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Dec 12, 2019 at 8pm UK
Man UtdManchester United
4-0
AZAZ
Young (53'), Greenwood (58', 64'), Mata (62' pen.)
FT(HT: 0-0)

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Solskjaer praises "natural footballer" Mason Greenwood after Europa brace

:Headline: Solskjaer praises 'natural footballer' Mason Greenwood after Europa brace:
The 18-year-old improved his goal tally for the season to six in all competitions.
PA | 1mo

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer mentioned Mason Greenwood in the same breath as a young Wayne Rooney after the teenager inspired Manchester United's Europa League victory against AZ Alkmaar.

With progress to the knockout phase already assured, the Reds overcame a sloppy start to secure a thumping win that sealed top spot in Group L and a place among the top seeds in Monday's draw.

Greenwood was the star of the show at Old Trafford, where his fine, low strike swiftly followed Ashley Young's second-half opener.

The 18-year-old won the penalty converted by Juan Mata, before wrapping up a comprehensive 4-0 win with another stunning strike, becoming the youngest player to score a brace for United in major European competition.

"I've probably said it all before, so it's nothing new – that's what he does," former striker Solskjaer said of Greenwood.

"And tomorrow he'll probably go in training and score a few more. He's always done it. That's just natural for him.

"He's a natural footballer but the closer he gets to goal, the more dangerous he is.

“Obviously natural finishing, he's one of the best I've seen”
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Mason Greenwood

"Right foot, left foot – nightmare probably for defenders. He needs to develop his heading then he can be a proper striker."

Asked if he had seen anyone as good at the same age as Greenwood, who only turned 18 in October, Solskjaer said: "I've seen a few good ones, yeah.

"I've played with Wazza myself. Obviously natural finishing, he's one of the best I've seen."

Solskjaer was quick to point out Greenwood is a different type of player to Rooney, but just like United's all-time top scorer his potential was clear long before he turned 18.

"There was never any question of him going on loan," the Norwegian said.

"That decision was made early on in pre-season, or even towards end of last season.

"I knew we had got a top talent there and I think this club is the best at recognising that and, for me, developing talent like this. There's no better place for him to be than here."

Solskjaer praised Greenwood throughout United's tour of Australia and Asia, while his six-goal haul for the side this season underlined his quality – albeit just one of those have so far come in the Premier League.

"He played against Tottenham and he was class," he said. "I'm not afraid of playing him in the Premier League. Not at all.

"But it's about sharing the minutes and finding the right minutes for him. Of course he is ready to play in the Premier League."

Solskjaer joked that Lincoln would not need to worry about Greenwood in Friday's FA Youth Cup tie having underlined his quality on a night that United started so poorly.

"There wasn't any cups flying or anything," he said of the half-time team talk.

"We just had to get the troops together and get back to what we're good at – more aggressive, more urgency without the ball, more composure on the ball.

"We were slow off the ball first half, we were too rash with the ball, just giving the ball away."

AZ Alkmaar manager Arne Slot rued his side's missed chances before United's opener (Martin Rickett/PA)

United blew away AZ when they belated kicked into life on Thursday, leaving head coach Arne Slot reeling.

"It's an understatement to say that we had a bad period in the second half, but maybe it shows the class of our opponents," he said.

"The most important lesson is that it's all very well to play attractive football but you can still lose a match within a couple of minutes."

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1Liverpool23221054153967
2Manchester CityMan City24163565273851
3Leicester CityLeicester24153652242848
4Chelsea2412484132940
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd249783629734
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs249783832634
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2481063532334
8Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd248972523233
9Southampton2494113142-1131
10Arsenal2461263234-230
11Crystal Palace247982228-630
12Everton2486102835-730
13Burnley2493122838-1030
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2486102436-1230
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2467112734-725
16Aston Villa2474133145-1425
17West Ham UnitedWest Ham2365122738-1123
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19Watford2458112136-1523
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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23221054153967
2Manchester CityMan City24163565273851
3Leicester CityLeicester24153652242848
4Chelsea2412484132940
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd249783629734
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs249783832634
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2481063532334
8Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd248972523233
9Southampton2494113142-1131
10Arsenal2461263234-230
11Crystal Palace247982228-630
12Everton2486102835-730
13Burnley2493122838-1030
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2486102436-1230
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2467112734-725
16Aston Villa2474133145-1425
17West Ham UnitedWest Ham2365122738-1123
18Bournemouth2465132337-1423
19Watford2458112136-1523
20Norwich CityNorwich2445152447-2317
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