Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has backed world record signing Paul Pogba to find top form soon, before going on to claim that the French midfielder could be a phenomenal centre-back
Four years after leaving Old Trafford in acrimonious fashion, French international Pogba rejoined United from Juventus in the summer transfer window after his boyhood club shelled a record £89 million fee to the Serie A champions. But he hasn’t really set the stage on fire as he has struggled to adapt to life back in England, with lacklustre displays in the center of the park leading many to question the sum paid to acquire his services.
But United boss Mourinho has defended his star man, insisting that the 23-year-old will hit his stride soon.
In an interview to Sky Sports’ Andy Burton, Mourinho said: “He can play in so many positions. The problem is not the position. The problem is, in my opinion, somebody that comes from a different style of football and needs this time to be at his best level in football that is really difficult to play, especially for midfield players.”
Asking fans and critics to remain patient and let the midfielder develop, Mourinho went on to add: “We don’t expect Paul to arrive here and the next day to be unbelievable. He has years and years to develop his game, so that expectation and investment from the club is based on that – a super player for the next seven or eight years.”
The Portuguese boss has copped flak from a section of fans and the media for fielding Pogba in different positions this season. But Mourinho remained defiant, even going on to make a claim that will shock fans and pundits alike, as he said that Pogba’s all round qualities can make him a “phenomenal” centre-back.
“He’s a top player and I think he could be a phenomenal central defender,” he said. “With the quality of his pass, with his aerial game, with his agility in such a big body, for his defensive side of the game, coming from the back with the ball, he would be a phenomenal central defender, too.”
Pogba came under fire as United were handed a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Mourinho’s former club Chelsea last week. As the Red Devils turn their attention to their EFL Cup fourth round clash against Manchester City, his manager’s backing should surely provide Pogba a confidence booster.