Real Madrid are trying to offload a pair of veterans to Tottenham. 

Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale could be on the way out at the Santiago Bernabeu. 

Spurs are reportedly only interested in one of them.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS WEIGH BALE REUNION

Gareth Bale could be headed for a permanent return to Tottenham, El Nacional reports. 

Real Madrid have offered Bale and Eden Hazard to Spurs but head coach Antonio Conte is not interested in his former Chelsea player. 

However, Spurs may pounce for Bale at a reduced price before he is out of contract following the season.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are interested in adding France defender Jules Kounde to replace Harry Maguire, says Todofichajes, which reports Sevilla will demand €80million (£68m) in return. 

Donny van de Beek wants out at United, according to the Metro, and Birmingham Live says Wolves will make a strong push to sign the Dutch midfielder, with Everton and Newcastle United also rumoured suitors.

- Fiorentina are willing to sell Dusan Vlahovic in January if an interested club like Manchester City or Tottenham will pay £70m for the Serbia international, says the Sun. Vlahovic has also been linked with Bayern MunichAtletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter and Arsenal.

Milan have joined Chelsea and Atletico in pursuit of 17-year-old Angers striker Mohamed-Ali Cho, according to L'Equipe. 

Barcelona will extend 17-year-old Spain sensation Gavi's contract for five years, reports Fabrizio Romano. 

Dean Smith's appointment at Norwich City is expected to become official Monday, says The Guardian. 

Chelsea are not content to stick with what they have. 

The Blues are top of the Premier League but poised for major moves in January.

Three young stars and a veteran are high on their radar. 

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA EYE REINFORCEMENTS

Chelsea have their sights set on moves for Jules Kounde, Matthijs de Ligt and Lorenzo Insigne, reports Marca, while another report has them as the favourites to land Aurelien Tchouameni

The Blues are poised to revisit their talks with Sevilla over Kounde in January with multiple centre-backs set to be out of contract at the end of the season. 

Thomas Tuchel's side could also dip into Serie A and try to lure De Ligt from Juventus and Insigne from Napoli.

Chelsea are prepared to offer €60million (£51m) to Monaco for Tchouameni, says TuttoJuve, with Manchester City, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Juventus also possibilities. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are eyeing Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Hakim Ziyech as possible loan options from Chelsea, says Sport. 

- Manchester United are pushing to line up Zinedine Zidane to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, reports The Sunday Times.

- United are prepared to sell Jesse Lingard for as little as £10m in January, says The Sun. 

- Roma are in negotiations with United over a loan deal with an option to buy Diogo Dalot, claims Corriere dello Sport. 

- Inter will bring aboard Ajax goalkeeper Andre Onana on a four-year deal, reports Fabrizio Romano. 

- Newcastle United will try to land Adrien Rabiot from Juventus for €10m to €15m (£8.5m-£13m), says Calciomercato. 

Raheem Sterling's future at Manchester City remains unclear.

The England winger has only made three Premier League starts this season.

Sterling, who starred during England's run to the Euro 2020 final, could now be on the move.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA RESOLUTE ON RAHEEM

Barcelona are determined to sign Raheem Sterling from Manchester City despite the Premier League club's refusal to let him leave, reports Manchester Evening News.

The Catalans want to bring Sterling to Camp Nou in January on a loan deal, with the forward open to a move after losing his regular starting spot at City.

Sterling still has 18 months remaining on his City contract and the English champions have no intention of accepting an offer for him.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester City are set to launch a new bid for Tottenham forward Harry Kane in January, claims ESPN. City pursued Kane over the off-season but the Spurs skipper ultimately remained in London after Tottenham declined their approaches.

- El Nacional reports Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti has told the club to sell or release Gareth Bale. The Wales forward has only made three appearances this term and is contracted to Los Blancos only until the end of the season.

Hakim Ziyech is unhappy at Chelsea and could be lured to Borussia Dortmund, claims The Mirror. The Morocco winger could move in January, having been unable to re-discover his best form at Chelsea after moving from Ajax in 2020.

Norwich City are set to offer ex-Aston Villa boss Dean Smith their vacant manager role, according to Sky Sports. Smith was sacked as Villa coach this week.

- The Daily Record claims former Feyenoord coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst will hold talks with Rangers about taking over as manager after Steven Gerrard's departure for Villa.

Kevin De Bruyne has played through "serious pain" with Manchester City this season but feels his condition is starting to improve.

The Belgium international has had a tough few months due to physical ailments, starting with the collision with Antonio Rudiger in the Champions League final that left him with a fractured nose and eye socket.

De Bruyne was able to recover in time to play a part in Belgium's ultimately unsuccessful Euro 2020 campaign, though he sustained another injury in the last-16 victory over Portugal.

It was ankle ligament damage on that occasion, yet De Bruyne still played Belgium's next game as they were eliminated by eventual champions Italy.

The midfielder was able to have a brief cameo in City's Premier League opener but then disappeared again until September due to the injury, and he says he still has not truly recovered.

"It's going to be a little more difficult this year than usual," De Bruyne said on the MIDMID podcast. "It's not that bad, I think, but it's been a bit difficult physically and mentally.

"I came back with a lot of pain after the holidays, and then at the start of the season I hit a wall.

"I've been in some serious pain, but it's starting to get better. I just needed more time than expected."

Despite opting to play in pain, De Bruyne's influence at City has not dipped much at all in the Premier League this season.

In fact, he is actually having more touches (83.8, up from 81.6) and playing more passes (59.6, up from 56.9) on average per 90 minutes than in 2020-21, while his shooting (3.4 per 90, down from 3.6) and chance-creation (3.2, down from 3.6) frequencies have not changed massively.

De Bruyne is engaging in fewer duels (9.3 per 90, down from 10.8) and committing fewer fouls (0.4, down from 1.2), which suggests he could be taking greater care to not aggravate the problem in physical collisions, though this side of the game has never been his priority on the pitch anyway.

Former Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness mocked Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain for their failure to win the Champions League despite their vast resources.

City were acquired by Abu Dhabi United Group – backed by Sheikh Mansour – in 2008, while PSG were bought by Qatar Sports Investments three years later, with the company's chairman, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, becoming the club's president.

The two clubs have gone on to achieve extraordinary success domestically, with City winning five Premier League titles and PSG claiming seven Ligue 1 crowns since their respective takeovers.

However, neither club has managed to win the Champions League.

Both have gone close in recent years, though City were beaten in the final by Chelsea last season and PSG were bested in the showpiece event by Hoeness' Bayern the year before.

That was Bayern's second success in the competition since 2011, the other occasion being their 2-1 defeat of Borussia Dortmund in 2013 after losing the final on penalties to Chelsea the year before.

Hoeness takes great pride in Bayern pipping their richer counterparts to club football's most coveted European trophy and insisted the Bavarian giants will remain ahead of both sides. 

"So far they haven't won anything," Hoeness said on the 11 Leben podcast. "Nothing at all. The two teams don't have a single Champions League title.

"They will continue to lose against us. Not always, but sometimes. That has to be the goal, and if we win against them, I'm really happy. This is what stimulates me to show them, 'your s****y money, that's not enough!'

"The difference between [PSG president Al-Khelaifi] and me is: I worked hard for the money and he got it as a gift. He doesn't need to work for that. When he wants a player, he will find his emir."

City and PSG were both drawn into Group A of this year's Champions League and the pair are battling for top spot in the table, with Pep Guardiola's men one point ahead of Mauricio Pochettino's side after four matches.

Bayern, meanwhile, have won each of their four group-stage games and are already through to the knockout stages, sitting six points ahead of Barcelona in Group E.

Harry Kane has described how criticism of his brother, who is also his agent, has been "difficult to take" after the Tottenham striker failed to secure a move to Manchester City.

After registering 28 goals and 16 assists in all club competitions last season, Kane then netted four times for England in their run to the final of Euro 2020, which they ultimately lost to Italy on penalties as the striker continues to be frustrated in his search for silverware.

As a result, a big-money move to replace the outgoing Sergio Aguero at City appeared to be on the cards for the 28-year-old, with Kane missing a portion of pre-season training as negotiations rumbled on.

However, Spurs held firm and Kane remained in north London, prompting criticism of his brother's handling of the situation – something the England captain found difficult to deal with.

"Whatever the circumstance, whenever there is stuff being written about your family, it's always maybe a little bit difficult to take, especially when it's stuff that's negative," Kane said.

"In the summer, there was a lot of stuff about my brother being my agent. That's where we stick together. I know what he does for me as an agent, I know what he does for me as a brother, and that's all that matters. The rest is just noise.

"When things are difficult, it's important that you talk about it and not just hide it and suck it up. But it's important that you have people around you that you can trust to do that. That's what I’ve got."

Kane has looked a shadow of his former self this term, managing just one goal and one assist in 10 Premier League appearances. 

Nuno Espirito Santo was replaced by Antonio Conte with Spurs ninth in the table, and Kane feels that he is now in the right frame of mind to put an end to his poor form.

"I’ve always tried to deal with things in this way – good or bad, just open up," Kane said. "Overall, I feel like mentally I am in a good place, and I'm really ready to go over this tough period in the winter."

Kane is in Gareth Southgate's England squad for their remaining World Cup qualifiers, facing Albania on Friday and San Marino on Monday.

The Three Lions are three points clear of Poland at the top of Group I, meaning four points would guarantee qualification regardless of other results.

What does the future hold for Kylian Mbappe?

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has long been tipped to join Real Madrid.

Madrid are reportedly preparing another approach for the France forward.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID PUSHING FOR MBAPPE

Real Madrid will make another move for Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, according to the front page of Friday's Mundo Deportivo.

Madrid have made no secret of their interest, while Mbappe – who will become a free agent at the end of the campaign – revealed he wanted to leave PSG for Los Blancos at the start of the season.

With Mbappe's contract winding down, LaLiga giants Madrid are stepping up their pursuit.

 

ROUND-UP  

- Mundo Deportivo and Sport claim Barcelona are closing in on the signing for Manchester City attacker Raheem Sterling. The England international has found himself down the pecking order in Manchester.

Arsenal are interested in Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic, but there have been no talks with the Serbia international's agents, reports Fabrizio Romano. Vlahovic is also wanted by City, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Inter and Tottenham.

- Staying at Emirates Stadium, Gianluca Di Marzio says Arsenal are ready to make a move for Juventus sensation Dejan Kulusevski.

Roma, Milan, Atalanta and Napoli are eyeing Sassuolo winger Jeremie Boga, per Foot Mercato.

- Milan are readying contract renewals for Theo Hernandez, Ismael Bennacer and Rafael Leao, claims Gazzetta dello Sport.

- According to The Sun, Manchester United are hoping to beat Barca to Milan midfielder Franck Kessie on a free transfer. Kessie has also been linked with PSG, Arsenal, Tottenham, Inter and Atletico.

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne revealed the Premier League champions only trained for 10 minutes before outclassing neighbours Manchester United in the derby.

Prior to the international break, City completely outplayed United in a 2-0 victory at Old Trafford, where De Bruyne and his team-mates humbled their bitter rivals thanks to Eric Bailly's own goal and a Bernardo Silva effort.

Pep Guardiola's City – who have won more away Premier League games at Old Trafford than any other team (eight) – enjoyed 67.4 per cent possession and had five shots on target compared to just one for the Red Devils.

On international duty with Belgium, De Bruyne spoke about City's preparations for the Manchester derby.

"The day before a game we usually train tactically, based on how the opponent plays," De Bruyne told the MidMid podcast.

"But before United, Pep said: 'We don’t know how they are going to play. We shall see'. And we stopped training after 10 minutes or so.

"Often Pep knows how the opponent is going to play. This time he didn’t know, so he didn’t know what to do.

"We have done what we always do, but he didn’t know beforehand if they would play with five at the back, or with four, or with a diamond in the middle, or with three up front."

City are second in the Premier League after 11 rounds – three points behind leaders Chelsea, while United are sixth and nine points off the pace.

England and Tottenham star Harry Kane believes he coped well with the transfer speculation linking him to Premier League champions Manchester City.

Kane was heavily tipped to join City, but a move did not materialise during the previous transfer window and the Tottenham forward has struggled for form this season.

The 28-year-old had initially not returned for pre-season training and while he has committed to Spurs for the time being, Kane has looked a shadow of his usual self in London, where Antonio Conte has since replaced Nuno Espirito Santo in the dugout.

Kane has scored only one goal in the Premier League – last month's 3-2 win over Newcastle United, while he has netted seven across all competitions this term, including five in the Europa Conference League.

On the eve of England's World Cup qualifier against Albania on Friday, Kane was asked about his Euro 2020 hangover.

"Obviously, there's a lot of talk and a lot of speculation over the summer, the first real time that probably happened to me in my career," Kane told reporters after featuring in England's run to the Euro 2020 final, which they lost to Italy.

"But that's part and parcel of learning, that's part and parcel of being a big player, having to deal with those situations. And I think I dealt with it well. And now it's just about focusing.

"There is still a long way to go at club level. And now, for me, it's just about finishing these two games strongly with England and finish off what's been a great calendar year."

Kane – whose Spurs are ninth in the table and six points adrift of the top four during the international break – added: "Whether I'm doing really well or the goals aren't quite coming, it's just to work hard, train hard, work hard for the team. And that's what I've done my whole career.

"Obviously, there's not been many spells, for example, for club not scoring as many as I've scored so far this year. But in terms of an England calendar year, it's been a great year for me personally, and I hope to continue that tomorrow night."

England face Albania in Group I, knowing a win would see them move within a point of qualifying for Qatar 2022, assuming second-placed Poland do not fail to win in Andorra.

Gareth Southgate's England are unbeaten in their last 18 matches in all competitions – their best undefeated run since going 19 in a row without defeat between November 1965 and November 1966.

This will be Southgate's 67th match in charge of England – the joint-most of any England manager since Bobby Robson left in 1990, equalling Sven-Goran Eriksson's tally between 2001 and 2006.

Southgate has already won more games (42) than Eriksson (40), with only Sam Allardyce (100 per cent) and Fabio Capello (67 per cent) having a better win ratio for England than Southgate (64 per cent).

Kane added: "It's always about getting back to the basics, getting back to the training pitch, working hard there and doing my best. Obviously, we play a lot of games throughout the year. There's not much time to recover and reflect on things.

"So any time you can just get on that training pitch, work on a few things, get back to what you know best is important, and that's definitely what I try to do."

Xavi has his work cut out at Camp Nou following his appointment as Barcelona head coach.

Barca have struggled on the pitch amid off-field turmoil and financial problems.

But Xavi wants to make Barca great again and he reportedly has his eyes on some players across Europe.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA EYE TRIO

RB Leipzig star Dani Olmo and Manchester City pair Ferran Torres and Raheem Sterling are transfer options for Barcelona, according to Thursday's Mundo Deportivo.

Xavi is now at the helm of Barca and the club great is tasked with restoring the fortunes of the embattled LaLiga giants.

The Barca head coach is keen to reinforce his squad in either January or at the end of the season.

Barca have also been linked with Chelsea forward Timo Werner and Manchester United veteran Edinson Cavani.

 

ROUND-UP  

- Gazzetta dello Sport says Paul Pogba is set to leave United and Juventus are trying to re-sign the Frenchman, though his salary is proving problematic. Pogba is out of contract at the end of the season and he has been linked with Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

Inter are pressing Marcelo Brozovic to sign a new contract by Christmas, claims Gazzetta dello Sport. The Croatia international is reportedly wanted by Barca, Liverpool, PSG and United.

Steven Gerrard is expected to join Aston Villa as their new manager, reports Fabrizio Romano. The Rangers boss is set to be joined by his backroom staff at Villa.

Fiorentina are trying to sign River Plate striker Julian Alvarez as Dusan Vlahovic prepares to leave but Juve are also interested, according to Corriere dello Sport. Vlahovic has no plans to renew in Florence and the Serbia international has been linked with City, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Tottenham, Juve and Inter.

- The Mirror says United are confident of landing Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers as their new manager. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under mounting pressure at United and former Liverpool boss Rodgers has emerged as a target for the struggling Red Devils due to a release clause in his contract.

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City have never dominated a team like they did against embattled neighbours Manchester United in Saturday's Premier League derby.

City completely outplayed United in a 2-0 victory at Old Trafford, where the Premier League champions humbled their bitter rivals thanks to Eric Bailly's own goal and a Bernardo Silva effort.

Guardiola's City have won more away Premier League games at Old Trafford than any other team (eight).

The all-round display against United delighted Guardiola, whose City enjoyed 67.4 per cent possession and had five shots on target compared to just one for the Red Devils.

"Maybe this was the game that we dominated for the most time," Guardiola said.

"Except for 10 minutes of the second half, the other 80 minutes were absolutely under control. There were other games, like the game when we could be champions at the Etihad [in 2018] when we were 2-0 up at half-time and after we lost 3-2.

"In the first half it could have been four or five but we lost 3-2. So, the second half we were not good.

"In some games we are good but not for as long as today, it is a game we controlled more specifically. We know each other better, we know the opponent better.

"We need the ball to play good and desire when we don't have it, to recover it and play and play and play and play and play and play. It's not that you attack quicker and you will score more goals, you have to arrive in the right tempo. I love us arriving to the boxes, not being in the boxes.

"The way we play a lot of passes we are still able for Phil [Foden] to arrive and [Ilkay] Gundogan and Kevin [De Bruyne] and Gaby [Gabriel Jesus] and Bernardo [Silva]. Arriving from behind is the best way to surprise the opponent and today we did it."

Bruno Fernandes says every Manchester United player must "look in the mirror" and accept blame for the club's poor run of form.

United were outclassed on home soil by one of their fiercest rivals for the second game running on Saturday as they fell to a 2-0 loss against Manchester City.

While City did not rack up the five unanswered goals managed by Liverpool at Old Trafford two weeks ago, the manner of the loss was just as chastening for the Red Devils. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side had just four touches in the opposition box – their fewest in a league game since 2008-09 when Opta first began recording such data.

Those four touches were also the fewest by a home team in a Premier League game since Fulham against Arsenal in September 2020.

A fourth defeat in six Premier League outings heaps yet more pressure on Solskjaer, who is one month short of celebrating three years in charge at Old Trafford.

Fernandes defended Solskjaer ahead of Saturday's game but understands that supporters are growing tired of the same excuses after this latest setback.

"Obviously everyone is frustrated about the result, about the performance too," the Portugal international said.

"We know we can do much better and we know this is not enough for players who are representing this big club. We have to look in the mirror. I'm saying again the same things probably from the last interview, but that's it.

"We have to look at ourselves, everyone at his home, understand what we can do better to help the team. We just have to apologise to the fans and that's it, because it was not good enough from us.

"They created a great atmosphere. They pushed us until the end, they tried to give that energy to us but from us, it was not enough."

United have lost eight home games in all competitions in 2021 – their most in a calendar year since 1989 – and are nine points off top spot in the Premier League after 11 games.

Eric Bailly scored a calamitous own goal to give City the lead in that latest of those defeats, before Bernardo Silva profited from some poor defending and questionable goalkeeping from David de Gea to poke in a second.

Now without a clean sheet at home in 14 matches in all competitions – their worse run since in 62 years – Fernandes admits United are making it "too easy" for opponents.

"It's always a bad time to concede a goal," Fernandes said. "The problem is the way we concede goals. It's too easy. As I said many, many times, if not for David, the result could be much more higher and worse for us.

"We have to protect better, David, because he is protecting us a lot and we have to help him because he cannot make every game eight, nine saves and then still concede goals."

City had 67.4 per cent possession and managed 16 attempts to United's five, while the 753 passes they completed was the most of any team in a league game against the Red Devils since 2003-04.

Fernandes told MUTV: "City were much better than us. They go around the pitch, they touched the ball many times, they made us run.

"It's hard to play against them. They are good and we knew that. Obviously when they go up with the result, it's even worse. They played much better than us and that's it."

The international break comes as welcome respite to those connected to United, who return to action after the international break at Watford.

"Yeah, it will be long but now it's time for everyone to focus on the national team who goes on the national team. The ones who stay here try to work hard, recover well and be ready for the games that are coming."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remained defiant he can turn around Manchester United's awful form despite the "big step back" of their derby defeat.

The Red Devils were brushed aside 2-0 at Old Trafford by Manchester City on Saturday, Bernardo Silva scoring after Eric Bailly's own goal.

The defeat was United's sixth in their past 12 games in all competitions and their eighth at home in 2021, a number they last endured back in 1989.

They have also gone without a clean sheet in 14 consecutive home matches for the first time since the 1950s, while they have let in 11 at home in the top flight in 2021-22, their worst such return over the first six games of the season since 1976.

It was the manner of United's loss that was particularly damaging, even though the scoreline did not reach the embarrassing levels of the 5-0 loss to Liverpool last month. 

They only had one shot on target throughout and just four touches of the ball in the City box, their fewest in a league match since at least 2008-09.

Solskjaer was granted a reprieve by United bosses after the thrashing by Liverpool and responded by delivering a 3-0 win at Tottenham followed by a Champions League draw with Atalanta, a result secured through a last-gasp Cristiano Ronaldo equaliser.

The United manager accepted the City performance was a major blow after their previous two results but maintained he is committed to arresting his team's slide.

Asked about his belief he can turn things around, Solskjaer said: "Definitely. You're right – [we need to get] back to where we should be. For me, it's back to what we started to look like. We started to look like a proper team, a team that I like to see.

"We've had two, three, four weeks now, a disappointing spell. The performance against Tottenham was good, but it was not what we want to look like, to put it that way. We want to be on the front foot, we want to be more aggressive. Unfortunately, we had to try to get a few results.

"We got a couple of good results, Atalanta and Tottenham, but today was a big step back."

Ronaldo's volley in the 26th minute was the only moment City goalkeeper Ederson was made to work as the visitors assumed total control, making 821 passes to United's 389.

"It's a way of losing that we don't like," said Solskjaer, who appeared to receive less of a positive reception by fans than he did after the Liverpool result. "When you lose a game against a good team, you want to see a better Man United team than that.

"When you concede the first goal as early as we did in an unfortunate way, it makes the game a lot more difficult. We needed to be more front-foot, aggressive. We played against a very good team that made it hard to do that.

"When we had the ball, they pressed us really well and we couldn't get the angles we knew we had to get and the quality we knew we had to get. We never got to the level we need to be at to win against good teams."

Solskjaer now hopes the international break can do his players some good before they return to action at Watford on November 20.

"Players are human beings, and when you lose a game of football, there's no better remedy than winning a game, getting your confidence by winning a game. Hopefully, the ones that go away do that and do well," he said.

"For us, it's all about Watford. We have to come out against Watford like a proper hurt animal. We've got to get back to what we know we can do. It's the only way to approach this and attack this situation.

"Yes, the short answer is I think it's come at a good time for us now. As a group, we've had a difficult spell, come through it, but this was a big step back for us."

Roy Keane said he felt sorry for the Manchester United players after their derby defeat to Manchester City as the former captain believes they are simply not good enough.

United were second best in a 2-0 loss to the Premier League champions at Old Trafford, an Eric Bailly own goal and a finish from Bernardo Silva settling the contest before half-time.

It was the Red Devils' first home league match since the 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool but there was little better about this latest result other than the scoreline.

United had only one shot on target throughout, managing only 389 passes to City's 821, as Pep Guardiola's men eased through the contest in second gear.

Former United defender Gary Neville described it as a "calm annihilation" at City's hands, and Keane agreed it was a game that looked easy for the visitors.

"It was so poor. The difference in class, quality and decision-making, basically everything," he said on Sky Sports at half-time, after Bailly had turned into his own net and Silva had converted a Joao Cancelo cross that Luke Shaw and Harry Maguire left.

"I know the old saying is men vs boys, but United are so off it, it's unbelievable. Look at Shaw and De Gea. What chance have you got in this game? I've been cross with these fellas for years.

"I give up on these players. These are international defenders. I can't understand the defending. I give up."

He continued after the match: "Phil Foden mentioned it is a tough place to come. It's not. Ask Everton, ask Aston Villa and Liverpool. Teams have come to Old Trafford and are getting a bit of joy now.

"I know United's away record has been fantastic over the last couple of seasons but ultimately it's what you do at home that gives you that foundation to try and compete and go on and win trophies because United still always have the quality, even away from home. But their home form, the performance and the defending...

"We go back to characters. Scott McTominay, who I know is learning his trade. Fred in midfield. These players are not good enough for Manchester United.

"Defensively, I wasn't shocked when Eric Bailly sliced that into his own net. He's got that in his locker. He's erratic.

"It was so comfortable for Man City. They just toyed with Man United. I'd like to go in hard on the United players, but today I'm feeling sorry for them. I think some of them aren't up to playing for Manchester United, particularly at home.

"When I was at United you judge a player on how they cope with playing in front of 75,000 and you stay in the fight when you're under the cosh.

"But this team doesn't. They just don't have the desire to stay in the fight. This team doesn't have personality. They're trying things and they're a decent group going for lunch, but it's what happens when the referee blows the whistle."

United have now lost eight home games in all competitions in 2021, the most in a calendar year since 1989, while they have gone 14 matches at Old Trafford without a clean sheet for the first time since the 1950s.

They have also taken only eight points from their most recent nine home league games, losing to Liverpool and City without scoring in their previous two. The last time that happened was during the final weeks of David Moyes' tenure in March 2014, when the Red Devils suffered consecutive 3-0 losses to their fiercest rivals.

The pressure on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is only going to increase, and Keane accepted his old team-mate must get more from his players.

"Ole seems to be under pressure since he's walked into the club and that's not going away because people didn't think he was up to it," Keane said.

"The pressure is going to build but the players, I look at Shaw and De Gea, they're international players. They couldn't sniff out danger, these boys are too casual.

"Ole has to take responsibility and I've defended him for one or two years but he's the manager and the staff need to get more out of these players."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer conceded Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Manchester City highlighted how far United have fallen off the pace, but insisted he had no fears over his future.

The United boss cut a disconsolate figure on touchline at Old Trafford, where Eric Bailly netted an own goal before slack defending and goalkeeping allowed Bernardo Silva to double the visitors' advantage in the first half.

United, beaten 5-0 by Liverpool in their previous home game, offered scant threat after the break as the pressure mounted on Solskjaer.

And the Norwegian admitted the stark disparity between the two sides was evident, with the forthcoming international break offering some respite for the embattled boss.

He told Sky Sports: "At the moment, yes we are [a long way behind the leading teams], but we've got to get back to what we started to look like, and we started to look like a proper team at the end of last season, start of this season. We've got to get back to that.

"I'm sure when we come back, the players will be fresh in their mind after internationals. The demands on me and the players are going to be high, the expectations. We need to get back to what we started to look like for a while, and we've got the players to do that.

"We've been this situation a few times of course, since the last game we played here it has been a very difficult period. We need to be on the front foot more, I can't look at myself and say this is the way I want Manchester United to play."

Asked if he was starting to feel as though he may be on borrowed time, Solskjaer, whose side slipped six points behind City, added: "No, I don't start to do that.

"I have good communications all the time with the club, we're very upfront and honest about the situation.

"I work for Man United and want the best for Man United and while I'm here I'll do what I can to improve this, and that's going back to what we started to look like."

United were second best throughout against Pep Guardiola's side, managing only one shot on target, while the second goal saw an uncharacteristic error from David de Gea, who was beaten at his near post.

"It's very difficult to talk now of course because we started the game off badly, passive of course," said Solskjaer. "When they get the first goal it was always going to be a difficult game anyway.

"Being 1-0 down was hard, David kept us in the game, some good stops, then they scored a goal they always score. [Joao] Cancelo cuts inside, crosses back stick, we know that's going to happen and it shouldn't happen.

"They played well, of course, they don't give you opportunities to win the ball off them, some praise has to go to them as well but we were not at our level, our standard, they need to be raised.

"We still don't trust ourselves with the ball, we still don't pass or find the angles as well as I know we can."

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