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'Pogba is one of the best players in the world' - Solskjaer eager for Man Utd star to return

6:37 AM EST 12/7/19
Paul Pogba Manchester United 2019-20
The Norwegian hopes to get a prized asset back to full fitness as soon as possible so he can prove his quality once again and help the Red Devils soar

Paul Pogba is "one of the best players in the world when he is in form", according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who hopes he can have a big impact once he returns from an injury lay-off.

Pogba has endured a frustrating 2019-20 campaign to date, having only managed five Premier League appearances in total due to a string of fitness issues.

The World Cup winner has been out of action with a foot injury since the end of September, missing 13 matches across all competitions while undergoing a rigorous rehabilitation programme.

Solskjaer expects Pogba to return at some point this month , but he has confirmed that that the midfielder will not be included in his squad for a derby date with Manchester City on Saturday.

The United boss is eager to welcome a key performer back into the first team sooner rather than later, with it his belief that the France international is among the best in the business when operating at his full capacity.

“Paul is going to play when he gets his fitness," Solskjaer told a press conference.

"He's one of the best players in the world when he's in form and we just need to give him time to be 100 per cent fit.

“It might be 45 minutes in the first game, it might be half an hour, it might be 90.

"It depends on what game he comes back in and I'm looking back to get Paul back to where I had him about a year ago.”

The Red Devils cannot afford to drop points against their neighbours this weekend, given the 11-point gap between the two sides in the Premier League table.

A win could see Solskjaer's side move up to fifth and within sight of the final Champions League spot, but defeat could allow Chelsea to tighten their grip on fourth place.

United will be buoyed after beating Tottenham 2-1 at Old Trafford on Wednesday, but Solskjaer is well aware of the "difficult" challenge City will pose at Etihad Stadium.

“It's a chance for us to challenge them and bridge that gap a little bit, so we're going there to win,” the Norwegian said. “We're going there to get a result, even though we know it's going to be difficult.”

The Red Devils' latest win over Spurs came as little surprise considering how well they have performed in general against the top six this season.

United have also beaten Chelsea and Leicester City at Old Trafford, in addition to securing credible draws against Arsenal and Liverpool.

And Solskjaer hopes his team are still considered underdogs when they line up at the Etihad Stadium, however, with the element of surprise working in their favour of late.

“I don't want to put any feelings into any other teams or managers," he added. "We might not want them to be scared of us. We want them to be arrogant and confident.

“As a player, you don't have to shout the loudest to throw the sucker punch. So it's not about shouting the loudest, it's about doing the talking on the pitch.”