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Solskjaer calls on Fred to 'step up' at Man Utd in place of Pogba

5:47 PM GMT+4 29/10/2019
Fred, Man Utd vs Rochdale, Carabao Cup
With his star midfielder ruled out until December with an ankle injury, the Red Devils boss is backing the Brazilian to shine in his absence.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has called on Fred to "step up" at Manchester United in place of Paul Pogba, who faces a considerable lay-off as he recovers from injury.

Pogba has been sidelined with an ankle injury since United's 1-1 draw with Arsenal at Old Trafford at the end of September.

And the latest update on his fitness has not been good news for Solskjaer, who admitted earlier this week: "I don't think we'll see Paul before December. He'll be out a while.

"He needs time to fully recover. Probably it will be December before we can see him."

Ahead of United's visit to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in the Carabao Cup  on Wednesday, Solskjaer has suggested that Fred can fill the void left in the midfield.

Having found himself on the peripheries last season despite his £52 million price tag, Fred has been slightly more involved this term with nine appearances thus far.

Only five have been starts, however, and only three have come in the Premier League, where the Brazilian midfielder is still without a goal or assist for the season.

"Fred will probably take Paul's position for a while now," Solskjaer said. "There's no use talking about [someone] who's not going to be here for a long, long time, because he's not going to come on the pitch and help us until he's fit.

"Paul's been brilliant and he is a creative midfielder that we need, but then it is up to the others to step up."

United face a winnable run of games between now and Pogba's return in December, a tough cup tie against Chelsea notwithstanding.

They face Bournemouth, Brighton, Sheffield United and Aston Villa in the Premier League, along with their home leg against Partizan Belgrade and a trip to Astana in the Europa League.

December could be a brutal month, however, with massive games against Tottenham and Manchester City early on. Given that United are currently seventh in the league with one win from their last five games, Solskjaer cannot afford to drop points in the interim.

United are also currently without Luke Shaw, Nemanja Matic, Axel Tuanzebe, Diogo Dalot and Eric Bailly, though Shaw and Matic should be back in contention before long.