Paul Pogba’s return to form at Manchester United is down to a change in mentality under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, says Eric Cantona, with the Frenchman yet to change his haircut as he focuses on football.
A World Cup-winning midfielder has faced plenty of criticism since returning to Old Trafford in 2016, with it suggested by some that his antics off the field have been impacting performances on it.
Jose Mourinho grew tired of trying to coax the best out of an enigmatic talent and eventually took to leaving him on the bench before being relieved of his managerial duties at in December.
Solskjaer picked up the baton and, having given those at his disposal more freedom to express themselves, has delivered a reversal in fortune inspired by Pogba.
The 25-year-old has been a talismanic presence throughout a run which has delivered 11 victories from 13 games, with Cantona delighted to see a different approach from a man with undoubted ability.
The United legend told Paddy Power of a fellow Frenchman: “Since Ole has arrived, he hasn’t changed his haircut. Maybe he made Pogba understand that the priority is to play football.
“First you have to be good on the pitch, and then you can do something else. If you lose your concentration because you’re thinking more about your haircut than your football, that’s not good. People love players because they are good or not, they either love them or not, because of what they do on the pitch.
“If after they score goals and win things, they can change their haircut – that’s not a problem. But first, concentration: Think about winning and football.”
Pogba has delivered a flurry of goals and assists since Solskjaer took charge of United on an interim basis.
He is now one of the most in-form players in the Premier League and a man that Cantona believes is staking a serious claim to snatch the Red Devils’ Player of the Year award from David de Gea.
“Before Ole, there was no player of the year for me. It was obvious they were not enjoying the game,” added an Old Trafford icon.
“Since he arrived, you can see everybody wants the ball, everybody moves, they enjoy the game and want to score – they play with pleasure and enjoyment now.
“Paul Pogba is great, now. Ole has found the right position for him, he has a great vision and pass, he can score and assist goals, organise the game and defend. He organises the game, and every time he has the ball he’s dangerous – anything can happen.”
United and Solskjaer will be looking for another dominant display from Pogba to be put in on Sunday when they play host to old adversaries Liverpool – with the Red Devils seeking to put a serious dent in the title aspirations of their arch-rivals.