Jose Mourinho, Manchester United manager reportedly pledged to shape his team around Paul Pogba after the France midfielder made a successful Old Trafford return in a 2-0 win over Southampton.
Pogba who reportedly played the whole game as Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s brace sank Southampton on Friday, August 19th, a week after returning to United from Juventus in a world-record 89 million pound (105 million euros, $116 million) transfer.
Inpite of playing in a midfield holding role, Pogba got forward well, making a total of four attempts at goal, and Mourinho said that he was determined to give the 23-year-old the freedom to play his natural game.
Asked what instructions he had given Pogba, Mourinho replied simply: “Play.”
He added: “I don’t know which position he played. For a player to play with the freedom he has, we have to build a certain organisation around him. He has to play with freedom.
“The last 10 minutes, 2-0, now (you need) more discipline, more tactical organisation, but this is the kind of guy that has to play free.”
Pogba’s second debut, four years on from his last United appearance, got off to an embarrassing start when he produced an air-kick in midfield, but Mourinho was delighted by the way he regained his composure.
“I think he was fantastic. His first action was bad. He loses an easy ball and gives a counter-attack and a first free-kick to the opponent,” Mourinho said.
“(But) you can see even more the ego, the personality. He’s so comfortable in the skin of a star, so confident, the way he plays.
“For 10 days’ work, first match of the season, not even 10 minutes of a friendly, I think he played phenomenal.”
Mourinho also reserved words of praise for Pogba’s midfield partner Marouane Fellaini.
Fellaini became a figure of derision under Mourinho’s predecessors David Moyes and Louis van Gaal, but the United manager said that he had worked hard to build up the Belgium international’s confidence.