Wednesday 22 February 2017

Jose Mourinho explains the 'problem' that has caused Paul Pogba's slow start to the season

Mark Critchley

Published 26/10/2016 | 12:28

Manchester United's Paul Pogba is congratulated by manager Jose Mourinho after being substituted during the UEFA Europa League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 20, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Manchester United's Paul Pogba is congratulated by manager Jose Mourinho after being substituted during the UEFA Europa League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday October 20, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Man Utd. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Jose Mourinho has defended himself against accusations that his tactics are to blame for Paul Pogba’s indifferent start to life at Manchester United.

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Pogba, who returned to Old Trafford for a world record transfer fee of £89m from Juventus this summer, is yet to establish a clearly-defined role in Mourinho’s side.

The 23-year-old has played as both a deep-lying midfielder and as a no 10, scoring three times and registering no assists.

After a quiet display in Sunday’s 4-0 defeat at Chelsea, Gary Neville suggested that the France international could be "confused" and that he plays best when part of a midfield pair.

Mourinho, however, has dismissed the debate around Pogba's position, telling Sky Sports: “He can play in so many positions. The problem is not the position. The problem is not the tactical system.

“The problem is, in my opinion, somebody that comes from a different style of football and needs this time to be at his best level in football that is really difficult to play, especially for midfield players.

“I think it is really difficult to play or adapt from different realities, but he is a phenomenal player. He has unbelievable potential,” he added.

“He has years and years to develop his game, so that expectation and investment from the club is based on that - a super player for the next seven or eight years.

“He's getting better and better and better at every level. That's our expectation.

“We don't expect Paul to arrive here and the next day to be unbelievable. But the other thing is that we trust him so much that we pass to him this kind of feeling.”

Pogba initially joined United as a youth player under Sir Alex Ferguson in 2009 and went on to make seven senior appearances for the club.

Following the expiration of his United contract in 2012, he joined Juventus, where he established himself as one of world football's elite midfielders.

(© Independent News Service)

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