Football

Ole Solskjaer confirms Paul Pogba will miss the rest of February through injury

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed Paul Pogba will miss the rest of February with the thigh injury he picked up against Everton.

Paul Pogba

The midfielder was forced off in the first half at Old Trafford as United were held to a 3-3 draw by Everton on February 6, ruling him out of United’s FA Cup match against West Ham and weekend draw at West Brom.

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And Solskjaer, speaking ahead of Thursday’s last-32 first leg against Real Sociedad, said he will not be able to call upon Pogba for a while longer yet.

“With Paul, he is recovering well and starting the treatments, but it will be a few weeks,” Solskjaer said. “He won’t be playing in February, that’s for sure. It will be a few weeks until we see Paul.

“We have a couple of doubts over Anthony [Martial] and Scott [McTominay], so we will have to check them tomorrow. Donny [van de Beek] and Edinson [Cavani] are definitely not travelling.”

Ahead of the trip to Turin, rather than San Sebastian due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, Solskjaer later revealed that both Van de Beek and Cavani have muscle injuries but did not explain the extent of their setbacks.

One bit of good news for Solskjaer this week was the announcement of Mason Greenwood’s new four-year contract.

No teenager has scored more goals for United in a single campaign than Greenwood’s 17 last season, and while his goal return has not quite been as impressive this time out, the 19-year-old’s recent performances have pleased his manager.

Naturally a central striker, Greenwood has played in a variety of positions for United this season, and Solskjaer admitted the role Greenwood will fulfil long-term for United is not set in stone.

“He can play as a centre forward, as a No 10, on the right and then at a stretch on the left side,” Solskjaer said. “We just have to give him time to find his final position.

“He is a forward who moves really well along the line. At his age and where he is in his development physically sometimes you don’t want to be in the middle with the big brutal centre backs next to you.

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“I think we have found he can play in a variety of roles, but it will have to be in the next year or two where we will have to find out whether he will be a No 9, a forward drifting inside or as a shadow striker.”

Greenwood himself, speaking at the pre-Europa League press conference alongside his manager, is happy to do as he is told for now.

“I feel like I am getting back to the level I was last season,” he said. “I don’t mind where I play, I can play anywhere across the front three. For me, it is about adapting into whatever positions I play in.”

Greenwood’s fellow striker Martial approaches the Sociedad match having received more racist abuse on
social media after United’s draw at West Brom on Sunday, something Solskjaer labelled “disgusting”.

“I’ve spoken to him this morning,” Solskjaer said. “He’s mentally strong.

“Of course it’s not something anyone should have to go through but he definitely seems like he’s.. he’s not checking all the Instagram or whatever it is, the social media, but it’s disgusting.

“We’ve been talking about this every press conference the last three, four weeks every time now. It used to be sporadic before so there’s something we have to do about it.”

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