Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Man Utd boss on Paul Pogba's form, message for doubters and facing Leeds

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: "That pressure - that's a privilege, just imagine life with no pressure. That must be mundane"; Watch Manchester United vs Leeds United live on Sky Sports Premier League this Sunday from 4.15pm; kick-off 4.30pm

Paul Pogba with Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Image: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he is 'delighted' with Paul Pogba's recent performances

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he will continue to manage Manchester United his way as he reaches two years in charge of the club.

The Norwegian first took temporary charge of United on December 19, 2018, and Sunday's match at home to Leeds, live on Sky Sports, will fall a day after his two-year anniversary at Old Trafford.

Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports News, Solskjaer - whose position was made permanent in March 2019 - said he is thriving under the pressure that comes with the United role as he looks to improve on his side's third-place finish last season and bounce back from their Champions League group-stage exit.

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When asked if he had a message for those who still doubted him, Solskjer said: "I'll do it the way I've always done it anyway, and if they doubt, they doubt, and if they don't, they don't. We as a coaching staff and as a team with the players, we believe in what we're doing.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 3:41
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he will continue to manage Manchester United his way

"We have a belief. Whatever anyone else thinks about me or the team, it's not really my business. If teams come to Old Trafford with more or less respect, it's a game we have to take on and have to perform at our best level."

On the pressure of managing United, having come under constant scrutiny during his time in charge, Solskjaer added: "That's this chair, this place, this club, that's the pressure we want. We want to push on. I don't like to go back into this, but the average position in the six years after Sir Alex left was fifth.

"Last season we got up to third, it's an improvement but it's not where we want to be. We have to push on, I feel the squad is getting stronger, I've got more and more headaches over leaving players out. But it's still not enough."

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Former Manchester United defender Wes Brown believes the club's league form shows they can challenge for the Premier League title

Solskjaer also addressed whether he believes he is an angrier manager this season: "Sometimes you're angry, sometimes you're calm. It depends on our attitude, you cannot be angry with players who have the right attitude.

"I was an angry player at times, I enjoy feeling that anger at times. That pressure, I like that, you thrive on that. That's a privilege, just imagine life with no pressure. That must be mundane."

"I like to prove points. I'm just doing my job the way I should do it."

Solskjaer's Pogba 'delight'

Paul Pogba started back-to-back Manchester United games for the first time since October in the 3-2 win at Sheffield United 0:27
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Paul Pogba's influence in their 3-2 win at Sheffield United in the Premier League

Paul Pogba was widely praised for his performance in the 3-2 win at Sheffield United on Thursday night, and while his agent Mino Raiola has said the player wants to leave Old Trafford, Solskjaer could only speak of his delight with the Frenchman's attitude on the pitch and in training.

"Paul, he wants to play, he wants to train, he enjoys football, he wants success, he's ambitious, so when he's on the pitch and on the training field I see a boy who enjoys his football," Solskjaer said.

"That's what I care about. What we talk about, him and me, we know what we've discussed.

"I think fitness and confidence goes a little bit hand in hand, because when you've got the quality that he has, of course fitness is a foundation of your confidence, because you know your ability will get a performance.

"He's had a difficult year last year with loads of injuries, about nine or 10 months he was out. Then he got Covid, at the start of the season he didn't feel fit, so then what comes first… Do you play him to get him fit? Or rest him so then he won't get playing time?

"Now he's responded to the work we've done and you see the good performance. He's a player who can do most of the things, he's got all the attributes. I'm delighted with his performances."

'You know what you're getting with Leeds'

Leeds 3-4 Man Utd 2:42
Ahead of Leeds' trip to Old Trafford on Sunday, we take a look at this seven-goal thriller when the teams met in 2002 at Elland Road

United host Leeds in the Premier League on Sunday, and Solskjaer admitted he is looking forward to renewing a rivalry he enjoyed as a player.

He said: "When you look back at the rivalry, when I played they were a very good team. Now with Marcelo as the coach they're an entertaining team to watch, not to analyse because you've really got to concentrate and focus on the little details.

"We played last summer in Australia, had a little taste of what he's about, so we're going to be ready.

"You know what you're going to get. A hard-running game, a physical game. They sprint the most. You'll get rotation, players who are technically capable. You know what you'll get, but you can never predict the result.

"You take one game at a time. This is the next one we want to win, we know we have to improve our home form to move up the table."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on…

His Manchester United players:

"I know I'm getting everything they have. In football, it's such an unpredictable game anyway. 2020 has been a strange year, an eventful, difficult year for everyone in the world. How the players cope and react we probably won't know until we come out of this. That's something we have to look at with the mental state of the players as well.

  0:34
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has urged his forwards to find consistency in front of goal following their impressive showing against Sheffield United

"They're not robots, they're human beings. To perform at the highest level, it's marginal, you've got to be spot on every time. It's probably impossible for anyone else to understand what they're going through. So my ex-team-mates, of course they don't know how it feels to be them now, because this is a different world to when we played."

Losing to Istanbul Basaksehir away in the Champions League:

"Very disappointed. That was a low moment, those are the three points that cost us. It shouldn't have happened, but that's football, you can't turn up and expect three points if you don't perform well enough. The first goal is so important. We've shown in the league that we can come back but sometimes you can't, and we've run out of time a couple times."

The Premier League table:

"I don't look at the table and about the game in hand as in that's three points - you've got to win it first."

Lindelof playing through pain barrier

Victor Lindelof has revealed he is playing through the pain barrier in a bid to help United challenge for the title.

Sweden centre-back Lindelof has started the last nine Premier League matches despite suffering from a persistent back problem.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and defender Victor Lindelof
Image: Victor Lindelof remains committed to help Manchester United and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as much as possible, despite his current injury problems

Lindelof said: "I want to help this team win trophies - that's why I play football.

"If the team needs me, I'm going to do my best to be there and try to perform at the highest level. Even if I have some pain, I still want to go out there and do my best.

"I've been having a lot of pain and I still have problems with it. I'm in every day trying to sort it out but the schedule is very, very tight so I'm just trying to keep it under control.

"It's been difficult, particularly after games, but I'm trying to be as smart as possible with it when I'm playing, when I'm doing my recovery and having treatment."

Lindelof admitted he struggled at the start of the season due to the unusually brief pre-season but believes both himself and United are beginning to improve.

Ahead of the visit of Leeds, Solskjaer's side are on a six-match unbeaten Premier League run despite their Champions League group stage exit.

Lindelof added: "It was strange at the beginning of the season because we only had 10 days off and the body and the mind were a bit tired, but after that, me, and also the team, have been performing much better - I'm pleased with that."

Pitch to Post Preview: Why Leeds could trouble Man Utd

This week on the Pitch to Post Preview Podcast, Peter Smith is joined by Sky Sports News reporter Alan Myers and Sky Sports pundit Alan Smith to analyse Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta's work at Everton and Arsenal, ahead of their one year anniversaries. Who has done the better job?

We also hear from SSN reporter Paul Gilmour on whether Tottenham will bounce back from a frustrating week against Leicester - and the latest on Gareth Bale's fitness and Dele Alli's future.

And Sky Sports feature writer Nick Wright assesses Man Utd's 3-2 win at Sheffield United and makes his Pitch for why Leeds could upset Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side at Old Trafford…

Listen to the Sky Sports Pitch to Post Podcast on: Spotify | Apple | Castbox

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