Solskjaer aims thinly-veiled dig at Romelu Lukaku in Paul Pogba defence

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer appeared to make an example of former Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku as he leapt to the defence of Paul Pogba.

Midfielder Pogba seems destined to leave Old Trafford after his agent, Mino Raiola, declared he is “unhappy” and would like to join a new club as soon as possible.

Nonetheless, Solskjaer insists he cannot fault the Frenchman’s continued efforts to force his way into the first team despite a recurring ankle injury last season and contracting coronavirus in August.

The United boss could not say the same of Lukaku, who fell out of favour and went on to push for a transfer away from the Red Devils last year.

The United boss has defended wantaway midfielder Pogba

Lukaku went on to join Inter Milan in a £74million deal and Solskjaer seemed to reference the Belgian in his defence of Pogba.

“I think I said during the week that this is a team game and Paul is part of this team,” Solskjaer told reporters as he previewed the Manchester derby. “He’s very focused on contributing when he’s here.

Solskjaer claims some of his former players “refused to play”

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“He’s got the hunger and appetite to play and wants to play. He wants to train and he trains.

“There have been other players refusing to train and refusing to play – they’re not here anymore of course – but Paul’s not once done that.

“He’s just focused on performing when he gets a chance. That’s the good thing about Paul.

“He’s got the quality and the desire to do well when he comes on, like he did against Leipzig.

“He had a positive impact. The short answer is he’s part of the squad for tomorrow.”

United travel to local rivals Manchester City in Saturday’s evening game as they look to bounce back from their elimination from the Champions League by RB Leipzig earlier this week.

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