Manchester United's Paul Pogba hits back at critics ahead of World Cup final
Much was expected of Paul Pogba when Manchester United re-signed him from Juventus for a world-record fee. While the Frenchman has sometimes shown flashes of brilliance for the red devils, you could argue that there has been too much expectation placed on his shoulders, and so far he has failed to completely live up to them.
Be it the tactically demanding nature of the Premier League as compared to the Serie A, or a lack of freedom offered to him by Jose Mourinho, Paul Pogba has not been able to showcase his talents as efficiently as his time at Juventus, during which he also secured a place in the FIFPRO World XI.
Naturally, that has led to the Frenchman attracting a few critics in the Premier League, citing Pogba's lack of game-discipline and impulsive nature as one of the factors why he's not a good fit for the rigours of the Premier League.
Paul Pogba however, following his brilliant performances for France, guiding them to the World Cup final, has clapped back at his doubters, saying he isn't fazed.
“The critics can criticise me but the one thing they cannot criticise is the love of football I have in my heart and I will always have it and even if I hear good things or bad things, I will keep fighting for my love,” Pogba said.
“I know that sometimes you are doing good, sometimes you are doing bad, but that’s how you grow.
"It’s not like I always do the good things and I hope I’m doing the good things so I can delete the bad things. I can improve and get better and better.
"I wouldn’t say that I’m young but I’m not old, yet, and we are going through nice things and want to finish it. We are in the final of a World Cup. It’s a dream for everybody but you have to realise a dream.
“I don’t want to prove nothing to nobody. I could do one thing and it was to play football. It was my love, my first love. I live for football. I play for football. I get criticised again and again but today everything is fine. It’s always nice to win, and it is nice to hear nice things about the team, about yourself and everything.”
To be fair to the Frenchman, he has often shown flashes of brilliance for United, but the expectations that come with the kind of price tag that he has been what has prompted the critics against him.
Take notes, Jose Mourinho
After coming off another testing campaign in the Premier League last season, also being dropped to the bench by Mourinho several times, these performances will come as a sigh of relief for both the Manchester United faithful and more importantly Paul Pogba.
If there's one thing we can gather from these performances over the course of the World Cup, it is that whatever it may be at fault, it is certainly not Paul Pogba. With the correct system that allows him creative freedom, Pogba can do wonders for any side, with Didier Deschamps's France the perfect example. Playing Kante and Matuidi/Tolisso with Pogba in the Midfield allows Pogba to do what he does best, attack and create, confident in the fact that there is enough defensive presence behind him.
These performances come as a blessing for all those associated with the Red Devils, but none more so than Jose Mourinho. Mourinho has a clear layout of how to play Pogba to get the best out of him, and United certainly have the calibre of players to replicate a similar system for him at club level.
If this Mourinho does actually make the changes, we may well see Pogba getting back to the form and consistency which he has so often lacked since his big-money move back to Old Trafford, the sort of form which got him named as the best midfielder in the World in his position, back in 2015.