Jose Mourinho wants Paul Pogba to show Man United the same dedication he delivered for France at World Cup
Jose Mourinho has urged Paul Pogba to show the same dedication, drive and focus, he delivered for France in winning the World Cup when he returns to Manchester United next season.
Mourinho knows how good Pogba is, but he also believes he could be even better if he consistently focused all of his attention on football, rather than on other distractions and pleasures during a long club campaign.
Pogba could become the best central midfielder in the world over the next two or three years, or he can continue to show his class in flashes, little bursts in the big games.
What happens next, after you play an integral role in winning football biggest international prize, tends to be a test of mentality rather than ability.
Mourinho’s response to a question in which he was asked how could United bring out the best in Pogba may have seemed a little cold, yet it is also true.
“I don’t think it’s about us getting the best out of him,” Mourinho told ESPN. “It’s about him giving the best he has to give. I think the World Cup is the perfect habitat for a player like him to give the best. Why? Because it’s closed for a month, where he can only think about football.
“Where he’s with his team on the training camp, completely isolated from the external world, where they focus just on football, where the dimensions of the game can only motivate.
“During a season, you can have a big match then a smaller match, then one even smaller, then you can lose your focus, you can lose your concentration, then comes a big match again. In the World Cup, the direction of the emotion, of the responsibility, of the big decisions is always growing up.
“You are in the group phase, you go to the last 16, to the quarterfinals, to the semi-finals, to the finals. This feeds the motivation. This feeds the concentration of a player.”
The message is clear. As far as Mourinho is concerned, Pogba had a better attitude when he played for France in Russia than he did, at times, for United last season.
He expects the 25-year-old to now show he can consistently apply himself over the course of nine hard months in the Premier League.
“I think it was the [World Cup was the] perfect environment for him. At the same time, I think players in the World Cup, they really feel that extra commitment with a country, with the people, that extra responsibility that makes them – by the emotional point of view – to be sometimes even overcommitted.
“So, they play for the team, and only for the team, and the team is the most important thing, and they do everything to try to succeed. So, I think it’s the perfect environment for a talented player like him to focus, to full focus on the job.”