Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Paul Pogba is “happy” at Manchester United despite recent links with Real Madrid, which he blames on the international break.
Pogba was asked about potentially joining Madrid while away on duty with France, replying it would be a “dream” to play for Zinedine Zidane following his return to the Spanish club last month.
Zidane has made no secret of his admiration for Pogba since, stoking the speculation as the close-season transfer window edges closer.
But Solskjaer is calm about the situation and defended Pogba’s comments, putting them down to him being polite.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference ahead of the midweek clash with Wolves, Solskjaer said: “I don’t like to talk about other teams’ players, but that’s the challenge with international breaks.
On to Molineux for our next @PremierLeague game!
Tuesday 2 April
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“Players are available [to talk to the media] all the time and it’s a different environment. It was a general talk.
“Paul is a very nice and polite man, who then answered a general question on it. To any kids in France, Zidane is an icon. He’s a fantastic manager and was a fantastic player who I played against.
“Pogba’s politely answered [a question]. He’s happy here, he’s going be a big, big part [of United’s future]. I’ve always said you’d like to build your team around him, and that hasn’t changed at all.”
Since Solskjaer was confirmed as United’s new full-time manager, the focus has switched to the potential arrival of a director of football.
Although Solskjaer did not say there was a specific plan for such a role, he is certainly open to working with others, understanding he will not be able to do everything himself.
“Football has changed and structures have changed,” he added. “Me and Ed [Woodward, executive vice-chairman] are looking at how this club can be run as smoothly as possible.
“We’ll see what the club will end up with, but I’m happy talking and discussing football with knowledgeable people in the right positions.
“Managers used to be club secretaries back when the club formed, that’s the way football goes, the manager can’t do as much as when my gaffer [Alex Ferguson] started, for example.
“The demands of football nowadays mean you have to split responsibilities.”
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