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Pogba explains Solskjaer’s secret: ‘He trusts us, we trust him’

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Take Manchester United’s 2018-19 season as the latest example of what a positive atmosphere around a club can do for results on the field.

[ FA CUP DRAW: Man City, Man United avoid derby showdown ]

When Jose Mourinho was fired on Dec. 18, Man United sat sixth in the Premier League table and had won just two of their last eight games. Under the direction of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Red Devils have failed to win just twice in 13 games (all competitions) and have climbed up to fourth in the PL, along with reaching the quarterfinals of the FA Cup with a resounding 2-0 victory away to Chelsea on Monday.

After their triumph at Stamford Bridge, Paul Pogba, who’s been nothing short of a born-again megastar under new management and raised the bar once again with a goal and assist on Monday, praised Solskjaer for creating an atmosphere — built around “trust” — that the players once again enjoy, and that is a big reason why the club’s fortunes have turned around so sharply — quotes from the Standard and the BBC:

“He trusts us and we trust him. We go for it. You never know if you are going to win it, but we will play to win.”

“It is a beautiful win. Today was a great performance from the team, all of them. It wasn’t easy. We did it. We are really pleased with that win.

“The team helped me get to my best. I give everything for them. They help me score goals and get assists. We are enjoying playing together.”

As for Solskjaer’s tactical approach, which has seen Pogba more involved in the attack than during Mourinho’s rigid tenure, it’s clearly by design, and it’s clearly suiting Pogba well:

“The tactics worked. We asked Ander (Herrera) and Paul, our midfielders next to Nemanja (Matic), to go a bit higher and get into the box more often with Rom (Lukaku) and Marcus (Rashford) wide, so it worked.”

FA Cup: Pogba scores, assists as Man Utd bounce Chelsea (video)

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Manchester United are through to the quarterfinals of the 2018-19 FA Cup, thanks to a superstar performance from Paul Pogba which was more than enough to see the Red Devils waltz past Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday.

[ MORE: New development in David de Gea contract situation ]

The game’s opening 20 minutes flew by with very few chances of note, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s side established itself as the aggressors from the outset.

Man United were rewarded for their efforts and broke the deadlock just after the half-hour mark, when Ander Herrera headed home a masterful cross from Pogba. It’s hard to believe this is the same Pogba, watching him run at Marcos Alonso before cutting inside and lofting the ball to the back post with pinpoint accuracy, who wasn’t good enough for Jose Mourinho’s team not so long ago.

It was Pogba who, given all the world’s freedom to maraud forward and join the attack these days, sent Marcus Rashford into acres of space with an aggressive through ball to begin the move for United’s second goal in the 45th minute. Pogba wasn’t done there, though, as he embarked upon a 50-yard, all-out sprint into the penalty area, where Rashford’s cross met his head, and the ball met the back of the net.

[ MORE: Premier League or UCL more important for Liverpool? ]

Nemanja Matic likely should have been shown a second yellow card and sent off in the 51st minute, after he tripped Eden Hazard to end a potential counter-attack, but referee Kevin Friend let the Serb off with one final warning

Down 2-0 at home, with a place in the quarterfinals quickly slipping away, Maurizio Sarri opted for not a single substitution at halftime. When the changes finally began in the 58th minute, Sarri seemed to follow a predictable, rigid script: Willian for Pedro (58th); Ross Barkley for Mateo Kovacic (71st); Davide Zappacosta for Cesar Azpilicueta (82nd) was, to be fair, less predictable but equally ineffective.

United fans added further insult to the defeat with 15 minutes let to play in the game. Oh, how the world can turn upside down in a couple months’ time.

Pogba sent off, will miss second leg v. PSG

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Paul Pogba added insult to injury, getting sent off for a second yellow card offense in the final minutes of the game.

Pogba collided with Dani Alves after a slow pass from Luke Shaw. Shaw’s pass put Pogba in a position to lunge for it, which ended with him hitting Alves. While it may not have been a yellow card in the Premier League, tonight’s official, Daniele Orsato, hadn’t been afraid to dish out the yellow cards to keep players in line.

VIDEO: Pogba, Martial score stunners for red-hot Man United

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Manchester United can do no wrong right now.

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Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial both scored in the first half at Fulham, as United they continued their fine form under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.

Pogba smashed home at the near post from Martial’s pass to put United ahead, then Martial raced clear on the left flank and finished superbly to make it 2-0.

Watch Pogba’s strike in the video above, while Martial’s stunning solo goal is below.


Solskjaer likes gritty Man Utd performance ahead of fixture gauntlet

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Manchester United is on the precipice of the Top Four following a 1-0 win over Leicester City on Sunday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now boasts a 9W-1D record as United boss, though this one was far from a convincing performance on the offensive end.

[ RECAP: Leicester 0-1 Man Utd ]

The Red Devils had to dig deep after a 2-2 draw at midweek, and relied on defending and goalkeeping in the final half as hosts Leicester charged hard for an equalizer.

Solskjaer was understandably pleased with the effort. From the BBC:

“Our attitude was spot on,” Solskjaer said. “There are couple of bruised noses and knees. It is supposed to be like this. There are three points on the line. Our lads sacrificed everything they had. They know they can do better than this but a clean sheet is always a foundation to build on.”

The manager loved Paul Pogba‘s spectacular pass to Marcus Rashford to opened the scoring, but said the striker’s touch was better.

Rashford proffered his praise to the sender.

“Time and time again Paul Pogba provides opportunities for the team. If we can get him free he’ll find you.”

That’s key: Solskjaer, unlike Jose Mourinho, is tactically catering to his best player in lieu of rueing Pogba’s square peg in a system’s round hole.

United is two points back of fourth-place Chelsea, and next visits Fulham before a murderous run of fixtures that goes home to PSG in the UEFA Champions League on Feb. 12, away to Chelsea in the FA Cup on Feb. 18, and home to Liverpool on Feb. 24 in the Premier League.