Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reserved special praise for Paul Pogba after his man of the match display as Manchester United beat Aston Villa to move level on points with Premier League leaders Liverpool.
[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]
Solskjaer’s side started well as Anthony Martial gave them the lead but they were pegged back in the second half by a spirited Villa, however Pogba then won the penalty kick which saw Bruno Fernandes slot home the winner as the Red Devils are unbeaten in 10 games, winning eight of those.
Asked by Sky Sports about Pogba’s display, Solskjaer was full of praise for the Frenchman who suffered from injuries and contracting COVID-19 earlier this season.
“He’s getting better and better. Fitter and fitter. I think he played well today. They are a physical side, loads of challenges and Paul’s one of these guys who can get hold of it for us,” Solskjaer said. “Maybe, not just Paul, but we were too keen on playing the killer pass because we know they are going to drop off and there were other spaces in-behind that we should have used.”
Pogba had a brilliant game off the left side of midfield, as he used flicks and tricks to get by Villa’s players and showed off his wide array of passes.
There has been a clear uptick in his displays since his agent Mino Raiola declared he wanted to leave the club and wouldn’t sign a new contract, but maybe, just maybe, there’s a future for him at United if he can fit into the team coming off the left.
Manchester United level on points with Liverpool
As for the hard-fought win which takes Man United level on points with Liverpool, Solskjaer shared his delight and believes his team are improving all the time.
“Don’t get me wrong I’m delighted with the three points and the performance, but there’s always stuff to improve on. Those extra two points are important,” Solskjaer said. “We’ve improved. I think the league and the season is going to be so tight. We’ve just got to keep working and improving as a team. Every time you win a game you take one step further. You’ve just got to accumulate the points. They all count the same.”
Solskjaer was asked about a huge game coming up at Liverpool on Jan. 17, but he brushed off a chance to hype up that clash between the bitter rivals.
“We’ve got a big game on Wednesday against City, I’m not even thinking [about playing Liverpool] yet,” Solskjaer laughed.
Many have been laughing at Solskjaer for many months, but United are in fine form and are finding ways to get the best out of their best talents.
In this season, the most congested season both in terms of games to squeeze in and the standings being so tight, having that extra star quality in key moments will be pivotal.
Solskjaer knows his team are on the right path.
“Of course we are happy with what we are doing. We have shown we have improved a lot in a year. We lost to Arsenal away last new year’s day. We have improved immensely. We are getting fitter and fitter and stronger and stronger,” Solskjaer told the BBC. “These players have a great age. They are learning and are hungry to learn which is important. They come in every day with a hunger and desire to be the best on match day. They have been focused.”