Solskjaer welcomes Pogba’s return: “Any team would miss a player like Paul”
Posted On March 19, 2021
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hopeful that Paul Pogba can give Manchester United a “big boost for the rest of the season” after making an instant impact on his return from injury.
Not having appeared in United’s previous 10 games, Pogba scored within three minutes of entering as a substitute against Milan in the Europa League, with his goal securing a 1-0 victory in the second leg at San Siro.
The result was enough to see the Premier League side progress 2-1 on aggregate, meaning they will take part in Friday’s quarter-final draw.
Solskjaer was delighted to have the France international available again, especially since he had been in such exceptional form before suffering a thigh problem against Everton in early February.
“We missed Paul. He’s been out for over two months and any team would miss a player like Paul Pogba, ”Solskjaer told BT Sport.
“He was just in his best shape. He’s very important to us and will give us a big boost for the rest of the season. Today he made a very, very big difference.
United had conceded a late equalizer in the first leg at Old Trafford, but this time they held on to keep a clean sheet against their Italian opponents.
Goalkeeper Dean Henderson made an excellent save to keep Zlatan Ibrahimovic from equalizing, while Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire excelled in defense for the visitors.
The center-backs both managed five clearances, plus the same number of interceptions each, although Solskjaer is happy with how the whole team worked so hard to keep Milan at bay.
“You give yourself a chance to win football matches [with clean sheets]”Said the Norwegian.
“Dean had a fantastic save towards the end of the big boy (Ibrahimovic). I’m very happy with everyone and their defense, right from the front.
“And James, Mason [Greenwood], Marcus [Rashford] and Bruno [Fernandes] – the front four by pressing as they do.
“We always know that the last six – with Scott [McTominay], Fred and the last four – always give it your all.
Solskjaer felt United should have had an early penalty following Fikayo Tomori’s challenge to James, the referee’s decision to refrain from awarding a foul ultimately inexpensive.
But Solskjaer said it shows just how much cup ties can depend on key decisions.
“You have to be on top in cup competitions. Anything can happen, ”said the United boss.
“Today I think it’s a penalty on Dan James in the first minute, or five minutes, whatever. Sometimes you understand, sometimes you don’t. If you get that against you, anything can happen in cup competitions.
“We are done, we are confident and we are looking forward to the draw.
The Red Devils have an FA Cup quarter-final against Leicester City this weekend, their last game before the international break.