Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has today opened up on the form of Red Devils’ midfielder Paul Pogba, following the Frenchman’s match-winning performance during his side’s Manchester derby clash with Man City yesterday evening.
25-year-old Pogba has struggled mightily for both game-time and form over recent months, following a superb start to the season with United.
A fallout with manager Jose Mourinho in January, coupled with several niggling injuries, has seen the French midfielder’s reputation come into question once again with the media and pundits alike, with many expressing their concern that Pogba may never return to the dizzy heights of his sensational form with Serie A giants Juventus.
The Manchester derby yesterday evening, however, saw Pogba play an absolutely crucial role for United, with the gifted Frenchman having dragged his side back into proceedings with a brace after City had taken a 2-0 first-half lead.
Chris Smalling went on to complete the turnaround in the 69th-minute, but it is nevertheless Pogba who has since taken the majority of the plaudits.
‘A better team’
Speaking on Sky Sports News following his former club’s derby victory last night, Gary Neville was questioned on Pogba’s match-winning display, with the 43-year-old revealing his opinion that, because of Pogba’s antics and showy appearance, the former Bianconeri star ‘has to play well’:
‘I’ve said all year, Manchester United are a far better team with Paul Pogba in it. He brings arrogance, confidence and belief.’
‘But when you’re a player who is signed for that money, when you dance like he does and when you’ve got hair like he has you have to play well and you have to match it.’
‘It’s no good shouting and singing and not playing. You have to play well and he hasn’t in the last couple of months and he’s fallen out with his manager. It’s a difficult situation.’
‘He is a fantastic footballer and he makes Manchester United a better team. He shows great belief and confidence and shows total confidence in himself – but you have to deliver consistently.’
Neville went on to explain that United’s fans ‘don’t want robots, they want characters’, before continuing:
‘Then it is demonstrating it on the pitch and doing it consistently.’
‘He hasn’t done that in the last couple of months, but he is a good lad and a good player and I hope for him and for United that he can start now to affect the biggest matches and win the biggest games.’
‘That’s what he was brought in to do and today was a big, big turnaround for him. He needed that second half like you wouldn’t believe.’