Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has downplayed one aspect of a wonderful start to the season for Paul Pogba.
Manchester United are top of the Premier League table after four games, level on points with Chelsea, Liverpool and Everton but ahead of the first two on goals scored, leading the Toffees on goal difference.
Their 11 strikes have been matched only by Manchester City, with Pogba directly laying on seven and already beating his total number of league assists in the 2016/17, 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons.
But Solskjaer is not particularly impressed with the numbers and believes the obsession with ‘goal involvements’ and assists is “a social media thing”.
“What does an assist consist of?” he philosophised. “A square pass and Bruno hits the top corner or when Paul plays a great pass through and Mason runs through?
“Paul has always been a great passer, one of the best in European football, and he’s not got assists from his best passes this season. I don’t pay attention to assists, it’s a social media thing.
“I would give Anthony Martial an assist for Jesse Lingard‘s goal, when he leaves the ball, like Yorke and Cole,” Solskjaer added, before giving David de Gea more credit for the long-range Fernandes effort which Pobga teed up with a simple five-yard pass after the goalkeeper’s excellent long kick.
De Gea's kick for United's 3rd goalpic.twitter.com/3gQn5uEic7
— Viran🇲🇾 (@MadnessFc4) September 11, 2021
“But Paul has played well for sure. He has come back in good shape. He’s worked really hard over the summer. He’s come back lean and fit.”
Graeme Souness joined the chat.
The Sky Sports pundit praised Mason Greenwood for his performance in Manchester United’s 5-1 thrashing of Leeds on the opening day, despite Pogba claiming four assists.
“The star of the show was Greenwood,” he said. “For a young boy I thought he was sensational.”
When Micah Richards argued that Pogba deserved more acclaim for his display, Souness replied that “we expect that from a £100m man”.
The suggestion is that Pogba might now extend his Manchester United contract before it expires next summer, with Cristiano Ronaldo believed to be a key factor.
The club’s strong start to the season, along with the recruitment of Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho, is thought to have persuaded Pogba that his long-term objectives can be achieved in England.
Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are monitoring the situation closely but Manchester United are more confident they can keep their record signing.