The strained relationship between Paul Pogba and Manchester United intensified last night when the club’s World Cup-winning midfielder expressed his relief at linking up again with his French team-mates and distancing himself from ‘all the talking’ about his future.
Rumours that Pogba no longer has the backing of Jose Mourinho continue to swirl around Old Trafford and the club’s £89million record signing says the current international break could not have come at a better time.
Pogba had an average game in last Thursday’s 0-0 Nations League clash with Germany in Munich but is relishing the reunion with his international team-mates who take on Holland tonight at the Stade de France for the first home game since their triumph in Russia. ‘It always does me good getting back with the national team,’ said Pogba. ‘The atmosphere is great and it gives me a real buzz.’
Pogba, who fell out of favour last season with United and was linked with a return to Juventus or a move to Barcelona this summer, has been at pains not to get swept up in all the controversy about his situation at Old Trafford after United’s wobbly start to the season.
But he said he was fed up with those who questioned his commitment. ‘It’s not me who’s doing all the talking. I’m trying to do my job and work on myself physically.’
Asked specifically about his relationship with Mourinho, Pogba replied: ‘We have a pure coach-player relationship, that’s right. One thing I can assure you, I will always give 100 per cent — no matter which coach I always give everything for United.’
Pogba said it was unrealistic, however, to expect him to be living up to his price tag so soon after the World Cup. ‘I got back late so I’m trying to perform as well as possible. It’s the same for everyone. Physically no-one is quite there yet. With time I’ll get better though it’s important to stay injury free.’
France will again be without captain Hugo Lloris through injury but appear to have unveiled a capable stand-in. PSG’s Alphonse Areola made a string of fine saves on his debut to preserve a point. ‘Alphonse was fantastic,’ said Pogba.