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Paul Pogba

Pogba set for return 'next week' as injured Martial misses out against LASK

22:02 GMT+3 11/03/2020
Paul Pogba Manchester United
The France midfielder has been out of action since December but will be back working with his team-mates soon

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expects Paul Pogba to return to Manchester United training next week, but the coach must contend with fresh injury concerns surrounding Anthony Martial.

France midfielder Pogba has not featured for United since December 26 due to an ankle injury, limiting him to just eight appearances for the club this season.

Pogba’s absence has lasted much longer than expected, but Solskjaer is eager to see him back with his team-mates soon.

He also confirmed, however, that Pogba's fellow France star Martial, who has four goals from his last six appearances, will be missing for Thursday’s Europa League tie against LASK.

“Anthony hurt himself when he slid into the post [against Manchester City], so he is not ready for this game,” Solskjaer said ahead of the first-leg clash with the Austrian outfit. “Hopefully for Sunday, but not sure.

“Paul is getting closer, but not ready yet he hasn’t trained with the team yet but by next week he will be ready.”

Thursday’s match in Austria will go ahead behind closed doors because of concerns about the coronavirus, UEFA has confirmed.

Solskjaer admits it will be strange not having the fans there and he hopes his players can compensate for the lack of atmosphere in the stadium.

“The players are focused on concentrating on the job, these are difficult circumstances for all of society,” he said. “For us we just have to do what we are told and get on with the game.

“We will have to create our own atmosphere within the game. They are used to training with no spectators, we play quite a lot of behind closed door friendlies, and I have no doubt my players are ready to perform even if there are no spectators there.

“Of course it will be strange. This it makes for a stranger atmosphere, we are just going to make the most of it.

“We don’t know what is going to happen, we just have to get on with it. I think football is about fans, without fans it is nothing. It should always be for them. A difficult situation but the boys are very good at focusing on the job in hand.

“At the moment I am not aware of any decision being made for next week’s game [at Old Trafford]. We have to wait for the authorities and the government to make their decisions.”