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Focused Paul Pogba is now playing like the midfielder Manchester United always wanted him to be

Paul Pogba ran the show against Aston Villa.
Paul Pogba ran the show against Aston Villa.
ANALYST
Modified 02 Jan 2021, 17:16 IST
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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer led the praises for Paul Pogba following the midfielder's performance in Manchester United’s 2-1 win against Aston Villa in the Premier League on New Year’s Day.

The Frenchman has failed to live up to expectations following his return to Old Trafford four and a half years ago. However, he’s finally beginning to play like the player the club paid £89 million for.

“Paul… he just clipped his foot [for the penalty]. I think he’s getting better and better,” Solskjaer said of the midfielder as quoted by Manutd.com.
“From midfield, it’s a physical game. They’re a strong, physical side and Paul can match anyone in the league, physically, when he’s fit. At the moment he’s getting there," noted Solskjaer.

Pogba has divided opinions since returning to Manchester United but it cannot be disputed that he’s a hugely talented player. It is his commitment and focus that has often been questionable during his time at Old Trafford.

Pogba's masterclass against Aston Villa

On Friday, though, the Frenchman brought his A-game against Aston Villa and completely ran the show at Old Trafford. Starting on the left flank, Pogba occasionally dropped in deep to help the Reds retain possession.

He played a huge role in both goals as Solskjaer’s side defeated Aston Villa 2-1 to move level on points with bitter rivals Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table.

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Pogba’s tidy control and nimble-footedness was what released Marcus Rashford in the move that led to Manchester United’s opening goal. The former Juventus star showed great resilience to keep the ball away from his marker before passing it to Rashford, who released Aaron Wan-Bissaka on the right flank. The right-back then raced unmarked before crossing the ball for Antony Martial to head home.

When Aston Villa were beginning to cause some trouble after snatching the equaliser, Pogba won his side a penalty, which allowed Bruno Fernandes to restore the Reds’ lead.

The France midfielder has now started back-to-back games for Manchester United and he was unplayable against Villa on Friday.

Paul Pogba will be key to Manchester United’s title chances

Bruno Fernandes has been Manchester United’s best player since his arrival but the Reds need Pogba at his best if they are going to sustain their title charge.

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The Frenchman’s quality is undeniable, and if Solskjaer is able to get him to perform consistently, the entire team will benefit greatly. There is still a long way to go this season and Pogba’s quality will be needed, especially against teams that sit deep.

Two weeks ago, every Manchester United fan wanted him out of the club after some distasteful comments from the player's agent Mino Riola. However, Pogba has turned a corner and has shown that he be an important player for the Old Trafford side in the coming months.

Published 02 Jan 2021, 17:16 IST
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