Paul Pogba’s documentary will not be a distraction, believes Solskjær

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Jamie Jackson
·4-min read
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<span>Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA</span>
Photograph: Peter Powell/EPA

Ole Gunnar Solskjær is unconcerned by Paul Pogba being the subject of an Amazon Prime documentary, as Manchester United’s manager believes the midfielder will remain focused on winning games for the club.

In the absence of the suspended Harry Maguire, the Frenchman was made captain for Thursday’s 2-0 win over Granada that confirmed passage to a second consecutive Europa League semi-final, which will be Solskjær’s fifth time in a cup competition’s last four as the club’s manager. Pogba impressed in a display that included creating Edinson Cavani’s opener and Solskjær is calm about a documentary that will be aired next year.

Related: Pogba: Mourinho ‘goes against players’ and makes them feel ‘they don’t exist’

“Paul has been in the spotlight ever since he started at Man United, so I don’t see a problem with it,” the Norwegian said. “Paul’s main focus is to get as much out of his career as possible. He wants to be the best player he can be and he wants to win as many trophies as possible.

“He has already won the World Cup and I can see his focus now is all about winning and playing the best possible football that he can. I know his personality. He is so lively. He gets energy from making people happy. But his main focus will always be to win football games for us.”

United face Roma in the Europa League when they will hope to finally reach a final under Solskjær following four previous losses at the semi-final stage. “We are aiming to finish the season on a high – and the best possible way to do that would be to win the Europa League,” the 47-year-old said. “That’s something we have been working on and thinking about for almost a year - the way we went out of the semi-final last season really hurt us [losing 2-1 to Sevilla]. You can see from the focus the players have in the Europa League games that this time they want to go all the way to the final and lift the trophy. Last year is definitely driving us on. Sometimes you get extra motivation from setbacks. We’re really looking forward to Roma.

“Roma are a good team. It’s going to be difficult. But before we play them we’ve got a couple of tough games against Burnley and Leeds.”

Solskjær is not ruling out United overhauling their 11-point deficit to Manchester City and winning the title, saying “stranger things” have occurred. His side can cut the gap to eight points if they beat Burnley at home on Sunday in a match in hand. Solskjær accepts there is only a remote chance of a 21st title for United but is adamant his team will not give up. “Can we catch City? Stranger things have happened in football. Bigger leads have been given away,” he said. “Every game is important to Manchester United and we aren’t going to just give points away easily.

“Of course, they [City] have been very strong and it’s probably too much to hope and ask for. But as long as we do our job then that’s the main thing. We have got to win every game in the league. We know that. After that we can only hope that something happens to City.”

Solskjær has high praise for Mason Greenwood, who has struggled to match last term’s form which included 17 goals, having managed only seven so far. “Mason isn’t just a natural finisher – he’s a natural footballer,” the manager said. “He is so smooth and he’s matured so much this season. I have been really impressed and happy with his development this season.

“Maybe in the future he can play as a central striker, but I still think that’s a few years away. At the moment I think Mason is more suited to playing that wide role, dropping into pockets, finding space and running in behind. I don’t want him with his back to goal and having two centre-backs up his backside.”