Solskajer explains Pogba's absence, shares update on McTominay

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explained Paul Pogba's absence and provided an update on Scott McTominay.

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba was a notable absentee as the Red Devils saw off Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday to move within a point of the top four.   -  Getty Images

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Paul Pogba was not ready to face Burnley after sitting out the 2-0 Premier League victory.

United star Pogba was a notable absentee as the Red Devils saw off Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday to move within a point of the top four.

Pogba played for the first time in nearly three months when United lost to lowly Watford 2-0 last week and he made another substitute appearance in the 4-1 rout of Newcastle United on Boxing Day.

The French midfielder, however, did not travel to Burnley and Solskjaer explained Pogba's absence post-match.

"He had 45 minutes but he's been out for a while and he didn't feel right," Solskjaer told reporters. "He reacted to that one so we'll just have to take our time and get him ready for next time.

"When you've been out for such a while, it's always going to take time to be 100 per cent. He just needed another day probably of recovery."

McTominay out for a month

United was also without injured midfielder Scott McTominay against Burnley – out-of-favour veteran Nemanja Matic chosen to partner Fred.

McTominay was forced off in the Boxing Day victory at Old Trafford after hurting his knee and the Scotland international is facing up to a month on the sidelines.

"I wouldn't expect Scott to be back within a few weeks, no," Solskjaer said in his news conference. "Not the next couple of weeks, I don't think we'll see him. So it'll be more than that.

"But he's always proved before that give him three weeks and he's back in two. I don't know, if it's three or four weeks. It might be something like this, but we've just got to find a way through it."

Praise for young Rashford

Marcus Rashford took his Premier League tally this season to 12 goals after sealing United's win in the 90th minute after Anthony Martial's opener on the stroke of half-time.

"He's got everything physically. He's got great mentality, the right attitude and he’s one of our own," Solskjaer said. "He's just going to get better and better, he's still only 22. He'll grow and he's got his best years ahead of him and he's been a leader. He's really showed his maturity."

Top four 'not far away'

United, which will travel to Arsenal on New Year's Day, is only a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea in the fight for Champions League qualification.

"Well we want to get there [into the top four] and we're not far away. That is the challenge for this team," Solskjaer added. "We did it towards the end of last season, we were close there and then we dropped off. Now, they responded to the defeat against Watford and I've put a challenge to them. I'm very happy with them.

"In football, you've got to earn the right to win every single game. Everyone gives you a different challenge. Arsenal away is a completely different challenge. We handled what Burnley threw at us but Arsenal will give us other things to think about. We'll be ready for it."

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