MANCHESTER -- Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said Paul Pogba is being kept out by a fresh ankle injury rather than the problem which sidelined him for more than two months.
The midfielder needs an operation to clear up the new injury and is expected to miss around a month, including both legs of the Carabao Cup semifinal with Manchester City.
Pogba hasn't started a game since Sep. 30 but played 71 minutes in two substitute appearances against Watford and Newcastle in December.
Speaking at a news conference ahead of Saturday's trip to Wolves in the FA Cup third round, Solskjaer appeared frustrated at fielding more questions about United's record signing but the Norwegian did take the opportunity to clarify comments made after the defeat to Arsenal on Wednesday that Pogba's need for surgery had been determined by "his people."
"Here we go again, FA Cup third round and you're talking about Paul again," Solskjaer said on Friday.
"Paul came back after a long spell out, played two games, had a reaction and couldn't go to Burnley [on Dec. 28].
"He felt his ankle was sore, we did a scan and it's not the same injury, it's a different injury.
"Of course, when you get that scan and we speak to him, you always consult your own medical people as well like I did when I did my operation, you want the best second opinion and the advice was to have it done. It's not a major one and probably, as I said, three or four weeks [out]."
Following the 2-0 defeat at Emirates, Solskjaer appeared to suggest Pogba's own medical team had decided he needed to undergo surgery, rather than the club's medical staff. United have insisted they were first to order the scans and Solskjaer has blamed himself for the confusion.
"That's maybe my bad English," Solskjaer said.
"You have the people you trust and speak to, when I had loads of injuries and knee operations I had my people in Norway and Sweden that I spoke to and Paul obviously has people as well that he trusts, and that's important.
"That's more or less it. That's as clear as it can be at this point."
Pogba's absence is a further blow to United, who are already without Scott McTominay for two months because of a knee ligament injury. It leaves Solskjaer with Fred, Nemanja Matic and Andreas Pereira for a crucial month which features the Carabao Cup semifinal with Manchester City and a trip to Liverpool in the Premier League.
"We're still looking [at signings in January] and as I've said so many times we have our targets," Solskjaer added.
"If they become available and if it's something we want to do and the right ones aren't there, then they aren't."
Meanwhile, Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane refused to be drawn on whether he will make a move for Pogba in the January window.
"I'm not going to answer. I'm not going to say anything," Zidane said.
"Paul is another team's player. The important thing for him is, because he's got an injury, to come back and play soon and I wish him the best. The important thing is the players I have here."