Thursday 29 September 2016

Forget Claudio Bravo, Paul Pogba was annihilated on social media for his display in the Manchester derby

Tom Rooney

Published 11/09/2016 | 14:47

Manchester United's Paul Pogba fails to beat City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo at Old Trafford. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.
Manchester United's Paul Pogba fails to beat City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo at Old Trafford. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

Although the flailing Claudio Bravo probably incurred a greater portion of mockery and vitriol on social media, that doesn’t change the fact that Paul Pogba was absolutely lampooned for his indifferent display in yesterday’s Manchester derby.

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When you are the subject of a protracted, seemingly endless transfer saga, which concludes with a world record fee changing hands, then expectations will, justifiably, be vertiginously high.

Paul Pogba, for now at least, is the world’s most expensive footballer, which is some mantle when considering the ludicrous fees being paid for players in today’s inflated marketplace.

That the Frenchman also plays for Manchester United, a Manchester United managed by Jose Mourinho, no less, only serves to further ratchet up the levels of scrutiny he will be subjected to. 

Yesterday at Old Trafford marked Pogba’s third appearance since re-joining the club from Juventus and, until then, his displays have been decidedly average, save for the occasional sprinkling of stardust.

However, he was nothing more than a bystander during the much anticipated crosstown clash as City, particularly in the first half, overran United in midfield.

Pogba, as he has through this nascent season, comprised half of a midfield duo that also featured Marouane Fellaini. The pair were largely anonymous throughout and, while the Belgian is well used to being eviscerated by all and sundry, Pogba likely isn’t.

City’s victory was facilitated by goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho, while Zlatan Ibrahimović, aided by the frequently hapless Bravo, pegged one back for United.

There is a consensus that Mourinho, like France coach Didier Deschamps during the European Championships, is not deploying the best formation to illicit Pogba’s talents.

He does appear restricted in a 4-2-3-1 and would likely be more potent in a 4-3-3, but that would almost certainly mean dropping Wayne Rooney.

Mourinho has used the latter set-up intermittently throughout out his career but there has been no indication that he will deviate from the former.

For now, take a look at the grief Pogba got.










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