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Stewart Robson: Jose Mourinho mismanaged Paul Pogba at Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Former Arsenal midfielder Stewart Robson believes that Jose Mourinho initially mismanaged Paul Pogba at Manchester United this season.

The 23-year-old, despite having virtually no pre-season, was thrown into the starting XI not long after arriving for a world record £89m fee back in August, making his debut on match-day two against Southampton.

He endured a shaky start, with Mourinho still figuring out the best role for the Frenchman during the first couple of months.

And Robson, speaking earlier this week, insisted that the 54-year-old did a poor job when it came to accommodating Pogba during the nascent stages of his Man United career.

“He [Mourinho] mismanaged him at the start because he wasn’t fully fit, he’d had four weeks off, no training and they out him straight into the first game and from that moment on that he was trying to play catch-up,” he said.

“The combination football we mentioned earlier, [it’s about] finding the right combination of passes. He’s got a little bit of an understanding with Ibrahimovic as we saw yesterday when he ran beyond Ibrahimovic and passed him in.

“But lots of the things he does are instinctive, rather than having that understanding with the players around him.”

It was, on reflection, a gruelling first month for Pogba to endure: no pre-season, coming to Old Trafford as the world’s most expensive player, straight into a team still very much going through a transitional period under Mourinho – another man under the global spotlight.

He had to set the world on fire instantly, despite lacking full-fitness or any firm idea of what his exact role in Mourinho’s XI should be. An unenviable task to say the least.

With that in mind, you have to applaud Pogba for the way he has braved this storm and progressed under the Portuguese, and in spite of the occasional lapse the Frenchman – who, it should be noted, is still in a developmental stage of his career – has displayed signs of heading in the right direction at United this season.

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