Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has explained that he left Paul Pogba on the bench against RB Leipzig due to tactical reasons.
A storm has been brewing at Manchester United after Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola claimed the midfielder’s career with the club was over.
In an extraordinary interview, Raiola claimed that Pogba is “unhappy” at United and that the club would have to sell him in either of the next two transfer windows.
The midfielder was the most expensive player in the world when United brought him back from Juventus in 2016. However, Pogba has suffered with inconsistency since.
The Frenchman, whose contract expires in 2022, has started just five Premier League games this season – although he did score a wonder goal as a starter in their last game against West Ham.
Raiola’s latest claims have delivered a hammer blow to any hopes that Pogba would be able to resurrect his United career, and will have done little to improve his relationship with the club.
The timing of the quotes were far from ideal for United either, on the eve of their crucial Champions League match against Leipzig.
Manager Solskjaer has left Pogba out of his starting lineup for the match. However, he denied that Raiola’s interview was to blame.
“My decision is tactical,” he claimed. “That’s the only thing.
“We made a team decision way before this game. We decided on Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic in midfield before the West Ham game.
“You always think about the best for the 11.”
‘No affect’ of Raiola comments
Pressed further on whether Raiola’s comments had impacted the club’s preparation for the game, Solskjaer denied that was the case.
The United boss insists that the club’s focus has not been affected by the speculation as they prepare for a game they must not lose.
“Nothing,” he said when asked if Raiola’s interview had had an affect. “You prepare for every game as if it’s your last one.
“We’ve got City on Saturday. That doesn’t matter – this is the one for us now.”