Man Utd vs Cardiff

Man Utd team news vs Cardiff: Paul Pogba to return after Jose Mourinho sacked?

MANCHESTER UNITED take on Cardiff this weekend in their first game since Jose Mourinho’s sacking – so will Paul Pogba return to the starting line-up?

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It’s been a whirlwind week at Old Trafford as Mourinho was relieved of his duties on Tuesday and replaced by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the following morning.

Mourinho’s reign came to an end after a 3-1 loss to arch-rivals Liverpool last Sunday, which was deemed the final straw by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.

The defeat left United 19 points off the table-toppers, and Old Trafford chiefs turned to Solskjaer as the man to restore a positive atmosphere at United.

The Norwegian has been appointed on an interim basis and will leave at the end of the season, but faces his first hurdle on Saturday in what will be a testing five months.

A trip to Cardiff, the club who sacked Solskjaer in 2014 after an unsuccessful spell, present the first test in the late Saturday kick-off.

Pogba will be vying for a spot in the side after becoming out of favour with Mourinho, with whom he had a fractious relationship.

The flamboyant Frenchman lacked the tactical discipline Mourinho sought in his midfielders, and has not started a league game since December 1.

Solskjaer is known for his attacking intent as a coach, however, and said in his first interview as United boss that he has not arrived with any preconceptions of players.

“Everyone in the squad knows that ‘I’ve got a chance now’ because whatever has gone, whatever has happened has happened. Now it’s just about from here,” Solskjaer told MUTV, in reference to maligned players such as Pogba.

“Everyone starts with a clean slate and we want players to perform, and we’ll give them the chance.

“We have got 23, 24 players, they’re all quality and they’ll all get a chance now.

“With the amount of games coming up, they have got a chance to show that they are Manchester United players.”

Man Utd news vs Cardiff: Paul Pogba endured a fractious relationship with

 

Man Utd team news vs Cardiff: Paul Pogba returned to training on Wednesday after Mourinho’s sacking (Image: Getty)

Solskjaer has favoured a 4-3-3 formation during his time as Molde manager, with one holding midfielder and two more attack-minded ballplayers.

The manager will be without Romelu Lukaku, who is on compassionate leave, while Alexis Sanchez is still recovering from a hamstring injury.

Chris Smalling remains sidelined after aggravating a foot injury before the Liverpool game, while Luke Shaw and Phil Jones are also out.

The United boss also hinted he will have input from assistants Michael Carrick and Kieran McKenna in terms of squad selection for Saturday.

“Michael and Kieran have had their say and input, but there are so many games in the next 10, 15 days, so it’s about picking a team that you think is going to get results,” Solskjaer said.

“We need results but, then again, every player needs to know that they’re probably going to get their chance in this period, because that’s just the nature of the game over here in England, that we have to rotate.”

Manchester United predicted line-up vs Cardiff: De Gea; Dalot, Bailly, Lindelof, Young; Fred, Matic, Pogba; Mata, Rashford, Martial.

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