Manchester, July 24 (IANS) Manchester United head coach Jose Mourinho feels the World Cup was the perfect stage for France’s midfielder Paul Pogba to shine as the environment is suited for him to concentrate rather than while playing for the English football club.
Pogba had an average season with United but played a key role in France’s World Cup win, scoring in the 4-2 final victory against Croatia.
His form during the tournament was in contrast to his displays for United since his big money move from Juventus in 2016.
“I don’t think it’s about us getting the best out of him, it’s about him giving the best he has to give,” Mourinho was quoted as saying by ESPN FC.
Mourinho said it is down to the 25-year old, currently on a holiday in Los Angeles, to bring his best out more than we motivating him.
“I think the World Cup is the perfect habitat for a player like him to give (his) best. Why? Because it’s closed for a month, where he can only think about football. Where he’s with his team on the training camp, completely isolated from the external world, where they focus just on football, where the dimensions of the game can only motivate,” he said.
“During a season, you can have a big match then a smaller match, then one even smaller, then you can lose your focus, you can lose your concentration, then comes a big match again. In the World Cup, the direction of the emotion, of the responsibility, of the big decisions is always growing up,” the Portuguese tactician added.
“You are in the group phase, you go to the last 16, to the quarter-finals, to the semi-finals, to the final. This feeds the motivation. This feeds the concentration of a player. So I think it was the perfect environment for him.”
Mourinho said Pogba showed “extra commitment” while playing for France at the World Cup and should do the same when he dons the United shirt this season.
Pogba was dropped from the team by Mourinho for a crucial Champions League clash with Sevilla last season.
He returned to the team to net twice as United came back from 0-2 down to win 3-2 against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
“I think players in the World Cup, they really feel that extra commitment with a country, with the people, that extra responsibility that makes them — by the emotional point of view — to be sometimes even overcommitted,” he said.
“So they play for the team, and only for the team, and the team is the most important thing, and they do everything to try to succeed. So I think it’s the perfect environment for a talented player like him to focus, to fully focus on the job.”