Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to build Manchester United team around ‘top class’ Paul Pogba
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised the improvement of Paul Pogba and wants to build the Manchester United team around him.
Pogba had a tempestuous relationship with former boss Jose Mourinho, which including him being stripped of his role as vice-captain back in September.
However, since Mourinho’s departure, the Frenchman has excelled for United, assisting twice in the 5-1 win at Cardiff and netting a brace in the 3-1 Boxing Day victory over Huddersfield Town.
“I think Paul’s a top, top player,” Solskjaer said. “He’s one of the top players in the world. Attacking wise, he’s done really well but he’s a big lad who can win headers and tackles. He’s been the same as the others.
“The attitude has been perfect and that’s key; you should be tired towards the end of every single game.
“He’s been top-class and of course he’s someone that we’re looking to build a team, but there are so many quality players.”
Solskjar has challenged Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to follow Pogba’s lead and up their game as the out-of-sorts stars close in on a United return.
“I think you put it the wrong way, because I cannot do anything for their performances on the pitch,” Solskjaer said. “Paul has done it himself, the players have done the performances.
“My chats with Anthony (Martial), Romelu, Alexis, whoever…(they have) not felt that they cannot produce their best of football.
“I’m here to guide them, help them on the path and then it’s up to them to do it on the pitch. I don’t agree that I have done that with Paul and I can do that with Romelu and Alexis.
“It’s up to them when they get a chance, that’s the name of the game when you are a footballer. You’ve got to do it yourself…you want help from your team-mates and your manager.
“I give them some guidelines, of course, there has been loads of talk about the expression, freedom of expression, but that’s how I’ve always been as a manager.
“You can’t tell all the players what to do in that position, they are here for a reason.
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“They are good players and it’s up to them to use their imagination, their creativity and just enjoy playing for this club because that is the best time of your life.
“But it’s not bad a bad time being a manager either for a little while either!”
The caretaker boss has also confirmed that Antonio Valencia will retain the captaincy despite making just seven appearances this season.
Valencia and Mourinho fell out following the 0-0 draw with Valencia in the Champions League at the start of October after he liked an Instagram post calling for the under-pressure manager to be sacked.
“Antonio is the captain when fit,’ he added. “He’s going through a couple of tough sessions now to get him ready for the busy period, but there are not many more better right backs going forward. So you’ll see him wearing his band.”
Manchester United against Bournemouth at Old Trafford will be LIVE on talkSPORT on Sunday, kick off 16:30.
Source: SportsLatest TS