Paul Pogba and Zinedine Zidane on the beach no problem for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Zidane says meeting was "pure coincidence" but refuses to talk about what was discussed as it was "personal"
By Zinny Boswell
Last Updated: 18/10/19 3:00pm
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he does not "have any problem" with Paul Pogba being pictured on a beach with Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane in the UAE.
Pogba, who has been recovering from injury in the Middle East, was spotted chatting to Zidane in Dubai this week - fuelling speculation about his future at Old Trafford.
Asked about the image, Solskjaer said: "Here we go with the picture! I've not heard Paul Pogba say he doesn't want to be here. Paul wants to stay here and play well."
However, one journalist was quick to point out Pogba said "it could be time for a new challenge" in the summer while his agent, Mino Raiola, confirmed that he wanted to leave United.
Zidane was keen to bring Pogba to the Bernabeu in the summer - and is reportedly still set on getting the France international - but Solskjaer says the midfielder plays a key role in his United vision.
"Paul is part of our plan going forward," added Solskjaer.
"He has been playing through the pain barrier. He has been criticised left, right and centre, but when he came back against Rochdale and Arsenal he could've easily not played.
"He wanted to play, he wanted to try to get back and it was too painful. He's had a scan, he's on the way back and he's been on a few days off, working but he is away from here.
"Then there is a picture and being at Manchester United you do get pictures and speculation - but I don't have any problem with that at all."
Zidane: Pogba meeting 'pure coincidence' - but private
Zidane also fielded questions about the picture ahead of Real's trip to Mallorca on Saturday in La Liga.
"Pure coincidence," said Zidane of the meeting with Pogba.
"He was there and I was there at the event and, since we know each other, we talked. That's all. And it was personal,
"I'm not going to tell you what we talked about, that's between him and I. But we've known each other for a long time, so if we meet, we say hi and we talk."
De Gea injury 'not as bad as feared'
David de Gea, the United goalkeeper, was injured in Spain's European Qualifier against Sweden on Tuesday.
He will miss United's match against rivals Liverpool on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League, but Solskjaer provided a positive update on the fitness of his No 1.
"I don't expect him to play, but it was not as bad as feared," said Solskjaer.
"When I first saw the injury I thought, 'That's him out until the next international break' because we've had some long-term muscle injuries. But it's not as bad as feared."
'Woodward and I have a plan'
United let go of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in the summer - both going to Inter Milan, the latter on loan - but failed to replace the striking duo.
In their absence, United have scored five goals in their last seven league games. The poor run of form has left United two points above the relegation zone eight games into the campaign.
Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, has been the primary target for criticism regarding the running of the club with fans calling for him to be relieved of his duties.
But Woodward has hit back, addressing the "myth that we have non-football people making football decisions and says "it's insulting to the brilliant people who work on the football side in this club".
Asked if it helps to hear he has Woodward's backing, Solskjaer said: "I speak to Ed regularly. As I've said many times, we do have a plan.
"And we've made some decisions that maybe in the short term would harm us but we know in the long term will benefit us and that's part of the plan.
"The results are always the main thing, we can move forward quicker if we get results and performances. But I'm sure that we will get there.
"It's still planning - next transfer window, summer transfer window - and how we see the team moving forward."