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Paul Pogba: Manchester United's hard work starts here

Published on: 21 January 2021

Paul Pogba has warned his Manchester United team-mates the hard work this season is yet to begin and they will need to be "arrogant" to stay top of the Premier League.

United were indebted to another moment of brilliance from Pogba as his stunning 35-yard strike saw off a spirited Fulham side as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side reclaimed top spot in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory.

Solskjaer hailed the victory as "massive" as United matched the club-record 17-game unbeaten league away run set by their treble-winning side of 1999.

But speaking to the club's official website, Pogba warned: "It's never enough. We are still far from the trophy.

"It's been hard to get here, it's going to be even harder to stay there.

"Be arrogant in the way that 'yes, we are proud to be there and we want to stay there', but we have done nothing yet so we need to keep working.

"We are happy with what's happening but we want this to carry on. We want this more and more.

"If we think 'we won and we have arrived', this is when we are going to drop."

Ole: Pogba can do everything

Solskjaer was not surprised by the quality of the Frenchman's winner and instead chose to focus on the disciplined performances United are getting out of a fit and firing Pogba.

"I'm very happy with Paul's performance," he said. "Sometimes impressed is a strong word, I know what he can do.

"It was all about getting Paul fit; running fit and match fit. He played central midfield, made some good runs into the box, made challenges despite getting an early yellow card, which is always dangerous. But he kept his discipline and won tackles for us.

"He does everything, we know Paul can do more or less everything that is asked of a midfielder, now he is putting all the elements together in the same performances which is great to see."

Solskjaer added: "I would like to say so [that this is the fittest and most focused Paul Pogba].

"He's enjoying his football, he's very happy mentally and physically in very good shape. We know all about his talents, today we decided to play him in midfield, and it was worth it."

What do the stats say?

During the goalless draw with Liverpool, Gary Neville said United's success this season is often pinned on the form of Bruno Fernandes, but suggested it could well be determined by Pogba.

Fast forward three days and Pogba proved the point, stepping up when the Portugal playmaker was off the boil with a stunning winner from range in the win over Fulham - his second wonder-strike in three games.

Both goals have come from outside the box, which is already more than he has scored from range in a season since returning to the club in 2016 and his non-penalty goal ratio now matches his career-high of 0.25 per 90, last achieved in 2017/18.

What's changed? Solskjaer has deployed Pogba as part of the attacking three in one-third of his overall game-time this term - the highest proportion for three campaigns - and he has also alternated in equal measure on the left and right of the holding two.

As a result, the France international has covered swathes of the pitch and his heatmap for this season resembles an ultimate box-to-box midfielder - with even greater spreads of action towards both the opposition and defensive boxes.

Pogba now ranks second behind only Harry Kane in the latest Power Rankings chart - which is based on the previous five league games. If he were to sustain that form and dovetail in the limelight with Fernandes, the pair could well carry and maintain United's surprise title tilt.

Source: m.allfootballapp.com

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