LONDON – Paul Pogba will not play again in February, with the Manchester United midfielder still needing a couple of weeks to recover from a thigh injury.
Pogba has not featured for United since sustaining the injury in their 3-3 draw with Everton on February 6.
He seemingly faces a race against time to be fit for the derby with Manchester City on March 6, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ruling him out of Premier League games against Newcastle United and Chelsea as well as the two legs of the Europa League last-32 tie versus Real Sociedad.
Speaking ahead of the first leg of that tie, Solskjaer told a media conference: “Paul, his recovery, he’s starting the treatments, it’ll still be a few weeks.
“He won’t be playing in February that’s for sure. Still a few weeks until we see Paul, definitely.
“Apart from that we have a couple of doubtful ones if they’ll be fit enough [to face Sociedad].
“Anthony [Martial] and Scott [McTominay], we’ll have to check them tomorrow and Donny [van de Beek] and Edinson [Cavani] definitely not travelling.”
Muscle injuries will keep Van de Beek and Cavani out of the away leg against Sociedad on Thursday, which will take place in Turin rather than San Sebastian because of coronavirus concerns.
Though the away leg will be played at a neutral venue, Solskjaer still sees a side fifth in LaLiga as the toughest opponent they could have been given.
“You’ve got to be very, very good against Sociedad, it’s probably the hardest you could pick from our unseeded group,” he said.
“They were top of LaLiga for a while, now they’re still in the hunt for the Champions League for next year, got some top players, some very experienced players, some quality players, some young very good ones.
“We have to play at a high level to get a result, of course we do, because the Spanish league is a quality one.”
United are winless in their past nine meetings with Spanish opposition since beating Celta Vigo 1-0 in the semi-finals of the 2016-17 Europa League.
They have lost six of those matches, but Solskjaer is not concerned by the history that appears to be against them.
“It’s probably down to the level of teams we’ve played against,” Solskjaer said of that record.
“Spanish teams are good, make no mistake about that, and we haven’t performed well enough, that’s for sure.
“We have to perform very well to beat a Sociedad team who are aggressive defensively, they’re very good on the ball, good possession team, got good pace, got most of the ingredients of a top team.
“We don’t go into games worrying [about that record], but we know we have to perform well to get a good result.”