Football

‘He’s got the hunger’ – Solskjaer credits Pogba desire after Raiola pleads for Man Utd transfer

The midfielder’s agent said earlier this week that his time at Manchester United was “over” but his manager is happy with his effort at training

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed Paul Pogba’s work-rate this week after the midfielder’s agent Mino Raiola cast doubt over his future at Manchester United.

Raiola claimed his client’s time with the club was “over” this week and talked up a transfer before his contract expires in the summer of 2022.

Pogba came on as a second-half sub and scored against RB Leipzig on Tuesday night, but he couldn’t prevent United from crashing out of the Champions League after a 3-2 loss.

Speaking after that game, Solskjaer responded to Raiola by saying: “As soon as Paul’s agent realises this is a team sport and we work together the better.”

The United manager was again asked about Pogba ahead of their clash with Manchester City this weekend and Solskjaer said he had no doubts over the player’s commitment.

“I think I said during the week that this is a team game and Paul is part of this team,” Solskjaer explained. “He’s very focused on contributing when he’s here. He’s got the hunger and appetite to play and wants to play.

“He wants to train and he trains. There’s been other players refusing to train and refusing to play – they’re not here anymore of course – but Paul’s not once done that.

“He’s just focused on performing when he gets a chance. That’s the good thing about Paul. He’s got the quality and the desire to do well when he comes on, like he did against Leipzig. He had a positive impact. The short answer is he’s part of the squad for tomorrow.”

United go into the derby looking to bounce back after crashing out of the Champions League, another result that increased the pressure on Solskjaer. His job is not under immediate threat but he spoke about dealing with the pressure and scrutiny that comes with being manager at the club.

“There’s always pressure on you when you manage Man Utd,” the Norwegian said. “That’s something I had to think about when I accepted the role.

“Do I have what it takes to be in such a situation? Can you handle setbacks? Can you handle success? I think I can.

“I’ve got a fantastic staff around me who I use as sparring partners for discussions even [though] the conversation with the club goes on all the time. It’s a continuous open dialogue. When you come to work the next day you see the quality of the players you have and you want to work with them.”

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