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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: 'I hope and believe I'll see best of Paul Pogba'

:Headline: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: 'I hope and believe I'll see best of Paul Pogba':
The Frenchman has made only eight appearances this season due to injury.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expects to see the best of Paul Pogba as the Manchester United midfielder looks to put a wretched campaign behind him.

Having stayed at a club that the World Cup winner publicly admitted over the summer he was open to leaving, the 27-year-old has endured a season to forget at Old Trafford.

Pogba has managed a mere eight appearances across all competitions due to foot and ankle issues, with United's record signing last appearing for the club in the 4-1 Boxing Day win against Newcastle.

The France international could make his long-awaited return when their Premier League campaign resumes after the coronavirus suspension at Tottenham, where Pogba would face old boss, and adversary, Jose Mourinho.

Asked if he was confident of seeing the best of Pogba for a consistent period, Solskjaer said: "Yeah, I really hope and believe.

"Of course Paul has had his difficult season this year with loads of injuries, but I can see his mentality and focus now that he is fit and training and available, that he is ready to play again and to prove... he has always had quality, Paul.

"He is one of the best midfielders in the world so hopefully we can get that going as soon as possible."

United's midfield has improved markedly since Pogba last played due to the January arrival of Bruno Fernandes – and the potential of the pair playing together is a mouth-watering prospect.

"I want the same from Paul as from all the others – that we give our best," Solskjaer said ahead of Friday's trip to north London.

"Paul is one of the best midfielders in the world, so of course we expect him to gradually improve as he gets more and more game time.

"I don't know if it's 45 minutes this time, is it 60, is it... so gradually over these next few months we can work him up back to his best.

"Paul has had a very, very good career. Of course he is a World Cup winner and we want to have that leadership on the pitch as well."

The lengthy Covid-19 suspension stretching back to mid-March has allowed Pogba time to recover, so too England international Marcus Rashford from a troublesome back injury.

The duo's availability is a welcome shot in the arm for a side unbeaten in 11 matches and vying for Champions League qualification, as well as FA Cup and Europa League glory.

"I hope that we can show some of our best form until the end of the season because it's a big two months for us," Solskjaer said.

"If we can get everyone up to speed as quick as we can, we have got a good chance of challenging for trophies and challenging for the top three positions because I think we have to look upwards.

Manchester United won 5-0 at LASK in their last match to take their unbeaten run to 11 matches in all competitions (Bradley Collyer/PA)

"The first couple of games in a new season, which this is, a mini season, things always seem to happen – individual mistakes or a referee makes a mistake or Hawk-Eye even makes a mistake – and we hope that we can get a good start against Tottenham.

"With Paul and Marcus being back, having everyone fit will stand us in good stead and we hope to challenge for trophies towards the end."

The lockdown has also given 18-year-old Mason Greenwood the chance to rest and develop, having scored 13 goals in 37 appearances during his breakthrough season.

"Mason is a young boy," former striker Solskjaer added.

"He's still 18 and this lockdown period, it has done him all the good in the world because at this age they do develop and fill out and Mason's looking more and more like a man, so definitely it will help him.

"Sometimes earlier on you could see he was a kid. Now in training he can use his strength better and he has done really well over the three or four weeks we have been training now.

"And his quality in front of goal is always going to be there and now he has more muscle to (keep) defenders away.

"I am not sure it was deliberate (to add muscle), but the fitness coaches have worked really well with him.

"He has got the rest and recovery period after for him what must have been an intense first full season with the first-team. He is looking really good."

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CLiverpool38323385335299
2Manchester CityMan City382639102356781
3Manchester UnitedMan Utd381812866363066
4Chelsea382061269541566
5Leicester CityLeicester381881267412662
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs3816111161471459
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves381514951401159
8Arsenal381414105648856
9Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd381412123939054
10Burnley38159144350-754
11Southampton38157165160-952
12Everton381310154456-1249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381111163858-2044
14Crystal Palace381110173150-1943
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914153954-1541
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham38109194962-1339
17Aston Villa3898214167-2635
RBournemouth3897224065-2534
RWatford38810203664-2834
RNorwich CityNorwich3856272675-4921
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
COlympiacos36287174165891
2PAOKPAOK362110558292973
3AEK AthensAEK Athens36209759322769
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5Asteras TripolisAsteras331110124442243
6AtromitosAtromitos33119134143-242
7Aris ThessalonikiAris361012144851-342
8AEL LarissaLarissa33812133242-1036
9OFI CreteOFI Crete36106204356-1336
10LamiaLamia33617102336-1335
11Volos3387182754-2731
12PanetolikosPanetolikos33611163048-1829
13XanthiXanthi3399152538-1324
RPanioniosPanionios3378182048-2823
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