EPL

I'd understand if Solskjaer benched me! – Pogba jokes about Man Utd's win rate in his absence

By Sports Desk May 02, 2021

Paul Pogba joked he would understand if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer left him out of his starting line-up more regularly as Manchester United boast a better win rate without the midfielder.

Pogba has been in good form for United of late, scoring one and assisting four more in his last seven appearances in all competitions.

The France international has six goals to his name overall this season, including three in the Premier League and the same number of assists.

That puts Pogba level with Luke Shaw in terms of direct goal involvements for United in all competitions this season and behind Mason Greenwood (seven), Anthony Martial (seven), Edinson Cavani (10), Marcus Rashford (18) and Bruno Fernandes (27).

However, despite Pogba's clear influence on the side, the statistics show United tend to fare better without the 28-year-old in their starting line-up.

The Red Devils have won nine of the 15 matches Pogba has not been included from the first whistle in the top flight this term, compared to 10 wins in 18 games with him in the XI – 2.2 points-per game compared to 1.9 respectively.

United's average of 2.3 goals per game without the ex-Juventus man in their starting line-up falls to 1.6 when he starts, meanwhile, and they concede fewer goals (0.7) when he is not included from the beginning than when he is (1.4).

When the win-rate figure was pointed out to him in an interview with Canal+, Pogba – who has been linked with Juve and Real Madrid – said: "Well then you will have to bench me! I didn't know that. 

"If the team is doing better without me, I would understand completely if the coach puts me on the bench and that is totally normal. 

"I will keep that one in my mind, I will. That is a good challenge for me."

Pogba's figures have improved in terms of average number of interceptions (up from 0.52 to 1.27) and tackles (1.49 to 1.72) this season compared to last, owing to the deeper position he has been asked to play in.

And the World Cup-winning midfielder is happy to play his part if it means others helping United to achieve their targets.

"I try to be as decisive as possible, despite being further from the goal," he said. "I have other qualities than those of being a match winner. 

"I'm deeper on the pitch and more defensive. It's an N'Golo Kante role, let's say. I feel good. Physically I feel better."

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