2019-02-10 by W.M.
Paul Pogba Says Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Gives Manchester United Stars ‘Joy’ | Bleacher Report
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“I think Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] is just being himself,” Pogba told the BBC (h/t Tom Doyle of the Evening Standard). “He isn’t acting and he can give joy to everyone and confidence to everyone.”
Pogba scored either side of an Anthony Martial strike to hand the Red Devils the win at Craven Cottage.
The victory sent United into the top four, the first time they’ve been there since the opening day of the season.
The Telegraph‘s James Ducker and ESPN’s Alex Shaw observed how far United have come since Solskjaer took charge in December:
James Ducker @TelegraphDucker
#MUFC were sixth, 11 points off 4th, 19 behind leaders Liverpool and with a zero goal difference when Mourinho was sacked. 9 PL games later under Solskjaer they are fourth, a point ahead of Chelsea having played a game more, have a GD of +17 and are 11 points adrift of top spot
Alex Shaw @AlexShawESPN
Mourinho – 26 points
Solskjaer – 25 points.
Took Solskjaer 9 Premier League games.
Pogba discussed the Red Devils’ win over Fulham, and he feels the positivity now surrounding the team has been a benefit:
“I think we’ve had games where we’ve played much better and haven’t scored three goals.
“I think in the first half we didn’t control the game but we scored two goals and after that we got another and then controlled it.
“I always say playing altogether with the lads, attacking together, defending together helps everyone.
“The good atmosphere helps the team, and for me, being more in the box gives me more chances to score.”
Under Solskjaer’s predecessor Jose Mourinho, the team often adopted a more negative approach that failed to get the best out of the players, particularly Pogba and United’s attacking stars.
The Norwegian has given the players more initiative to push forward, and in turn they’ve scored 23 goals in his nine Premier League matches in charge, an average of 2.6 per game. In their 17 matches under Mourinho, United scored 29, averaging 1.7 goals per game.
Solskjaer’s demeanour has also been much more positive, and that too has likely had an impact on his players’ performance level.