Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has played down expectations around star player Paul Pogba, saying the French midfielder could not be Roy Keane, Juan Sebastian Veron, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Eric Cantona combined.
Pogba is still a United player despite tons of speculation over the summer, but the 26-year-old was criticised after missing a penalty during Monday night’s draw at Wolves.
Solskjaer was complimentary of the France midfielder’s all-round abilities, but warned United could be asking for too much from Pogba. There may be some truth to that but we haven’t witnessed enough individual memorable moments since his arrival in 2016.
“We can all see Paul was disappointed when he missed a penalty. He doesn’t deserve this,” Solskjaer told reporters on Friday morning, as quoted by the Metro.
“He is, as I’ve said so many times, and he’s said it himself, when you sign for Man United, you become a Manc and, once a Manc is always a Manc, and he gives his absolute everything for the club every week.
“He expects a lot from himself as well, so it doesn’t frustrate me. We expect a lot from him, but we know we can’t get Roy Keane, Veron, Scholes, Giggs, Cantona in one player. It’s hard, but he’s a top, top player.
“I know people expect him to do absolutely everything on a football pitch, but he’s got so many qualities that we’re seeing different qualities from Paul this year compared to last season, and he’s a leader in the group. So, I expect the fans to be behind him, yes.”
The reaction to Pogba missing from the spot against Wolves was exaggerated.
He was subject to vile racist abuse on Twitter, which the club and a number of his team-mates have since publicly condemned.
Solskjaer needs to keep his star player on side this season because it’s difficult to see United achieving anything with Pogba in the side. As much as some fans like to complain about the France international, we’re a lot better when he’s in the side.
United take on Crystal Palace at 3pm in the Premier League today.
Pogba will start in midfield but could do with a goal or assist to take some pressure off his shoulders.