United's Europa League last-16 first leg with Milan at Old Trafford on Thursday in a battle between two historically successful European heavyweights.

Milan have not competed in the Champions League since 2013-14, while United have only made it to the quarter-finals of the competition once since the same season.

However, both teams are second in their domestic leagues and are among the favourites to go all the way in the Europa League.

"In some respects, [United] and Milan are the same," he said. "Two clubs with a prestigious past, with 10 Champions League trophies in the cabinet, both have gone through a phase of transition, but are returning to the top.

"At the beginning of the season, no one thought that Milan could fight for the Scudetto. We are in March and they are second. 

"They play well, have interesting young players and the added value of [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic's strength."

Thursday's game will mark the 11th time Milan and United have met in European competition, with all 10 previous encounters coming in the European Cup or Champions League.

United have been eliminated from four of their five knockout ties with Milan, with no side knocking out the Red Devils more often in European competition – Real Madrid having also managed it four times. 

Milan great Franco Baresi believes Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford would be a good fit for the Italian giants due to his versatility in attack.

Rashford has been a regular for United since breaking into the first team five years ago as an 18-year-old.

The England international has 85 goals in 257 games for the Red Devils and 11 in 40 caps for his country.

He has been used predominantly on the left flank this term, though the United academy product can also operate on the right or through the middle.

And Baresi, who is behind only Paolo Maldini in the list of all-time appearance-makers for Milan, would like to see Rashford at San Siro one day.

Asked by The Times which United player he would sign for Milan, the club's honorary vice-president Baresi said: "I like Marcus Rashford a lot,  he's an extraordinary player. He wouldn't be bad for Milan. 

"He can play in any position up front; it would be a nice advantage.

"Rashford is a modern forward who has everything required to do well. He has already shown and done great things and he has a lot of quality."

Rashford has been ruled out of United's Europa League last-16 first leg with Milan at Old Trafford on Thursday with an ankle injury.

The heavyweight clubs have met on 10 occasions in European competition, but this will be their first encounter outside of the European Cup and Champions League.

Milan have not competed in UEFA's primary club competition since 2013-14, but they are second in Serie A and are among the favourites to go all the way in the Europa League.

"We are doing well. We're second in the league and always looking ahead, never to the past," Baresi said. 

"Our objective is to get back into the Champions League and we find ourselves in a good position that we want to maintain.

"Winning Serie A would be the best outcome, of course, but the main aim is a return to the Champions League. 

"United are also in a similar position, they went out of the Champions League, maybe unexpectedly. United is a team that always aims to achieve great things."

Milan have been eliminated from six of their last seven last-16 ties in major European competition, having progressed from each of the previous nine such matches.

The Italian giants have eliminated United on four of the previous five occasions they have met in the knockout stages of a competition, however, and Baresi is hoping for the same outcome in this latest two-legged tie.

"It's a shame to meet United in the last 16, as it would've been nice to face them later in the competition," he said

"But football is made up of cycles. We are coming into this game convinced we can do well, and we're hoping for two great matches where we can annoy United."

Mikel Arteta insists Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still has much more to give to Arsenal despite a recent improvement in his performances.

The Gunners captain has only scored nine times in the Premier League this season, a marked reduction from the 44 he managed across the previous two campaigns.

Aubameyang scored just twice in 14 appearances in all competitions from mid-September to the middle of December, but his form in front of goal has improved of late, the Gabon international having netted eight times in his most recent nine outings.

Manager Arteta is happy with Aubameyang's improvement but believes there is more to come from the player.

"Obviously, the stats are much better and related to who he is and what he needs to bring to the team," Arteta told reporters ahead of Thursday's Europa League last-16 first leg against Olympiacos.

"But still, I think he could score many more and he could do better in other aspects. He needs to keep having that mentality and he has that mentality.

"We need players performing at their maximum. When Auba is in a much better place, obviously the team will be in a much better place because at the end, things are decided in both boxes, and what he can produce in the opponents' box has an incredible impact for our team.

"In big moments, you need to have big players performing and making the difference. It looks like, at this moment, he's firing, he's happy, physically he's in a good moment and he's full of confidence."

With Arsenal 10th in the Premier League table and with their FA Cup defence having been ended by Southampton, the Europa League represents their best chance of a trophy and a way back into the Champions League for next season.

Having announced a £47million loss last week amid the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, European football could be critical to Arteta's chances of putting together a squad capable of challenging England's best again.

Despite the potentially tricky year to come, Arteta is confident a major turning point is coming in Arsenal's modern history.

"I want a sustainable club. We all want a club that can be run with their own resources. It is great we have the support from our owners," he said.

"We have had that in the summer when it was much needed because of everything that has happened with COVID and what happened at the club in the last three years without the Champions League and the hit that that took.

"But our responsibility and everything we are planning for the future is for this club to go back to being sustainable on its own and being all the time as strong as possible in every department and the financial department is crucial as well.

"I think this project is going to go 'bang'. This is where we are, but sometimes it is difficult to see the moment now but I'm sure where we are going.

"We have created a really strong group, a really strong bond with our players, with our fans, with our staff and that is going to pay big in the future.

"You need to win to convince anybody that you are doing a good job in the club and taking them in the right direction.

"If you are not inside the club every day and know exactly what is going on within the club, the only way to convince anybody is to win."

Diego Simeone has overtaken Luis Aragones for the most wins ever as head coach of Atletico Madrid.

The Argentine coach picked up his 309th victory in charge in Wednesday's 2-1 comeback win against Athletic Bilbao - a result that moves Atleti six points clear at the top of LaLiga.

Iker Munian had given Athletic the lead at the Wanda Metropolitano, but Marcos Llorente equalised late in the first half and Luis Suarez converted a penalty early in the second.

Simeone's latest win came in his 514th match in charge. Aragones, the only other man to have taken charge of more games, reached 308 wins in 612 matches.

Atleti have drawn 121 times and lost 84 games under Simeone, who took over in December 2011 and has gone on to be their most successful manager of all time.

#OnThisDay in 2011, @Simeone took over.

499 games
300 wins
LaLiga
Europa League
UEFA Super Cup
Copa del Rey
Spanish Super Cup

#AúpaAtleti pic.twitter.com/6U8bdMUwX2

— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) December 23, 2020 TROPHIES

Aragones, a star for Atletico as a player, won six trophies as head coach. Simeone, with seven, is the only man with more.

In a little over nine years in charge, the former Argentina midfielder has led Atletico to two UEFA Super Cups, two Europa Leagues, one Supercopa de Espana, one Copa del Rey and, most famously, their only LaLiga title in the past 25 years back in 2013-14.

Simeone has helped to tip the balance of power somewhat in Spain's capital. He is the only coach to have won three finals against Real Madrid in three different competitions: the Copa del Rey (2013), the Supercopa de Espana (2014) and the UEFA Super Cup (2018).

He has twice faced them in the Champions League final, too, losing after extra time in 2014 and on penalties two years later.


TRAILBLAZING

Among South American coaches, only Helenio Herrera (359) has taken charge of more LaLiga matches than Simeone (353).

All of those have been with Atletico, of course. There are just two coaches to oversee more LaLiga games at a single club: Aragones at Atletico (407) and Miguel Munoz at Real Madrid (424).

Munoz won 357 of his 605 games in charge of Los Blancos in all competitions, so Simeone has a little way to go to surpass that tally. Still, he has already won more games than Barcelona record-holder Johan Cruyff, who won 244 times out of 421 matches.

TITANS

Antoine Griezmann is the player to score the most goals under Simeone at Atletico, with 133 in all competitions.

The rest of the top five includes Diego Costa (75), Radamel Falcao (58), Koke (44) and Saul Niguez (43).

Koke leads the way for assists, with 95, comfortably clear of Griezmann (46), Gabi (44), Angel Correa (43) and Juanfran (32).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Stefano Pioli have proved critics wrong to earn the right to be at Manchester United and Milan, Massimo Taibi says.

United host the Rossoneri on Thursday in the first leg of the Europa League last 16 in what will be their 11th competitive meeting but the first outside the European Cup or Champions League.

Since they last faced one another in the Champions League last 16 11 years ago, when United won 7-2 on aggregate, each club has fallen far from their previous positions at the top of English and Italian football.

Milan's last Scudetto triumph came in 2011, while United have not won the Premier League since Alex Ferguson's final season in charge in 2012-13.

There have been signs of recovery under Solskjaer and Pioli, however. United are second in the league this term, 11 points behind leaders Manchester City after their 2-0 derby win, while Milan are above champions Juventus in Serie A and only six points behind leaders Inter.

Taibi enjoyed only brief spells as a keeper at each club, with high-profile mistakes leading to rather perfunctory exits, but he went on to make more than 550 club appearances in Italy in a respectable career.

The 51-year-old therefore knows only too well the way the Red Devils and Rossoneri can be magnets for criticism, and he thinks Pioli and Solskjaer deserve immense credit for the work they have done in restoring respectability at two of the world's grandest clubs.

Taibi told Stats Perform News: "If these two managers have managed Milan and United for a while now, it is because they deserve it.

"In football, there are no presents, let alone at such big clubs who are always in the eye of the critics' storm. They very well deserve the clubs they are managing now. They started off in sceptical environments but they proved them wrong with results.

"I spent a few months with Solskjaer and I was impressed how easy it was for him to score, even coming from the bench. I remember they called him the 'angel-faced killer' because he looked like a decent kid but in front of goal was ruthless like a killer.

"I remember he was one of the many people in Manchester who tried to help me settle. Because he was a superb player, a champion who managed to carve out his shining space among Andy Cole, Dwight York and Teddy Sheringham and ended up scoring the winning goal in 1999 final versus Bayern Munich.

"A man who started humble and became great as a player and a manager."

Milan will be without a host of key names for the visit to Old Trafford, including former United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but Taibi thinks their true strength lies in their collective endeavour.

He believes Solskjaer has fostered a similar ethos at United, with star names such as Bruno Fernandes lifting a squad of Europa League quality to a higher standing.

"Milan's strength is the collective Pioli managed to create, just like United. In these two squads that are Europa League level, I dare say, there are some individuals who are added value and lift the quality to Champions League level.

"At Milan, you have Ibrahimovic despite being 39 years old, or [Gianluigi] Donnarumma, real world-class players who would play in any club aiming at winning the Champions League.

"The same goes for my ex-colleague, because I played with Solskjaer, who can boast Bruno Fernandes and the great striker [Marcus Rashford] or [David] De Gea, a keeper I like a lot.

"Solskjaer, just like Milan, managed to create a good group with some individual talent that brings that extra bit of quality you sometimes need.

"They are both having great seasons in their respective leagues. United have just won their derby, which is always a nerve-racking game, although I guess City are destined to win the title... just like Inter, I reckon.

"Both Milan and United have started the season to become more solid, to secure Champions League berths, and to me, they are working very well.

Despite some infamous errors against Southampton and Chelsea in his short-lived United career, Taibi still holds the club close to his heart – and even still fits into his old training shirt.

"Of course, watching this match is special for me. I spent two years at Milan and only some months at United but it is not down to length of time, it is about feelings and memories that settled in.

"I still feel a link to Milan and even to United, although I didn't stay long. As you know, you just called me while I was training. And I was training with this 1998 United training kit, the only one big size I have now for my fat belly. All the other shirts don't fit anymore!"

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised the two appointments made by Manchester United in a major restructure at the club.

United installed former player Darren Fletcher as technical director and promoted John Murtough to the new role of football director in an announcement on Wednesday.

Fletcher, who won five Premier League titles as a United player over the course of 12 years, returned to the club as a youth coach in October before being promoted to the first-team setup in January.

He now has a new role in the structure to support Solskjaer, who was pleased to see the former Scotland international moved into a senior position along with Murtough.

"I am very happy we have made this decision and appointment," Solskjaer said ahead of United hosting Milan in the Europa League last-16 first leg.

"I have known John since I came and it is now more of a formal role. He has been working well behind the scenes - he is a cultural fit.

"Very happy with what we have. Continuity and fresh ideas.

"A few months back when we were making a final decision there were other things in pipeline for Fletcher.

"One thing I was sure of was we could not lose Darren. He has got fresh ideas. He has a bright eye for football, a really keen eye.

"Now a little bit less coaching [for him] and more influence on the other side - go speak to players and sell Man United as the club he knows."

Solskjaer was asked about how the changes would affect United's activity in the transfer market at the end of the season.

The United boss added: "It will be an interesting window.

"Of course everyone in world football is affected by the pandemic.

"The process of our recruitment is still going to be the same with new roles. Work we have been doing for years now anyway.

"The communication is very good and we are always looking to add quality to the squad."

A blockbuster tie against Milan will be the 11th meeting between the two teams, but the first to take place outside of the Champions League.

United have been eliminated from four of their five knockout ties with Milan, but go into the contest at Old Trafford on a high after their stunning 2-0 win at Manchester City in Sunday's derby.

Captain Harry Maguire senses a strong belief within the squad amid a gruelling fixture calendar.

"When you win the big games against the top teams it gives us confidence that we know we can beat anyone," he said. "We have felt that for around a year now.

"Of course you are expected to win trophies at this club. It is really important. We are playing for three competitions.

"If I need a rest I will speak to the manager, but I am used to it now. I feel good physically and the more we win the better I will feel mentally. I'll rest when I'm retired!"

Manchester United will be without Marcus Rashford for the first leg of their Europa League round-of-16 tie against Milan at Old Trafford.

Rashford limped off during the second half of Sunday's 2-0 derby victory over Premier League leaders Manchester City having suffered an ankle injury.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not counting on the England forward for Thursday's showdown and believes he remains a doubt for the weekend visit of West Ham.

"I don't think he will be available," said Solskjaer. "He didn't join in training today.

"I think he is out of [the Milan game] and still a doubt for the weekend."

Rashford has 18 goals in all competitions this season, while his 10 assists are already the most he has managed in a campaign for United.

Although it ultimately had unfortunate consequences, Solskjaer felt the sight of the 23-year-old sprinting back to dispossess City winger Riyad Mahrez when incurring the injury demonstrated his overall value to the Red Devils' cause.

"That 60- or 70-yard recovery run showed the hunger, appetite, desire and humility in the team, so it was worth it, but you never like to lose players to injury," he said.

Edinson Cavani is also a doubt, having sat out the Manchester derby.

Quotes from the Uruguay striker's father emerged this week, suggesting he has decided he does not want to stay at Old Trafford beyond the end of this season and has his heart set on a move to Argentinian giants Boca Juniors.

But Solskjaer was not keen on being dragged into the debate.

"I can't comment on what has been said. I can only say that we are very pleased with Edinson when he is here. Day in and day out," Solskjaer said.

"He is proving his personality, his professionalism. He is really helping the young kids - as we wanted him to.

"He will make his decision. He knows we are very fond of what he has given to the club even if he has played less than he wanted to."

Milan arrive in Manchester with a depleted squad, without the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Hakan Calhanoglu and Theo Hernandez through injury.

It looks like Solskjaer will have to contend with similar selection headaches, after revealing Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw are nursing knocks after their starring roles in the derby victory.

Midfielders Donny van de Beek and Paul Pogba remain sidelined by muscular complaints, while David de Gea is absent once more having returned to Spain for the birth of his child. Dean Henderson is set to continue in goal.

Jose Mourinho "would love" to bring silverware to Tottenham to mark two decades at the helm for chairman Daniel Levy.

Spurs face Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League round of 16 on Thursday, which will mark 20 years since Levy assumed the role following ENIC's takeover in 2001.

While Levy's reign has proven a huge commercial success, on-field glory remains scarce, with the 2008 EFL Cup triumph providing the only exception.

Premier League title tilts have floundered, while the 2018-19 campaign ended with a Champions League final loss to Liverpool.

Mourinho, a serial trophy-winner, was brought in to replace Mauricio Pochettino a matter of months after that defeat in Spain, and he has his heart set on success.

As well as the Europa League, Spurs have an EFL Cup final with Manchester City on the horizon, and Mourinho – who is approaching a milestone of his own – is hoping to make some additions to the trophy cabinet as reward for Levy's work.

"I would love to help and be part of the work that will deliver a trophy. I would love it," he said.

"I don't think sometimes it's fair for an owner, CEO or president to be judged on trophies. Many times they depend on others too.

"I think there are many ways to look at work in football and the work has been done in this club, independent of the trophies the club didn't get.

"The work is in other aspects. It's a big club now in many aspects and that's down to the work he's done and the structure he has put in place.

"But trophies are the salt and pepper of football and I would love to, not just for him but for the players and fans and everyone, help.

"I'm not a big guy on stats but my 1,000th match arrives this season and it would also be nice to celebrate that with a trophy with him."

In between the two legs of their Europa League showdown with Dinamo, Spurs take on Arsenal in the north London derby, but Mourinho urged focus on the immediate task at hand.

"I am not thinking about the Arsenal match," he said.

"I am thinking about his one. We will make changes the same way we made changes between the Fulham and the Crystal Palace match.

"The team is playing well and the team is winning, so you could say no changes, but we change.

"We won't play with the same team that played against Palace but the team will be equally strong."

One question mark is over the involvement of the in-form Gareth Bale, who has scored six goals in as many games and provided three assists, with Mourinho insisting the Wales forward's playing time needed to be carefully managed.

"I want to keep the momentum going but I need to manage him," he said.

"The communication is very good and I think he trusts me. In this moment we are deciding together what to do.

"He's playing very well. The relationship with him is very good I think and, of course, I would like him to play 90 minutes in every game, but he can't."

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