Paul Pogba is in a “different class” declared Jose Mourinho after the France midfielder’s man-of-the-match performance in Manchester United’s 4-1 victory over Newcastle United on Saturday.
The 24-year-old Frenchman returned after an injury absence of over two months to score a goal and create one as United stayed second in the table, eight points off city rivals Manchester City.
“Paul Pogba is different class,” Mourinho told BT Sport.
“Paul and Nemanja Matic grew up together at the start of the season and are the engine of the team.”
Mourinho said he had left it to Pogba to decide how long he could stay on the field after his layoff and he came off in the second half.
“It was in Paul’s hands, how many minutes to play until he began to feel fatigued. It was a great performance from him.”
Pogba said United could only improve with him and Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic returning to the fray.
In another boost for United, Argentine defender Marcos Rojo – who like Ibrahimovic has been out since suffering serious knee injuries in April – was on the bench.
“We won, we have the three points and that is the most important thing,” Pogba said.
“Zlatan Ibrahimovic, me and Marcos Rojo came back from injury, so we are happy.
“I see the same team and feel the same atmosphere. The season is very long, it is not about now, it is about the end. We just forget the criticism.
“It hurts when you are not playing, you want to help the team, but you just have to do your recovery.”
Ibrahimovic, who came on 13 minutes from time, said that he hadn’t been anxious about resuming first-team action.
“This feels special. Different day, same quality,” he said.
“I’m not worried at all – I train hard, sacrifice a lot. I play in my head, my knee just needs to follow.
“Was I worried about returning? No. Lions don’t recover like humans.”