Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has insisted that midfielder Paul Pogba remains ‘focused’ ahead of Saturday evening’s crucial Manchester Derby, despite the comments made by the Frenchman’s agent Mino Raiola during the week.
It seems as if ever since the 27-year-old returned to the club back in 2016 his future at Old Trafford has looked uncertain, with rumours of a potential move away appearing to occur with almost every passing transfer window.
Such speculation looked to have died down over the previous window with Pogba impressing towards the end of last season alongside new man Bruno Fernandes, while the ongoing pandemic ruled out many potential buyers from being able to finance a move, with a new long-term contract having looked to be on the horizon.
That all looks to have changed, however, with the World Cup winner’s notorious agent Raiola claiming this week that the player’s future lies away from Manchester United, a revelation that came out just days before the Red Devils crucial Champions League meeting with RB Leipzig.
The timing and the nature of the statement drew the wrath of pundits and fans alike this week, particularly with United going on to lose to their German opponents and ultimately missing out on a place in the knockout stages.
Despite the action’s of his agent, however, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised the ‘hunger and appetite’ of the French international and appeared keen to move on from Raiola’s comments ahead of Saturday’s clash with Manchester City.
“I think I said during the week that this is a team game and Paul is part of this team,” Solskjaer said at his pre-match press conference.
“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 have 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 City].
“I speak to players on a daily basis and Paul Pogba is no different. The disappointment this week is going out of the Champions League. Whatever anyone’s representatives say can’t affect me. I have said all I want to about that.”