The French midfielder is said to be “recovering well” from a thigh injury that he picked up in the 3-3 draw with Everton on February 6, 2021.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Issues Fresh Update on Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba Update
When issuing the update on the fitness of his team, Solskaer said: “Paul (Pogba), he is recovering well, starting treatment. Still a few weeks, so he won’t be playing in February, that’s for sure.”
That rules Pogba out of United’s trip to Stamford Bridge at the end of the month. Unfortunate for the World Cup-winning midfielder, who had recently shown an upturn in form at Old Trafford.
This latest update from Solskjaer on Paul Pogba does offer some hope that he could return in time for the Manchester derby, currently set for March 6, 2021.
Solskjaer continued: “Apart from that a couple of doubts. Anthony (Martial) and Scott (McTominay), so we will have to check them tomorrow. Donny (van de Beek) and Edinson (Cavani) definitely not travelling.”
Solskjaer expanded on Van de Beek and Cavani’s absences, stating they have “muscle injuries.”
Strikers Can Do More
Solskjaer has once again demanded more of his United forwards: “We are the team who have scored the most goals in the league. Our strikers haven’t scored as much as we’d like to – that’s a good problem. If we can get them firing we’ll have another edge in the games. They are working hard and doing well in training.”
Manchester United have scored 50 Premier League goals this season – at least four more than anyone else. Though they do fall short in the defensive department, conceding 31 times – more than double that of leaders Manchester City (14) – only Liverpool have conceded more goals (32) throughout the top 10.
Of course, that would suggest United’s issues are defensive, however, alike Sunday v West Bromwich Albion, having gone behind so early, the Red Devils had ample opportunity to find the goal and resurrect victory – they failed.
Manchester United have to play to their strengths and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is perhaps right to demand more from the strikers, who are, aided by Bruno Fernandes, United’s greatest strength.
Juan Mata Involvement
Mata has been absent from the matchday squad in recent weeks, Ole said: “He has been away for a little while. Against West Brom, you wonder what he might have done. He is travelling with us. If we see him on the pitch, I’m sure he’ll want to prove to Spanish fans what a player he is.”
Bad Record v Spanish Opposition
Manchester United do not have the best record when facing Spanish sides in Europe. The Red Devils have won just 13 of their 57 matches against teams from Spain in European competition. The recent record is especially dismal, failing to beat Real Madrid, Sevilla, Valencia and Barcelona in eight fixtures since taking Celta Vigo out of this competition in 2017 – when United successfully lifted the trophy under the guidance of Jose Mourinho.
Solskjaer said: “It’s probably down to the level of teams we’ve played. Spanish teams are good – we haven’t played well enough. We don’t go into games worrying.”
On Sociedad, he added: “You’ve got to be very, very good against them. Probably the hardest team we could get at this stage. Still in the hunt for Champions League. We have to play at a high level to get a result.”
“We Have to Do Something” – Solskjaer on Racial Abuse
Solskjaer also spoke of yet more racial abuse, directed at Anthony Martial: “I spoke to him this morning and he’s mentally strong.
“It’s not something anyone should have to go through. He definitely seems like he is – he’s not checking social media – but it is disgusting. We have to do something about it.”
Amad Diallo and Shoretire in Travelling Squad
It will be interesting to see what line-up Ole Gunnar Solskjaer elects to field on Thursday evening. There is plenty of anticipation, no doubt, to see if youngsters Amad Diallo and Shola Shoretire will be given the opportunity to feature in this European campaign – a positive sign after they were added to the Europa League squad, with the club now confirming they are part of the travelling squad, headed for Juventus’ Allianz Stadium.
Elsewhere, it is reported to be confirmed that the return leg will be played at Old Trafford.
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