Paul Pogba will be a Man United player next season, says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Press Association Sport 17:05 26/04/2019
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Pogba will be at United next season, according to his boss.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Paul Pogba will be at Manchester United next season.

Speculation about the midfielder’s future has increased again following United’s derby loss to Manchester City on Wednesday, with Real Madrid strongly linked with a move for the World Cup winner.

But at his press conference ahead of Sunday’s clash with Chelsea, Solskjaer said: “You can’t guarantee anything in football but yes, I think Paul is going to be here. I can assure you he is very determined to succeed at Manchester United.”

Eyebrows were raised when Pogba was the only non-Liverpool or Manchester City player to be named in the PFA team of the season this week given his erratic form for United.

Solskjaer defended the 26-year-old, saying: “That’s just the standards he’s set. When he’s creating chances, scoring goals, doing loads of work – media, supporters, it’s everyone who looks to Paul. Could he have done better?

“Paul’s done fantastic for us. He’s human. We’re all the same that we want him to do well. He’s a leader in that dressing room and on the pitch for us. He will be here as far as I can answer that.”

Pogba was cited as a disruptive influence in the dressing room during Jose Mourinho’s tenure, and the same reports are beginning to surface under Solskjaer.

The Norwegian said: “The world has changed so you don’t have a Robbo (Bryan Robson), a Roy Keane or a Steve Bruce in our dressing room.

“Society is different, and we are all different in the way we lead. I don’t lead the way Sir Alex did, (Louis) Van Gaal, Mourinho.”

Solskjaer, meanwhile, will not be resting David De Gea after the keeper’s latest blunder for City’s second goal.

Former United keeper Gary Bailey wrote on Twitter on Thursday that Sergio Romero should be given a run to allow De Gea to rediscover his form, but Solskjaer disagrees.

“No, not at all,” he said. “Because I trust David. He’s, for me, been the best player United have had for the last six, seven years.

“He’s been absolutely outstanding. Going through tough patches is just part of a footballer’s career. David will be fine, no worries.”

De Gea’s future has been the subject of intense speculation for a number of years, and his contract runs out at the end of next season, but Solskjaer does not think that is a factor.

“That’s something you have to deal with as a footballer,” he said. “You don’t always have a contract for five or 10 years. I think David’s coming in every single day doing what he should be doing.”

United go into Sunday’s clash three points behind Chelsea in the race for Champions League qualification and with the need for a turnaround in form becoming ever more desperate.

The end of Solskjaer’s honeymoon period has now seen seven defeats from the last nine matches, but he believes the results are a reflection of United’s overall level rather than a sudden dip.

FC Barcelona v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final: Second Leg

“The total points is 70 in average for the last five seasons, we’re now on 64, so that’s where we’re at, that is the reality that we are in now, where we’ve been in the last five seasons and that’s not good enough,” he said.

“That’s not down to the last six seven or eight games, that’s where we are at the moment and we have a great challenge ahead of us to get us up challenging again.”

Marcus Rashford was critical of the players’ mentality and work-rate on Wednesday, but Solskjaer said: “You could see on Wednesday night there’s a team that wants to play for each other and be there for each other.

“Rashy’s really hurt by losing the derby, we all are, but the eye opener was the Everton one. The last 10 days have been hard for everyone and you sometimes might come out emotional in an interview.

“But we know for this club to be successful we have to stick together 24/7 and your standards have to be at that level what we are doing for our team-mates.”

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer still confident Man United can qualify for Champions League

Press Association Sport 16:29 25/04/2019
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains confident Manchester United can qualify for the Champions League despite a collapse in form which continued with Wednesday night’s derby defeat against Manchester City.

United have now lost seven of their last nine games in all competitions, leaving them three points outside the top four in the Premier League.

But they have been helped by the stumbles of others, with Arsenal’s defeat to Wolves on Wednesday night keeping the door open.

Chelsea, who sit in fourth, visit Old Trafford on Sunday and Solskjaer has urged his side to keep fighting for Champions League football.

“We need more quality on Sunday and if we win that game, we have two games to go,” Solskjaer said.

“Of course we want to get into the top four. I haven’t been planning on playing on Thursday nights yet. We just have to make sure we give ourselves a chance on Sunday.

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“We’re three games away from the end of the season, we’re three points behind the top four and no-one would have given us a chance a few months ago.”

Like Arsenal and United, Chelsea have also endured some disappointing results of late, missing their own chance to pull clear when they drew at home with Burnley on Monday night.

Maurizio Sarri’s side could be feeling the pressure, and Solskjaer called on the Old Trafford crowd to turn up the heat further this weekend.

“Sunday is a massive one,” he told MUTV. “Sunday is something we have got to get ready for. The crowd has got to get ready for it, the players have got to get ready for it.

“Of course we have analysed them. Let’s just make sure we turn up on Sunday with the same attitude and a little bit more quality in front of goal hopefully.

“Let’s get the win that everybody wants, that the fans deserve and that the players deserve because they have made a terrific effort to give us a chance with three games to go to get in the top four.”

United’s poor recent form has been a particular disappointment given the football they played when Solskjaer first arrived as a caretaker following Jose Mourinho’s exit.

The Norwegian won 14 of his first 19 games in charge as United returned to exciting attacking play, but that has been in short supply of late.

They began brightly against City but could not maintain the intensity required, though they avoided a repeat of the insipid display of the weekend’s 4-0 loss at Everton.

Striker Marcus Rashford has been one of the brightest lights in recent weeks, and used Twitter to urge fans to keep the faith.

“Tough period for us at the moment and as a United fan myself I understand how you’re feeling,” he wrote.

“We’ve shown how we can play, we need to get back to doing what we know we can do!”

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Former Man United captain Roy Keane delivers scathing assessment of club after Man City defeat

Aditya Devavrat 11:07 25/04/2019
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Solskjaer has spoken of a need for a rebuild at United.

Former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane believes the club will struggle to recruit the players they need this summer because they are not challenging for trophies.

Keane, who was captain of United’s Treble-winning side in 1998/99 and lifted the Premier League trophy as skipper on three other occasions, was scathing in his assessment of the club while appearing as a pundit on Sky Sports for United’s 2-0 defeat by Manchester City on Wednesday.

In typically belligerent fashion, the Irish midfielder questioned whether the club’s hierarchy is up to the task of executing the rebuilt that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists is needed – and Keane’s former team-mate is not the first manager of the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era to say this.

“The worrying thing for me is that they need two centre-halves and two full-backs,” Keane said on Sky Sports. “That’s four for starters. And who’s making the final decision? You get the impression that there’s chaos in the background.

“I know Ed Woodward gets a lot of criticism, the scouting department – and will Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] have the final say over [signing] players? I don’t know, because if you speak to the previous managers I’ll bet you that was a big problem for them.

“Also, which players out there, which brilliant players out there that are available will want to come to United? I always thought that when I was a player and up until the last two years, if I spoke to a player who had a chance to go to Man United I would say, ‘you’ve got to go.’

“I don’t care, brilliant club. Absolutely brilliant club. But you’re on about now players wanting to win the big prizes, then you look at Man United. If you’re a top player you will not want to come to Man United because there are better options out there in terms of winning trophies.”

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