Ole Gunnar Solskjaer surprisingly benched Paul Pogba for Manchester United’s 4-1 win over Newcastle and has now explained his reasons.
Pogba came off the bench to replace Fred as a 69th-minute substitute in United’s victory at Newcastle. He did nothing noteworthy in his limited role, but helped seal all three points regardless.
Saturday’s short cameo was the midfielder’s second in succession after coming on for the final 16 minutes in France’s 2-1 win over Croatia in the Nations League last week.
But Solskjaer has now explained that Pogba struggled with injury problems during the international break, prompting him to not start the 27-year-old at St James’ Park.
“Paul had hip and back problems when he was away with France, so it wasn’t right to start him,” the Red Devils boss told Sky Sports.
“We have got big games coming up. Everyone has to perform when they come on. I am delighted for him.”
After Luke Shaw’s own goal in the second minute of the game, United captain Harry Maguire leveled the scoreline in the first half.
An incredible final few minutes then saw United fire three goals against Newcastle to seal a stunning 4-1 win. It was a brilliant response from their heavy defeat to Tottenham last time out.
“Great result and great character to come back, led by a very inspirational captain,” Solskjaer said on the game itself.
“The boys came together really well. They are looking forward to every game. Today I rested a few and they have come on and done the business for us.
“The season started for us today. We have come up to the speed of the game and that showed today.”