Solskjaer considers new role for Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba struggled to influence Manchester United's win over Watford, leading Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to suggest tweaking his position.

Manchester United's Paul Pogba was largely anonymous in a game in which Watford largely dominated.   -  Reuters

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggested he could drop Paul Pogba into a deeper midfield role to help Manchester United control matches better, after watching his side scrape a 2-1 win over Watford on Saturday.

United marked its first game since Solskjaer was named its new permanent manager with a narrow victory over the Hornets at Old Trafford, thanks to goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.

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Pogba has thrived more than most at Old Trafford since Solskjaer took over from Jose Mourinho in December, but the France star was largely anonymous in a game in which Watford largely dominated but was kept at bay by the impressive Chris Smalling and Phil Jones.

Mourinho was often criticised for not giving Pogba enough licence to attack from midfield, but Solskjaer has now hinted at replicating the deep role he often plays for France in order to get him on the ball more often.

"We started so slow and sloppy," he said. "You could see we've had players out with injuries. It's one of them first games after the international break: you're looking forward to them, but you know they could be a potential banana skin.

"Watford are a good side, they didn't have that many players away and they deserved to take the lead. But after we scored - great goal, by the way - I thought in the rest of the first half we played some great counter-attacking stuff. We defended well, we had to because they were dominant, but I thought Chris and Jones especially were fantastic and kept us in it.

"Paul is important for us. We couldn't keep the ball today - 50-50 per cent possession at home, you're a bit disappointed with that. But Paul's been away, played two games for France, he's playing a bit deeper for them so that's maybe something we have to think about, to get him more in the game.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hinted at playing Paul Pogba in the deep role he often plays for France.   -  AFP


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"Paul can do both, he can attack and defend. Today, we had two strikers who did it for us. I thought Rashy was fantastic - he gave us the energy the others lacked."

Solskjaer bristled at the suggestion United should be concerned by its inability to dominate one of the Premier League's less-fancied sides.

"Watford are a good team," he said. "They're playing the semi-final of the FA Cup, they've got some very good players, play well on the counter-attack as well. I don't think you're giving them respect because they're a good side. Along with Wolves, they're the best two teams apart from the top six.

"Of course, you'd like to dominate, but we weren't able to. We've set ourselves targets over the next eight games, now seven games. We came away with a win - that's great. Everyone knows we can play better."

Solskjaer praised the performance of full-back Luke Shaw, who won back possession before sending Rashford through on goal to score the crucial opener.

"Luke has got so much in his locker and I can't wait to see it blossom," he said. "He's exceptional going forward and his sharpness defending as well… I thought he was top class, until he got his cramp."

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