Jose Mourinho has made it clear that Paul Pogba has to start thinking like the rest of his team-mates if he is to be reinstated in United’s starting XI.
The Frenchman is undoubtedly one of the most talented individuals at the club and can arguably be called a world class player. However, on more than one occasion this season, Pogba has looked completely out of his element. There have been games where he looked ready to set the world alight, and others where he looked like he just didn’t care.
His stats are pretty impressive – 5 goals and 5 assists so far is a very respectable tally for any midfielder in the world at this stage of the season. However, it is also a fair argument to say that stats sometimes don’t paint the entire picture.
Pogba was shocking against Southampton as United drew 2-2 and dropped even more crucial points. As a result, he was rightfully dropped against Arsenal and it proved to be a brilliant move. Though Mourinho’s men still drew that game 2-2 as well, the performance had far more tempo and intensity to it.
Ander Herrera, who replaced him, gave United plenty of the ‘mad dog’ attitude that the manager was asking for. He put in yet another brilliant display against Fulham as United ran away with a 4-1 win. The reason United fans love Herrera so much is the fact that irrespective of how good or bad a game he has, he always plays with his heart on his sleeve and gives his all. With Pogba, it appears as though he isn’t even trying. That is what gets on the fans’ nerves and gets him a lot of criticism.
His style of play can also remind United fans of Nani sometimes. He tries to take a touch too many, tries to beat multiple players and it slows down the play. When he pulls it off, he looks like the best center-mid in the world. When he doesn’t, it is beyond frustrating to watch.
He is undoubtedly one of the most gifted players in the world. He’s still only 25 and has a long way to go. However, Mourinho has made it clear that the team is above any individual player.
The United boss confirmed that Pogba will start against Valencia in United’s final Champions League group game. However, his spot in the side is far from guaranteed. He will only get a permanent starting spot back if he ‘plays with the same mentality as the team’.
‘He has to play with the same mentality as the team is playing,’ said Mourinho. ‘Paul can be a fantastic player. He has the potential to be a fantastic player.
‘Against Valencia he is going to start and have a fantastic football game to play and to show everybody how good he is.’