Marcus Rashford's 20th goal of the season helped Manchester United to a 2-0 win over Granada in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie.

The forward's finish from a fine Victor Lindelof pass in the first half and a late penalty from Bruno Fernandes secured a commanding first-leg advantage in Thursday's clash at the Nuevo Los Carmenes.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side were not particularly inspired in attack but rarely looked troubled by a team who have already eliminated Napoli in an impressive first European campaign.

Chelsea loanee Kenedy was a threat with shots from distance, but Diego Martinez's men were unable to create clear openings against a diligent Red Devils rearguard, particularly with only 33 per cent of the ball.

Rashford, who sustained an ankle problem in the win over Brighton and Hove Albion last Sunday, appeared to be struggling in the early exchanges as United made hard work of breaking down Granada.

The England forward looked fit and sharp 31 minutes in, though, latching onto Lindelof's long ball over the top before prodding a composed finish beyond goalkeeper Rui Silva.

The goal sparked a little life into Granada's attack, Kenedy's ambitious volley from the edge of the area giving the returning David de Gea something to do.

Kenedy twice tested De Gea again from outside the box after the restart but they were comfortable saves for the United keeper, who was otherwise mostly untroubled.

Fernandes had had a quiet game but he squeezed a mishit penalty under Silva's grasp to score a potentially decisive second away goal in the 90th minute after Yan Eteki was penalised for pushing a hand into the Portugal star's face.

What does it mean? Advantage United after timid encounter

It was not a thrill-a-minute contest but it puts United in a good position to progress to the semi-finals for the second season in a row, and there was little offered by Granada to worry them unduly.

However, Solskjaer will want a more committed and creative performance when they travel to Tottenham this weekend if they are to preserve their long unbeaten away run.

United must preserve Rashford for run-in

Rashford's goal made him the first United player to hit double figures in consecutive campaigns since Wayne Rooney 11 years ago.

He came off with a little under half an hour remaining, and Solskjaer will need to manage his ankle concern carefully: their league position, and their chances of winning this competition, could depend on it.

Greenwood goes missing

The matchwinner against Brighton last Sunday, Mason Greenwood offered little attacking threat in Spain and struggled to hold up the ball or link the play.

One such poor use of the ball gave Granada a rare chance to break at speed in the United half, although they could not make use of the opportunity.

What's next?

Before next Thursday's second leg, each side return to domestic action on Sunday. United face Tottenham away in the Premier League, with Granada travelling to Real Valladolid in LaLiga.

Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford were on target as Manchester United came from behind to beat relegation-threatened Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 in the Premier League.

Danny Welbeck returned to haunt United with a deserved opening goal for the Seagulls in the first half at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Second-placed United raised their game after the break, though, and the fit-again Rashford marked his return with a well taken equaliser.

Greenwood, also passed fit after recovering from an injury, headed home the winner seven minutes from time to stun the Seagulls in the absence of Anthony Martial, who could be out for the season with a knee problem.

Victory for the Red Devils strengthened their grip on second place, 14 point behind leaders Manchester City with a game in hand, while Brighton are six points above the drop zone.

Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka have been ruled out of England's World Cup qualifiers against Albania and Poland.

Manchester United forward Rashford and versatile Arsenal teenager Saka missed England's opening 5-0 Group I defeat of San Marino at Wembley on Thursday.

Rashford and Saka will also play no part against Albania in Tirana on Sunday and a home clash with Poland next Wednesday due to foot and hamstring injuries respectively.

A Football Association statement said: "Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka will play no part in England's forthcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

"Rashford reported to St. George's Park with an injury that ruled him out of the 5-0 win against San Marino and, following further assessment, it has been decided he will continue his rehabilitation with Manchester United.

"Saka had remained at Arsenal for further assessment on an ongoing issue with the hope of joining up with the Three Lions but will now not be available for the fixtures against Albania and Poland."

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored twice against San Marino, while James Ward-Prowse, Raheem Sterling and debutant Ollie Watkins were also on target as England started their bid to qualify for the 2022 tournament in Qatar with a dominant victory.

England will be without Bukayo Saka for their opening 2022 World Cup qualifier against San Marino due to a hamstring injury.

Saka has stayed with Arsenal to continue his rehabilitation and a tweet from England's official account said it was hoped the 19-year-old would join up with the squad "later this week".

England host minnows San Marino at Wembley in Gareth Southgate's 50th game at the helm on Thursday.

Marcus Rashford also sat out training on Wednesday as he continues to recover from the foot injury he sustained during Manchester United's Europa League triumph at Milan.

Rashford was absent as United were knocked out of the FA Cup by Leicester City last weekend but he joined up with England despite club boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saying he "wasn't close" to playing at the King Power Stadium.

The 23-year-old, who was laid low by a stress fracture to his back last term, recently dismissed fears over an excessive workload, but he has played more minutes than any forward in Europe's top five leagues this season across all competitions.

Rashford's 3,328 minutes on the field place him ahead of Lionel Messi (3,292), Mohamed Salah (3,257), Harry Kane (3,172) and the England captain's Tottenham colleague Son Heung-min (3,138) among the five most used attacking players.

Saka made his international breakthrough earlier this season and has won all four of his caps playing as a left wing-back.

However, he has truly excelled since switching to a right-wing role at Arsenal.

Since being deployed there in a 3-1 Boxing Day win over Chelsea, Saka has four goals and two assists in 13 Premier League appearances, creating 17 chances during that time.

Marcus Rashford will likely link up with the England squad next week despite a foot injury keeping him out of the FA Cup quarter-final on Sunday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.

The forward was hurt during Manchester United's 1-0 win over Milan in the Europa League last-16 second leg at San Siro on Thursday.

Rashford struggled to walk on Saturday and United manager Solskjaer confirmed scans showed he has sustained damage, meaning he was unavailable for the clash with Leicester City at the King Power Stadium.

Anthony Martial returned from a hip injury to take Rashford's place in attack, while Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek were also recalled to the starting line-up after only recently regaining full fitness.

Solskjaer said Rashford was never likely to feature against Leicester, but he will not stop the 23-year-old from joining up with Gareth Southgate's Three Lions squad for this month's World Cup qualifiers.

"No, he wasn't close [to playing]," Solskjaer told BBC Sport. "We took him off [against Milan] and he thought he'd be ready but, yesterday, he had no chance of walking on his foot.

"The scans show there's an injury there but, of course, we've got players coming back – Anthony and Donny are back in, so there are positives as well.

"The doctor will speak to the English [national team] but I think he'll travel and report [for international duty]. Maybe he'll be fit for them."

England face San Marino next Thursday before further matches against Albania on March 28 and Poland on March 31.

 

 

Marcus Rashford believes there is a common winning mentality shared by Bruno Fernandes and Zlatan Ibrahimovic – something Manchester United must channel if they are to get back to winning silverware. 

Ibrahimovic is in line to return from an abductor injury when Milan host his former club in the Europa League on Thursday, with the round-of-16 tie all square at 1-1. 

The veteran forward, whose surprise return to international football with Sweden was confirmed this week, joined United on a free transfer in 2016 and was a talismanic figure during his first season in England. 

Across all competitions, Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals - including a brace in United's 3-2 EFL Cup final win over Southampton. 

The Red Devils also lifted the Europa League in that season under Jose Mourinho although by the time of their final triumph over Ajax, Ibrahimovic was sidelined by a serious knee injury. 

He returned to action ahead of schedule but departed to LA Galaxy midway through the following campaign. 

United now frequently look to Portugal midfielder Fernandes for inspiration. 

The former Sporting CP star has scored 35 goals – the most of any Premier League player in all competitions since his United debut on February 1 last year – and provided 21 assists in 65 appearances for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side. 

"Yeah, you could say so," Rashford told reporters when asked whether Ibrahimovic and Fernandes were similar.

"Mentally they're both just winners. They want to win games, win trophies. 

"That's the atmosphere and the culture at this club. We need to start doing it now, winning trophies and taking steps in that direction. 

"The game against Milan is another opportunity for us to get one step closer. 

"Ever since we unfortunately got knocked out of the Champions League the focus has been to win the Europa League. We're not going to be happy with anything less than that." 

Longevity in the sport comparable to Ibrahimovic is something a long way away for the 23-year-old Rashford. 

The home leg against Milan was the first of United's games this season that the England international sat out after a minor injury he sustained during the derby victory over Manchester City, while he is also managing a shoulder complaint. 

Nevertheless, Rashford dismissed any concerns over burnout. 

"I know my body and I know what I can do physically," he said, with his availability an ongoing boost to Solskjaer after Edinson Cavani suffered a reaction in the final training session before the trip to Italy, forcing him to pull out of the travelling party. 

"I take one game at a time. It's the life of a footballer – we can rest when we retire. 

"I recover from games and injuries quite well, so I have no doubts or fears on that. 

"To be honest, I just focus on the next game at hand. That's how I deal with it. My focus is just on being available for games." 

Another player from the United production line that yielded Rashford, Teden Mengi, has signed a contract extension until June 2024. 

Mengi is currently on loan at Wayne Rooney's Derby County. 

Anthony Martial will require a scan to check the severity of a hip injury he suffered in Manchester United's 1-1 Europa League last-16 draw with Milan on Thursday, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed. 

Martial was withdrawn at half-time on Thursday, with his replacement Amad Diallo putting United ahead five minutes later to become the Red Devils' youngest non-British scorer in European competition, aged 18 years and 243 days. 

However, Simon Kjaer ended United's run of 503 minutes without conceding a goal across all competitions in stoppage time to give Milan a slight advantage ahead of next week's second leg at San Siro. 

It remains unclear whether Martial will be fit for the trip to Italy, but manager Solskjaer is hopeful Marcus Rashford – who missed the opening clash with an ankle injury – will have returned to full fitness in time. 

"Anthony got a whack on his hip so there's another forward we need to scan and look at," Solskjaer told a media conference. 

"Unfortunately, he got a whack on his hip quite early in the first half so he couldn't go on.

"We definitely hope Marcus is back for next Thursday; we're not sure if he'll make Sunday [against West Ham in the Premier League]. Fingers crossed because we'll need him."

United have been eliminated from six of their last eight ties in European competition after failing to win the first leg at home, most recently against Barcelona in the 2018-19 Champions League.

Despite that poor record, Solskjaer is confident United – second in the Premier League – can seal their quarter-final spot with a positive result in Milan next week.

"We fancy our chances," he added. "We have been exciting away from home, and efficient. Especially in the last round against Real Sociedad [they won the first leg away from home 4-0]. 

"That is the template for how we want to play in games. We go there knowing we need to score at least one and we fancy our chances. 

"Of course it makes it more difficult when you concede at home and you're never happy when you do. 

"Conceding one minute before full time is disappointing but we have got to take that on the chin and go down there next week and go for it."

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."

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.

Matthijs de Ligt was linked with Manchester United before his move to Juventus in 2019.

United have reportedly renewed their interest in the 21-year-old Dutch defender.

Could he end up in Manchester?

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT DE LIGT

Manchester United are set to target Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, according to TodoFichajes.

United were heavily linked with De Ligt before the Netherlands international swapped Ajax for Serie A champions Juve in 2019.

With United reportedly not advancing in their pursuit of Real Madrid pair Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, the Red Devils are eyeing De Ligt.

United have also been linked with RB Leipzig's Ibrahima Konate, Sevilla defender Jules Kounde and Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato reports Paris Saint-Germain are poised to offer David Alaba a €25million-per year deal in an attempt to prise the Bayern Munich star to the French capital. Out of contract at season's end, Alaba has been tipped to join Madrid. Chelsea, Barcelona and Manchester City have also been linked.

United have been left alone in the fight to sign Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, claims TodoFichajes. Unwilling to match Villa's valuation, City have reportedly exited the race for Grealish. The report also says United could sell Marcus Rashford to fund the move.

- Madrid stars Lucas Vazquez and Isco are wanted by Everton, according to Calciomercato. After prising James Rodriguez from the LaLiga champions, Everton are targeting another two players from the Spanish capital, though Milan and Juve are also keen.

- Diario AS reports Madrid are prioritising a move for in-demand Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland. Chelsea, United, City, Juve, PSG, Barca and Bayern have all been linked but Madrid are reportedly shifting their attention from Kylian Mbappe to Haaland.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lauded Luke Shaw, labelling the full-back "absolutely incredible" after his performance in the derby win over Manchester City.

Shaw scored as United upstaged runaway Premier League leaders City 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Bruno Fernandes converted a penalty after just 101 seconds before Shaw doubled the lead five minutes into the second half away to City, who had their 21-match winning streak snapped and a run of 28 games unbeaten across all competitions.

Solskjaer hailed Shaw – who joined from Southampton in 2014 – following his impressive display as the England international continues to impress at Old Trafford after his rocky start to life in Manchester.

"Absolutely incredible," Solskjaer said of Shaw. "He was a massive doubt until after the warm-up. He needed to do the warm-up to be cleared to play. So Alex [Telles] was ready but Luke's performance [was] top.

"He's aggressive, he's hard to play one against one. When he goes forward on those on runs he's unstoppable.

"He's just improved so much and he's improving all the time and delighted for him."

United have won three consecutive away games in all competitions against City for the first time since a run of four between November 1993 and November 2000.

The Red Devils are also 22 matches unbeaten away from home in the Premier League, though they remain 11 points adrift of City atop the table.

United star Marcus Rashford limped off with 17 minutes remaining against City and he is set to undergo a scan on his ankle.

Rashford's assist for United's second goal was his 10th across all competitions this season – the first time he has reached double figures for assists in a single season in his club career.

"It's something with his ankle. When he sprinted back about 60-70 yards to save a goal. Just shows the attitude of the boy, and his pace and how he sacrificed himself," said Solskjaer, who became the first manager in United's history to win each of his first three away games against City.

"I think, maybe he went over on his ankle or something, but we need to do a scan. I've not had time to sit down and speak to the doctor yet."

Despite United's success against Pep Guardiola's side, Solskjaer is refusing to look beyond Thursday's Europa League last-16 first leg against Milan.

"All we have to think about is Thursday," he added. "Every game, one game at a time and see where we're at. We want to improve. I want the player to improve. We want to learn from this experience. We want to learn from Wednesday's experience against [Crystal] Palace. We need to improve on so many things to get our consistency better.

"Of course, they're 11 points ahead of us if I'm not wrong, with 10 games to go, so that's a long, long way. So we need to focus on ourselves and just be a better Man United and I feel we're a better Man United now than we were 12, 13, 16 months ago."

Nani thinks Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is right to keep moving Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial around the Manchester United forward line.

Rashford and Martial - along with Mason Greenwood - led United's attack to huge success towards the end of last season.

Veteran Edinson Cavani has entered the fold this year amid debate over which of United's younger forwards will become the next number nine.

Nani, who was a Champions League winner with United, thinks the modern player can move positions regularly much more easily, even if it is not always ideal.

He thinks Solskjaer is following the methods of Alex Ferguson in selecting teams with the weaknesses of United's opponents in mind.

Nani told Stats Perform News: "We saw so many games they played together and they were successful, so yeah [Martial and Rashford can play in the same team].

"Sometimes when you change positions, game to game it can cause a little bit of impact from your game. 

"But yet this is something you have to train and prepare on every week with a coach and you have to be able to understand the game.

"You have to know what the purpose of the session was and what the manager wants for that game. 

"I think now the capacity of the players, the new generation, they are able to play in different positions at the front. 

"So Rashford can shoot with the left, with the right - he has skills, there is no problem for him to play in different positions. 

"I think that the manager is doing great because he's reading the next game. 

"So there are some games you can better use Martial central, and some you can use him better on the left wing and that's what I've been seeing the coach doing. 


"And it's true when I used to play for Man United, Alex Ferguson was reading the opponent. 

"So who is going to play on the right side? Who is better to challenge him is he slow? Do we need a player with more speed or more strength? It depends on what the game needs."

United have drawn three consecutive games 0-0 for the first time since October 2015.

While he is impressed with Rashford in general this season, Nani has highlighted an area for potential improvement that could get United out of their slump.

"Age gives you more experience, the more you see, you learn more with the more games you get," added Nani when he was asked about Rashford.

"But we know what he is capable of - he has energy, he has skills, he has goals [but] sometimes he just [needs] the desire to want to be more involved in the game.

"[He needs to] want the ball more, want to run more will his all, lose more energy in the game, instead of saving himself to the end because trying to save the energy to end up the game, sometimes you lose opportunity to make your goal or your assist when the result is already done.

"So I think he can use his strength more during the game, it will make much more difference to his game."

Martial, meanwhile, has struggled to follow up his strong 2019-20 season, when he racked up a career-high 17 Premier League goals.

The France international, who is facing a race against time to be fit in time to face Manchester City in Sunday's derby, has four goals and three assists from 21 league appearances this time around.

Nani feels a return to form is needed quickly, adding: "You know Martial has shown already he has so much potential.

"He has goals, he is strong, he is fast, he has skills. He is a player who has shown he can do much more, so we are used to seeing much more.

"At this moment he is not at his best. He can produce much more for the team. 

"I don't know what happened with the player, probably he had some injuries or he is not so confident as before. 

"But he needs to get back to his best as quickly as possible because the team need him. 

"And he needs to start scoring his goals and perform the way he used to play because he will help the team a lot."

While their struggles in front of goal have been a problem – and a sixth 0-0 draw tied their club record for a Premier League season - the Palace draw did see United hit a notable landmark.

They are the first team since Arsenal's 'Invincibles' of 2003-04 to remain unbeaten for their first 14 away games of a top-flight campaign.

Manchester United were held to a third 0-0 draw in a row in all competitions as they failed to find a way past Crystal Palace on Wednesday. 

There was a paucity of quality in misty conditions at Selhurst Park as Ole Gunnar Solskaer's men handed Manchester City another boost in the Premier League title race. 

City's 4-1 win over Wolves on Tuesday stretched the gap at the top to 15 points, but United could not respond in kind against a Palace side who beat them 3-1 at Old Trafford in the reverse fixture. 

The Red Devils failed even to have a shot between the 27th and 81st minute and have now gone three games without scoring a goal, having recently been the leading scorers in England's top flight this term.

United started scrappily but twice came close to an opening goal inside the first 20 minutes, Nemanja Matic's deflected shot brilliantly saved by Vicente Guaita before Marcus Rashford skewed a clear chance wide. 

Aaron Wan-Bissaka's cross nearly provided Edinson Cavani with a tap-in, but it was mostly a lifeless first-half display from the United attack, in keeping with their previous back-to-back goalless draws. 

There was little change early in the second half and Palace came close to snatching the lead through a half-volley from Andros Townsend that bounced wide. 

Substitute Dan James missed the ball when presented with a free header from a Luke Shaw cross, and Mason Greenwood fired over from the edge of the box, but that was as close as the visitors came. 

Patrick van Aanholt should have won the match when he was found by Luka Milivojevic, but Dean Henderson, in for the absent David de Gea, saved superbly at the feet of the left-back.

 
What does it mean? United being cut adrift by City 

Solskjaer insisted United would not let City run away with the title, but the gap between the top two now stands at 14 points ahead of Sunday's derby. 

Victory in that game would surely end any lingering United hopes of winning the trophy, and the Red Devils will need to improve significantly to get anything against Pep Guardiola's men. 

Palace have an 11-point gap to the bottom three and, despite having played a game more, they are beginning to look safe. 

Palace's protective Ward 

Rashford and Shaw were kept discernibly quiet down the United left thanks largely to Palace right-back Joel Ward. 

He made seven clearances and won back possession eight times for the home side in a diligent display, albeit one in which he was rarely stretched. 

Rotten Rashford 

Rashford's early miss set the tone for a dreadful performance in which he offered negligible threat down the United left. 

As the fog descended more thickly, Rashford seemed to fade further from the contest, which he ended with one shot, one cross and 29 completed passes. 

What's next? 

United head to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday to meet the leaders, with Palace in action at Tottenham later that day. 

Manchester United should target Harry Kane or Erling Haaland to fill their central striking berth, according to club great Mark Hughes. 

United are the Premier League's top scorers this season with 53 goals, but they have struggled to break down the defences of some of the competition's best sides. 

The Red Devils' 0-0 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday was the fourth consecutive goalless draw they have played out against other "big six" opposition, while they have not scored in any of their past six meetings with these teams.

Edinson Cavani was brought in on a free transfer earlier in the season and has largely impressed in the central position up front, but the Uruguay international is 34 and not a viable long-term option. 

Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood have all been tried in the middle of a front three this season, but Hughes – who enjoyed spells at Old Trafford between 1980-1986 and 1988-1995 – is not convinced any of them are entirely comfortable there. 

And he thinks Tottenham's Kane and Borussia Dortmund's Haaland are the calibre of player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should set his sights on. 

"I've seen United lots and they have good quality at the top end of the pitch. Rashford and Greenwood are highly thought of," he told Sky Sports.

"For me, they needed the Cavani of five years ago when he was in his pomp; they've probably got him at the wrong time. 

"He's still an outstanding centre forward. When I see him in this team, I just think he gives them a bit more focus. He gives them the confidence to play it into his feet and things happen around him. 

"With Martial as well, they [him, Rashford and Greenwood] all want to play in any position other than down the middle. Rashford prefers to be on the left-hand side, Martial prefers to be on the left. Greenwood prefers the right-hand side. 

"They've all been tried down the middle but you sense not one of them wants to be there. So, they need to get someone with the quality to play down the middle and give them that focus."

Asked if Kane or Haaland were the answer to United's problem in that position, Hughes responded: "They're the type of player they need to be in the market for. 

"How accessible or how much ability United will have in the transfer market to get those players, who knows, because there are a lot of clubs that would covet them."

Marcus Rashford was tasked with leading Manchester United's attack at Stamford Bridge, while Timo Werner dropped to the Chelsea bench.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer declared on Friday that he was unsure if Cavani, who has had a positive impact this season since arriving on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain, would overcome a knock which has kept him out since mid-February.

Paul Pogba was a confirmed absentee, however, and neither player featured as Solskjaer made five changes to his United team.

Rashford, who has been involved in seven goals in all competitions against Chelsea (five goals, two assists) – more than against any other side in his career – was instead given the central role that Anthony Martial had started in against Real Sociedad on Thursday.

That was one of five changes made by Solskjaer, who also brought back Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay and David de Gea.

United are unbeaten in 19 Premier League away games (W13 D6), a run that began with a 2-0 win at Chelsea in February 2020. 

This is the Red Devils' longest unbeaten away run in their top-flight history, though their previous longest of 17 between December 1998-September 1999 ended with a 5-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, and Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea team have been in strong form.

After a frustrating draw with Southampton last week, Chelsea beat Atletico Madrid in the Champions League thanks to Olivier Giroud's stunning winner.

Giroud is rewarded with a start up top, with Tuchel making three alterations.

One of the players to drop out is Werner, who ended his long goalscoring drought in Chelsea's last home game – a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United.

Hakim Ziyech is in to partner Mason Mount – who has scored two goals in his last three Premier League games, as many as in his previous 21 in the competition – behind Giroud, with N'Golo Kante replacing Jorginho in midfield and Ben Chilwell coming in at left wing-back.

Opposite Chilwell, Callum Hudson-Odoi retains his place, despite the youngster being subbed on and subbed off in the draw with Southampton.

The away team has won all four of the previous managerial matches between Tuchel and Solskjaer, with all of those games taking place between United and PSG in the Champions League.

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