(Reuters) – Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba believes returning to an attacking role with freedom to express himself has helped him rediscover his enjoyment for the game, the Frenchman has said.
The World Cup winner has looked a different player under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following the sacking of Jose Mourinho and produced his fourth assist in five Premier League games in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur.
His searching ball from inside United’s half to set up Marcus Rashford’s winner was another example of the quality that had gone missing from Pogba’s game under Mourinho.
“I’m enjoying playing my football now,” Pogba told Sky Sports. “I like to be more attacking. I had to defend too much before and that is not my best attribute.”
Pogba has also scored four goals since Solskjaer took over and said he was happy to follow the Norwegian’s advice to play as a box-to-box midfielder with Nemanja Matic providing defensive cover behind him.
“This is my position,” Pogba added. “The manager tells me to get into the box and score goals. The best example is Frank Lampard.”
“I know Matic is there. I know we can press high and, when we get the ball, I can shoot, I can pass and that’s what we have been doing since the new manager came in.”
Pogba, who was repeatedly benched by Mourinho in the final months of his tenure amid reports of a rift, has played the full 90 minutes for a fifth straight game and Solskjaer hailed the Frenchman’s continuing impact.
“When you’ve got the skill and vision he has… look at the goal,” Solskjaer said. “Paul is one of the best midfielders in the world going forward.”
Victory took United to 41 points, level with fifth-placed Arsenal who are ahead on goal difference.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)