Manchester United fans were delighted with Paul Pogba‘s performance during their side’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday.
The Frenchman, making his return from compassionate leave following the passing of his father last week, was restored to the starting XI and instantly took hold of proceedings, supplying a wonderful assist for Josh Harrop after 15 minutes.
He then added a goal of his own – his first since January – a few minutes later, taking advantage of a Joel Ward slip to fire home before coming off just before half time.
Supporters were quick to laud the 24-year-old following another classy display in midfield.
Once Pogba is allowed a bit more freedom due to stronger, defensively-minded midfielders around him, we will see the best of him. Exciting.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) May 21, 2017
Good to see Pogba playing and playing well. Set one up and scored before going off. Decent run out before Stockholm, where he'll be vital.
— Andy Mitten (@AndyMitten) May 21, 2017
Pogba's game by numbers vs. Palace:
1 key pass
92% pass accuracy
100% dribbles completed
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) May 21, 2017
Pogba off just before half time for Carrick. He has been brilliant, dominated central midfield
— James Ducker (@TelegraphDucker) May 21, 2017
Without Pogba, our game changes massively. He links our defense to attack, without him we lack creativity. And people try to slate him ????
— MUFC view (@myMUFCview) May 21, 2017
Pogba’s 44 minute rampage through the heart of Palace’s midfield reminded me of a quality to his game that few, if any, have pointed out this season. We already know about his superb composure on the ball, immense strength and ability to wriggle out of almost any situation, of course, but perhaps transcending all of that is the Frenchman’s raw sense of spirit – a genuine love for the game, for the fans and indeed life itself.
He didn’t just bolster United’s midfield, giving it more fluidity and substance; he put smiles on the faces of supporters again, not long after what would have been an immensely difficult family grievance.
The week or so has highlighted that a starting XI without Pogba is a starting XI without any joie de vivre. His reintroduction, fittingly accompanied by the Manchester sun, breathed life into every corner of Old Trafford, and reminded everyone of the crucial impact he has on this United side. A perfect precursor, you sense, for one last – and deciding – game on Wednesday.