Saturday, December 5, 2020

Solskjaer explains why Pogba is not in the Man Utd squad to face West Brom

The French midfielder was left out following a busy period with his national team over the November international break

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed why Paul Pogba was left out of Saturday’s meeting with West Brom, with the midfielder set to miss out on the first club match since returning from his time with his national team.

Pogba was left out of Solskjaer’s matchday squad for Saturday’s clash, the first following the conclusion of a busy international break with France.

The midfielder started and played 90 minutes in two of France’s three matches during the break, going 57 minutes in the third before being taken out in favour of N’Golo Kante.

During that break, France boss Didier Deschamps was full of praise for Pogba’s “pride and talent”, adding that he hopes his performances for France will help him win back his place in the Man Utd team.

Deschamps also added that he believes Pogba is being hurt psychologically by his situation at the club, while Solskjaer responded by saying that Pogba is not being played out of position and is just in need of a bit of rhythm.

On Saturday, though, Solskjaer said that Pogba’s absence had nothing to do with his form nor comments made during the international break.

Instead, Pogba’s exclusion is due to a knock, one that also leaves him in doubt for Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Istanbul Basaksahir. 

“Paul’s got a knock in the last game and he started feeling it yesterday before the session but he couldn’t carry on,” Solskjaer told MUTV. “Hopefully he’ll be ok for Tuesday. We still don’t know.”

Pogba has started seven times in the Premier League this season, having also appeared in all three of Man Utd’s Champions League games.

Among the substitutes on Saturday is Scott McTominay, who was named to the bench after a busy week with Scotland with matches in Serbia, Slovakia and Israel.

“We can’t have any excuses because if you look at the XI that is starting, it’s more or less the same as the Everton one [except] Luke [Shaw] is injured and Nemanja [Matic] is in for Scott,” Solskjaer said. 

“Scott has been all over the world – Serbia, Slovakia, Israel… so that was the sensible thing to do with Scott. We should have energy as well because most of our players played on Tuesday. Harry [Maguire] played on Wednesday so we should be okay.”

Entering Saturday, the Red Devils sit 14th in the Premier League, having struggled to capture points at home at Old Trafford.

Man Utd do sit atop their Champions League group, however, having taken down Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig before falling to Basksahir in their most recent European match.

After their midweek clash with the Turkish side on Tuesday, Man Utd will travel to face Southampton before a much-anticipated clash with PSG at Old Trafford.

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