Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


'Manchester United's dressing room atmosphere is great' - Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba has come out in defence of Manchester United's dressing room.

Paul Pogba believes that Manchester United have a strong dressing room with a great atmosphere.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was somewhat of a shield for the Manchester United players.

When Solskjaer was in charge, the dialogue surrounding the club primarily focused on his competence. Did the team have an identity on the field? Was he tactically astute enough to win games consistently? Was his demeanor, that of a very laid back character, the right one for this club?

Solskjaer eventually departed, but without him there has been an increased focus on the dressing room at Manchester United.

Whether it's the constant commitment to social media branding, most of which is made up of apologies these days, or the constant reports of unrest from different reporters. It's not isolated to one player the way it was previously with Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba either. Instead, there are questions about Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Cristiano Ronaldo and the latest is Harry Maguire.

Maguire starts for Manchester United. He's the club captain. But reports suggest players in his own dressing room don't think he should start anymore. Many fans and media members outside the club agree.

Ronaldo and Maguire are the two biggest foundational pieces of Ralf Rangnick's team. Pogba would be third or fourth, depending on where Bruno Fernandes is.

The French World Cup winner believes the dressing room in Manchester's red half is solid. When asked if the dressing room is harmonious enough to win against Manchester City, he cut off the question before it could be completed.

"Of course, sorry I cut you off but of course," Pogba said.

"You have personalities in a big changing room. Good atmosphere to be honest. The atmosphere has been great. It's a very good atmosphere in training. You can feel that it's competitive. We all enjoy the training sessions and everything so the atmosphere is good."

Sport is an unfair judge. Competition gives us an objective table and set of results. But every winning team doesn't automatically have a strong dressing room. Every winning team doesn't automatically exist in harmony and everyone on that team isn't automatically happy. Winning doesn't cure all, but it cures the perception of all.

Every losing team doesn't automatically have bad leadership or a weak dressing room. Manchester United are neither a winning nor losing team all things considered.

They are fourth in a 20 team league. Considering the quality of their team, they are about where they should be. The dysfunction of the team and the surrounding problems even suggest they are overachieving. Pogba may be right that the remaining players or foundation of the team are together in what they are doing.

But that doesn't erase all the issues that obviously exist. The issues that have clear evidence to prove they exist.

Cristiano Ronaldo doesn't fit in the team. He's a contradiction for what they're trying to do and that was obvious before he stopped scoring goals. Mason Greenwood's arrest is self-evident. Anthony Martial forced his way out of the club. Jesse Lingaard tried to but failed. Marcus Rashford's effort isn't good enough.

Results could paper over all of this. But the issues would still exist. Pogba is right to defend his dressing room and attempt to show some leadership, but so long as the results are inconsistent nobody will believe him.

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Cristiano Ronaldo Harry Maguire Manchester United Marcus Rashford Mason Greenwood Paul Pogba