Belfast Telegraph

Manchester United fans won't turn on wantaway Pogba: Solskjaer


No problems: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Paul Pogba
No problems: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Paul Pogba

By Simon Peach

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not believe Manchester United fans will turn on Paul Pogba despite the midfielder expressing his desire to leave.

Three years on from returning to Old Trafford for what was a world-record fee of £89million, the 26-year-old's future is under scrutiny.

Pogba admitted over the summer that he was open to "a new challenge somewhere else" - an admission compounded by his outspoken agent Mino Raiola's public statements.

But the World Cup winner has knuckled down and impressed during United's tour of Australia and Asia, with Solskjaer underlining his plans for the France international to play a key role for United this season.

Pogba is set to feature against Tottenham in Shanghai this afternoon and his manager is confident that fans will not give him grief when the team return to Europe.

"No (concerns about the reaction)," Solskjaer said. "I think our fans know what Paul has given the club and what he can give us.

"Of course, there are some loud, some small minority, and, no, Paul has been an absolutely top individual.

"I think both me and the players will testify to that, that he's never ever been a second problem here and we're just grateful when he performs as well as he does."

While Pogba has impressed during the tour of Australia, Singapore and China, knocks have meant Romelu Lukaku will have missed all four matches.

It's understood that the wantaway striker has been the subject of a failed £54 million bid by Inter Milan, with United giving the Serie A giants a deadline to agree a deal.

"(Victor) Lindelof's fine and Lukaku won't be fit, no," Solskjaer said ahead of the Spurs friendly.

"He's been working with a physio the last few days so I don't think he will make this one either."

Asked whether he regretted bringing Lukaku on the tour or if it had been worth it, the Norwegian said: "Well, he got injured in training so he had to stay here.

"It's not too bad. If it was worse, we'd have sent him home but he's been working with physios in the gym and stuff."

Lukaku trained on his own last night on the eve of the Tottenham match in the stifling Shanghai heat.

However, the Belgium striker is unlikely to be missed in the International Champions Cup match given the performances of his fellow forwards during the tour, increasing the pressure and competition should his exit not come to fruition.

"Of course, it's never nice to be a player who misses out on important fitness work, but also team-building work - as in team understanding and tactical approach," Solskjaer said.

"So, he'll just have to make up later on then."

Belfast Telegraph


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