Sergio Romero still feels he is living the dream at Manchester United despite acknowledging frustration over being a permanent back-up.

Romero, 32, joined United from Sampdoria in 2015, allowing him to link up once again with his former AZ coach Louis van Gaal.

Although the Dutchman did not last at United, Romero has continued to be a valuable asset to the club, with predecessor Jose Mourinho and his successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keeping him on as the back-up to David de Gea.

Throughout Romero's time at United he has had to contend with being second choice, though under Mourinho the Argentina international featured prominently in the victorious Europa League campaign of 2016-17, even playing the final.

Although he has not played a Premier League game since May 2018, Romero has made three European appearances this season – but he could not hide his frustration at not being a regular starter.

"It's not easy, but I work every day for this, for this possibility," Romero said on Wednesday ahead of facing his former team AZ this Thursday.

"When I have my chance in the squad to play, I am ready for this moment. I think in the last four years I have been in a difficult situation because I have played for the national team for years.

"But I am ready, I work every day for my chance and when I have my chance I try to do my best.

"When you have David in front [of you] – in the last years David is the best goalkeeper in the world – this is difficult.

"But I work, I am happy, I am in the best club in the world. I tell about another time when I was young, I saw Man United [play] many times and I say, 'one day I want to play in this club'.

"I am here, I am happy, I work, and when I have my chance, I do my best.

"When I got the chance to come to United I knew I accepted that I would be playing a few games, but when you get the chance to wear this shirt it's a dream come true. It's never intention to be second choice."

Paul Pogba will not be fit to face Norwich City on Sunday but David de Gea should be able to make the trip to Carrow Road, according to Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

United are in Serbia ahead of a Europa League clash with Partizan Belgrade, though neither Pogba nor De Gea are in the travelling party.

Pogba last featured at the end of September having sustained a foot injury, while De Gea has recently struggled with a groin strain.

De Gea was able to take his place in United's starting XI on Sunday in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool despite appearing to be a doubt after hurting himself on international duty.

Solskjaer is unwilling to risk the Spaniard in Belgrade, with youngster Matej Kovar joining Sergio Romero and Lee Grant as the three goalkeepers, while Pogba remains sidelined even for the weekend journey to Norfolk.

"De Gea will be ready for Sunday but we didn’t take a risk with him travelling here," Solskjaer told reporters on Wednesday.

"Paul? No," Solskjaer later added when asked if Pogba could feature against Norwich.

United head into Thursday's game at Partizan second to them in Group L by virtue of scoring fewer goals.

They have not won away from home in any competition since beating Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes in March.

Paul Pogba and David de Gea will not be involved for Manchester United against Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League, but Jesse Lingard is back in the fold.

Neither Pogba nor De Gea took part in the Red Devils' training session at Carrington on Wednesday and both were missing from the squad list travelling to Serbia.

Pogba has been absent since September 30 due to a toe injury but reports suggested he may have played a part in the fixture, while Spain goalkeeper De Gea featured in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Liverpool despite having sustained a groin injury on international duty.

Axel Tuanzebe, Luke Shaw and Nemanja Matic also miss the trip for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, but there is better news over Lingard.

The England international injured his hamstring in United's previous Europa League outing, which ended in a goalless draw at AZ on October 3.

United are second in Group L with four points from two matches.

 

Squad in full: Sergio Romero, Lee Grant, Matej Kovar; Phil Jones, Ethan Laird, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Marcos Rojo, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Brandon Williams; Fred, James Garner, Daniel James, Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira; Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford.

Paul Pogba and David de Gea missed training on Wednesday ahead of Manchester United's trip to Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League.

Pogba has not played since September 30 due to a toe injury but there had been suggestions he could be fit for the clash in Serbia.

De Gea starred in United's 1-1 Premier League draw with leaders Liverpool on Sunday but failed to appear for the open section of training at Carrington.

Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic, Diogo Dalot and Axel Tuanzebe were also absent but there was some better news for boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Jesse Lingard making an appearance following a spell on the sidelines due to a hamstring problem.

United lie second in Group L, level on points with Partizan, after a win over Astana and a draw with AZ Alkmaar.

David de Gea's fitness will be assessed ahead of Manchester United's Premier League clash with Liverpool, which Paul Pogba will miss.

Goalkeeper De Gea appeared to suffer a groin injury during Spain's 1-1 draw with Sweden in Euro 2020 qualifying on Tuesday.

Pogba, meanwhile, has been hampered by an ankle injury this season and played only twice for United in September.

He had taken part in warm-weather training in Dubai this week but will be reduced to the role of spectator on Sunday as United aim to deal their great rivals a first league defeat of the season.

Solskjaer does not expect De Gea to be fit for the visit of the league leaders but will wait on the results of tests on the 28-year-old. Sergio Romero would likely deputise in his absence.

"No chance," Solskjaer said to Sky Sports of Pogba's hopes of playing in the fixture.

"Paul, he had an injury, came back, worked really hard, came back, played a couple of games, maybe played through the pain barrier.

"We had a scan after the Arsenal game and he needed a few weeks' rest in a boot. Hopefully he won't be too long but he won't make this game."

United go into this weekend's game in 12th position and 15 points behind Liverpool, who are eight points clear at the top having taken maximum points from their first eight league games.

David de Gea's fitness will be assessed ahead of Manchester United's Premier League clash with Liverpool, which Paul Pogba will miss.

Goalkeeper De Gea appeared to suffer a groin injury during Spain's 1-1 draw with Sweden in Euro 2020 qualifying on Tuesday.

Pogba, meanwhile, has been hampered by an ankle injury this season and played only twice for United in September.

He had taken part in warm-weather training in Dubai this week but will be reduced to the role of spectator on Sunday as United aim to deal their great rivals a first league defeat of the season.

Solskjaer does not expect De Gea to be fit for the visit of the league leaders but waill wait on the results of tests on the 28-year-old. Sergio Romero would likely deputise in his absence.

"No chance," Solskjaer said to Sky Sports of Pogba's hopes of playing in the fixture.

"Paul, he had an injury, came back, worked really hard, came back, played a couple of games, maybe played through the pain barrier.

"We had a scan after the Arsenal game and he needed a few weeks rest in a boot. Hopefully he won't be too long but he won't make this game."

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed David de Gea and Paul Pogba will miss Manchester United's Premier League clash with Liverpool on Sunday.

Dani Ceballos acknowledged Spain were made to suffer before sealing their place at Euro 2020 with a dramatic 1-1 draw in Sweden.

Marcus Berg's 50th-minute opener and an abductor injury for David de Gea looked set to add up to a frustrating outing for Robert Moreno's men on Tuesday.

But Valencia striker Rodrigo Moreno came off the bench to poach a stoppage-time equaliser and make certain of qualification for next year's European Championship.

Spain were on the receiving end of a similar fightback when Norway snatched a 1-1 draw in their previous match and Arsenal playmaker Ceballos – who operated at the tip of a midfield diamond during an impressive opening – noted improvement in Stockholm.

"Against Norway we were more hesitant. Today we were very plugged in," Ceballos said.

"If Thiago [Alcantara's] chance had gone in, the game would have been different. The team is growing, it's time to be united for Euro 2020.

"The point gives us glory. In the first 30 minutes we dominated, but then it was complicated by the goal and injury to De Gea.

"The team has known how to suffer and we leave with good feelings of achieving our goal.

Moreno made six changes to the side that faced Norway but Spain's squad unity looked in good order as the bench deliriously joined in Rodrigo's celebrations.

"It has been crazy to look at the bench and see [unused substitute Sergio] Busquets celebrate with Rodrigo," Ceballos added.

"That reflects the good atmosphere of the dressing room, with the coach also celebrating like crazy. We have a good dressing room."

David de Gea suffered an abductor injury during Spain's Euro 2020 qualification-sealing draw in Sweden, head coach Robert Moreno confirmed.

De Gea hobbled off after an hour of the 1-1 draw at the Friends Arena, where substitute Rodrigo Moreno came off the bench to snatch an equaliser in stoppage time on Tuesday.

The news comes as a huge blow to Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of Sunday's highly anticipated showdown against Premier League leaders Liverpool at Old Trafford.

"De Gea was treated at the break and decided to continue," Moreno explained after the United star appeared discomforted following a first-half clearance.

"He has a puncture in the abductor."

Spain generally struggled for their fluent best during this international break, with a 1-1 draw against Norway in their previous match coming in parallel circumstances as Josh King pegged them back through a last-gasp penalty.

"The same result, one day it tastes like victory and the other one like defeat," Moreno said.

"I am happy with the team's game and with the players I have. It was a difficult game against a rival that eliminated great teams in the World Cup. We are very happy "

Moreno took charge of Spain full-time after Luis Enrique stepped down in June to spend time with his family.

The former Barcelona coach's daughter Xana died in August aged nine, having suffered from osteosarcoma – a rare form of bone cancer.

"When you become a high-level team, like Spain, it is an obligation to qualify you," Moreno added.

"I want to remember Luis Enrique and his family and dedicate the qualification to them."

Rodrigo Moreno came off the bench to snatch a last-gasp 1-1 draw in Sweden and confirm Spain's place at Euro 2020.

Inspired saves from Robin Olsen and an injury to their own goalkeeper, David de Gea, added up to what was starting to look like a wretched outing at the Friends Arena for Robert Moreno's men.

But Rodrigo, who was dropped to the bench as his coach made six changes to the XI held by Norway last time out, reacted sharply to prod in from close range.

Sweden rode out an early storm to hit the front through Marcus Berg in the 50th minute and still have their fate in their own hands ahead of pivotal trip to Romania next month.

David de Gea was forced off through injury during Spain's Euro 2020 qualifier in Sweden – making him a huge doubt for Manchester United's weekend showdown with rivals Liverpool.

Goalkeeper De Gea made a number of fine saves at the Friends Arena on Tuesday, including a fabulous double stop that immediately preceded Marcus Berg's 50th-minute opener for the hosts.

But the damage appeared to have already been done at that stage, with 28-year-old appearing to be discomforted by his groin following a first-half clearance.

Chelsea's Kepa Arrizabalaga warmed up extensively during half-time and De Gea made way with an hour played.

De Gea has been an ever-present for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men in the England's top flight this season, although Sergio Romero will now be on standby to step in for United against the Premier League leaders.

Kepa Arrizabalaga feels his battle with David de Gea to be first-choice goalkeeper can only be a good thing for Spain.

Chelsea keeper Kepa has started four of the national team's last five matches, with De Gea returning to the XI for the 4-0 win over the Faroe Islands last month.

De Gea endured a poor World Cup after a disappointing club campaign with Manchester United, but national team boss Robert Moreno recently stated he does not have an undisputed number one.

Spain take on Norway in Oslo on Saturday and Kepa is keen to earn a recall to the starting line-up.

"My goal is to play," he said at Friday's pre-match news conference. "All players want to be in the starting XI. I am obviously confident and want to help the team. 

"If I am one of the eleven chosen, my goal is to win a match that will not be easy against Norway.

"I feel good and I'm confident. It is true that I barely participated at the World Cup and now I'm able to help the team more."

Both players have staked a claim to start regularly and Kepa says rotation is to be expected.

"Whenever there is a debate over a position for the national team, it is a good thing - the beneficiary is the team," he said.

"Since the policy of rotating in the goal has become common, you have to trust yourself.

"All these comments in the press, I don't get involved in that, we simply have to do our talking on the pitch."

Kepa left Spanish side Athletic Bilbao for Chelsea in August 2018, in the process becoming the most expensive goalkeeper in world football.

The 25-year-old believes he has developed during his time in the Premier League and hopes to continue improving his game at Stamford Bridge. 

"I have matured as a person and as a goalkeeper," he said. "I have become accustomed to playing in a different way. 

"I'm now seeing more physical opponents, also of great quality, and I keep developing because I'm young."

A nonplussed David de Gea believes Manchester United are enduring their "most difficult time" since his arrival in 2011.

The Red Devils suffered a third defeat in six Premier League matches on Sunday, as they went down 1-0 to Newcastle United at St James' Park.

Matty Longstaff's second-half strike proved the difference between the two sides, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men mustering just three shots on target.

United, who have scored only twice in their past five games in all competitions and are enduring their worst start to a league season in 30 years, have still not won away from home since beating Paris Saint-Germain in March.

The initial upturn in results after Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho last December have long since subsided, and De Gea, who endured difficult times under David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Mourinho, cannot remember a tougher period for the club.

Asked what was missing from their performance against Newcastle, De Gea told Sky Sports: "Everything. A lot of things to improve. They were the better team today.

"I don't know what to say, really. Just keep trying, fighting, improving every day. It's a hard moment for us.

"It's probably the most difficult time since I've been here. I don't know why, what is happening. We cannot score even one goal in two games.

"It's difficult to say something. Sorry to the fans. We will keep fighting for sure, we will come back, but at the moment we are in a difficult situation.

"We defended quite well. It's true they had good chances to score but, come one, we conceded a goal from our corner. That cannot happen.

"It's not acceptable, not just this game, the whole season. Keep fighting and see what happens in the next games."

United's next match is against arch-rivals Liverpool after the international break on October 20.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt Marcus Rashford clearly should have been awarded a penalty during the 0-0 Europa League draw against AZ.

In a game of few chances at the Cars Jeans Stadion, United substitute Rashford went to ground under a clumsy challenge from Stijn Wuytens during the closing stages.

After the match, Solskjaer bemoaned a familiar theme of a sapping week – recalling how claims for handball in the box against Arsenal defender Sead Kolasinac similarly fell on deaf ears during Monday's 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

"It's a penalty 101 times out of a 100," Solskjaer told BT Sport.

"How many times this season have we not got penalties? Against Arsenal that would be 2-0, tonight would have been 1-0.

"It would have topped off a very good performance away from home against a very good team. We've come here and should have won."

United goalkeeper David de Gea repelled their Eredivisie opponents with a couple of sharp saves and reported Rashford was convinced he should have been awarded a spot kick.

"From my position it's really difficult to see that," he said.

"We asked Marcus and he said 100 per cent it's a penalty.

"I didn’t see well from my position but it's probably a penalty."

As it was, United did not manage a shot on target during the contest, but they have four points from two outings in the Europa League and Solskjaer was keen to focus on the positives.

One of those was an assured full debut from 19-year-old left-back Brandon Williams.

"Top class. You don’t see a better full debut from a full-back anywhere," Solskjaer added.

"The boy is just going to improve and improve."

Manchester United continue to struggle for form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and their failings are never more obvious than in routinely underwhelming performances in Premier League away games.

A quick glance at the club's top-flight record outside Old Trafford since a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace on February 27 shows four defeats, three draws and zero victories.

Their homesickness would be of less concern were results gained with any ease in Manchester but cannot be overlooked if the top four is to be a realistic aim.

Ahead of Sunday's excursion to struggling Newcastle United, where Solskjaer's men have an ideal opportunity to stop the rot, we analyse the Opta data behind United's wretched run on the road.

 

TRAILING ALL BUT SPURS IN PAST SEVEN

United have been involved in seven Premier League away games since that win at Selhurst Park and secured a paltry three points, at an average of 0.43 per game.

For context, that figure is inferior to the 0.50 points embattled Watford have averaged in the same period.

In fact, among the 17 teams to have taken part in the Premier League this season and last, it is better than only Tottenham's woeful return of 0.29 points per game.

Where Spurs and the Red Devils have floundered, rivals Liverpool have excelled.

The Premier League leaders have banked 25 of a possible 27 points on their travels and it is not the only vast statistical gulf between United and the Anfield outfit.

PAYING A HIGH PRICE AT THE BACK

Expertly marshalled by Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool have given up the fewest goals away from home of all Premier League teams throughout United's rough run.

The European champions have conceded six goals from 92 shots faced at a conversion rate of 6.5 per cent.

While at least partly attributable to the quality of chances offered up, United have not enjoyed the same level of charity from their opponents.

The shot conversion rate for teams entertaining Solskjaer's side has risen to a division-high 18.8 per cent since the end of February.

Watford (17.8 per cent), Chelsea (16 per cent) and Everton (15.2 per cent) are next closest to that mark.

Is it a matter of misfortune?

Or should questions be asked of goalkeeper David de Gea, who conceded from a direct free-kick for the 12th time in his Premier League career during the recent 2-0 defeat at West Ham?

Luck might play a part, but United cannot hide from blame for their crippling shortcomings at the other end.

WASTEFUL IN ATTACK

Solskjaer admitted ahead of Monday's home draw against Arsenal that United would seek to a sign a replacement for Romelu Lukaku when the transfer window opens in January.

The Norwegian has invested faith in Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood since selling the centre-forward to Inter but United are in dire need of cutting edge going forward.

The issue surfaced towards the end of last season as two goals were scored across the club's final four Premier League away fixtures and it has become painfully obvious this term.

Draws at Wolves and Southampton, along with the blank at the London Stadium, have seen the club's shot conversion rate in road games plummet to a league-low four per cent during the timeframe in question.

Each of the other 16 sides have managed more goals than United's four and at a sharper rate of conversion.

That simply has to change if the 13-time Premier League champions are to rediscover their aura, home or away.

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