Belfast Telegraph

Pogba promises Manchester United won’t give up after Tottenham setback

“I prefer to start badly and end well than start well and finish badly.”

Paul Pogba vowed that Manchester United will not give up anything or be swept away in the emotion of their chastening start to the season.

After a summer of discontent, United have lost two of their first three matches of a Premier League campaign for the first time since 1992-93.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men went on to win the title that season, but there are few signs that under-fire Jose Mourinho can lead the team to league glory this term.

As if the woeful 3-2 defeat at Brighton was not enough, the Portuguese tasted the heaviest home defeat of his managerial career as Tottenham ran out 3-0 victors at Old Trafford on Monday.

United were ruthlessly carved open after failing to take their chances in an impressive start to a match that left midfielder Pogba shell-shocked.

“Even we don’t understand what happened,” the World Cup winner said. “We started the game really well, we conceded two goals in the second half.

“The first goal was a real blow, we didn’t understand why, because we had the game in hand. One goal, two…we kept pushing, we had chances, and we conceded the third.

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Paul Pogba, centre, was at a loss to explain Manchester United’s defeat (Nick Potts/PA)

“The fans kept pushing us, they were really behind us. We feel really sorry for them, very disappointed, we wanted to do better.

“I think it was an undeserved defeat for us, in our desire, in everything we put into it. But football can be cruel. We just have to bounce back.”

United desperately need to return to winning ways at Burnley this Sunday to ease the pressure heading into the international break.

Last season’s runners-up already find themselves six points off the summit, but Pogba is keeping calm and focused amid the storm.

“It won’t be easy, but it’s just the start of the season,” he said. “I prefer to start badly and end well than start well and finish badly.

“It’s bizarre. (Against Tottenham) we were determined, we started well, and in the end we lost 3-0. It’s a shock.”

Pogba’s commitment to the United cause is a welcome boost in an uncomfortable period when his happiness is one of a variety of matters hanging over the club.

Some disgruntled fans have intended to fly a plane over the ground against Burnley calling for the exit of executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, while the odds on Mourinho leaving continue to tumble.

We are still Manchester United, and we won't give up on anything. Paul Pogba

The Portuguese has struck an unhappy figure since returning for pre-season, venting his spleen on matters varying from player fitness to professionalism and the need for reinforcements, particularly in defence.

The pressure appears to be making its impact on Mourinho, who stormed out of his post-match press conference on Monday demanding respect.

But the United boss has not yet lost the fans, with the United boss showing his appreciation by applauding the Stretford End for several minutes after the game.

“I went inside the pitch because normally I am the first person to leave the pitch when my team wins,” Mourinho told MUTV.

“But my team lost and the players deserved that they are in the middle of the pitch with me, so I went in the middle of the pitch for my players but then the fans had such an amazing reaction to the boys.

“I had to thank them on behalf of everyone.”

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