Tuesday 21 January 2020

Gary Neville claims world record signing Paul Pogba is 'confused' following Chelsea defeat

Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba
Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba

Mark Critchley

Gary Neville has claimed that Paul Pogba could be feeling “confused” about his role under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.

The former full-back, who now works as a television pundit for Sky Sports, was discussing Pogba’s performance in United’s 4-0 humiliation at Chelsea on Sunday.

Pogba was deployed in the no 10 role by Jose Mourinho, despite scoring twice after starting in a deeper position for Thursday’s 4-1 Europa League victory over Fenerbahce.

The 23-year-old midfielder, who returned to Old Trafford this summer following a world-record £89m transfer from Juventus, failed to have an impact on proceedings at Stamford Bridge but Neville reserved some sympathy for him.

“I’d imagine he’s confused,” Neville said on Sky Sports’ Gary Neville Podcast. “He probably doesn’t know what’s happening. He’s been signed for such a huge fee.

“When you play him as a two in midfield, you saw at the end, he’s everywhere. They somehow have to play him in a position where he’s allowed to do that because I’m not sure he’s going to change.”

Despite being a first team regular, Pogba is yet to establish a clearly-defined role for himself in Mourinho’s side.

“It was a difficult day for him, it really was,” Neville added. “It was difficult for him at Anfield actually at times as well as a no 10.

“At the moment, I think Jose Mourinho is trying to find a way to incorporate [him], because obviously when you sign a player for that level of money you have to find a way to make it fit.

“That is a conundrum that Jose Mourinho is going to have to solve. Finding the right partners in midfield or partner for him, who plays on the width alongside him – he’s got a lot questions to answer for himself, Jose Mourinho.

“He’ll be thinking I’ve tried him, I’ve tried that there. At the moment, it must be changing week-by-week by what he’s seeing.”

Ryan Giggs, who like Neville is a graduate of United’s Class of ’92 , recently used similar language to assess Mourinho’s treatment of club captain Wayne Rooney.

Rooney was dropped from United’s starting line-up last month following a spell of poor form and uncertainty over his role in the side.

“I feel a little bit sorry for him,” Giggs said, when questioned about his former team-mate’s demotion.

“Towards the end of last season and for England in the summer he was played in that deeper role, then he was told he’s playing as a No 9 or a No 10. He’s probably a bit confused.”

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