Paul Pogba aimed a thinly veiled dig at former manager Jose Mourinho following yet another superb attacking performance from Manchester United and the Frenchman under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
A brace from Pogba, coupled with goals from the excellent Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku off the bench, handed Man United a convincing 4-1 win over AFC Bournemouth.
United have now recorded three wins in a row, scoring 12 goals in the process, in the space of nine days under the salutary influence of Solskjaer.
Speaking after the game, Pogba stressed that United players were starting to enjoy football again after Mourinho.
Pogba, “A football team needs to enjoy playing football.”
— Chris Winterburn (@cmwinterburn) December 30, 2018
How does Mourinho defend himself having seen what this group of players – who he claimed were unable to attack – have done over the last three games?
The 55-year-old genuinely managed to convince supporters – including myself to a degree – that this team, and indeed specific players, were not good enough to rip teams apart. He claimed the club needed to invest further. He belittled the likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw, and of course Pogba for failing to provide him with what he wanted.
Such sentiments spring from a lack of trust – from a wider sense of paranoia which, with each high profile failure, grips Mourinho even tighter. What this creates, in practice, is a carousel of sensational talent spending its time trying to contain Brighton and Hove Albion.
Bigger tests of Solskjaer’s tactical acumen lie around the corner, of course. But against a team like Bournemouth – whose squad is worth much less and not as jam-packed with quality – the players simply needed to be reminded of how good they were, and allowed to express themselves accordingly.