Paul Pogba has spoken out against his critics following Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday.
The Frenchman was widely lambasted by supporters and pundits for what was a disappointing display against Jurgen Klopp’s side.
His first half display was hallmarked by a failure to take advantage of a one-on-one opportunity with Simon Mignolet and a needless handball that gifted Liverpool a chance to go ahead from the spot.
But Pogba, speaking after the game, insisted that he was moving in the right direction at Man United.
“I love playing,” he said. “I feel good everywhere [on the pitch]. With everything that happened, the transfer, changing club, returning to Manchester, people want me to score, make a difference in games, because they say that at that price, a player must score, provide assists.
“My role as a midfielder is not to score. I can make a difference in games, but I have a lot of work. Defensive work, dictate play. It’s also a question of my abilities. I can also make the difference in winning back possession, in the team’s play … I have to work for the team rather than think about myself.
“I’ve always worked in training. With the team, it’s going much better. I think we have built understanding with each other. We win once, we win twice, we change one, two players, the matches keep coming, but we’re in better form.
“I’m in a lot better shape, too, because I didn’t have a preseason like everyone else, I arrived later. I don’t think there was a moment where everything just clicked. It just came with time.”
You could tell that, as the game went on, Pogba grew in frustration, clearly determined but unable to rectify his earlier mishaps in what was a furious midfield battle.
Perhaps the sheer hype surrounding this game went to the 23-year-old’s head. It felt as if the Frenchman played for the occasion above anything else, visibly trying too hard to make an impact and, in turn, making no impact at all.
Such performances do occur from time to time, and it is worth noting that, at 23, Pogba still has plenty of developing to do at United. The fact that he was so widely derided for one substandard performance demonstrates that the Frenchman has set a remarkably high standard over the past few weeks, and supporters will hope to see Pogba return to his normal self in the coming weeks.