Manchester United head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has heaped praise on the performance of midfielder Paul Pogba during the club’s disappointing 2-0 Premier League defeat at Watford.
The Frenchman returned to first-team training earlier in the week after nearly two-and-a-half months on the sidelines and he was instantly drafted into the match day squad against the Hornets.
Still, he was only on the bench due to his recent recovery but Solskjaer had to utilise his services after the hour mark as United were trailing by a 2-0 score at Vicarage Road.
Pogba could not change the ultimate result of the game, but he still impressed with a pass percentage of 90 and even had two shots on target (whoscored) including one which induced a one-handed save from Ben Foster.
This has already resulted in a positive reaction from the supporters and Solskjaer has acknowledged that the 26-year-old’s performance was the only plus from the surprise defeat to Nigel Pearson’s side.
Following the game, Solskjaer criticised the team’s showing through the first half and stated that the performance was similar to that in a testimonial with no urgency whatsoever.
“It’s very disappointing. I’m disappointed with the first half, more than the second to be fair. It was slow, a testimonial pace, no urgency and coming into half-time, you expect a reaction,” he told.
The Norwegian manager went on to appreciate the 30-minute appearance of Pogba from the bench and he is hoping that the team can benefit with the midfielder returning to league action.
“Yes, it’s a big plus. The boy has been working hard, he’s been desperate to play football and he came on and showed that hunger, urgency and quality so I’m sure we’ll benefit from him coming back,” he added.
United’s defeat to the Hornets has seen them lose ground on the Champions League places. They are currently seven points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, who ended their two-match losing run at Tottenham Hotspur.