Tuesday 21 May 2019

Paul Pogba thanks Jose Mourinho for keeping faith with his spot-kick skills

Pogba responded to his penalty miss against Burnley by burying a penalty in the win over Young Boys.

Paul Pogba, left, scored twice for Manchester United in Switzerland (Anthony Anex/AP)
Paul Pogba, left, scored twice for Manchester United in Switzerland (Anthony Anex/AP)

By Simon Peach, Press Association Chief Football Write, Bern

Paul Pogba thanked Jose Mourinho for keeping faith with him after he inspired Manchester United to victory at Young Boys.

Putting speculation over his future to the side, the 25-year-old produced a dazzling display in Bern as United opened their Champions League campaign with a 3-0 win.

Pogba broke the deadlock with a superb effort and assisted Anthony Martial for the third, but it was his penalty on the stroke of half-time that took the wind out of the Swiss champions’ sails.

Paul Pogba scored from the spot (Anthony Anex/AP)

It was an impressive response to his missed spot-kick at the start of the month against Burnley, where Jose Mourinho said the midfielder would remain penalty taker if he wanted to.

Pogba took that responsibility in Switzerland, following a staggered run up with an unerring finish.

“I didn’t have doubts about taking the penalty,” the World Cup winner said.

“I know I missed that one. Joe (Hart) got me that time but I won’t do the same mistake.

Paul Pogba saw his spot-kick against Burnley saved by Joe Hart (Martin Rickett/PA)

“I had the confidence as well of the players, they let me take it, so I should thank them for this, for the manager – he let me take it as well.”

That display of character from the spot impressed Pogba’s manager.

“I like the player to have the courage to take a penalty after one that he missed,” Mourinho told MUTV. “I like that.

“He missed against Burnley. The next penalty the team has, he is there to take it, to make it 2-0 and to kill the game for us.”

It was Pogba’s fourth goal in the first six games of the campaign – an impressive return given he mustered just six for United in total last term.

Paul Pogba has started the campaign in fine goalscoring form (Nick Potts/PA)

The France midfielder would love to keep providing for a team that have responded to back-to-back defeats with three successive away wins.

“If I can do it, I will try to help the team as much as possible,” Pogba said of his goal tally. “If I can score a goal or make an assist that will be great.

“Obviously when you win you are happy but we are still trying to get better.

“We are changing the team and the players that come in feel like they are already in the team and that’s what we need.”

United will look to rack up a fourth straight win against Wolves on Saturday, when Mourinho’s side return to the home comforts of Old Trafford – and a grass surface.

Manchester United played on a plastic pitch in Switzerland (Simon Peach/PA)

The synthetic Stade de Suisse pitch made things tricky against Young Boys, but United’s quality eventually showed,

“When we trained the day before it was a bit strange because we are used to playing on grass, but we had to win and the result was the most important thing,” Pogba told reporters in Bern.

“It was very important because it was the first game in the Champions League and we needed to start well.

“We did it and got the result we wanted. Maybe the performance should have been better, but we have the result and the three points, so we are very happy.”

Another positive was the promising debut of 19-year-old Diogo Dalot at right-back in place of captain Antonio Valencia, who was not risked due to the impact of the plastic pitch.

“To be honest, he really fit (in),” Pogba added.

“He suited the team and I am very happy to see him play like that and all the players I think are very proud of him.”

Press Association

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