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‘Pogba on the pitch, not in the stands, can make Man Utd contenders’ – Owen sees title tilt from Red Devils

09:00 GMT 18/12/2020
Bruno Fernandes Paul Pogba Man Utd 2020-21
The former frontman has hailed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s attacking options, claiming that they are “one of the best in the country, if not the best”

Manchester United will be Premier League title contenders if they keep Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes on the pitch and out of the stands, says Michael Owen.

The Red Devils last enjoyed domestic dominance back in 2013, as Sir Alex Ferguson prepared to head into retirement.

Alarming regression has been endured since then, with 13-time champions slipping a long way off the pace with David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho at the helm.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been charged with the task of delivering a reversal in fortune, with the Norwegian looking to replicate the successes of his playing days.

He has found the going tough at times, with consistency often proving to be elusive, but a faultless away record in 2020-21 has United daring to dream once more.

A 3-2 win over Sheffield United last time out has the Red Devils within five points of leaders Liverpool while still boasting a game in hand.

Owen believes a push for the summit can be staged at Old Trafford, but only if key men are kept fit and firing – with Solskjaer being urged not to rest and rotate.

“Well, they can. I think there’s a few teams that can this season,” former United striker Owen told Amazon Prime when asked if the Red Devils can challenge for the English top-flight crown.

“I think the only way they can though is to get their best players out on the pitch.

“If you’ve got Pogba in your squad, Fernandes, these great players, you can’t possibly win the title if they’re going to be in the stands.

“You’ve got these unbelievable players that you’ve invested millions in. You have to find a way, because the only way United will win the title is with their best players playing.

“You take three or four out the team and all of a sudden they’re an okay team. So Solskjaer needs to keep finding ways of getting the likes of Pogba, Fernandes and those front three [in the team].

“That’s such an exciting team out there and he’s got to find a way of playing that team more often.”

United lined up at Bramall Lane with Pogba and Fernandes operating behind an attacking unit of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood.

Edinson Cavani will return to that pack at some stage, with Owen of the opinion that the Red Devils boast one of the most fearsome front lines in the Premier League.

He added: “It's no real secret, they're one of the best counter-attacking teams in the country, if not the best.

“It's the other side that they have to get on top of, at Old Trafford.

“When you've got those front five attacking players - the likes of Pogba, Fernandes and the front three - there's not many better attacking units in the world of football than that.

“If they can just shore up at the back, be better in possession, then they will have a right run for this title.”