Central and South American players who were barred from travelling to World Cup qualifiers by their Premier League teams will be available this weekend after their countries backed down from a request to ban them under FIFA rules. 

Players from Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Paraguay are cleared to play as their national federations agreed late Friday to waive a measure that would have compelled the players to sit out after their clubs refused to release them for international duty. 

Premier League teams last month decided to prevent players from nations on the United Kingdom's COVID-19 "red list" to participate in Qatar 2022 qualifiers, citing the UK's requirement that people who have travelled to those countries quarantine for 10 days upon their return. 

There had been some indications earlier Friday that the players might be available, but official word did not come down until shortly before midnight London time. 

Brazilians now available to their clubs Saturday include Ederson and Gabriel Jesus of Manchester City, Chelsea's Thiago Silva and Manchester United's Fred. 

Among players from other nations involved, Wolves can use Mexico's Raul Jimenez on Saturday, while Newcastle will have Paraguay's Miguel Almiron available, and Watford can play Chile's Francisco Sierralta 

Liverpool will be most relieved, with Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino cleared to face Raphina and Leeds on Sunday. 

Earlier Friday, Jurgen Klopp said at a news conference that he hoped a solution could be reached for the benefit of all parties involved. 

"It is a really difficult situation and really tricky for all the clubs, and the players especially," Klopp said. "We should not forget at this moment that the players wanted to play these games, the clubs wanted to let the players go but it was not possible."

Nuno Espirito Santo says being top of the Premier League "doesn't mean anything" after Tottenham maintained their perfect start with a 1-0 win over Watford.

Son Heung-min marked his 200th Premier League appearance by scoring with a free-kick that he surely intended as a cross in the first half at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

The South Korea forward's goal move Spurs to the summit and made Nuno just the second boss to win each of his first three league games in charge in the London club's history – Arthur Rowe being the first way back in 1949.

Tottenham have won their opening three matches in a league campaign without conceding a goal for the first time in their history, but Nuno – whose team have scored only three goals – is not getting carried away early in his reign.

Asked about being top heading into the international break, Nuno said: "That doesn't mean anything at all, that doesn't mean anything.

"I invite everybody, not only the players, but our fans to don't pay attention to that. Don't pay attention to that. Let's keep on working, we still have a long way and a lot of aspects to improve on."

Nuno was impressed with the way his side kept the Hornets at bay, but wants to see more ruthlessness up top – Spurs managing eight attempts on target in total.

He said: "What pleased me is when we could not kill the game, we had chances to do so, we didn't lose our minds, we stick together, and we were compact, we did not allow too many chances to Watford.

"That was good. The balance between these two aspects was good, and in the end, the way we managed the game.

"Something I didn’t like: we should be more clinical, I think we had enough quality and talent players to kill the game."

Nuno also suggested Argentine duo Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero would be travelling to South America for international duty, despite it meaning the duo would have to quarantine for 10 days on their return to the United Kingdom.

"We are trying to anticipate the damage, we are working on that," said Nuno.

Son Heung-min marked his 200th Premier League appearance with a goal as Tottenham beat Watford 1-0 to go top of the fledgling table.

South Korea forward Son was on target in the first half with a free-kick that he surely intended to be a cross at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

Son's goal in his landmark top-flight game was enough for Spurs to go into the international break at the summit, with the only 100 per cent record after three matches.

Tottenham, who had Harry Kane in the starting line-up for the first time domestically this season after he opted to stay at the club, have not conceded a top-flight goal in 2021-22 amid a promising start to Nuno Espirito Santo's reign.

Watford fashioned a good chance to take an early lead in an entertaining start, but Eric Dier got his head in the way of a shot from Juraj Kucka after he was set up by former Spurs midfielder Moussa Sissoko, who was making his debut for the Hornets.

Daniel Bachmann kept out a shot from Japhet Tanganga following a Spurs corner before a combination of Dier and Sergio Reguilon thwarted Joshua King at the other end.

Tottenham were not posing much of a threat until Son whipped in a free-kick from the left that evaded everybody and found the far corner of the net.

Watford lost captain Craig Cathcart to injury early in the second half, but they had opportunities to equalise when an unmarked Kucka fired off target before Ismaila Sarr's shot from close range was blocked by Davinson Sanchez.

Spurs came close to doubling their lead with a rapid counterattack, Son surging forward and laying the ball off to Kane, whose inviting pass was drilled wide by Dele Alli.

Sissoko was given a great ovation from the Tottenham fans when he was substituted just a couple of days after leaving the club, and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's deflected free-kick was palmed wide by Bachmann a few minutes later.

Brilliant defending from William Troost-Ekong denied Kane a tap-in and Bachmann kept the England captain at bay, but Son's goal was enough to put Nuno's side top.

Tottenham have signed teenage Metz midfielder Pape Matar Sarr and allowed Moussa Sissoko to join Watford.

Senegal international Sarr will remain on loan with Ligue 1 side Metz for the rest of the season before linking up with Spurs.

The 18-year-old joined Metz from the Generation Foot Academy in Senegal last September and made 25 appearances for the club in the 2020-21 campaign.

Sissoko will remain in the Premier League with newly promoted Watford on a two-year deal.

The Hornets are reported to have paid around £3million for the 32-year-old midfielder.

Sissoko, capped 71 times by France, made 202 appearances for Tottenham following his £30m move from Newcastle United in 2016.

Paul Pogba assisted four of Manchester United's goals as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side started their 2021-22 Premier League campaign with a 5-1 thrashing of Leeds United.

Bruno Fernandes netted three of them, with Mason Greenwood and Fred also getting in on the action as United issued a statement of intent.

Chelsea followed up that victory with a 3-0 win over Patrick Vieira's Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge, while Liverpool rounded out the day by beating newly promoted Norwich City by the same scoreline.

Leicester City, Everton, Watford and Brighton and Hove Albion also claimed wins to get their seasons started in style.

Using Opta data, we take a look at the key statistics from across Saturday's fixtures.

 

Manchester United 5-1 Leeds United: Pogba and Fernandes leave Whites reeling

Pogba became the seventh player in Premier League history to assist four goals in a single game on Saturday, as he and Fernandes helped United seal a record 20th opening-day win. 

Dennis Bergkamp, Jose Antonio Reyes, Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Adebayor, Santi Cazorla and Harry Kane had previously teed up four goals in a Premier League match.

Two of Pogba's assists were for Fernandes, whose hat-trick was the 10th scored on the opening weekend of a Premier League season, while the playmaker was the first United player to achieve the feat since Lou Macari in 1977.

Mason Greenwood benefitted from a sublime Pogba pass shortly after Luke Ayling's sensational equaliser – the full-back's first top-flight goal – and he is now the fifth-highest scoring teenager in the history of the competition with 18 goals.

United netted five goals in their opening game of a Premier League game for only the second time, after beating Fulham 5-1 in August 2006, while Leeds shipped five in an opener for the first time.

Norwich City 0-3 Liverpool: Records tumble as Salah stars

Liverpool might have relinquished their Premier League title last season, but Mohamed Salah picked up where he left off last term as he scored and provided two assists in Liverpool's 3-0 win at Norwich.

Salah teed up both Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino before netting himself in the 74th minute. It means he has scored on matchday one in all five of his Premier League seasons with Liverpool, while he is the first player in the competition's history to find the net on five consecutive opening weekends.

Norwich have now lost 11 successive top-flight games – only Sunderland have had a longer losing streak in the competition.

Firmino came on from the bench to score Liverpool's second. It was the 49th league goal scored by a substitute under Jurgen Klopp, the most of any side in the competition since the German joined in 2015, while the Brazil international also brought up the Reds' 8,000th league goal in the process.

Chelsea 3-0 Crystal Palace: Pulisic predictably punishes Eagles again

This trip to Stamford Bridge played out in painfully familiar fashion for Palace, who have lost more Premier League games against Chelsea (19) than versus any other side in the competition's history.

In a routine 3-0 opening-day victory, the Blues became the third team – after Tottenham (nine) and Liverpool (eight) – to win eight in a row against Palace in the Premier League era.

The nature of the first two strikes was predictable, too, with Marcos Alonso netting Chelsea's 50th direct free-kick goal in the competition – trailing only United (64) – before Christian Pulisic grabbed his fifth in five games against Palace, more than versus any other opponent.

The third was slightly more surprising, as centre-back Trevoh Chalobah's superb strike made him the second youngest Chelsea player to score on their Premier League debut for the club after Paul Hughes (22y 40d for Chalobah, 20y 274d for Hughes against Derby County in 1997).

Everton 3-1 Southampton: Benitez off to a winning start

Rafael Benitez was a contentious appointment at Everton but his tenure started with a 3-1 win over Southampton. It was the first time the Toffees have won a league match in which they trailed at half-time since September 2015.

On the other hand, since Ralph Hasenhuttl took over at Southampton in December 2018, they have lost 60 points from winning positions in the Premier League, more than any other side.

Adam Armstrong opened his Southampton account to put the visitors ahead at Goodison Park. Since the start of 2019-20, only Ivan Toney (55) has scored more goals in the top four tiers of English football.

Fresh from Olympic glory with Brazil, Richarlison scored the equaliser and has now netted in each of his last four league games against Southampton.

With Abdoulaye Doucoure lashing Everton ahead, Dominic Calvert-Lewin made it 3-1 with a diving header. He has now netted 12 headed goals in the league since the start of 2019-20, four more than any other player.

Elsewhere, Leicester City saw off Wolves 1-0 thanks to Jamie Vardy's first-half effort. The Foxes have lost just one of their last 25 home league games against the Midlands club.

Only Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Alan Shearer (all eight) have scored more goals on the opening weekend of Premier League campaigns than Vardy (seven).

Watford 3-2 Aston Villa: Ings on the spot but post-Grealish era starts in defeat

Watford have now lost their opening league match in just one of the past 15 campaigns (W8 D6), after the Hornets overcame Aston Villa 3-2.

Emmanuel Dennis became the fourth different Nigerian player to score on his Premier League debut to put Watford ahead, with Ismaila Sarr registering his 20th goal for the club before Cucho Hernandez became the first Colombian to net on his debut in the competition.

John McGinn scored his second goal in the space of four league appearances, as many as he had in his previous 55, to pull one back, before Danny Ings converted a late penalty.

He is the 24th player to score on his Premier League bow for Villa, while his spot-kick was the 2,000th penalty scored in Premier League history.

Meanwhile, Burnley are now winless in their last 11 home league games (D5 L6) since beating Villa 3-2 in January, equaling their longest run without a win at Turf Moor, after Brighton came from behind to win 2-1.

Lionel Messi lifted the Copa America on Saturday in Brazil.

But back in Europe, rumours continue to swirl about his future.

The 34-year-old forward is out of contract though the latest development suggests a resolution is in sight.

 

TOP STORY - NEW BARCELONA DEAL LOOMS FOR MESSI

AS reports that LaLiga have authorized Barcelona to register Lionel Messi despite the club's financial concerns.

Messi became a free agent last week with Barcelona working on a new deal, pending their financial constraints having been impacted heavily by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Paris Saint-Germain had been linked with a swoop for Messi but the approval of the authorities to register Messi is a strong indication he will stay.

 

ROUND-UP

- Highly sought-after Saul Niguez is being considered in a swap deal between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, which would include Antoine Griezmann, claims Football Espana. Liverpool were linked with Niguez earlier this week.

- Chelsea have joined the race for Rennes teenage talent Eduardo Camavinga, alongside Manchester United, Arsenal and Real Madrid, according to Le Parisien.

- Manchester United are ready to spend £17m to sign Napoli's right-back Giovanni di Lorenzo following the Euro 2020 final, reports Il Napolista.

- Fabrizio Romano reports that veteran Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini will sign a new one-year extension with Juventus after the completion of Euro 2020.

- Newly promoted Watford are keen on Udinese's Danish star Jens Stryger Larsen after he impressed during Euro 2020, reports 90min.

- Newly promoted Brentford are preparing a £10m bid for Liverpool's Harry Wilson claims The Sun.

Premier League new boys Watford have signed former Tottenham and England defender Danny Rose on a two-year deal.

Rose was released by Spurs at the end of last season, 14 years after joining the London club from Leeds United.

The left-back was left out in the cold at Tottenham in the 2020-21 campaign, training with the Under-23s after being loaned to Newcastle United in the previous season.

Rose has been given the opportunity to remain in the top flight by the newly-promoted Hornets, a club he played for seven times in a loan spell back in 2009.

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— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) June 16, 2021

The 30-year-old has been capped 29 times by England, featuring for his country at Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup and last appearing against the Czech Republic in October 2019.

He was included in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year in both 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Rose started for Spurs in the 2015 League Cup final defeat to Chelsea and the Champions League final loss to Liverpool two years ago.

Erling Haaland and Romelu Lukaku appear to be the top forwards on English clubs' shopping lists this off-season.

But Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski may enter the frame amid rumours about his future.

Manchester City and Chelsea are known to be eager to bolster their attacking options and have the funds to finance a major move.

 

TOP STORY – ENGLAND ON LEWANDOWSKI'S RADAR

SportBild reports that Robert Lewandowski's likely next destination will be the English Premier League, if Bayern Munich opt to sell their Polish forward.

The report claims that Lewandowski's agent Pini Zahavi is trying to put pressure on Bayern for a lucrative contract extension or to sell him to one of England's financially powerful clubs.

Lewandowski still has two years to run on his Bayern contract and the Bavarians are believed to not be ready to negotiate.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano claims that Romelu Lukaku is not planning to leave Inter amid interest from Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barcelona, pointing to comments he made following the club's Serie A title triumph on Sunday.

- Romano also claims that Watford, who have won promotion to the Premier League, have begun talks with Inter's Ashley Young who may be available as a free agent.

- Marca reports that PSG are increasingly concerned that Neymar will not sign a contract extension with the club amid talk of a Barcelona move.

- Celtic defender Kristoffer Ajer is being tracked by Premier League club Newcastle United, claims the Daily Record.

- Tottenham are interested in Brazilian teenager Rodrigo Varanda who is currently with Corinthians, says The Sun.

Watford joined Norwich City in sealing an instant return to the Premier League after beating Millwall 1-0 on Saturday.

Ismaila Sarr scored a penalty in the 11th minute to ensure the Hornets will be playing top-flight football again next season.

Xisco's side could still overhaul Championship leaders Norwich, with a five-point gap between the teams heading into the final two games. 

It comes at the end of a week in which the Canaries also exorcised the demons of relegation, leaving open the possibility that the three demoted teams will all regain promotion back to the Premier League at the first attempt for the first time.

Bournemouth must first negotiate the play-offs, with Jonathan Woodgate's men sitting fourth despite a 1-0 loss to fellow promotion hopefuls Brentford. 

Erling Haaland might be too expensive a purchase for some of football's richest clubs. 

The Borussia Dortmund sensation is on everyone's wish list.

The question is who will be willing to meet his reported demands?

 

TOP STORY - LALIGA GIANTS PRICED OUT OF HAALAND MOVE?

Haaland's apparent desire for a €35million annual salary has the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid thinking twice about a potential move, Goal reported. 

The prolific 20-year-old's agent, Mino Raiola, has held informal discussions with both LaLiga stalwarts but the sides did not get into specifics about finances. 

For now it appears Barca and Madrid are content to wait it out and see how Haaland's market unfolds. 

That is not the case for another potential suitor. According to Goal, an unnamed English club that made inquiries about the Leeds-born striker earlier this year has backed away from talks due to that salary figure. 

The mystery team is not Chelsea, who consider Haaland their top target according to an Evening Standard report. 

 

ROUND-UP

- While the Blues can hope to land the high-flying Norwegian, Timo Werner may be on the way out. Though the Evening Standard reports Chelsea have not yet seriously discussed selling him, it is not clear how he fits into the Blues' strike force at the moment.

Gianluigi Donnarumma is out of contract with AC Milan this summer and has had talks with Juventus, per La Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Manchester United have coveted Nikola Milenkovic and may be ready to make a move for the Fiorentina defender, though The Sun says United would not be interested at the rumoured £38m fee. 

- United also want Edinson Cavani to have another season at Old Trafford, but at age 34 he might want to move closer to home. Boca Juniors would offer him a two-year deal, says Fabrizio Romano. 

- Watford are prepared to bring Ashley Young back to the club should they return to the Premier League next season, the Daily Mail says. Young's contract with Inter is expiring.

- After a loan spell with Paris Saint-GermainAlessandro Florenzi could be in line to play in Italy with Inter next season rather than returning to Roma, La Gazzetta dello Sport reported. 

- Luis Suarez appears likely to remain with Atletico Madrid, but there is a possibility he could rekindle last year's reported talks with David Beckham's Inter Miami. The American side's interest in the Uruguayan "has not stopped," according to Mundo Deportivo. 

- One player not headed anywhere is Karim Benzema, who Marca reports will sign to remain with Real Madrid through 2023.

The race for Premier League glory may have tipped in Manchester City's favour but Liverpool are hoping to beat their title rivals in the race for a new star midfielder.

Germany international Florian Neuhaus is the player in demand and his club Borussia Monchengladbach may not be able to hold on to one of Europe's brightest talents.

The 23-year-old is being closely monitored by five major Champions League clubs and there is set to be a battle for his signature in the off-season.


TOP STORY – GERMANY ACE NEUHAUS WANTED BY CITY AND LIVERPOOL

It is understood that Neuhaus has a €40million (£35m) release clause in his contract with Gladbach, according to German media outlet Kicker.

That means Neuhaus will have the pick of his suitors, believed to be City, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Italian champions Juventus.

He has already clocked up 81 appearances in the Bundesliga and the Reds see him as a potential replacement for the outgoing Georginio Wijnaldum.

Poor, poor Southampton.

For all the progress Ralph Hasenhuttl has made since their October 2019 mauling at the hands of Leicester City, here they are again. 9-0. Again.

Manchester United made hay at Old Trafford, reigniting their Premier League title bid by equalling the competition's all-time largest winning margin - the second time the 20-time English champions have accomplished the feat, albeit with a near 26-year gap.

Saints' teenage debutant Alexandre Jankewitz was sent off in the second minute and it got unimaginably worse or implausibly better from there, depending on your point of view.

Here, we look back at the times one-sided encounters in England's top flight have spun wildly out of control.

Manchester United 9-0 Southampton - February 2, 2021

After Jankewitz was dismissed for a shocking studs-up lunge on Scott McTominay, Hasenhuttl perhaps should have checked the date and feared the worst. February 2 is Groundhog Day. Aaron Wan-Bissaka got United off and running in the 18th minute, with Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani more familiar sights on the scoresheet either side of a Jan Bednarek own goal. Anthony Martial came on at half-time, but even after he scored in the 69th minute and McTominay did shortly afterwards, the game could have meandered towards a conclusion. Instead, the roof fell in on Southampton as they crumpled entirely under late strikes from Martial and Dan James after a Bruno Fernandes penalty and a red card for Bednarek.

Southampton 0-9 Leicester City – October 25, 2019

Ryan Bertrand - one of seven Southampton players to feature in both 9-0s - was the Jankewitz of the piece as he was sent off for a challenge in the build-up to Ben Chilwell's 10th-minute opener. Youri Tielemans was granted ample room to double the lead, then Ayoze Perez began romping towards a hat-trick that he completed a minute before Jamie Vardy's headed second made it 7-0 in the 58th minute. A James Maddison free-kick and a Vardy penalty took this defeat into uncharted territory for a home side in the Premier League.

Manchester United 9-0 Ipswich Town – March 4, 1995

For nearly a quarter of a century, Alex Ferguson's United were out there on their own. Andy Cole scored five after Roy Keane began this rout in the 15th minute. Mark Hughes hit a quickfire second-half double and Paul Ince also got in on the act. Peter Schmeichel watched it all unfold from the other end, just as his son Kasper did in goal for Leicester at St Mary's all those years later.

Tottenham 9-1 Wigan Athletic – November 22, 2009

Wigan had a slither of hope when Paul Scharner pulled a goal back to make it 3-1 before the hour at White Hart Lane. Ultimately, the only significance of that strike was to keep them off the top of this list. Jermain Defoe did his best Cole impression, rattling in five goals from the 51st minute onwards, while Aaron Lennon, David Bentley and Nico Kranjcar piled on the pain. Remarkably, Peter Crouch's ninth-minute header was the only goal of the 10 scored before half-time.

That same season, Wigan lost 8-0 at Chelsea, who beat Aston Villa by the same margin at Stamford Bridge two years later. Newcastle United claimed the division's first 8-0 scoreline at the expense of Sheffield Wednesday in 1999, with Alan Shearer scoring five.

Southampton 8-0 Sunderland – October 18, 2014

The St Mary's faithful at least know what it feels like to be on the joyous end of what they have endured in the past two seasons. The boot was definitely on the other foot here, although what exactly Sunderland defender Santiago Vergini and his boots were trying to achieve when he inexplicably walloped into his own net after 12 minutes remains anyone's guess. Graziano Pelle scored the first of a double six minutes later. Jack Cork, Dusan Tadic and Victor Wanyama also netted, with Patrick van Aanholt and Liam Bridcutt joining Vergini in putting through their own goal.

Manchester City 8-0 Watford – September 21, 2019

When City raced into a 5-0 lead inside 18 minutes against Watford last season, double figures looked to be on the cards for the first time in the Premier League era. David Silva netted from close range inside a minute, with Riyad Mahrez winning a penalty for Sergio Aguero before scoring himself. Bernardo Silva opened his tally on the way to a hat-trick, with Nicolas Otamendi a more unlikely first-half goalscorer. Kevin De Bruyne masterfully orchestrated the destruction of a side City demolished 6-0 four months earlier in the FA Cup final and wrapped up the scoring with an emphatic strike into the top corner.

Nottingham Forest 1 Manchester United 8 – February 6, 1999

The biggest away win the Premier League had seen until Leicester went about their savagery. This seemed fairly standard stuff for Alex Ferguson's majestic treble-winning side as Dwight Yorke and Cole both scored twice against an overmatched Forest, who would finish the season bottom of the table. Standard, that was, until Ole Gunnar Solskjaer emerged from the bench and pilfered four goals in the final 11 minutes at the City Ground. Apparently, he has passed on the wisdom of targeting flurries of late goals against bedraggled opponents.

The famous Bergkamp name is set to grace English football once again after Mitchel, son of Arsenal legend Dennis, joined Championship club Watford.

The Hornets announced that, following a trial spell, the 22-year-old has signed a six-month contract with the option of a further deal, subject to international clearance.

Midfielder Mitchel will continue his development with Watford's under-23 side having opted to move to England after nine years at Dutch side Almere City.

Dad Dennis won the Premier League three times during his 11-year stint at Arsenal, while he sits fourth on the Netherlands' all-time scoring list with 37 goals in 79 international appearances.

Mitchel admits he has become accustomed to comparisons with his famous father but is now plotting his own path in the professional game.

"When I was younger it was difficult [to be compared all the time] but I've adapted to it now," Mitchel told Watford's official website.

"It's just my name and I'm my own player and hopefully I can leave my own legacy. He's been amazing to me and for me. He's my number one fan and has always been there for me. 

"It's a privilege to have him as my dad and to work with him on my game."

Watford have also signed Maurizio Pochettino, son of Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio, during a busy transfer window as they look to seal a quick return to the Premier League.

Dan Gosling is another new arrival, while Glenn Murray's season-long loan from Brighton and Hove Albion has been terminated.

Watford have signed Maurizio Pochettino from Tottenham.

Pochettino, son of former Spurs and current Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino, will join up with the Hornets' under-23 squad initially.

A 19-year-old winger, Pochettino played eight times this season for Tottenham in Premier League 2 but did not make a senior breakthrough at his father's old club.

Watford have had a busy weekend ahead of Monday's transfer deadline, with former Everton and Newcastle United midfielder Dan Gosling joining from Championship counterparts Bournemouth and Spain international Gerard Deulofeu making his move to Udinese permanent.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described Scott McTominay as a "monster of a human being" after his goal sealed a 1-0 win over Watford in the FA Cup third round on Saturday. 

McTominay, captaining United at Old Trafford, headed home Alex Telles' corner in the fifth minute to secure United's 34th victory from their last 36 third-round ties. 

It was the Scotland international's fourth goal of the season in all competitions, one short of his best tally in a single campaign (five goals in 37 appearances last term).

"Scott has had a very good season," Solskjaer told BBC Sport. "He is being more and more dangerous, we know he can be a box-to-box midfielder.

"He should have scored a few more on set-plays before now because he is a monster of a human being. I am very happy he got the goal."

United did not have it all their own way against the Hornets, who attempted 18 shots in the match – the second-most they have had away from home this season. 

"The most important thing in the cup is that you go through so that will make everyone happy but the first 15-20 minutes I think were the highlights of our game," Solskjaer added. 

"I think we played some very good stuff, created chances and then we let them back into the game but we are through.

"I'm delighted we are through. I told them I didn't expect them to start like a house on fire. I expected them to grow into the game. The opposite happened more or less. We started brightly."

McTominay captained United for the first time and led by example, completing 45 of 56 attempted passes, creating one chance and making a joint team-high three clearances.

The 24-year-old told BT Sport: "When the manager told me it was a surreal moment. 

"I've been here since I had just turned five, so that's 18 or 19 years associated with the club and it is a huge honour. I love this club and it has been my whole life."

McTominay and goalkeeper Dean Henderson were the only two players to keep their places from the side that lost to Manchester City in the EFL Cup on Wednesday and the midfielder acknowledged a general lack of match fitness may have contributed to United's sluggish second-half display. 

"We started really well and then for the first half an hour we were really good, moved the ball really well and there was some good combination play," McTominay added.

"Then we couldn't find it after that as well. The second half I didn't think we played anywhere near our level.

"For the boys coming into the team it is difficult, they haven't played for a long time. The manager said 'get your rhythm' and he probably wasn't expecting the rhythm we got in the first 30 minutes. But then there were some tired minds, but credit to the boys."

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