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Manchester United: Mata praises ‘very complete’ Pogba

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Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata is among the crowd of Paul Pogba fans following Monday’s FA Cup takedown of Chelsea.

Mata lavished praise on the “complete” midfielder after United rode two first half goals to a 2-0 win.

[ POGBA: Solskjaer trusts us ]

Pogba assisted Ander Herrera‘s opener with a pinpoint cross before planting a diving header in the back of the net despite Kepa Arrizabalaga‘s touch on the shot.

From The London Evening Standard:

“Even in the second half, 80, 85 minutes he was still defending, going forwards. He’s very, very complete,” Mata said. “He’s got physique, he’s got quality, he’s got a pass, he can go box to box. He’s one of the best. Today he showed why.”

Pogba has 14 goals and 10 assists in 32 matches for United this season, though the lion’s share have come since the removal of Jose Mourinho as coach.

Mata will know a thing or two about rebounding post-Mourinho, and probably cannot help but be proud of Pogba.

New development in David de Gea contract situation

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It seemed like David De Gea‘s future at Manchester United was up in the air, with the Spanish goalkeeper having just over a year left on his current deal and some reports suggesting an impasse had been reached.

But it appears that United are willing to pull out all of the stops to keep DDG around.

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De Gea, 28, has been named United’s Player of the Season in four of the last five campaigns and since Sir Alex Ferguson retired he has bailed United out of sticky situations time and time again.

It has been reported that De Gea would be handed a new five-year deal which would see him pick up the largest basic salary of any current player in the Premier League, and therefore any PL player in history.

Our colleagues from Sky Sports News in the UK have more on the situation regarding De Gea:

United have been surprised at reports they rejected wage demands of £350,000-per-week, as Sky Sports News understands they would be prepared to pay that amount, but agent demands may be driving the price higher still.

In the past few months Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Ashley Young, Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay have all signed new contracts with the Red Devils and Executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward told investors in a call last week that he wants to “finish off the final few as rapidly as we possibly can.”

It is expected De Gea’s deal is at the top of that list, with Ander Herrera and Juan Mata (both out of contract this summer) the other top priorities to tie down to new deals.

De Gea’s importance to United is clear and just as star strikers and attacking players are rewarded handsomely, the value of having a star goalkeeper should not be understated. Even if, historically, they haven’t earned quite as much as outfield players.

The Spaniard has played 347 times for United in all competitions since arriving from Atletico Madrid in 2011, winning the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League.

After almost leaving in the summer of 2015 (United’s staff must do a daily salute to Real Madrid’s dodgy fax machine which scuppered the deal at  the eleventh hour) it is clear he is their most important player. Wonderful displays recently against Tottenham Hotspur and at Arsenal have proven De Gea’s worth, if anyone ever doubted it.

Lingard, Martial to miss weeks for Manchester United

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is fortunate to have attacking depth for Manchester United’s February fixtures.

[ MORE: Solskjaer ready for Chelsea ]

Both Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial are set to miss Monday’s trip to Chelsea as well as the Feb. 24 visit from Liverpool.

That’ll put even more focus on Alexis Sanchez, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford, and Romelu Lukaku, though Solskjaer says prospects like Angel Gomes could help the Red Devils.

Solskjaer even name drops an injured youth player in his description of United’s injury issues.

“Then you are looking at young players, so Mason Greenwood now is the time to step in and he is injured unfortunately, he is out for a couple of weeks as well,” Solskjaer said. “That is just the way the luck goes but Mason will get his chance later on.”

This could push Rashford out wide to put Lukaku up top and Sanchez on the other side, though Mata and Sanchez could man the wings for either of the strikers.

Pogba dazzles as Man United batter Fulham (video)

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  • United remain unbeaten under Solskjaer
  • Pogba, Martial score first half goals
  • Fulham remain seven points from safety
  • 10 wins from 11 for United in all comps under Solskjaer
  • United move into top four

Manchester United eased past Fulham 3-0 at Craven Cottage on Saturday, with a clinical first half leading the Red Devils to victory.

Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial both scored superb goals in the first half, as Fulham just couldn’t cope with United’s rapid counter attacks. Pogba then scored a penalty kick in the second half to cap off his Man of the Match display.

Ahead of their UEFA Champions League last 16 clash against Paris Saint-Germain, United made six changes to their lineup and the players who did appear on the pitch didn’t skip a beat.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains unbeaten as United’s caretaker manager (winning 10 of 11 games in all competitions) and they’ve now moved into the top four and have 51 points. Fulham remain second from bottom and seven points from safety on 17 points.

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After an even start which saw Fulham go close through Luciano Vietto and Aleksandar Mitrovic, United struck twice with their first two efforts at goal.

Pogba smashed home the opener after Martial’s delicate pass into the box, as the Frenchman dominated early proceedings from central midfield.

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Martial then picked the ball up in his own half, danced away from Fulham’s defense and finished off calmly for United’s second, as the Red Devils were 2-0 up early in the game.

Romelu Lukaku almost nodded home at the far post to score a third, and moments later Phil Jones saw a superb shot from outside the box tipped over.

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Fulham had plenty of the ball in the first half but barely threatened, as United were lethal on the counter attack.

Ander Herrera went close after the break but Sergio Rico saved, then United sealed their win as Juan Mata won a penalty kick after he was fouled clearly by Denis Odoi.

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Pogba slammed home the penalty kick with minimum fuss to make it 3-0, as Solskajer continues to work wonders at Old Trafford.

Late chances at both ends saw David De Gea deny Mitrovic’s header, then substitute Alexis Sanchez raced free but his shot was straight at Sergio Rico.

Man Utd scores twice late v. Burnley (video)

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  • Barnes takes advantage of Andreas mistake
  • Wood doubles lead
  • Pogba, Lindelof score late

Manchester United left it late, but scored twice in the final six minutes to take a point from game Burnley at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood scored for Burnley, who nearly handed United its first loss of the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer era.

United moves to 45 points, two fewer than fourth place Chelsea and fifth place Arsenal, while Burnley is 15th with 23.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Manchester United had the early upper hand, but it was Phil Jones who had to act quickly to deny Barnes and Burnleyan early lead.

Luke Shaw tried a bounding half-volley in the 20th minute, but the ball headed wide of the far post.

Paul Pogba had an opener rightly called back when Juan Mata found the Frenchman in an offside position.

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Jack Cork forced Andreas Pereira into a turnover 10 yards outside the 18, and the ex-Swans man slipped Barnes on goal to lash a shot past David De Gea.

Romelu Lukaku‘s chances of scoring with his last chance of the game were foiled by a wonderful Heaton save in the 67th minute.

Ashley Westwood then continued his fine assist with a cross that Wood headed behind De Gea.

Pogba clawed a goal back for United from the spot when Jesse Lingard embellished a foul on his shoulder to get a penalty kick with three minutes left in the 90.