Paul Pogba calls on Manchester United to ‘focus until the end’

Paul Pogba fired Manchester United to the top of the Premier League on Tuesday and set up a titanic battle against Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.

Pogba’s 71st-minute volley earned a hard-fought 1-0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor as United moved into pole position in January for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team go into Sunday’s top-of-the-table clash three points ahead of bitter rivals Liverpool, and Pogba said: ‘Today we won so I’m happy that we played well and happy that we are top, but there are some big games coming up so we have to focus on them now.

‘It is very hard to play here. They are very strong but we had to stay calm and thankfully the goal came.

‘There is still a long way to go so we are going to have to focus until the end.’

Pogba felt United were robbed of a goal in the first half when Harry Maguire headed in only to see it ruled out for a push on Eric Pieters.

‘It’s not that I feel it was a goal, it was a goal for sure,’ added the Frenchman. ‘He jumped before, headed it in and it was a goal, but the referee decided – it was a strange decision

Solskjaer agreed that Maguire was harshly penalised.

‘It was definitely not a foul by Harry,’ said the United boss. ‘I don’t think that’s anywhere near a foul.

‘I know they (the players) disagreed with some of the decisions out there, so it is our job to calm them down and I thought they did very well in the second half.

‘What a brilliant position to be in. We know it’s going to be hard – what a three-and-a-half seasons Liverpool have had, but we’re ready and hungry. We couldn’t have asked for a better time to go there.

I’ve always said Paul is a big player for us. He’s a good character in the dressing-room. He is always the one the lads look to, he’s a world champion of course, and I think he’s at his best at the moment.’

However, United were fortunate not to go down to 10 men in the first half when Luke Shaw caught Joey Gudmunsson with a late challenge before Robbie Brady brought down Edinson Cavani.

After a lengthy VAR review, referee Kevin Friend only booked Shaw and rescinded Brady’s yellow card.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche said: ‘I’m a fan of being careful with the physicality of the game because I think it’s dying out.

‘But on another day that tackle is just a little bit too high and a little bit too late. I don’t want to see people red carded, but he might have gone off.’

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