Wijnaldum 'would love to have Pogba' at PSG

By Sports Desk July 22, 2021

New Paris Saint-Germain signing Georginio Wijnaldum says he "would love" for Paul Pogba to play alongside him in the French capital.

PSG have been linked with 28-year-old midfielder Pogba, who is off contract at Manchester United in 2022.

Wijnaldum, who joined PSG from Liverpool last month, added fuel to the speculation fire, labelling Pogba an "extraordinary player".

“I would love to have Pogba with us,” Wijnaldum told RMC Sport. “He’s fantastic. I have played against him several times – what a player!

“If you ask any player from another team if he would like Pogba to join him, everyone will say yes because he is an extraordinary player, full of qualities.

"He has it all, one of the best midfielders in the world.”

Pogba said earlier this month that United were yet to table a "concrete proposal" for a new deal yet the Red Devils are understood to be keen to tie him down beyond 2022.

PSG have been linked with a cut-price €58 million (£50m) swoop for ex-Juventus man Pogba.

The Parisians have already signed Wijnaldum, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Sergio Ramos and Achraf Hakimi this off-season after finishing as 2020-21 Ligue 1 runners-up.

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    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said "the last thing I want to be is in Solskjaer's shoes" as he showed sympathy for his Manchester United counterpart following Sunday's 5-0 Premier League humbling at Old Trafford.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United endured a dark day in Manchester, where the embattled Red Devils were embarrassed as Liverpool ran riot on enemy turf.

    Mohamed Salah became the first Premier League player to score an away hat-trick against United, while Naby Keita and Diogo Jota were also on target for Liverpool – who led 4-0 at half-time before Paul Pogba came off the bench and was sent off within 15 minutes to add to the hosts' misery.

    United have only lost by a larger margin against Liverpool in October 1895 when the Reds beat them 7-1 at Anfield, while it was their largest margin of defeat in this fixture when playing at home as pressure mounts on under-fire boss Solskjaer.

    "Oh yeah, of course," Klopp told reporters when asked if he had sympathy for Solskjaer as Liverpool moved within a point of leaders Chelsea and United dropped to seventh and eight points off the pace.

    "I said it before, the last thing I want to be is in his shoes in that moment, but that's just how it is.

    "In these moments when you lose a game, when you lose a derby especially, it happened to me as well, you don't want to go out there in the mixed zone and give all the interviews and answer all these questions. So, for sure, it's not a nice night, so yes of course [I have sympathy]."

    Liverpool became only the second team in English top-flight history to win consecutive away games by a margin of five-plus goals without conceding themselves, after United in February-March 1960.

    Klopp's Liverpool have scored 19 goals in their first five away matches in the Premier League this season. In English top-flight history only two sides have scored more after five away games – Manchester City in 2011-12 (20) and United in 1907-08 (20).

    On whether the result represented one of the greatest days of his career, Klopp – a Champions League, Premier League and Bundesliga winner – added: "I didn't think about it, yet. It's a good day, a really good day and I don't want to be disrespectful. I have no idea, but it's a big one. We know that.

    "Obviously after the game I got told that never happened in the long history of Liverpool Football Club; this group always wanted to write their own little chapters for the big, big history book of this club.

    "This one was a little one tonight, a little chapter. People will talk about it in the future, 100 per cent, because it will not happen very often, if it happens again at all. We saw the game as well and we know we were lucky in two or three situations where United could have scored in the first half. I think they should have scored the first one, but that doesn't make our performance [any less], that’s just how it is.

    "In front of the goal, in the last third, we were exceptional. We were clinical, we were ruthless, our high press was outstanding, we really won balls in great areas, the formation was top and all these kind of things you want to see as a coach, worked out really great.

    "The difference is now that you usually don't score with each situation you have pretty much, but that's what we did and why we were 4-0 up at half-time.

    "Second half, early 5-0 and the red card, game over, so then just control it and try to get home healthy. I am not 100 per cent sure that worked out, well it didn't work out obviously because Millie [James Milner] is injured and Naby as well. We have to see how serious it is, it is very painful, so we will see. We will only know tomorrow or the day after tomorrow."

  • Pochettino hails 10-man PSG's 'character and personality' in Marseille draw Pochettino hails 10-man PSG's 'character and personality' in Marseille draw

    Mauricio Pochettino believes Paris Saint-Germain displayed "character and personality" in their 0-0 draw with Marseille on Sunday.

    PSG largely struggled to break down a stubborn Marseille defence despite starting with Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, before their hopes of claiming all three points were dented when Achraf Hakimi received a straight red card in the 57th minute for bringing down Cengiz Under.

    Marseille went close to finding a winner in the closing stages, while Messi was chased by a spectator late in the second half, with security slow to apprehend the man.

    The result stretched PSG's unbeaten run at Marseille in Ligue 1 to nine games, while they have now kept clean sheets at the Orange Velodrome in three straight matches for the first time in their history.

    Despite PSG's lacklustre showing in attack, Pochettino was pleased with his side's efforts in front of a hostile home crowd, who routinely threw objects at PSG players as they took corners.

    "I think overall our performance was good," he told RMC Sport. 

    "We played almost 40 minutes with 10 men because of Hakimi's red card. Yes, we wanted to win, it was our idea. But, in the end, we are quite happy with this performance.

    "I think we played well. Yes, it was a very good game, with different phases. I think we just missed scoring. We did a lot of positive things. I'm pretty happy because it was a very difficult game. 

    "The team showed character and personality. By playing with 10 for 40 minutes, I think we showed a lot of character. Of course, we showed identity and style in the game."

    The result means PSG are seven points clear at the Ligue 1 summit, while Marseille are 10 points behind in fourth, although Jorge Sampaoli's side have a game in hand.

    It was their first draw of the season and, while happy with the performance, Pochettino expects his side to return to winning ways soon.

    "Obviously, as coach of PSG, we always hope to win, but I can only congratulate the players for what they did today," he added.

    "We are in search of a balance. From experience, we know that these periods in October and November are always difficult.

    "But I am happy with the progress of the team, I am satisfied with where it is today in its course of evolution."

    PSG are next in action on Friday when they host reigning champions Lille at the Parc des Princes.

  • I am getting close to what we want at Man Utd – Solskjaer 'believes in himself' despite Liverpool drubbing I am getting close to what we want at Man Utd – Solskjaer 'believes in himself' despite Liverpool drubbing

    Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists he retains the backing of the board and believes he is "close" to getting the club where they want to be despite a demoralising 5-0 defeat to rivals Liverpool.

    Mohamed Salah became the first Premier League player to score an away hat-trick at Old Trafford after setting Naby Keita up for the opener, with Diogo Jota making it 2-0 inside 13 minutes as United slumped to their heaviest-ever home defeat in this fixture.

    United have lost three and drawn one of their last four Premier League fixtures, slipping to seventh in the table – eight points behind league leaders Chelsea after nine games.

    However, Solskjaer remains confident in his position and in his ability to bring glory back to United, but accepted responsibility for the result.

    "I have heard nothing else [other than having the backing of the board]," Solskjaer said in a news conference. "I am still thinking about tomorrow’s work. Of course, they are all low.

    "I have never felt any worse than this. This is the lowest I have been. I accept the responsibility. That is mine today and it is mine going forward.

    "It is the worst feeling. The feeling that we are getting to where we want to be has been there. Last few weeks we have hit a brick wall. We have conceded too many easy goals. That is a concern. This is the lowest I have been. I accept the responsibility. That is mine today.

    "I do believe in myself and I am getting close to what we want at the club. The results lately haven't been good enough. Hands up. Next week is Tottenham away. Then Atalanta. Then Man City. We have to go into this with the right frame of mind.

    "The time is now. United have had difficult times before and we have always bounced back. We have started this season badly. We have hit a brick wall. We need to start building results – and get clean sheets.

    "I am sad, disappointed, angry of course. My emotion doesn't matter apart from what do we do to improve and make sure it doesn't happen [again]. This could go either way, we could sulk or we could come together."

    Leaky defence Solskjaer's downfall?

    Solskjaer has the second-worst goals against per game ratio of any head coach to have taken charge of United in the Premier League.

    In 106 league games under the Norwegian, the Red Devils have shipped 120 goals – an average of 1.13 per match.

    Only under David Moyes (1.18 per game) was United's defence more porous, with no other manager averaging a goal conceded per game or more.

    Solskjaer's points per game stands at 1.83, with his United recording 55 wins, 29 draws and 22 defeats. 

    United's goal difference in the league under Solskjaer does stand at 71, which ranks third in the division since he took over in December 2018. However, that is some way behind the totals of Liverpool (134) and City (168).

    Solskjaer has also overseen two of United's five heaviest defeats in the Premier League, Sunday's game (which was United's joint-worst home loss in terms of the margin of defeat) and last season's 6-1 loss to Tottenham.

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