Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Paul Pogba has been unaffected by speculation he could join Real Madrid in the summer, buts admits there may be a concerted campaign being devised by the Spanish giants to unsettle the midfielder.
Pogba has been linked to Madrid after praising the Spanish side and their coach Zinedine Zidane while on international duty in April, and Zidane later said he would be delighted to have his French compatriot at the Bernabeu in the future.
But United boss Solskjaer insisted on Friday that he doesn’t see any difference in the Frenchman’s approach of late whatever the truth behind the paper talk.
“There might be a campaign, there might be press, you never know what there is. But in my talks with Paul he’s always been positive. I don’t see a difference in him when I chat to him. He’s focused on performing and he’s a proud player. He always gives his best,” Solskjaer told a press conference.
The Norwegian added that, while fellow midfielders Scott McTominay and Fred got much of the praise for a positive performance in the narrow loss to Barcelona on Wednesday, Pogba remained a key contributor.
“I thought first half, we speak about Fred and Scott, but I thought Paul made us play, settled us down a bit in the first half especially. We just fell away towards the end. But the effort he put in was tremendous.
“He has made a difference for us in a few games, so has Romelu [Lukaku], so has Marcus [Rashford]. There have been different players in different periods that have made the difference.
“It’s not just about one player. It’s not just about Paul. He had his highest-ever output physically on Wednesday night: he’d never run as much in a United shirt. That was brilliant. The effort and attitude is there.”
United have lost four of their last five matches and face West Ham at Old Trafford on Saturday knowing that slip-ups need to be at a premium for the remainder of the season as they look to close the three-point gap to Tottenham in the pursuit of Champions League football.
The Red Devils will also be looking to bounce back against Barcelona, with Luke Shaw's own goal from the first leg having handed the Catalans a one-goal advantage in the quarter-final tie.
Solskjaer's side face Barca on Tuesday night, with the Norwegian having admitted that, should United recover to reach the semi-finals, it would represent an ever greater comeback than the win over Paris Saint-Germain.