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Paul Pogba has said he found it “really difficult” playing at Manchester United under Jose Mourinho and that he is enjoying the more attack-minded style installed by interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Frenchman was vital again for the Red Devils as they beat Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 in the Premier League on Sunday—Solskjaer’s sixth win from six games in his short United tenure.
Pogba played a brilliant ball to set up Marcus Rashford for the only goal of the game and was only denied a goal of his own by some fine Hugo Lloris saves:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Paul Pogba’s game by numbers vs. Tottenham:
100% tackles won
30 (81%) passes completed
5 shots on target
4 take-ons completed
3 chances created
1 aerial duel won
A fine performance. 🙌 https://t.co/qWDf7qJQBv
The former Juventus man has been let off the leash in many ways under Solskjaer, and he pointed to the example of Frank Lampard in describing the type of midfielder he wants to be, per Sky Sports (h/t MailOnline’s Matt Porter):
“It was really difficult, the system, the tactics we used to play. I like to be attacking, pressing, playing high. Defending is not my best attribute. The manager told me to get in the box, get goals, because you will score goals if you’re in the box. My best example is Frank Lampard. He was the one who made those runs and he created a lot of chances, he scored a lot of goals.”
Pogba, 25, spent two-and-a-half years under Mourinho, occasionally sparkling but more regularly putting in frustratingly poor performances.
Since Solskjaer took charge on December 19, he has arguably been the best performer in the Premier League:
8 – No player has been involved in more Premier League goals since Ole Gunnar Solskjær became caretaker manager at Manchester United than Paul Pogba (eight – four goals, four assists). Dangerous. #TOTMUN https://t.co/yis6RJMtJj
His inch-perfect ball for Rashford in Sunday’s clash at Wembley Stadium had many purring:
Sam Pilger @sampilger
Incredible pass from the reborn Paul Pogba to set up Marcus Rashford for the goal. Pure class #TOTMNU
And it was for that kind of contribution that United paid £89 million to sign him from Juve in 2016.
If he can end up having anything like the career at United that Lampard enjoyed at Chelsea, he will have been worth every penny.
United now face back-to-back home games in the Premier League against Brighton & Hove Albion and Burnley, both matches they will be expected to win.
If they do pick up maximum points from those two matches, Solskjaer will have started his United tenure with seven consecutive league wins.
The five he has already masterminded has seen the eight-point gap to fifth-placed Arsenal completely vanish.
With Pogba and United in this kind of form, they may well be able to bridge the remaining six points to Chelsea and break back into the top four.