Solskjaer deserves praise for his handling of Pogba since Raiola's outburst

When Mino Raiola came out and said Paul Pogba wanted to leave Manchester United on the eve of their biggest game of the season, did anyone think he’d be scoring the goal to put us top of the league a month later?

Raiola has since rowed back on his comments and Pogba has gradually re-established himself in United’s first team.

On a night where United had to stand up and be counted, Pogba performed as well as anyone and continued his recent resurgence.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer deserves credit for his treatment of Pogba.

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There were plenty of people queuing up to tell Solskjaer to take a hard line on Pogba.

It seems likely Pogba will leave at the end of the season but until then, Solskjaer had to manage the situation carefully.

He has been largely supportive of Pogba, maintaining that he had a role to play in his plans and stating he would improve as he gets fitter and fitter.

He’s found a role on the left of midfield for Pogba at times and also got a tune out of him in a deeper role, a position in which he has struggled in the past.

And, it seems he is already well-prepared for Pogba’s expected departure this summer, with Donny van de Beek bedding in this season.

Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Nemanja Matic was Pogba’s midfield partner last night – putting in a strong performance of his own – and praised the Frenchman post-match.

He told the club’s official website: “Paul in the last couple of games, he [has] showed a maturity.

“He showed exactly the way he needs to play. If he continues to play in this way… he is one of the best midfielders in the world. On the pitch he will show exactly what is his potential and that he can be the leader.

“Yeah, he needs to use what he has in legs [and] in his head. I don’t want to say too much more about him, I don’t want him to feel too much big [headed]!”

“He is fantastic, as I said, he needs to go game by game. The next one is the most important.”

Solskjaer could have had a saga on his hands like Mesut Ozil’s at Arsenal but he has managed Pogba’s situation extremely well since Raiola’s ill-timed outburst and deserves huge praise for that.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.