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Paul Pogba in focus

Published 18/09/2016

Paul Pogba had another difficult day in a Manchester United shirt
Paul Pogba had another difficult day in a Manchester United shirt

Paul Pogba has had an underwhelming start to the season since returning to Manchester United from Juventus for a world-record fee.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the France midfielder's display in United's 3-1 Premier League defeat at Watford on Sunday.


The 23-year-old took his place on the left-hand side of a central midfield three alongside Marouane Fellaini and captain Wayne Rooney. With the other two players more limited in terms of mobility, manager Jose Mourinho would have been looking for Pogba to provide energy to get his side up the pitch. The system was hardly a success and Pogba offered very little at either end of the field.


Pogba was extremely unlucky not to open the scoring just after the half-hour mark when his dipping effort from 25 yards crashed back off the crossbar but he was woefully off target with an attempt from further out 10 minutes from time. He rarely threatened to break into the Hornets' box throughout the game and needs to do more if he is to regularly contribute goals this season.


He was caught under the ball while trying to defend an early Watford free-kick which resulted in Sebastian Prodl heading narrowly wide and was stood up-field with his arms outstretched as opposition midfielder Etienne Capoue slotted in the opener. The four-time Serie A winner was lucky to escape a booking following a clumsy foul on countryman Capoue on the edge of the box. He was also guilty of other needless fouls and was eventually shown a yellow card for petulantly pushing Valon Behrami.


Pogba found it difficult to get into the game early on as United endured a torrid start in which they could have fallen behind three times in the opening 20 minutes. Watford's players seemed hungrier than Pogba and his team-mates for the majority of the game and deservedly claimed victory. He showed his strength on a number of occasions but United fans will expect much more.


It was another day to forget for the Frenchman and his manager Mourinho. Pogba's performance was by no means terrible but he was ineffectual and could not impose himself on the game. That said, had his brilliant first-half attempt against the crossbar been slightly lower then he could well have been the match-winner or set United on course for victory. Mourinho attempted to take pressure off Pogba in the build-up to the game by telling him to forget about his £89million fee but talk of the big price tag is unlikely to stop while the struggles for club and player continue.

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