Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended Paul Pogba's recent for, amid continued links with a summer move to Real Madrid.

The Frenchman has been tipped to join Zinedine Zidane's ranks at Santiago Bernabeu in recent weeks, with rumours and reports suggesting that an apparent dip in form could see him move to Madrid in a deal worth £130m.

Sokskjaer. however, has moved to defend his star midfielder and insisted that the rumours have not turned Pogba's head. As quoted by the Mirror, the United boss said: "There might be a campaign [from Madrid], you never know what there is.

"He has made a difference for us in a few games, but so has Romelu [Lukaku], so has Marcus [Rashford]. There have been different players in different periods that have made the difference. It's not just about one player. It's not just about Paul.

"He had his highest ever output physically on Wednesday night against Barcelona, he'd never ran as much in a United shirt. That was brilliant.


"The effort and attitude is there. I thought in the first-half, we speak about Fred and Scott McTominay, but I thought Paul made us play. He settled us down a bit, in the first-half especially. We just fell away towards the end. But the effort he put in was tremendous."

Having endured a tough start to the campaign at Old Trafford under Jose Mourinho, Pogba has enjoyed better fortunes under Solskjaer, scoring eight goals and laying on five assists since the Norwegian took charge.

Pogba's future is likely to loom large over Solskjaer and United throughout the summer, as will the task of closing the gap to rivals Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League table next season.

"I'm under no illusions that this is not going to be plain sailing," Solskjaer added. "It's going to be hard. It's going to be survival of the fittest or survival of the best. That's how ruthless we have to be. We need players here who are going to be able to take us forward.

"That means the culture in the dressing room and what we do every single day here to make us challenge again.

"Liverpool and City are too far ahead of us for our liking and we played against a Barcelona team that sets the standard in European football.


"As I said, we're under no illusion that it's going to be hard work and there will need to be some tough decisions made by me, Mick and the club."