Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has challenged Paul Pogba and Manchester United to make sure they build on their statement performance against Leeds United.
The Red Devils started their Premier League season with a 5-1 thrashing of Leeds at Old Trafford last week, with Bruno Fernandes scoring a hat-trick in a convincing victory.
Pogba recorded four assists as part of a stellar performance, one more than he managed in the whole of the 2020-21 league season.
The France star became only the seventh player in Premier League history to set up four goals in a single match, and the first for United.
There remains uncertainty about Pogba’s future, with his contract expiring next year, although Solskjaer insists talks are ongoing between the club and the midfielder’s representatives.
For now, the United manager is keen for his players to keep up their high standards when they head to Southampton on Sunday, facing a team they beat 9-0 in their previous meeting in February.
“That’s negotiations with Paul’s representatives and the club,” Solskjaer said of Pogba’s contract talks. “Me and Paul work together every day here and keep on trying to improve, improve the team and enjoy ourselves. When you win games, you enjoy yourself more.
“We’ve got to make sure that this one game and we get big headlines and all the praise we get… it’s about bringing more energy to the next one and being better. One swallow never makes a summer.”
Another United player tipped to leave before the transfer window closes is Jesse Lingard, who thrived on loan at West Ham last season and has been linked with a permanent move back to the club.
Solskjaer, however, has encouraged Lingard to find a way back into the regular United line-up.
“Jesse’s first priority is to get into our team,” the United manager said. “Whenever you’re employer is Man United, that’s your priority. Together, we can have great moments.
“With players in a squad like I’ve got now, it’s difficult to say that, this weekend, you’re not playing. I’ve got to leave players out never mind from the starting XI, but from the squad. But they have to know that they’re going to play a part if we’re going to be successful.
“He’s come back bubbly and he’s got a big part to play.”
Solskjaer still expects to see players leave on loan in the coming days. Wales international Dylan Levitt has joined Dundee United for the rest of the season, while James Garner is expected to return to Nottingham Forest, where he spent some of 2020-21.
However, Solskjaer suggested Amad Diallo could stay at United after impressing during training following his return from Olympic Games duty with Ivory Coast.
“I’d definitely think Jimmy will go on loan, that’s more or less done, he’s done really well in pre-season and really impressed me,” Solskjaer said. “For his career, another six months or a season in the Championship will help him.
“With Amad, I have to say he’s doing really well, really well in training, he’s come back a little later after the Olympics and he’s looking really good. I wouldn’t be surprised if he stayed. It has to be the right loan, right move, right club, right way of playing for every player.”