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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Paul Pogba after the midfielder helped beat Aston Villa, a result that puts Manchester United on points with Liverpool at the top of the table.
United began 2021 as it ended the year before, with a close home win, defeating Villa 2-1 at Old Trafford, in the process extending their unbeaten streak in the Premier League to 10 games.
Marcus Rashford had hit in overtime to fire the Wolves on Dec. 29, and while they didn’t quit that late this time, the Red Devils still had to work hard.
Solskjaer felt Pogba’s skill with the ball helped repel a physical team from Villa, the France international again impressed in United’s midfield as he continues to improve after recovering from the coronavirus.
“He’s getting better and better, he’s getting fitter. I think he played well today, ”Solskjaer told Sky Sports about Pogba, who tried more passes and more passes in the opposing team’s half than any other local player.
“They are a physical side, there were many challenges, one-on-one situations. Paul is one of those guys that can stop players, get us.
“But, not just Paul, we were too interested in playing the killer pass. We knew they were going to leave, so there are other spaces behind that we should have used. “
Pogba had the most touches for United (69), while also winning 52.6 percent of his 19 total games.
The 27-year-old, whose long-term future at the club remains unclear, was fouled twice during the match, one of those occasions that led to a penalty that Bruno Fernandes converted in the second half, watching the hosts regain the lead. .
9 – Since the beginning of February 2020, Bruno Fernandes has scored nine penalties in the Premier League, two more than any other player. Formality. pic.twitter.com/FF2pkA3iji
– OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 1, 2021
Anthony Martial had put them ahead early in the contest, scoring just their second league goal of a season interrupted by injuries and a three-game suspension.
Solskjaer hopes the French forward, who has now scored seven days a week in the Premier League, can build on his performance.
“He’s had opportunities all season, maybe his confidence had a bit of a hit before with the sending off, and some inconveniences he had.
“Now he’s shooting, getting better and better.”
United are back in action on Wednesday, hosting neighbors Manchester City in the last four of the EFL Cup.
They are next in league service on January 12, traveling to face Burnley five days before a big trip to defending champion Liverpool.