(Photo by Jarmoluk/Pixabay)
Manchester United’s player of the month in January is set to miss up to three weeks of football after injuring his thigh in the 3-3 draw with Everton.
The influential midfielder will miss tomorrow’s FA Cup tie against West Ham, as well as the Premier League fixture at West Bromwich Albion, and potentially both ties of the Europa League showdown with Real Sociedad.
After a challenging run of results, the injury to his star midfielder couldn’t have come at a worse time for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“It's an injury that will take a few weeks to heal. He's just started his recovery, working with the medical staff and we'll get him back as soon and as safely as we can.
“Of course, Paul has been very important for us and we're not going to take any risks. [So it is] A few weeks definitely.
“You never want to be injured and, especially, now Paul was really finding his form and enjoying his football. For us, we just have to take as many points and wins as possible, when you lose players.
“We've been very healthy and strong for a long period so we can't moan too much,” said Solskjaer.
Solskjaer Makes Changes For Hammers Cup Tie
With Manchester United welcoming West Ham United to Old Trafford on Tuesday, Solskjaer confirmed that as well as Pogba, he will be without defenders Eric Bailly and Phil Jones for the fifth-round match up.
“Eric is getting better. He's still not available for the Cup game tomorrow we don't think. He's been out on the grass and training and we'll make a decision tomorrow. I don't think he'll be involved.
“Everyone [else] is available and trained this morning, apart from Phil [Jones] who's still out.”
After undergoing an operation in the Summer, Jones is yet to make a first team appearance in the 2020/21 season. However, the manager is looking forward to having Jones back at his disposal soon.
As for Jones, he is yet to play for the Reds this season having undergone an operation in the summer. However, our no.4 is targeting a return and was included in our Premier League squad for the second half of the 2020/21 term.
“I wish to get him back into the squad as quick as I can.
“He’s a solid citizen and one of those you can trust. He’s been working so hard to get back, [he's] had a couple of setbacks but, hopefully, we can get some good use [out of him].”
With Bailly and Jones unavailable, it means the manager may be forced to call on captain Harry Maguire again, despite the defender being in need of a rest, having played over 50 hours of football this season.
If he physically can keep going and going. The nature of a centre-back position is a different position compared to full-backs and wide men or even centre midfielders, or any other position on the pitch. The centre-backs are the ones who are protected mostly from the real fatigue because you're working less. Then again, he's never injured, Harry. He's never been really badly hurt, touch wood, and hopefully he'll be able to carry on. But I'm not sure if he'll play on Tuesday or not. I've not decided yet.”
The Trophy Hunt Continues
After making the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, FA Cup, and Europa League last season, Solskjaer is looking for his team to take the next step in their progression, and that starts with lifting a trophy.
“Well, of course a trophy is always what you're aiming for. You want to win every single competition - FA Cup, Europa League, every game you play, the Premier League. And that's the ultimate challenge and a test for a team: to go all the way. We've improved, we've had a plan in place, and I think the team is getting better and better. Last season's semi-final was disappointing to lose that one of course, and you just want to go all the way ad you want to lift the trophy. That's not the be all and end all, of course it isn't; it's the bread and butter of the Premier League that is also a measure of how good a team is. To get to a final, sometimes you're lucky with the draw, but to win a final, then all the good teams have been beaten. So that's the next step for us in the development of this team: to go all the way in a competition.”
After throwing away two points in the final seconds against Everton, Solskjaer has been tasked with picking up his players quickly, with only three days between matches.
“They'll have to be lifted, but they've got the personality and attitude and character to lift themselves as well. We're not going to have time to dwell on it too much and show videos, but of course there's details there that we have to improve on. A couple of things that we'll look at. But there's not going to be time enough to work on it on the training field, when the [next] game's already on Tuesday.”
After another high-profile blunder by keeper David de Gea, there have been calls for him to be replaced by Dean Henderson. The English shot stopper has often been the teams man between the sticks in cup competitions, and is ready to take his chance.
“Well, Dean has played well whenever he's got the chance, and he's matured. For me, he's developed his game. I know he's not played as many games as he would have done last season, but you see every game when he plays, and in training, his improvement. He's working hard on a couple of aspects that we've spoken about with him. I've been impressed with his attitude and work-rate. Of course, he's, how do you say, he's not the most patient guy! He wants to play every game because he knows that he'll perform well, so long may it continue, because he's improved since he's come here,” concluded Solskjaer.
On the back of a disappointing result against Everton, United will need to bounce back against West Ham as failure to do so could see the team tailspin out of contention in all competitions.