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Paul Pogba impresses as Manchester United maintain winning run

Paul Pogba impresses as Manchester United maintain winning run
© Reuters
The France international was a key figure in a fourth successive victory for the Red Devils.

World Cup winner Paul Pogba is enjoying a new lease of life under interim Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Relegated to the periphery during the death throes of Jose Mourinho's reign at Old Trafford, the £89.3million midfielder has returned to his best since the Portuguese's departure.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at how he fared at Newcastle on Wednesday evening.

Role

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Here's how #MUFC line up for our first match of 2019!

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As in previous games under Solskjaer, Pogba was handed a free role behind the front three, ostensibly from the left-hand side, and tasked with trying to link up with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Juan Mata. With Newcastle sitting deep, he found the pitch compressed at times and started to drop deeper in a quest to find the space he needed to prosper.

Attitude

United arrive at St James'

Plenty of smiles as we arrived at St James' earlier tonight! 😁

Posted by Manchester United on Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Booed more vociferously than any other visiting player as he disembarked from the team coach at St James' Park, Pogba was quickly into the action as the game kicked off. Despite being disrupted repeatedly by Mohamed Diame until he went off injured, he was always available and looking for an opportunity to move the ball quickly in an attempt to stretch the massed ranks of black and white shirts.

Effectiveness

Manchester United's Paul Pogba exchanges words with Newcastle's Jonjo Shelvey
Manchester United's Paul Pogba exchanges words with Newcastle's Jonjo Shelvey (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Struggled to make an impact early on, but whistled a 28th-minute shot just wide after a flowing move involving Antonio Valencia, Rashford and Mata. He found himself on the wrong end of robust challenges by Jamaal Lascelles, Matt Ritchie and substitute Jonjo Shelvey, to his clear annoyance, and was rarely afforded the kind of time and space in which he has revelled in recent games before passing up a glorious chance in stoppage time.

Overall

Maintained his record of playing every minute under the new manager, although his contribution on this occasion was more prosaic than in his two most recent outings, during which he scored twice on both occasions. Nevertheless, he played his part on a night when United needed a stroke of fortune in the shape of an error from Magpies keeper Martin Dubravka to set them on their way to a fourth successive victory under the Norwegian.

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Rafael Benitez gestures during the Premier League game between Newcastle United and West Ham United on December 1, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool23193154134160
2Manchester CityMan City23182362174556
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs23170648232551
4Chelsea23145440192147
5Arsenal23135548321644
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd23135546331344
7Watford239683232033
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves239592731-432
9Leicester CityLeicester2394102929031
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2394103034-431
11Everton238693433130
12Bournemouth2393113342-930
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2375112532-726
14Crystal Palace2364132332-922
15Southampton2357112540-1522
16Burnley2364132343-2022
17Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2356121931-1221
18Cardiff CityCardiff2354141944-2519
19Fulham2335152151-3014
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2325161340-2711

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