Bixente Lizarazu: Paul Pogba is not developing at Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Former France left-back Bixente Lizarazu believes Paul Pogba is not progressing under the tutelage of Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.

The Frenchman has only started four of Man United’s last 11 games amid a series of injuries and underwhelming performances, with youngster Scott McTominay – a favourite of Mourinho – filling his place instead.

He had no such problems with the national team this week, however, complimenting a commanding performance against Russia with a goal and an assist.

And Lizarazu, speaking earlier this week, has claimed that the 55-year-old is stifling the midfielder’s progression at Old Trafford.

“I see that the relationship with Mourinho is not good,” he said.

“When he was in Juventus, he was really improving a lot; my feeling, at Manchester United, is that he is not improving so this is a problem because the potential is so big that we don’t want for him, for the French national team, that he stays at this level. He can make better.

“Why he don’t make it? It’s difficult to say what’s going on in his brain. Someone has to talk to him. Of course, Mourinho is not an easy manager. He is using the strong method – he can be hard with the player.

“Some players need that but others need something more soft but you have to be focused and sometimes he is not focused enough. Sometimes he is making too much and so he has to control that.”

Comparing the Juventus Pogba to the Man United Pogba is simply unfair given that the former was – and still is – miles ahead of Mourinho’s side. The 25-year-old was playing alongside the likes of Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal in midfield, with Carlos Tevez and Paulo Dybala further up the pitch to pick out in a slower league compared to that of England.

That said, to see only the occasional game where Pogba’s brilliance shines through is painful to say the least. The midfielder does, as many have noted, need to work a bit harder perhaps, but the manager needs to let him off the leash more. He is simply too good – too important to the vitality of this team – to waste.

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