Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told his Manchester United stars to make a conscious effort of ignoring social media comments in the wake of racist abuse aimed at Paul Pogba this week.
The United manager believes Pogba can rise above abuse the vile slurs after missing a penalty at Wolves on Monday night. Solskjaer stated the midfielder will become stronger for criticism of his performances but not discrimination and asked his squad to use common sense online.
Sportsmail understands an increasing numbers of players across the country are being advised to turn off Twitter notifications by their representatives to prevent potential mental health problems.
‘You don’t have to read it,’ Solskjaer said. ‘You don’t have to read every single one. Sometimes you’ve just got to turn a blind eye to it.
‘We know that these people are not the majority, it’s a few select ones who hide behind a mask. You become thick-skinned playing in football and being high profile, as our players are.
‘When I spoke to Paul I didn’t get the feeling that he struggled with it. Some, and I think Paul is one of them, get stronger from criticism. But when it gets personal and when it gets to race then it’s a different thing. There’s a certain point, a limit.’
Pogba’s displays are under consistent scrutiny and the France international is taking on the burden of creative responsibility in United’s midfield. Solskjaer claimed the most intense pressure comes from the player himself.
‘He expects a lot from himself,’ he added. ‘We expect a lot from him but we know that we can’t get Roy Keane, (Juan) Veron, (Paul) Scholes, (Ryan) Giggs and (Eric) Cantona in one player. It’s hard. He’s a top, top player.
‘We do expect a lot from our players and we have high hopes this season. Hopefully we can be consistent and challenge when we come to April and May and Paul plays a big part in that.’ Meanwhile, talks are ongoing between United and Inter Milan over a loan deal for Alexis Sanchez.
Solskjaer confirmed he would not look to replace Sanchez with a free agent should the Chilean depart before September 2, despite links with former Tottenham striker Fernando Llorente in Italy.