Ashley Young has hailed Paul Pogba as a world-class midfielder but insists Manchester United’s resurgence is not only down to the France star.
Pogba has thrived since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over as caretaker manager from Jose Mourinho and produced another match-winning display on Monday, setting up Ander Herrera’s opener before scoring the second in the 2-0 FA Cup win at Chelsea.
The former Juventus man has been directly involved in 15 goals in just 12 appearances under Solskjaer, helping United to 11 wins and a draw in 13 matches across all competitions.
Young, though, says the whole squad is pulling together to help United progress.
15 – Paul Pogba has been directly involved in 15 goals in 12 games in all competitions under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (9 goals, 6 assists), six more than he managed in 20 games under Jose Mourinho this season (5 goals, 4 assists). Ruthless. #CHEMUN pic.twitter.com/BloJh38TpD
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) 18 February 2019
“He’s a world-class player – you don’t win a World Cup for no reason,” he said. “But it’s not just about Paul, it’s a team game and squad game.
“Everyone that started the game, everyone on the bench, the boys that came on [at Chelsea] were fantastic. Scott [McTominay] was only on for a few minutes but he did his job and played his part. When Andreas [Pereira] and Alexis [Sanchez] came on, they were fantastic as well.
“It’s all competition for places and it keeps everyone on their toes. Every day in training you’ve got to be giving 100 per cent and everyone wants to be in the team. When you’re winning games, everyone wants to be in that team and part of it.”
United’s win at Stamford Bridge came six days on from a 2-0 home defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League, their first loss since Solskjaer took charge.
Young was delighted with the response to that setback, especially with a Premier League match at home to Liverpool to come on Sunday, and was particularly pleased with the way they were able to exploit Chelsea’s vulnerabilities.
That away end on a Monday night in London was an unbelievable effort by the fans. Non-stop singing from warm-up until the final whistle. Oh and the result weren’t bad either pic.twitter.com/OR612WByru
— Ashley Young (@youngy18) February 18, 2019
“We knew Chelsea’s weaknesses and we knew how we wanted to play the game and I think we did that superbly well from the start until the end,” he said. It was magnificent and I think we had another gear to go. That says a lot about us bouncing back from midweek and getting a result.
“The first 10, 15 minutes were a bit shaky but after that we stamped our authority on the game, got the first goal and we were on the front foot from then on.
“We scored two unbelievable goals. We had to defend as a team. We have been doing that: attacking as a team, defending as a team.
“It gives us all massive belief. Obviously, you will get confidence from winning games and that’s exactly what we have done. We beat Tottenham away, and Arsenal away and now Chelsea away. We knew it would be tough, we had to be on the front foot, and we knew we would have to defend but it’s a fantastic result for us.”
United were draw away to Wolves in the FA Cup quarter-final, while Manchester City were pitted against Championship side Swansea City, and Young admits he had been expecting to face Pep Guardiola’s side.
“I was surprised we didn’t get City,” he added. “That’s what we were looking for, but you have to beat every team in the competition and that’s what we’ll do: go down there to beat them and get through to the semi-final.”