MANCHESTER -- Paul Pogba still has a key role to play for Manchester United this season once he returns from injury, according to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Pogba has missed the last two months with a foot injury and although he has returned to training, he will sit out the Europa League clash with AZ Alkmaar at Old Trafford on Thursday.
United have beaten Tottenham and Manchester City in his absence but Solskjaer insists the France international will still get back into the team once he is fit, despite continued speculation over the player's future.
"Let's get Paul fit first and back in form and then he'll play loads of games," Solskjaer said.
"For me he's one of the best players in the world and we are looking forward to having him back.
"It's too early [for him to play] yet. We hope [he will play in 2019]. He's working hard to get fit so hopefully we can get him back on the pitch."
Solskjaer will have Nemanja Matic available to play AZ as United look to secure at least a point to ensure they top Group L.
It is also a chance to build on an impressive week that has seen Solskjaer's team take six points off Jose Mourinho's Tottenham and Pep Guardiola's City.
"Inside we've always had belief that what we're doing is the right thing," Solskjaer said.
"Results are the proof in the end but inside we've always believed what we're doing, it's ups and downs but we are on the right track. I see these boys every single day in training with attitude and skills and quality they've got, I'm not worried."
Victory over City was marred by alleged racist abuse aimed at Jesse Lingard and Fred. Greater Manchester police made an arrest in the aftermath of the game and Solskjaer has admitted his players have endured a "tough couple of days."
"We've spoken with the boys of course and they're the same as me, this isn't how it should be in football," he added.
"What we can do is prove what we're doing and that we're all equal in that respect. It's been a tough couple of days for Jesse and Fred."