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Thursday, 17 January 2019

Pogba should be fit to face Spurs says attack-minded Solskjaer

Reuters , Friday 11 Jan 2019
Pogba
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba Reuters
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Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is likely to be fit for this weekend’s Premier League visit to high-flying Tottenham Hotspur with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer promising on Thursday that his side would continue with their attacking approach.
France international Pogba was injured in a challenge by Newcastle United midfielder Jonjo Shelvey in the 2-0 away win on Jan. 2 and has been battling to recover.

The 25-year-old did not play in last weekend’s FA Cup third-round win over Reading and travelled separately from the squad to a warm-weather training camp in Dubai after staying back for treatment.

“He looked okay towards the end (of the training camp), so he’ll be fit,” caretaker manager Solskjaer told a news conference on their return, which was carried on the United website.

“He did have some problems but he came through the last couple of sessions well, so he should be okay.”

United are in sixth place on 38 points, six points behind Chelsea who occupy the final Champions league qualifying spot. Third-placed Spurs are 10 points clear of the Reds, having beaten Jose Mourinho’s side 3-0 at Old Trafford this season.

United have a perfect record since Solskjaer took over from the sacked Portuguese in December, however, and are back to their free-flowing best with 16 goals against Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town, Bournemouth, Newcastle United and Reading.

POCHETTINO LINK

Tottenham have won seven of their last eight games, including the previous three without conceding a goal, and manager Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with United.

“It’s not my job to rate different managers but he (Pochettino) has done a very good job,” said Solskjaer. “The speculation is there for a reason.”

The former striker also praised Tottenham’s Harry Kane, saying: “He’s not bad is he? He is a fantastic goalscorer, one of the best in the world.

“From the outside it looks like he never misses chances really. We have to make sure he doesn’t get any against us.”

Despite the challenge posed by Tottenham, Solskjaer did not see the game as United’s first true test since he became caretaker manager and said his attacking approach would not change at Wembley.

“No - we’ve had tests,” he said. “Newcastle away is also a test. The first game and how everyone reacted away to Cardiff is also a test. The first home game (against Huddersfield) - how would the crowd affect it? That’s also a test.

“You get tested in every single game in the Premier League, no doubt about it. But of course, this is against a top, top side and, of course, if we want to get closer to them and get past them, we need a good performance and a good result.”

While mindful of the challenge Tottenham pose, the Norwegian said his side would approach the game on the front foot.

“...I’ve been brought up in a way that we need to attack teams... that’s our strength as well, going forward and attacking, as a team when you look at us now the way we’ve played.”

Solskjaer added that defender Marcos Rojo had returned to his native Argentina for treatment on a long-standing injury and said he was unable to put a timeframe on his return to action.

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