Soccer

Paul Pogba’s "positive" talks with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as transfer war heats up

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is confident Paul Pogba will not walk out on Manchester United before the transfer window closes.

Pogba has refused to sign a new and improved deal at Old Trafford amid strong interest from Paris Saint Germain and Real Madrid.

The unsettled French ace has entered the final 12 months of his current deal with United and is believed to be considering his options.

But United are not willing to sell him on the cheap and would be prepared to run the risk of allowing him to run down his deal and leave for nothing next summer.

Solskjaer has held talks with Pogba about his future after the World Cup winner joined the United squad for their training camp in Scotland this week ahead of tomorrow's pre-season friendly with Everton.

And the United boss claims Pogba is keen to stay at United and is enthusiastic about the new campaign ahead.

He said: "I hope every player thinks this is the place to be to win trophies. When you sign for Manchester United, you have to rise to the challenge.

“Paul has come back and he's fresh and he's always such a positive boy. The talks I've had with him have all been positive."

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Solskjaer under pressure

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits he will never escape the pressure at Manchester United.

And the United boss knows his new contract will count for nothing if he cannot turn his side into winners again.

Solskjaer has penned a new three-year deal at Old Trafford until 2024 – and seen his bosses spend more than £120m on new signings Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.

Solskjaer knows failure is not an option this season as he looks to win his first silverware since taking charge in 2018.

United have not won the title in almost a decade and Solskjaer knows the time has come to start delivering big trophies.

He said: "For me you have to do well enough to stay anyway.

"It doesn’t matter if you have a 10-year contract or a one year contract, if you don't do well, off you go.

"You feel under pressure all the time. At this club with this responsibility, it's not just clinging onto your job, it's about the responsibility that's in my hands.

"We've got millions of fans. The players, the club, the staff and the responsibility is on getting results.

"There is always pressure here to win the league and to win trophies. For me, it's the pressure I put on myself and the pressure the team put on themselves to achieve the best you can.

"That the board also wanted to extend my contract is proof that we are going in the right direction – but we have to keep on moving in the right direction. It's (about) taking the next step now. That's the challenge."

Solskjaer believes United are capable of winning the title this season ahead of the likes of reigning champions Manchester City, Liverpool and Champions League winners Chelsea.

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But he knows United must get off to a flier and avoid a repeat of what happened last season, when they lost three of their first four league games at home, including a humiliating 6-1 defeat to Jose Mourinho's Tottenham.

Solskjaer wants United to hit the ground running this time and he added: "You put every season into blocks, but the first six or seven games, they're very important to set the momentum and to give you a chance.

"I read somewhere that Pep (Guardiola) said you can't win the league in the first eight games, but you can lose the chance to win it – and that's what happened to us last season.

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"I felt we lost too many points early on. From November 1 until the Leicester game in May, we only lost one league game. That was the consistency we want to see again.

"I'd rather be an optimist and be wrong, than be a pessimist and be right. Of course these boys can (the title), with a maximum effort, maximum season and maximum sacrifice.

"Every day is a chance to get closer to our target – and that's to come together as a team to give yourself a chance to win every game. But every day is also a chance to step backwards, so it's down to us as a coaching staff but also the players, to keep improving.

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  • Manchester United FC
  • Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
  • Paul Pogba

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