Paul Pogba cannot be expected to perform like a combination of Eric Cantona, Paul Scholes, Juan Sebastián Verón and Roy Keane, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjær.
The Manchester United manager has high expectations of the Frenchman, but believes it is unrealistic to think the midfielder can be a composite of the best attributes of that quartet, with whom the Norwegian played with for the club.
“He expects a lot from himself as well,” Solskjær said. “We expect a lot from him, but we know that we can’t get Roy Keane, Verón, Scholes, Giggs and Cantona in one player. It’s hard. He’s a top, top player.
“We do expect a lot from our players, and we have high hopes this season. Hopefully we can be consistent and challenge when we come to April and May, and Paul plays a big part in that.”
Pogba drew criticism for missing a fourth penalty for United in a 1-1 draw at Wolves on Monday. Solskjær anticipates fans will support the 26-year-old during the visit of Crystal Palace on Saturday.
“We can all see Paul was disappointed when he missed the penalty. He doesn’t deserve this [criticism]. When you sign for Man United you become a Manc. Once a Manc, always a Manc.
“He gives his absolute everything for the club every week. He’s got so many qualities. We’re seeing different qualities from Paul this year compared to last season, and he’s a leader in the group. I expect the fans to be behind him.”
He also expects Pogba to take another spot-kick. “I’m sure you’re going to see Paul Pogba score a pen for United again.”
After the penalty miss Pogba was the target of racial abuse on social media, and Solskjær indicated the issue was a societal problem. He said if he were playing now he would not be on Twitter. "But I do read social media – I need to read sometimes what you lot [journalists] are writing and sometimes you just have to turn a blind eye to it.
“You don’t have to read it. When I spoke to Paul I didn’t get the feeling that he struggled with it. He’d not been sat down reading a lot. Some, and I think Paul is one of them, get stronger from criticism. I enjoyed criticism but when it gets personal and when it gets to race then it’s a different thing.”
Solskjær does think it can be of use. “There are so many good things on Twitter, the coaching sites, the analysis sites and discussions on football. I had been out of football after [managing] Cardiff and it was a good way to keep me updated.”