Solskjaer excuses Pogba absence as he delivers welcome McTominay news

Date published: Sunday 29th December 2019 8:14

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed Paul Pogba “was not ready” to face Burnley after the Frenchman missed the 2-0 victory at Turf Moor.

Pogba returned from nearly three months out with an ankle injury as a substitute against Watford last weekend and played the second half of Thursday’s victory over Newcastle.

With Scott McTominay injured, Pogba had been tipped for a start against Burnley but did not make the short trip to Lancashire.

Solskjaer said: “He’s been out for a long while and it didn’t feel right, he reacted to (playing against Newcastle), 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 before you’re 100 per cent.”

United did not feel Pogba’s absence, though, with Fred particularly impressive as United made it back-to-back Premier League victories to finish the year.

Anthony Martial took advantage of an error by Charlie Taylor to score the opener just before half-time and Marcus Rashford secured the points with virtually the final kick of the game.

Solskjaer, who was bullish about his side’s top-four chances after the final whistle, said: “It was a very good performance, very happy with the attitude and approach to the game. We knew we had to be on top of our game both on and off the ball.

“Coming here, when I’ve watched Burnley, with the front two with (Ashley) Barnes and (Chris) Wood, you’re going to be in for a tough night and I thought we handled them really well.

“We’re getting better, we’re improving, just we’ve had too many draws early on and that puts us in the position we’re in. We’ve only lost once each month – if you go a month between every time you lose it’s not bad for a team that’s learning. Tonight was a big step forward anyway.”

 

Regarding McTominay’s absence, Solskjaer estimated the midfielder will need around three or four weeks to recover from his knee injury.

“The next couple of weeks, I don’t think we’ll see him, it’ll be more than that,” said the Norwegian.

“But he’s always proved before if you give him three weeks, he’s back in two, but I don’t know if it’s three or four weeks. It might be something like this.”

United, meanwhile, are reported to have switched their attention to another striker after being overtaken in the race to sign Erling Haaland in January.

 

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