Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explained Paul Pogba has been benched for Manchester United’s last three matches as he is still returning to full fitness.
Pogba was named in the starting XI for United’s first trio of league games, featuring in the 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, 3-2 win at Brighton and 6-1 thrashing by Tottenham.
But the France midfielder has only been a substitute for the Red Devils’ last three games and came off the bench against Newcastle last weekend, Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday and Chelsea on Saturday.
Pogba’s pre-season preparations were interrupted by a positive coronavirus diagnosis late in August and Solskjaer admits the 27-year-old is still “getting better”.
“When you’ve got good players it’s a nice challenge and a decision to make when you’ve got good players on the bench that can come on and impact the game,” Solskjaer said.
“I think Paul, all three games this week, he’s really come on and made a very positive impact.
“He’s been out for a while with coronavirus this summer, so he’s getting better and better and maybe more his shape.
“Maybe I was unfair to him starting him that early in the first few games but he’s coming on and he’s done great when he’s come on.”
With Pogba on the bench, Solskjaer opted to start Fred and Scott McTominay in the midfield pivot against Chelsea in a decision which baffled former United star Paul Ince.
“Paul Pogba should be on the pitch, this is a big, big game,” Ince told beIN Sports .
“For him to be sitting on the bench and watching, with no disrespect, McTominay and Fred playing in his position, I would be saying, ‘I must be doing something wrong if I can’t get in this team’.
“I know he has had an injury and he might be trying to bring him on a little later on, but I think it is time to move on.”