Jose Mourinho has challenged Paul Pogba to give his best for Manchester United after winning the World Cup with France as he questioned the Frenchman’s focus at Old Trafford.Pogba was integral to France as they lifted the World Cup, scoring in the 4-2 final win over Croatia, and Mourinho pointed to the midfielder’s display’s in Russia as to the levels Pogba can reach.
The Manchester United coach believes his star midfielder is better suited to the confines of the World Cup. Pogba has struggled for consistency at United but the star midfielder played a key role in France’s World Cup triumph in Russia. The 25-year-old – who has been linked with a return to Italian champions Juventus – scored in the final as France beat Croatia 4-2, capping a fine individual campaign at the World Cup.
Pogba’s performances came after a difficult campaign in Manchester, where he was benched for both legs of United’s Champions League last-16 defeat to Sevilla, while he was substituted in Premier League losses against Tottenham and Newcastle United.
That sparked speculation over his United future amid claims of a falling out with manager Mourinho, who has suggested the former Juve player can lose his focus at the Theatre of Dreams.
“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,” Mourinho said.”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.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 quarter-finals, to the semi-finals, to the finals. This feeds the motivation. This feeds the concentration of a player. So I think it was the perfect environment for him.”
Pogba scored six goals and tallied 10 assists as United finished second in the Premier League last season.
The two did not always see eye to eye at Old Trafford last season and Pogba admitted having “small issues” with the Portuguese boss as he found himself on the bench on several occasions. Mourinho also recently named six players who he saw as possible replacements for captain Michael Carrick and Pogba’s name was not among them. He then chose Antonio Valencia to be team Capatin. And it seems the United boss believes Pogba’s inconsistent form for his club is down to the player, rather than his problem to try and get the best from the £89million Juvetus man.
“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,” Mourinho said.
Mourinho believes Pogba had been more consistent at the World Cup because he felt “extra commitment” to his country.
“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,” Mourinho added. “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 fully focus on the job.”