Jose Mourinho was at his snarling best as he gleefully defended Paul Pogba after a game against Fenerbahce where the Frenchman showed the sort of form that we saw most weeks at Juventus.
“First of all, in some of your mouths, he goes from the worst player in the Premier League to a great player in 48 hours,”
“I am not specifically saying it is you. I say media, especially the Einsteins. We know he is a very good player. We know he needs some time to show his potential. I know Italian football very well. I know teams play completely different from the Premier League.
“I am not saying we are better but we are different. Different in the intensity, the number of touches on the ball, everything is different and he needs time to adapt. He is a self-confident boy.
“He was not depressed because some people said he was a bad player. He was not depressed. He was calm. It is always nice for a player to score, to score at home and especially to score such a beautiful goal.”
Manchester United will face much better opponents this season and Pogba was afforded much more time and space than he got at Liverpool on Monday.
But that was also, in part, due to the presence Michael Carrick alongside him. How much longer can Jose ignore the English Pirlo?
Carrick allowed Pogba the freedom to play his game. Jose is trying to build for the future but Carrick surely still represents the present for Manchester United.
But this game will have done Pogba the world of good. After Wayne Rooney unselfishly allowed the Frenchman to take the first penalty of the night, he seemed to be suddenly filled with confidence.
The tricks and flicks started to come off and, soon after his first goal, he hit a screamer which will go into his top 20 goals of his career so far.
Manchester United fans will hope that he can take that form into the Chelsea game. What Pogba needs is to play in the same position each week. To get his bearings and to have a consistent partner.
Although Ander Herrera is in excellent form, TFF can’t help but think that Manchester United’s best side has Carrick and Pogba in the 2 of a 4-2-3-1.