Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has warned Paul Pogba that it’s down to him to improve his form for his club after shining for his country at the World Cup.
Pogba was immense for France as they won this summer’s tournament in Russia, scoring a superb goal in the 4-2 final win against Croatia.
It’s rare, however, that we’ve seen this kind of Pogba in a United shirt, which must be a big concern for Mourinho and all involved at Old Trafford.
Many fans and pundits increasingly feel the 25-year-old is perhaps not ideally suited to the way the Portuguese sets his teams up, though he’s also had his critics for seeming to focus more on haircuts and social media.
Mourinho certainly seems to feel the onus is on Pogba to improve his focus as he managed to do for France at the World Cup, which he states is an environment that suits him better.
‘I don’t think it’s about us getting the best out of him, it’s about him giving the best he has to give,’ the United manager told ESPN.
‘I think the World Cup is the perfect habitat for a player like him to give (their) 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.
EXCLUSIVE: Jose Mourinho explains why Paul Pogba is better suited to World Cup football than Manchester United. pic.twitter.com/6zDwC8QWny
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‘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 semifinals, to the finals.
‘This feeds the motivation. This feeds the concentration of a player.’
And yet, for all Mourinho’s complaints, he remains the only manager to really struggle to get Pogba performing at this level, as he looked a far better player during his days at Juventus under both Antonio Conte and Massimiliano Allegri.
If Pogba has another below-par season at United after managing to reach those levels again for the French national side, it is surely Mourinho who will have serious questions to answer.