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United top Rio Ferdinand makes a lavish claim over Paul Pogba as he blasts Man United's winner at Fulham

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Paul Pogba, centre, celebrates scoring United’s winner (Clive Rose/PA)

Paul Pogba, centre, celebrates scoring United’s winner (Clive Rose/PA)

Paul Pogba, centre, celebrates scoring United’s winner (Clive Rose/PA)

He has been hailed as the symbol of Manchester United's failings over the last few years, yet Paul Pogba is answering his critics after firing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side back to the top of the Premier League table by scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory at Fulham.

The game was level at 1-1 when Pogba created space for himself before bending the ball from outside the area past Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and into the corner of the net.

The Cottagers had taken the lead when Ademola Lookman turned the ball into the bottom corner with six minutes on the clock, only for Edinson Cavani to capitalise on a mistake from Areola to level.

Leicester and Manchester City had moved to the summit over the last 24 hours, but the win sent the Red Devils two points clear and equalled the club-record 17 Premier League away games without defeat set by the treble-winning side of 1999.

After a fine performance inspired a United win at Burnley last week, Pogba followed that up with another match-winning contribution that inspired United great Rio Ferdinand to pay this tribute on BT Sport.

"The big difference recently is he's been playing quicker. He's quick with what he's doing, the efficiency is top, top drawer," stated Ferdinand. "He is a magnificent footballer and when he's in this form, he's one of the best.

"Everyone was always saying Bruno, Bruno, Bruno (Fernandes) but this last month Paul Pogba has really stepped up. He is a magnificent footballer when he played like this."

Pogba admitted it had been a hard-fought win for United, who leapfrogged Manchester City back to the top of the table.

“It was a big win because it was a hard game,” he told BT Sport. “We knew it would be difficult here against this team.

“They don't give up the press and they stay very compact behind (the ball). We conceded a goal in the first half and we knew it would be hard now. Obviously we needed this win and we got it the hard way.

"The goal was nice. I didn't expect the left foot would be like this, but if you don't shoot, you don't know what's going to happen," he added.

"So I'm really glad the ball went in. It was a beautiful goal and a beautiful win, more importantly."

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saluted Pogba and feels the Frenchman is approaching his best form now that he is fully match fit.

"It was a fantastic goal by Paul and we had some other chances as well second half to finish the game, but of course when it's only one goal, with the players they put on, it's always going to be heart in your mouth," Solskjaer stated.

"He's really come on. He's fit, he can play in midfield, he can play wide, that's the key with Paul, getting him match fit and really running fit and he is at the moment.

"An early yellow card and he still defended really well, stood his ground. There was one tackle in the second half that I was worried about, but he played very well."

Solskjaer insisted he was not paying too much attention to the Premier League table.

"It’s always going to be talked about that when we’re halfway through and you are top of the league, but we’re not really thinking about that," he added.

"We’ve just got to go one game at a time and keep everyone healthy and fresh and see where we are. It’s such an unpredictable season anyway."

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