Pogba 'not anywhere near ready' to return to Man Utd team training, says Solskjaer

By Sports Desk February 19, 2020

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said Paul Pogba is "not anywhere near ready" to return to team training with Manchester United as speculation over his long-term future intensifies.

The France World Cup winner has not featured for the Red Devils since the 4-1 Boxing Day win over Newcastle United as he continues his recovery from ankle surgery.

Solskjaer had suggested after Monday's 2-0 win over Chelsea that Pogba was due to resume training this week but changed his stance when previewing Thursday's Europa League clash with Club Brugge.

"Paul has not been part of the team training yet," boss Solskjaer said.

"So, it'll depend on how he feels or when he feels ready to do that, so he's not anywhere near that yet."

The latest update from Solskjaer will do little to assuage reports Pogba is heading for an Old Trafford exit at the end of the season, with a return to former club Juventus having been heavily mooted in recent weeks.

This week, Solskjaer has been involved in a back-and-forth with Pogba's agent Mino Raiola, who published a statement on Twitter prior to the Chelsea game that read: "Paul is not mine and for sure not Solskjaer's property, Paul is Paul Pogba's. You cannot own a human being already for a long time in the UK or anywhere else. I HOPE Solskjaer DO NOT WANT TO SUGGEST THAT PAUL IS HIS PRISONER."

Solskjaer later said he would not be drawn into a war of words and Raiola attempted to cool the feud, even going as far as to suggest Pogba could be open to the idea of a new contract.

Related items

  • AEK Athens 1-2 Leicester City: In-form Vardy strikes in Europa League victory AEK Athens 1-2 Leicester City: In-form Vardy strikes in Europa League victory

    Jamie Vardy continued his prolific goalscoring streak as Leicester City claimed a gritty 2-1 win over AEK Athens in Europa League Group G on Thursday.

    Vardy put Leicester ahead from the penalty spot with his 11th goal from his last 12 appearances in all competitions.

    Hamza Choudhury put the Foxes two up before the interval with a crisp finish before Muamer Tankovic got one back early in the second half.

    However, AEK were unable to muster an equaliser as Leicester chalked up only their third ever away victory in Europe.

    Leicester were awarded a penalty when Vardy went to ground following a touch by AEK goalkeeper Panagiotis Tsintotas after being put through by James Maddison.

    Tsintotas almost made amends when he got a hand to Vardy's spot-kick after he guessed correctly and dived to his right, but the ferocity of the strike saw it squeeze over the line.

    The alert Tsintotas then made a smart save at his near post shortly afterwards to deny Cengiz Under a goal on his first start for the Foxes.

    Brendan Rodgers' side were almost punished for some sloppy play at the back as first Kasper Schmeichel saved from Marko Livaja's header and then moments later the Croatian striker dragged a shot wide.

    However, the Foxes added a second shortly before half-time when AEK allowed a Maddison corner to bounce in the box and the unmarked Choudhury adjusted his body at the back post to stylishly whip the ball home.

    AEK pulled one back three minutes into the second half with a goal of equal quality through substitute Tankovic, who beat the Leicester offside trap and struck a low first-time shot beyond Schmeichel.

    Tankovic found himself in a similar position a couple of minutes later but this time he sent his effort over the crossbar leaving Schmeichel furious with his defence.

    His words had an impact as Leicester tightened up from that point and saw out the rest of the contest without further trouble.

  • Lille 2-2 Celtic: Lennon's side throw away two-goal lead Lille 2-2 Celtic: Lennon's side throw away two-goal lead

    Mohamed Elyounoussi's first-half double was not enough for Celtic as they squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Lille in Thursday's Europa League Group H clash at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

    Celtic attacker Elyounoussi went some way to easing the growing pressure on boss Neil Lennon with his brace in the space of four minutes against the in-form hosts, who are now unbeaten in 10 games this season.

    Scott Bain kept out Jonathan David's penalty and Sven Botman hit the crossbar before the interval in what was looking like being a frustrating day for Lille.

    But a first victory away at French opposition in nine attempts since 1966 ultimately eluded Lennon's men as Zeki Celik and Jonathan Ikone struck in the second half to snatch a point for the Ligue 1 club.

    Elyounoussi pulled the strings for Celtic from the early stages, setting up Albian Ajeti for a goal that was disallowed for offside and another chance that his team-mate skied over.

    But the Norway international took matters into his own hands by firing the visitors ahead with a fine curling effort from 25 yards that left Mike Maignan stranded.

    The finish for Elyounoussi's second was just as crisp as he guided a first-time shot away from Maignan into the bottom-left corner after being spotted by Jeremie Frimpong.

    David was denied by Bain from the penalty spot after being felled by Shane Duffy and Botman clipped the top of the crossbar with a shot as Lille pushed for a way back into the game.

    And they were given a lifeline through unmarked Celik's finish at the back post, the full-back bundling the ball past Bain after a corner was flicked into his path.

    Celtic were under siege and a second goal followed eight minutes later as Yusuf Yazici's mishit shot fell kindly for Ikone to spin and fire past Bain, ensuring the points were shared.

  • Milan 3-0 Sparta Prague: Diaz, Leao and Dalot on target as Ibrahimovic misses penalty Milan 3-0 Sparta Prague: Diaz, Leao and Dalot on target as Ibrahimovic misses penalty

    Milan did not not let Zlatan Ibrahimovic's penalty miss derail them as they cruised to a 3-0 win over Sparta Prague in their Europa League Group H match on Thursday. 

    Stefano Pioli’s side – who beat Celtic 3-1 in their group opener last week – were sharp from the outset and went ahead after 24 minutes courtesy of Brahim Diaz's smart finish. 

    Milan talisman Ibrahimovic struck the crossbar from 12 yards nine minutes before the interval, but his half-time replacement Rafael Leao doubled the Rossoneri's advantage in the 57th minute.

    On-loan Manchester United defender Diogo Dalot then scored his first goal for the club as Milan wrapped up all three points at a canter.

    Ibrahimovic twice went close with headers in the early stages as Milan started brightly. 

    The Swede then played a pivotal role in Milan's opener after 24 minutes, sliding the ball across goal for Diaz – who had started the move by stealing possession on the halfway line – to cut inside and fire underneath Milan Heca for his third goal of the season. 

    Heca raced off his line to deny Rade Krunic moments later before Ibrahimovic wasted a golden opportunity to extend Milan's lead, clipping his spot-kick against the crossbar after he had been pulled back inside the area by David Lischka.

    Ibrahimovic was replaced at half-time by Leao, who was denied four minutes into the second period by Heca after being played through by Sandro Tonali.

    Leao got the better of the Sparta goalkeeper shortly before the hour mark, though, stroking home from close range following Dalot's sumptuous low ball across the penalty area with the outside of his foot.

    Dalot added a third in the 66th minute with a deflected strike from 20 yards that crept inside Heca's right-hand post to seal Milan's routine victory. 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.