Mour­inho: Sta­bil­ity the spring­board for Pogba suc­cess

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Football - By Mike Whal­ley

Jose Mour­inho sends out a re­ju­ve­nated Paul Pogba against West Brom this af­ter­noon, de­mand­ing more con­sis­tency from Manch­ester United’s record sign­ing.

The stun­ning per­for­mance turned in by Pogba in last week­end’s derby win against City was a re­minder of his po­ten­tial – and the stan­dards he has failed to find con­sis­tently this sea­son.

The France in­ter­na­tional’s poor dis­plays ear­lier this year even­tu­ally led to him be­ing left out of United’s start­ing line-up, with his man­ager im­ply­ing on Fri­day that it was a loss of form on the train­ing ground that had cost him his place.

With Pogba hav­ing re­sponded with his first two-goal per­for­mance in a Premier League game, Mour­inho’s faith in his £89.3 mil­lion sign­ing was re­paid and, while the United man­ager does not ex­pect such daz­zling per­for­mances on a weekly ba­sis, he is look­ing for his star to main­tain con­sis­tency, both in train­ing and games.

“I’ll tell you what I told him af­ter the match – I don’t ex­pect you to be man of the match ev­ery week, I don’t ex­pect you to score two goals ev­ery week,” said Mour­inho. “But I ex­pect you to be con­sis­tent.

“So, if you ask me if I’m ex­pect­ing Paul now to be man of the match ev­ery week? No. If I ex­pect him to score goals ev­ery match? No.

“But I ex­pect Paul – and I think that’s the chal­lenge he has to put to him­self – to keep a cer­tain sta­bil­ity and not to have the good match and the so-so match and the bad match.

“I think he has to try to keep that level of sta­bil­ity, and from that sta­bil­ity of course will ap­pear the spe­cial match with the spe­cial per­for­mance like it hap­pened against City.”

Pogba’s ef­forts at the Eti­had al­lowed United to record a sev­enth con­sec­u­tive vic­tory in do­mes­tic games in what is be­com­ing a strong end to the sea­son, marred only by the dis­ap­point­ing sur­ren­der to Sevilla in the Cham­pi­ons League last 16. United’s form – and their second-half dis­play against City in par­tic­u­lar – have sug­gested Mour­inho’s side is ca­pa­ble of chal­leng­ing their neigh­bours at the top of the ta­ble next sea­son.

The Por­tuguese re­mains un­der­stand­ably cau­tious about talk­ing up next sea­son and, while ex­pect­ing City to in­vest heav­ily this sum­mer, he in­sists United will not spend reck­lessly to try to com­pete. “No. We are not go­ing to spend more than we can,” he said. “We are not go­ing to do any­thing crazy.

“We are just try­ing to im­prove a lit­tle bit more, to give se­quence to it. That’s what we are go­ing to try.”

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