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28 Dec 2018

Good News for Manchester United but Bad News for Barcelona

Manchester United has no intention of selling Paul Pogba amid Barcelona and Juventus interest. 

Pogba has enjoyed an immediate upturn in fortunes since Mourinho’s dismissal, scoring twice in the 3-1 win over Huddersfield Town on Boxing Day, four days after a star turn in the 5-1 demolition of Cardiff City.

Pogba believed Mourinho tried to make him a scapegoat for United’s ills and his agent, Mino Raiola, had been searching for a buyer for his client as far back as January, when he first sounded out Manchester City and PSG.
Whether Raiola continues to look to move Pogba remains to be seen, but Woodward told the midfielder in August that he would not sanction a move to Barcelona and he has not altered that stance.

United’s hierarchy believe that, in Pogba, Anthony Martial (23), Marcus Rashford (21) and Jesse Lingard (26), they have four players who can provide the team’s attacking fulcrum for years to come. Pogba also holds huge commercial value for the club.

The Frenchman will still have two years left to run on his contract next summer, by which point United will hope to have enticed Mauricio Pochettino from Tottenham Hotspur as their new manager. In the meantime, interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been making a point of speaking individually with as many players as possible as he bids to interject some positivity into a dressing room that had become tired of being publicly castigated by Mourinho.

Solskjaer said Pogba had particularly enjoyed those discussions – the pair already knew each other from the Norwegian’s time working with the academy and reserves – and wants the player to enjoy his football as much as possible.

Nemanja Matic believes a fit and in-form Pogba is crucial to United and that the challenge for his fellow midfielder is to deliver his best on a consistent basis.

“He’s very important for us,” Matic said. “When he plays at his best, he can make the difference in every game. He played very well [against Huddersfield] but I think that he can do even more.”

So he can do better? “I think so but slowly, game-by-game, it was very important for him to score some goals,” Matic said.

“The confidence for the next one is going to be bigger and he needs to know that he still can improve. He needs to know that he’s very important for this team. His quality can make the difference every game and I hope that he will continue like this.

“I think that if we give our best, everyone on the pitch, with his quality or my quality, or Marcus Rashford’s, Jesse Lingard’s quality, can make the difference.

But if we are not giving everything that we can, then one player cannot change anything.”

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