Belfast Telegraph

Pogba not being weighed down by £89m price tag: Mourinho

By Samuel Stevens

Jose Mourinho says Paul Pogba should not be judged by his world record £89m transfer fee after another fruitless performance during Manchester United's Europa League defeat by Feyenoord on Thursday evening.

Pogba, who re-joined United from Juventus last month, was anonymous once again for Mourinho's men as they succumbed to a 1-0 loss in Rotterdam just five days after the damaging derby setback against Manchester City at Old Trafford.

United travel to Watford tomorrow knowing talk of a crisis will snowball if they fail to overcome Walter Materazzi's side but Mourinho, who did his level best not to discuss Pogba's fortunes, insists he is not concerned by the midfielder's stuttering form.

The 53-year-old said: "The world record player is always a question that will be open until somebody else breaks the record. I think there are clubs who paid £20m, £30m, £40m and that is a bigger deal than what Man United have paid for Paul.

"Because you make a relation between the club's revenue and the money. I just want Paul to forget that and play his football."

Thirteen Premier League clubs broke their transfer records this summer as the English game bathed in £5.13bn of new television rights money. Less decorated clubs such as Crystal Palace (Christian Benteke, £32m), Everton (Yannick Bolasie, £28m) and West Ham United (Andre Ayew, £20.5m) parted with sums previously unavailable to them.

But Mourinho is not prepared to accept that Pogba's early season strife is down to the weight of expectation and instead highlighted a number of mitigating circumstances which should be considered instead.

The two-time Chelsea manager added: "He had no pre-season and played in the Euro 2016 final. It is normal after the first game (against Southampton) -in which he played well - for him to have a little decrease but I have a lot of trust in him."

Mourinho was at pains to stress that the 23-year-old's recent difficulties don't lie in his position. Many in Italy argue that Pogba enjoyed the best season of his career last year at Juventus in that role, helping the Turin outfit lift both the Serie A title and another Coppa Italia.

"The form will come naturally and will come with the team," the United boss added. "He can play where he was playing in the Premier League or wherever.

"It is not a problem with his position. It depends on the situation."

Today's Premier League fixtures (3pm unless stated): Hull v Arsenal, Leicester v Burnley, Man City v Bournemouth, West Brom v West Ham, Everton v Middlesbrough (5.30pm). Tomorrow: Watford v Man Utd (12pm), Crystal Palace v Stoke (2.15pm), Southampton v Swansea (2.15pm), Tottenham v Sunderland (4.30pm).

Belfast Telegraph


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