Solskjaer salutes ‘top, top performance’ from in-form Pogba
The Frenchman scored a brace for the second game running as Manchester United crushed Bournemouth 4-1.
Manchester United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Paul Pogba for playing “the efficient game” with “no showboating” after the midfielder’s impressive showing in the 4-1 victory over Bournemouth.
Pogba scored two goals for the second successive match and set up another as United’s run of wins since sacking Jose Mourinho and appointing Solskjaer was extended to a third game.
Pogba has impressed in all three of those contests – across which the Red Devils have scored 12 times – having been restored to the starting line-up by Solskjaer.
Solskjaer said of the Frenchman: “That today is a top, top performance for a midfielder, because it is all round.
“It’s work rate, it’s dangerous in the box, he wins headers, he wins tackles and there is no showboating. It’s touch, pass, move, and he plays the efficient game, and Paul knows he’s at his best when he plays that game.
“There was one flick maybe that he missed halfway through the second half that he knows he could have done better with, but there is not a lot else he could have done.”
He added: “As I’ve said to all the players when I speak to them, we want to see the best out of them, we want to see them enjoy themselves and express themselves, within the framework, within how we want the team to play.
“And all of them, they have really, really performed up to the top standards.”
Pogba produced a close-range finish in the fifth minute, added a header in the 33rd, and then – after Marcus Rashford had made it 3-0 and Nathan Ake replied for Bournemouth – provided the assist as substitute Romelu Lukaku made it 4-1 with 18 minutes to go.
He was also inches away from completing a hat-trick when Asmir Begovic tipped his shot on to a post.
The first goal was created in fine style by Rashford and Solskjaer had plenty of praise for the 21-year-old England forward, saying: “I’m delighted for him because he’s coming on and he’ll be a top, top player.
“The way he’s gone about this job, playing up top, the work rate he puts in…He’s got everything.
“I’m really pleased that he’ll get goals. He’s scored two now in three games, but his work rate, all the work he puts in, that’s a big pleasing thing for me – with the whole team, because we should never be outworked by anyone. And he’s the catalyst. I’ll have to slow him down at times.
“And the way he made the first goal as well – hold up play, skills, vision to put it in the right area.”
United had Eric Bailly sent off for a challenge on Ryan Fraser in the 79th minute and Solskjaer had no complaints about the decision, adding: “Eric won’t complain either – he knows he’s mistimed that one. It’s a rash tackle.”
The result, which followed the 5-1 win at Cardiff and 3-1 success over Huddersfield, makes Solskjaer the third man to win his first three league games in charge of United, after Sir Matt Busby and Mourinho.
Solskjaer said: “They’ve created some great chances today and some fantastic attacking football at times and it’s pleasing.
“That’s what the fans want to see, that’s what we want to see, and I think the players are enjoying themselves.”
United are sixth in the Premier League, eight points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, while Bournemouth, who have now lost eight of their last 10 top-flight games, are 12th.
Cherries boss Eddie Howe said: “It was a tough day, a disappointing performance. Defensively we weren’t great, with the ball we weren’t great. So a very bad mix when you come to Old Trafford. You need to be at the top of your game and today we weren’t.”
When asked about the change in United under Solskjaer, Howe said: “I haven’t been at this stadium before (now) this season, but I imagine the atmosphere is probably the biggest change and that can rejuvenate players.
“Certainly they were playing with freedom today and expressed themselves in a positive way.”