Why Paul Pogba must prove that Jose Mourinho was wrong about him
It is fair to say that Pogba and Jose Mourinho did not get on well at Manchester United. Twenty minutes after the announcement of Jose Mourinho's departure from the club, Paul Pogba's Instagram account released a post asking fans to caption a picture of Pogba with a wry smile.
The post was subsequently removed after a little backlash directed towards the player for supposedly rejoicing at his manager's sacking. Adidas has since claimed that the post was part of a marketing campaign, and shouldn't be misconstrued as disrespect to Jose Mourinho.
Despite this, The Sun has published a report saying that Pogba allegedly shouted "he f***ed with the wrong baller" when news of the sack got to the training ground. The Sun goes on to claim that Pogba led celebrations among some players, and it led to a showdown with Michael Carrick. If these reports are true, then that definitely can be construed as disrespect to Jose Mourinho.
Well, Mourinho is gone now. It is time for Pogba to prove that Mourinho was wrong about him. In the last 3 PL games, the Portuguese boss only gave Pogba 15 minutes of playing time. Pogba didn't even get off the bench in the 3-1 defeat at Anfield, and that further added fuel to the already existing feud between player and manager.
Mourinho had issues with Pogba's defensive discipline and lack of understanding that ''simplicity is genius" in certain areas of the pitch.
He is certainly right on both counts.
Pogba is 7th in the PL 2018-19 table for the most dispossessed players. The alarming thing about this statistic is that Pogba is one of only two central midfielders in the top 20 of this table, and the only one in the top ten.
Strikers and wingers can be forgiven to a certain extent for losing the ball because they are in the opposition half and trying to open up the opposing defense. However, losing the ball in midfield is an atrocious characteristic for a central midfielder, and a part of Pogba's game that he must quickly work on.
Among midfielders in Manchester United, Pogba has made more tackles than only McTominay and Pereira who have played far less than he has. He has played as many or more games than all of the midfielders.
One can argue that it is a bit unfair to judge him on tackles and other defensive metrics, but his record of 3 goals (2 penalties and one rebound from a penalty) and 3 assists, shows he isn't exactly lighting up the world in attack either.
If Pogba isn't comparing too favourably with his fellow midfielders in United, how then will he do if compared with midfielders from all the other teams. A proverb says; "If you run with footmen and fail. How will you manage when running with horsemen?"
All this notwithstanding, Paul Pogba is one of the most gifted central midfielders in the world. The French international must start consistently taking a grip of games, and helping his team to victory.
Jose Mourinho has gone and borne all the blame for the disappointing season. The one time world's most expensive player must begin to prove his old manager wrong, and become more of an asset to the Red Devils.