Ralf Rangnick sets Marcus Rashford challenge after West Ham winner

Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick has told Marcus Rashford that he must maintain his prolific form if he wants to be viewed as one of the Premier League’s elite forwards.

Not a regular starter under Rangnick, Rashford has come off the bench to score in United’s last two matches, bagging the winner in this weekend’s 1-0 victory over West Ham United to take his tally to four for the season.

After the match, Rangnick reminded Rashford that there is a lot of competition for minutes in his favourite positions and told the England international what he must to if he wants to guarantee playing time.

“We have a lot of wingers, we have a lot of outstanding players in that position,” Rangnick explained. “Jadon [Sancho] was not available today but we have a lot of players for those two positions and Marcus is one of them.

“Right now, yes, he has scored twice in consecutive games when he came from the bench but, of course, his ambition is to play regularly from the start again.

“It is up to him. If he continually plays on a high level and keeps scoring goals, of course this is the best way to get back into the team and play from the beginning.”

Rashford has been behind Anthony Elanga and Mason Greenwood in the pecking order in recent weeks, but Rangnick was confident that the 24-year-old can force his way ahead of them and start regularly for United again.

He continued: “He is one of the top strikers in England. He is an English international who regularly played in the Euros.

“We all know what kind of quality he has. He has got almost everything that a modern striker needs. He has got the pace, the skills, he has got the size, the physicality of the striker and in the end it is all about confidence for strikers.

“I am pretty sure that those two goals have raised the level of confidence within Marcus. Now it is about taking the next steps and showing that on a regular basis.

“It is about continuity now. I think he can play a very important role for the rest of the season for us.”

WSL team of the week – gameweek 13

Gameweek 13 saw the WSL return to a full programme of fixtures after weeks of Covid-19 postponements, with no shortage of action and drama at both ends of the table.

Manchester United enjoyed a statement win over Tottenham to go within two points of the top of the table, while Reading continued their excellent winning run and West Ham brushed Everton aside. Arsenal and Manchester City also played out a dramatic draw in Sunday’s late kick-off.

Read on to see who made the cut for 90min’s latest WSL team of the week…

Megan Walsh (GK) – Brighton: The Seagulls stopper made five saves that proved crucial in frustrating the champions and securing an unexpected point. She has racked up 500 saves in WSL overall.

Ona Batlle (RB) – Man Utd: Always in control against in-form Spurs winger Jessica Naz, not giving her opponent much of a look in. Also got forward well as has become expected of her.

Victoria Williams (CB) – Brighton: Repelled everything that Chelsea could throw at her and always seemed to be in the right place at the right time to clear the ball and preserve the clean sheet.

Steph Houghton (CB) – Man City: Rolled back the years with a fine performance that looked like it would be enough for a clean sheet and win against Arsenal until the late equaliser.

Kate Longhurst (LB) – West Ham: Carrying from her huge goal a week ago, the versatile Hammers star shone in a more conventional left-back role. She got forward to regularly cross the ball and was good defensively.

Emma Harries (RM) – Reading: The 19-year-old had a major impact and extended her team’s winning run with a volley to complete a 3-2 comeback win. She also won the penalty that got the Royals back level at 2-2.

Hayley Ladd (CM) – Man Utd: Put in an excellent box to box performance in her team’s win. She was good on the ball, was crucial in preventing Spurs gain a foothold and scored an important goal just before half-time.

Kim Little (CM) – Arsenal: Her passing helped give the Gunners the lion’s share of the possession against Manchester City, playing in both halves of the pitch. She was also key in winning the ball back.

Leah Galton (LM) – Man Utd: Getting back to her best form more consistently and marked another impressive performance with a goal. Rarely lost the ball and was a creative spark.

Dagny Brynjarsdottir (ST) – West Ham: Operated further forward than her usual midfield role and was reward with the killer second goal in her team’s comprehensive win.

Alisha Lehamnn (ST) – Aston Villa: Defended well from the front throughout and took her chance when it came in stoppage time to win the game and end Villa’s run of dire recent form.

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Everton to hold talks with Vitor Pereira over vacant manager role

Everton are ready to make a third push to hire Vitor Pereira as their manager, with talks scheduled for this week.

The Toffees are looking for a replacement for Rafa Benitez and have spoken to a whole host of candidates after leaving Duncan Ferguson in temporary charge. Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Roberto Martinez are three of many to have been spoken to.

Now, the search has turned to Pereira, who has long been on Everton’s radar. He was interviewed before Martinez’s reign began in 2013 and was tipped to join before the Toffees eventually went for Carlo Ancelotti in late 2019.

Reports in Portugal late on Sunday suggested that a deal with Pereira has already been agreed, with the former Fenerbahce manager expected in England on Monday to finalise the terms of his deal, but numerous sources have argued that negotiations are not so advanced.

The Daily Mail note that talks have been held over the past few days and Pereira has made a significant impression on the Everton board, who have been impressed with his reputation as a serial winner across the globe.

Pereira is towards the top of Everton’s shortlist but is still just one of many names to be considered. Niko Kovac is a new addition to the list and Everton are determined for this appointment to be the right one.

Sources have confirmed to 90min that caretaker boss Ferguson has also asked to be considered for the permanent role.

Ferguson is incredibly popular in the dressing room and a number of players are keen to see the 50-year-old Scot given the job on a long-term basis, having been impressed with his methods as an assistant manager since 2019.

Spurs ready to sell Giovani Lo Celso with Sevilla among suitors

Sevilla are keen to sign Tottenham midfielder Giovani Lo Celso this month after watching him be left out of the squad that fell 2-0 to Chelsea on Sunday.

The Argentina international has played very limited minutes following the arrival of Antonio Conte, who made the controversial decision to drop Lo Celso from Sunday’s squad altogether, alongside Dele Alli.

In response to his omission, Lo Celso wrote on Instagram: “I would like to clear [up] that I am 100% in good physical condition. I have no problems and I feel very well.”

Sources have now confirmed to 90min that Spurs are looking to offload Lo Celso before the January transfer window comes to a close, with the 25-year-old being pushed towards the exit door alongside Dele and Tanguy Ndombele – though Tottenham may not sanction the sales of all of them.

Paris Saint-Germain are in for Ndombele, while Newcastle are considering Dele, and football.london state that Sevilla could be Spurs’ best chances of offloading Lo Celso.

Sevilla are looking to bring the Argentine back to La Liga before the end of month and believe he could return to the levels he reached at Real Betis, which saw him earn a £55m move to Spurs in 2019.

Conte was eager to avoid questions on Lo Celso’s future after the Chelsea defeat, telling reporters: “I selected the players for this game and this question [on Lo Celso] is one for the club to answer.”

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang keen to remain in Europe

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is expected to reject the chance to join Saudi Arabian side Al Hilal as he hopes to remain in Europe.

Arsenal are prepared to listen to offers for the Gabon international after repeated disciplinary breaches saw him stripped of the club captaincy towards the end of last year, and he was banished from team training before heading off to the African Cup of Nations.

Al Hilal have offered to take Aubameyang on loan for the remainder of the season with a view to a permanent deal, but Arsenal have not yet responded and are mulling over all their options.

Regardless of what they eventually say to Al Hilal, The Athletic expect Aubameyang to snub a move to Saudi Arabia this month as he does not believe he needs to leave Europe.

Aubameyang still feels confident that he can perform at the highest level and is more determined than ever to prove himself after recent events have taken a toll on his reputation.

Arsenal are open to all options and could field offers from Europe, where Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona are both believed to be keeping an eye on Aubameyang’s situation, but his high wages could prove problematic.

Most suitors are reluctant to pay a significant portion of his salary, which is in excess of £300,000 per week, but Arsenal want as much money off the books as possible while they pursue a new striker.

Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic and Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak are both on the Gunners’ radar, and offloading Aubameyang’s wages would go a long way to helping their cause.