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United must dump Pogba

Unsettled star is proving a hindrance to any progress for United


Manchester United’s Paul Pogba celebrates after scoring against RB Leipzig in the Champions League. Photo: REUTERS/Odd Andersen

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba celebrates after scoring against RB Leipzig in the Champions League. Photo: REUTERS/Odd Andersen

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba celebrates after scoring against RB Leipzig in the Champions League. Photo: REUTERS/Odd Andersen

It's a very strange Premier League season when Manchester United can be as frustrating and as inconsistent as they have been all year, and yet by tomorrow they could be just two points off the top of the Premier League table.

You can't say it's a false position for United to be in, two points off the top, as the league table doesn't lie and they have produced some results.

But I look at other teams and you know what you'll get: Tottenham will be defensive and hit you on the break, Chelsea are passing it forward and using their wide players, Liverpool play their way as do Manchester City... but I never know what United are doing.

They do get wins but you can get lucky, win games because you have some good quality players. But you can't see them making a sustained title challenge, as they don't have an identity for how they play. And while United have been able to stay in the top six in the Premier League, they have now been exposed in Europe, out of the Champions League already.

What we saw this week in Europe was just typical of this United side, and I don't see how they can change it. They were in a tough group in the Champions League but still had a good start, and yet threw it away with that result in Turkey. PSG and Leipzig were tough teams but when it came down to it, they just weren't good enough.

They seem to me like a team who turn it on when they are 2-0 down as there is no stress. They feel the pressure is off so they play without fear, because the game is more or less lost already.

The great Manchester United teams, the United sides that won trophies, they walked out and played with the freedom and confidence that said they were the best team in the country and they feared no one, they never seemed to worry.

When I look at United now I see a side who are afraid of losing a game before it's started. They have that fear but somehow they start to play a bit when they are a goal down. I don't know how you change that culture. The players need to do their jobs on the pitch but it has to be instilled in them in the dressing room before the game starts that they should have no fear.

I don't see progress made in the two years that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been there, and if you gave him another two years, I don't envisage a change. No one seems to know what United's ambition is as a club anymore, and it's not a side that's going in the right direction.

That said, it's strange that they are high up in the Premier League table - they could end up just two points off the top of the table this weekend.

They don't look like a side who could mount a title challenge and yet they are in a good position, more or less in spite of how they are playing, because they so rarely play well for 90 minutes. They can have a good spell, a decent half, but they never start a game well and yet they've got some good results.

When I point out that United are inconsistent, people say back to me that they are a consistent side because of where they are in the table. But they never give me the belief that they will win games.

Paul Pogba is one of their marquee signings and also their biggest problem. He has to leave, it's time for him to go.

We saw this week how comments from Pogba's agent caused problems but we have seen this so often with that agent. It wasn't Pogba who spoke, it was the agent, but the agent was speaking on his behalf, and if that's how Pogba feels, he has to be sold on.

For all the good that he has in his game, how well he plays when he's on form, he's not producing it for United. I can't see a scenario where it turns around and he becomes the best player in that United side. He will play well now and again but they have not got the best out of him and he's not getting the best out of himself.

If I was in that dressing room, I'd have a problem with what the agent says. When a player comes out and says he doesn't want to be there anymore, the rest of the squad tend to react by thinking, 'f*** you, we do want to be here, we are fighting for this team, this club, you don't want to be here because you don't think I'm good enough to share a dressing room with you'.

If it was Harry Kane, who is doing all he can for his club, who said that, or his agent who made those remarks, you'd think, 'fair enough'. Kane would be speaking from a position of strength. He's a player who has done his best, has done all that's been asked of him, has tried for his club and his teammates but has not had success. If he wants better for himself, then you can talk about it.

But Pogba's not coming from a position of strength, he's not done well for United. It doesn't matter that he's a World Cup winner, maybe the Premier League is just too difficult for him.

He won that World Cup with great players around him, he didn't win it on his own.

He is a good player but he's never been someone who grabs a game by the horns and steers his team the right way.

And I can't see there being a huge clamour from other clubs for Paul Pogba, the footballer. Someone will sign him because of the commercial value he adds but not what he does on the pitch.

United don't start games well and while it's not all down to Pogba, to me he goes out in every game expecting to be amazing, instead of going out there determined to be the best player on the park and delivering for his team, doing the hard work. Instead, the game falls away from United and that is so frustrating for their players and supporters.

Even though Solskaer has a good record in derby games, tomorrow's game is when it could turn back in City's favour.

City, gradually, have been getting things back together, they have been scoring goals and they've had a lot of clean sheets lately.

Sergio Aguero coming back in, and scoring, in that midweek game in the Champions League will add to what they already have.