Solskjaer explains Pogba’s poor performances for Man Utd & rules out centre-half signing

Paul Pogba Manchester United 2020
The Red Devils boss believes a World Cup winner is paying the price for having no pre-season and is not convinced that he needs another defender

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has attempted to explain Paul Pogba’s slow start to the season, with the Manchester United midfielder taking in another forgettable outing at Brighton.

Inconsistency at club level has been an issue for the France international throughout a second spell at Old Trafford.

Fitness issues have worked against him at times, with Solskjaer suggesting that the World Cup winner still is not up to full speed.

Pogba returned to action on the back of ‘Project Restart’ over the summer, but had been short on competitive minutes for some time prior to that.

He has now been denied a proper pre-season heading into the 2020-21 campaign and has looked sluggish through his early performances.

The 27-year-old made little impact on proceedings during United’s thrilling 3-2 victory over Brighton, with only the intervention of VAR seeing him spared the indignity of conceding a second-half penalty.

Solskjaer concedes that the most expensive asset at his disposal is not firing on all cylinders, but feels there are obvious reasons for that and believes a spark will be found if patience is shown.

He told reporters when quizzed on Pogba after taking in a dramatic contest at the Amex Stadium: “He missed a lot of pre-season because of his illness.

“He's not had internationals or the friendly against Villa.

“The two 65 minutes he's had will help him along and he'll just get better and better.”

Pogba is not the only issue for United to address at present, with their leaky back four looking far from watertight once again when edging out the Seagulls – with the woodwork coming to their rescue on five occasions.

Solskjaer has been urged to address those problems by bringing in another centre-half, but the Norwegian is not convinced that he needs to be reinforcing in that area before the summer transfer window slams shut.

He added, with Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof having started on the south coast: “We've got many defenders here and I put Eric [Bailly] on to bolster the defence, following the runs of [Leandro] Trossard and [Neal] Maupay.

“So, for me, we've got enough good centre-backs here at the moment.

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“When you concede chances and concede goals there are two different things you can look at: it's the team shape or are there any individual mistakes.

“For me, we're not in our best shape of form, our shape isn't there, we're not sharp enough to stop crosses or follow the runs.

“We're a little bit behind and that's structural mistakes more than individual mistakes. I thought Victor did well today.”