Football

Solskjaer hails Pogba and Fernandes as partnership inspires Man Utd

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was left grinning from ear to ear as Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes combined to spark Manchester United back to life at Tottenham on Friday night.

The Frenchman’s second-half introduction teamed him up with Fernandes in competitive action for the first time and United soon reaped the benefits.

Fernandes was on hand to nervelessly slot in the equalising penalty after his midfield partner Pogba had bamboozled Tottenham defender Eric Dier into fouling him.

Solskjaer admitted he was disappointed United’s second-half showing, inspired by the new-look midfield, did not result in a win in north London.

But he was able to savour the parts Pogba and Fernandes played as they instantly got on each other’s wavelength in the 1-1 Premier League draw.

“Bit disappointed we didn’t win,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports. “Football is strange. Last year Spurs absolutely battered us for 40 minutes and today it is the opposite. The performance is the pleasing thing.

“First 25 minutes we were very slow. Paul Pogba is one of the best players in the world and it is great to have him back. He is delighted to be back, he has had a 10-month injury nightmare. I am sure everyone can see he has great hunger for the game.

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“It is a different team to the one he left when injured. We are a club that want the best players in the world playing together. Paul showed he can play with Bruno.”

Bruno Fernandes celebrates after scoring from the spot against Tottenham

Fernandes’ penalty cancelled out Steven Bergwijn’s opener after the Tottenham star had made the most of lax United defending and saw David de Gea fail to deal with his powerful strike.

The draw means the Portuguese is yet to lose since joining United from Sporting Lisbon in January and Solskjaer will be eager to see his partnership with Pogba blossom.

Solskjaer doled out more praise for the World Cup winner, who might play from the off when United face Sheffield United next Wednesday.

“It is great to see him show his qualities and the contribution he made was big in us getting a penalty,” Solskjaer told BBC Radio 5 Live. “I think he showed how good he is as an all-round midfielder.”

United, who now have eight games left to play in the Premier League this season, are a point closer to fourth-place Chelsea following the draw at Tottenham.

Champions League qualification may, though, be handed to the fifth-place side if Manchester City’s impending ban from Europe’s elite club competition is upheld.

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