11th August, 2018
The evening yesterday at Manchester United’s Old Trafford was such an “unusual” one.
Not because the Red Devils won their first match of the season but how many surprises came as a result of that win. The team beat Leicester City 2-1 in their opening game and the first one of the 2018/2019 British Premier League season.
However, considering all the drama that had preceded the game especially as fa as the transfer issues were concerned, no one was really sure what was going to happen.
Anyone who tells you that he or she expected Jose Mourinho to be heaping praises on a Paul Pogba and or Luke Shaw so openly at the end of the game must only be lying to you or playing on your intelligence.
But Friends, that is exactly what transpired yesterday evening at the Old Trafford.
As a matter of fact, Jose Mourinho described Paul Pogba as a “Monster” (positive one of course) after the player surprisingly put in a strong showing in Manchester United’s Premier League opener against Leicester City just four days after returning to training.
He had been allowed to rest this long due to his 2018 World Cup exploits where he helped his country France to win the Mundial.
He only just returned to Manchester United on Monday and it was also a little bit of a surprise to see him thrown straight into the game right from the beginning of this match.
He not only started the game but did so as the team captain! And within three minutes of the game, his name was already on the score sheet! Albeit through a well converted penalty.
Pogba surprised everyone including the doubting Jose Mourinho with not just his strong showing in the centre of the pitch but also his ability to perform at such a high standard for a whole 80 minuted despite not having taken part in the pre-season matches and preparations.
And that of course, caught Mr. Mourinho “off-guard”. The gaffer had the following to say after the thrilling encounter:
“Of course the boys with the proper pre-seasons, they were in much better condition,” Mourinho said.
“[Luke] Shaw, Andreas Pereira, [Eric] Bailly, [Matteo] Darmian, they were comfortable to play 90 mins. The others were fantastic.
“[Marcus] Rashford was in trouble, but he played. Pogba was a monster. We thought [he could play a] maximum 60 minutes, but he managed 80.
“Then Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini were available to try to help the team. It was a fantastic spirit, and there were periods of very good football.
“In the periods Leicester were stronger we played as a team and coped well.”
As for those who were surprised to see Pogba in action again so soon after his post-World Cup break, Mourinho said it was not a difficult decision to play him because Pogba said he was ready. He then added:
“[It] was not hard. The decision belonged to him, because Andreas Pereira comes from Valencia bench as a winger to play number six; Fred had 10 days training, Ukrainian league, comes direct to Old Trafford; Ander Herrera was injured.”
“I had only two options: Scott [McTominay] or Paul, but if I play Scott I play two kids and a new player, so I asked Paul and he put himself available for the team and he was very, very good for us.”
Well Friends, even if the relationship between Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho cannot be described as very cordial at the moment, at least it got somewhat better last night and we all hope it continues that way.