Solskjaer Hits Back at Raiola for Pogba Exit Comments

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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has now hit back at Mino Raiola, whom many consider to be the most powerful superagent in the sport. Raiola, who brought Paul Pogba back to United, from Juventus, for a world record breaking fee of 89.6 million GBP, in 2016, provided a massive distraction on the eve of the club’s biggest match of the season.

Raiola said publicly yesterday that Pogba’s time with the club is over, and he will not re-sign. It was awful timing, as United faced RB Leipzig in a Champions League group stage clash where they needed a draw or better to go through tonight. 

Pogba did score in the 82′, after coming on as a late second half substitute, but it was far too little, too late, and United fell 3-2 in Leipzig. They were thus eliminated from the UCL competition, and now find themselves relegated to the Europa League.

Without being drawn into too much of a discussion, the Norwegian slammed Raiola’s selfish motives.

“Squad is fine, they’re a team and they stick together,” he said. As soon as Pogba‘s agent realises it is a team sport the better. I don’t want to spend energy on that.

“You have to ask Paul if he is happy or not, I won’t speak for him. He’s working hard in training and he needs to focus on his performances. Now is not the time to discuss transfers.”

Raiola was once referred to as a “shitbag” by Sir Alex Ferguson. Many in the footballing universe would agree with Fergie’s designation of Raiola, but it’s not his fault United: had one only shot on goal through the first 70 minutes tonight, lost a group stage game to a team so obscure that many presenters can’t even pronounce it correctly and have a manager that couldn’t see an obvious red card (Fred) coming last week against Paris Saint-Germain.

Plenty of blame for Raiola, but also plenty of blame to go around elsewhere too. OGS said the decision to start Pogba on the bench had nothing to do with off-the-pitch controversy, but tactical analysis instead.

“My decision tonight is obviously tactical,” Solskjaer told BT Sport ahead of kickoff.

“The decision was made way before this game because we decided on Scott [McTominay] and Nemanja [Matic] in midfield before we played West Ham. We always think about the team.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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