English Premiership

Solskjaer challenges Fred to fill Pogba role

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Fred (Getty Images)
Fred (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hoping Fred will do his utmost to fill the gap in the Manchester United midfield left by the injured Paul Pogba.

Pogba has not played for his club since September 30 and, speaking after United's 3-1 win at Norwich on Sunday, Solskjaer revealed it would likely be a minimum of around five weeks before the 26-year-old was back and available.

It means Fred, who has started all three of United's Premier League fixtures in Pogba's absence, will keep his place in the side, and Solskjaer has been happy with his performances.

The Brazilian has had a troubled time since Jose Mourinho brought him to the club for a large transfer fee, and he has struggled to live up to and justify such an outlay.

United legend Roy Keane even had a pop at the player during his punditry for Sky Sports at the weekend, questioning the club's decision to sign him.

However, speaking ahead of his side's Carabao Cup clash with Chelsea on Wednesday night, Solskjaer has jumped to the player's defence.

It remains to be seen whether he will start at Stamford Bridge as Andreas Pereira is also an option, but the Reds boss is happy to call on either.

"Fred will probably take Paul's position for a while now," the Norwegian said. "That's been brilliant for us, but Andreas has grown in the last few games. His energy and chasing and running he's a different sort of (player) but he can play also in the central positions.

"There's no use talking about who's not going to be here for a long, long time because he's not going to come on the pitch and help us until he's fit.

"Paul's been brilliant and he is a creative midfielder that we need, but then it is up to the others to step up."

United are known to be in the hunt for another midfielder and have been linked with Christian Eriksen, so it will be interesting to see what happens in the January transfer window.

Kick-off is at 22:05.

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