Paul Pogba was one of just two Manchester United players to miss training this week along with fellow absentee Marcus Rashford.
A nearly fully fit squad has been key to United’s upturn in form, as well as the recent additions of Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo.
It has left United as a more confident team, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s press conferences are less tense affairs, with the boss speaking about his plans.
He said he wants the team’s work ethic to underpin future success.
Solskjaer was quoted by The Guardian: “We want the swagger and confidence – not arrogance, but to be able to go out and believe in yourself. You’ve got to work harder and earn the right to win.
“I played with Beckham, Giggs, and one of the biggest compliments we had, with a team full of quality, was that we worked harder than others. I want my team to be one of the hardest working teams in the league. That’s the attitude you need, that’s what you’re supposed to do.”
So where does Paul Pogba fit into this?
There is no doubting Pogba’s quality, nor his swagger and confidence. He has plenty of that.
What has never been clear is how hard he is to work for the team, and many fans fear he isn’t even working hard to come back for the club, and is simply eyeing France’s internationals instead.
Solskjaer wants a team which is together and moving in the right direction, as one, without any personal agendas.
Bringing Pogba back into the squad could unsettle what United have going right now and it is very possible that the club are not pushing him to come back quickly, because they fear him having a negative impact on team camaraderie.
Solskjaer wants a hard working squad and if one player does not share that same attitude, it lets everybody else down. It’s up to Pogba to show he has the desire to work hard for this club. Until he does, doubts will remain that he ever will again.
Lingard doesn’t help himself
He is not the only one. As Solskjaer made his comments, a video emerged of Jesse Lingard clowning around and doing a handstand in training.
It’s just a short clip, and we shouldn’t get too bent out of shape about it, but this suggests Lingard may not be taking his situation as seriously as he should be. He was dropped from the squad for the match against Watford after a run of poor form, and wasn’t in the 18 against Chelsea either.
We are all for players having fun and freedom of expression, and it’s just a short clip, but if Lingard wants to impress his manager, considering his need to improve, this probably isn’t the best way to go.
It created another vociferous backlash against Lingard on social media. Sometimes he just doesn’t help himself.
- What does Nemanja Matic’s renewal mean for James Garner?
- Three reasons why United should consider James Rodriguez move
- Predicted Manchester United XI v Aston Villa
- Solskjaer gives Lindelof fitness update
- A look back at Solskjaer’s comments on Greenwood one year ago