Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defended Paul Pogba and Amad Diallo for holding up a Palestine flag after Tuesday’s match with Fulham, saying they have a “right to have a different view.”
United midfielder Pogba appeared to be given the flag by a fan as the players made their way around the pitch during the traditional lap of honour after the 1-1 draw in the club’s last home game of the Premier League season.
French World Cup winner Pogba and Ivorian winger Diallo, who are both Muslim, displayed the flag in support of Palestine, with around 10,000 fans at Old Trafford watching on after coronavirus restrictions were lifted.
“We have players from different backgrounds, different cultures, different countries and we need to respect their views if they differ from someone else’s,” said Solskjaer.
“If my players think about other things than football, that’s a positive thing.
“We have seen that with some of my players before, that they do care. You see Marcus Rashford, for example, the difference he has made.
“So, no, we respect their right to have a different view.”
Israel’s bombing campaign on Gaza has killed at least 219 Palestinians, including 63 children, in over a week of fighting against Islamist group Hamas, according to the territory’s health ministry in Gaza.
Palestinian rocket fire has killed 12 people in Israel, Israeli police said.
Pogba and Diallo are the latest footballers to show their support for the Palestinians.
English midfielder Hamza Choudhury and French defender Wesley Fofana held a Palestinian flag on the pitch at Wembley after Leicester’s 1-0 win over Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday.
A social media post from Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny showing his support for the Palestinian people has been hit by a backlash from Jewish fans.
The Egyptian posted on his Twitter account: “My heart and my soul and my support for you Palestine.”
Arsenal confirmed to Sky Sports that they have spoken with Elneny after concerns about the post were raised by one of the club’s sponsors, coffee maker Lavazza.
Rejuvenated Manchester United star Paul Pogba has criticized former boss Jose Mourinho on his man management techniques, accusing him of leaving players dejected for no reason.
Pogba and Mourinho had a somewhat torrid relationship when the Portuguese controlled the reins at Old Trafford.
With the see saw performance exhibited by the Frenchman and continued criticism from former club legends, the situation worsened to the point that the Portuguese stripped Pogba of the captain’s arm band.
In an interview with Skysports, the French midfielder was full of praise for the current boss, Ole -Gunner Solskjaer and his role in making the team a strong unit.
“What I have now with Ole is different, he wouldn’t go against the players,” the former world cup winner said when asked about this relationship with the current boss.
“He wouldn’t go against the players… Maybe Ole wouldn’t pick them, but it’s not like he puts them on the side like they don’t exist anymore. That’s the difference between Mourinho and Ole.”
The 28-year-old seemed befuddled on how things went sour between he and the current Tottenham boss.
“Once I had a great relationship with Mourinho, everybody saw that, and the next day you don’t know what happened. That’s the strange thing I had with Mourinho and I cannot explain to you because even I don’t know. So, yeah,” he stated.
Pogba, whose future at Old Trafford still remains a doubt, believes Mourinho was his usual coy self in evading reality and refusing to admit defeat by criticising Solskjaer’s post-match comments
“If you have to steal to feed your kids, you steal. I am very, very disappointed, and like we say in Portugal bread is bread and cheese is cheese, I told Ole already what I think about his comments” when asked on his thoughts about Mourinho’s jibe at Ole.
“We won the game, he lost the game and he doesn’t want to speak about the game, he wants to speak about the dad of someone, that’s what he does. Everybody knows him, it’s very Mourinho.
Continuing in his praise for the Norwegian, Pogba stated he and once out of favour team mate Luke Shaw have thrived under the current leadership due to his approach
“Maybe [Solskjaer’s methods work] because he is a bit closer to the people,” he said.
“Ole has helped Luke a lot, it was a difficult season with Luke and Mourinho, and he has proved he has the quality he always had and the trust of the manager.”
Pogba will be hoping to close the gap on Manchester City when his side take on Burnley on Sunday.
Paul Pogba said he is “always happy” when he is winning after scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory at Burnley that took Manchester United top of the Premier League for the first time in three years on Tuesday.
Despite continued speculation over his future, Pogba has played an increasingly important role in recent weeks to aid United’s first serious title challenge since legendary former manager Alex Ferguson retired in 2013.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men now lead defending champions Liverpool by three points ahead of a top-of-the-table clash between the two most successful sides in English football history at Anfield on Sunday.
“I’m always happy when I win,” said Pogba, who has been consistently linked with a move away from Old Trafford at the end of the season.
“I’m happy we are playing well and happy we are at the top, but there is a long way to go and we have big games coming up.”
United have now taken 29 from the last possible 33 points to recover from just two wins in their opening six games of the season.
The signing of Bruno Fernandes shortly after Burnley won 2-0 at Old Trafford nearly a year ago in the last meeting between the sides has transformed United’s fortunes.
And if Pogba can finally produce consistent displays worthy of the then world-record fee United paid for the Frenchman in 2016, there is a reason for Solskjaer to believe he can end the club’s eight-year wait for a league title.
“I’ve always said Paul is a big, big player for us,” added Solskjaer. “He is a good character in the dressing room, he is always one the lads look to (because) he’s a world champion.
“We are seeing the best of Paul at the moment. He’s getting better and better every game.”
The manner of victory against a Burnley side that had not lost at home since October also suggests United have the ability of champions to grind out a result when they need to.
The first-half was dominated by controversy over a series of VAR reviews as both sides escaped without having a man sent-off for challenges by Luke Shaw and Robbie Brady, while United had a goal harshly ruled out for a slight push by Harry Maguire when he powered home a header at the back post.
The visitors upped the pressure in the second half and got their reward 19 minutes from time when Pogba’s volley from Marcus Rashford’s cross deflected off Matt Lowton and through the legs of Nick Pope to head to Anfield leading Liverpool.
“We couldn’t be going there at a better time to play them,” added Solskjaer. “We are in good shape, good form, hungry, these boys want to get better and that’s a test again.”
– Everton win at Wolves – Everton moved back into the top four and within four points of United as they overcame an injury crisis to beat Wolves 2-1 at Molineux.
Carlo Ancelotti was forced to start without a recognised striker without Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison only fit enough for a place on the bench.
The Toffees took an early lead when Alex Iwobi converted Lucas Digne’s cross but were pegged back when Ruben Neves levelled for Wolves.
Michael Keane’s towering header won the game 13 minutes from time to bolster the Blues’ European ambitions.
“We adapted really well to the characteristics of the players we had,” said Ancelotti.
At the other end of the table, Sheffield United ended a 20-game winless league run as Billy Sharp’s penalty earned a 1-0 victory over 10-man Newcastle.
The Blades still face an uphill task to haul themselves off the bottom of the table as they sit nine points adrift of safety.
But Chris Wilder’s men ensured they will not set an unwanted record by going a full top-flight season without a win thanks to another night to forget for Newcastle.
“It looked like we got our identity back,” said Wilder. “It was us with the handbrake off, going for it and playing well in and out of possession.”
The Magpies could yet find themselves dragged into a relegation battle as they remain eight points above the drop zone in 15th, but have played two games more than Fulham in 18th.
Manchester United’s Paul Pogba said on Monday he will be “taking legal action” after reports claimed he had retired from international duty in protest against French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments about radical Islam.
According to reports in the Middle East picked up by British tabloid The Sun, World Cup winner Pogba wanted to end his international career after Macron vowed to take the fight to Islamic radicals after the October 16 beheading of history teacher Samuel Paty.
“I am appalled, angry, shocked and frustrated some ‘media’ sources use me to make total fake headlines in the sensible subject of French current events and adding my religion and the French National Team to the pot,” Pogba posted on Instagram.
“I am taking legal action against the publishers and spreaders of these 100% Fake News,” he added.
Paty had shown cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed to pupils in a class discussion on free speech in a school near Paris.
Macron’s comments triggered protests in Muslim-majority countries at the weekend, with people burning pictures of Macron in Syria and setting fire to French flags in the Libyan capital Tripoli.
Pogba won the World Cup in Russia in 2018, with Les Bleus’ next fixture a friendly with Finland on November 11 ahead of Nations League meetings with Portugal and Sweden.
United’s next match is Wednesday’s Champions League group game against RB Leipzig at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted Manchester United are a “different team” from the sluggish side that started the season after extending an unbeaten run to 17 games with a 3-0 win at Aston Villa.
United became the first team in Premier League history to win four consecutive games by a three-goal margin as Mason Greenwood continued his rise to stardom with another thunderous finish after Bruno Fernandes’s controversial penalty opened the scoring.
Fernandes then teed up Paul Pogba to score his first goal for over a year as United closed to within a point of the top four.
Pogba missed the majority of the season prior to the coronavirus shutdown due to injury, but his return to fitness and the January signing of Fernandes, alongside the emergence of Greenwood, have transformed United’s fortunes.
“He’s a fantastic person, fantastic player, one of the best midfielders in the world,” said Solskjaer on Pogba.
“He’s getting better and better because he’s been out for so long, which is natural.
“You can see he is enjoying himself. The team is a different team to the one he left when he was injured. The focus, the attitude, everything is miles better in that dressing room.”
The impact of the coronavirus outbreak could turn Pogba’s United career around.
Prior to the pandemic, the French World Cup winner seemed set to leave the club for the second time in his career.
But with interest from Real Madrid now unlikely to materialise this summer given the economic impact of the crisis, Solskjaer is hoping to extend Pogba’s contract beyond 2022.
Pogba, meanwhile, wants United to show their form of the last few weeks over the long haul to challenge newly-crowned champions Liverpool and Manchester City for the Premier League title next season.
“We are talking in training that we have to carry on, that’s what Manchester is, it is a big club and the performances the last few weeks are the standard of Manchester,” Pogba told Sky Sports.
“We didn’t win the Premier League, that’s the standard, we didn’t win anything yet so there is a lot of work to do.”
Villa’s winless run stretches to 10 games as Dean Smith’s men remain rooted in the bottom three, four points adrift of safety with just four games to go.
But Smith was furious his gameplan was undone when Fernandes won a penalty despite initiating the contact with Villa right-back Ezri Konsa as he spun just inside the area.
“It unravelled with the first goal,” said Smith. “I can understand (referee) Jon (Moss) getting it wrong but I don’t know what VAR are looking at – it’s a disgraceful decision.
“They have a screen they can go and look at it but they don’t seem to be bothered.”
Fernandes took responsibility from the spot to score his eighth goal for the club.
Greenwood scored powerfully off both feet against Bournemouth at the weekend and showed again why Solskjaer rates him among the best finishers he has ever seen by smashing home his 16th goal of the season on his supposedly weaker right foot just before the break.
United have now scored 14 goals in winning their last four league games and turned on the style after the break.
Pogba was given time to control and measure his shot from Fernandes’s cut-back to arrow the ball into the bottom corner for his first goal since April 2019.
Fernandes then teed up Martial to crash a shot off the underside of the bar and Pepe Reina denied Marcus Rashford from Pogba’s sumptuous pass in stoppage time as United had to settle for three.
“We should have won by five clear goals in all of them!” Solskjaer added when informed of his side setting a new record.
Manchester United should see success as winning the Premier League, not just making the top four, said Paul Pogba after netting his first goal for over a year in another comfortable 3-0 win for the Red Devils at Aston Villa.
United became the first side in Premier League history to win four straight games by a three-goal margin as they closed to within a point of fourth-placed Leicester with the in-form Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood also on the scoresheet.
Pogba missed the majority of the season prior to the coronavirus shutdown due to injury, but believes United must aim higher next season in the pursuit of newly-crowned champions Liverpool and Manchester City.
“We are really pleased with ourselves, but we know we have to carry on as well,” Pogba told Sky Sports.
“We are talking in training that we have to carry on, that’s what Manchester is, it is a big club and the performances the last few weeks are the standard of Manchester.
“We didn’t win the Premier League, that’s the standard, we didn’t win anything yet so there is a lot of work to do.”
United could still end the season with two trophies as they face Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals on July 19 before restarting their Europa League campaign in August.
“This year we have two goals, to go for the Europa League and the FA Cup so we go for that,” added Pogba.
“Supporting our Juventus and Sampdoria friends @blaisematuidiofficiel, @albinekdal and all athletes and people around the world who are facing this difficult moment,” the midfielder wrote. ⠀⠀
“Be strong, #StayAtHome and be safe 💪🏾! New training camp is called …⠀⠀ Quarantine PP Arena, open 24/7! 🏋🏾♂. Having fun working at home 🏠 with my brother @victorlindelof!”
He added, “I know the cheeky ones will talk about the Juventus jersey 😏 I’m just supporting my friends … that’s all, nothing more 😁).”
United centre-back, Victor Linderlof, also joined the Frenchman in the indoor training and wore a Sampdoria shirt to show solidarity for Swedish teammate, Albin Ekdal, who equally tested positive to coronavirus.
The defender wore Ekdal’s Sampdoria shirt in the video which has sparked rumours of Pogba’s possible return to the Italian side.
Matuidi himself took to his Twitter account to issue an update about his treatment, saying he is “positive.”
“I am positive. I am positive, I am strong, morale is good. I am positive, we will collectively emerge stronger from this test.” the World Cup winner tweeted.
“Thank you for your messages of friendship and support. Let us remain disciplined and united. I am positive, we will do it.”
Je suis positif. Je suis positif, je suis fort, le moral est bon. Je suis positif, nous ressortirons collectivement plus forts de cette épreuve. Merci pour vos messages d’amitié et de soutien. Restons disciplinés et unis. Je suis positif, nous allons le faire. pic.twitter.com/iEEf3SMmeV
Pogba has struggled since returning to Old Trafford from Juventus in a club-record deal in 2016.
He was included in the PFA Team of the Year last season but his often-lethargic performances split opinion among supporters, while he reportedly had a major falling-out with former United boss Jose Mourinho.
Talking to The Times last week, Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola said he had made the club aware he was looking to move the player on and offered no assurances that the 26-year-old would travel for the tour.
“Everyone knows the willingness of Paul to move on. We are in the process of that. Everyone knows what the feelings of Paul are,” Raiola said.
Romelu Lukaku, another United player linked with a summer departure to Inter Milan, is included among the 28-man party, as are new signings Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James.
Solskjaer’s side will take on Perth Glory and Leeds in Australia before continuing on for pre-season games in Singapore and China.
Alexis Sanchez, who limped out of Chile’s Copa America third-place play-off defeat by Argentina on Saturday, is missing but would not have been included at this stage due to his international exertions.
Paul Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola is “in the process” of organising a move away from Manchester United for the Frenchman, he told The Times on Friday.
The midfielder has had a topsy-turvy stay at Old Trafford since joining for a then-world-record fee of 105 million euros (£89.3 million) in 2016 from Juventus.
Raiola claimed the Man United bosses know that the World Cup winner wants to leave the Premier League giants.
“Everyone within the club, from the manager to the owner, knows Paul’s wishes,” Raiola said in an interview with British newspaper The Times.
“Everyone knows the willingness of Paul to move on. We are in the process of that. Everyone knows what the feelings of Paul are.”
Raiola also cast doubt over whether Pogba would join Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad on their pre-season tour of Australia, with the players due to fly out on Sunday.
United had previously insisted Pogba would be on the flight.
“I cannot tell you anything. I live day by day,” said Raiola.
Pogba had said while in Tokyo last month that it “could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else”.
Despite scoring 16 goals this season, half of which came from the penalty spot, Pogba was often criticised for his contribution under both Jose Mourinho and Solskjaer as United limped to a sixth-placed finish in the Premier League.
Ignoring Pogba’s often-lethargic displays, Solskjaer had planned to offer him the role of vice-captain this season in an attempt to persuade the star to remain in Manchester.
However, Real Madrid and Italian champions Juventus have repeatedly been linked with Pogba, who is contracted to United until 2021.
Real is believed to be the 26-year-old’s preferred destination and in March he said the Spanish giants were “a dream club for every player”.
The saga over Pogba’s future is likely to drag on for several weeks.
The English transfer window closes on August 8, but the Italian window doesn’t shut until August 23, while the Spanish transfer deadline is September 2.