Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho challenges Paul Pogba to replicate World Cup form
LOS ANGELES — Jose Mourinho has issued a challenge to Paul Pogba to recreate his World Cup form for Manchester United next season.
The midfielder was a key part of France’s success in Russia and scored in the final against Croatia as Didier Deschamps’ side lifted the trophy.
Mourinho confirmed the 25-year-old, who has often been criticised for his performances since arriving from Juventus in 2016, will miss the start of the season while he recovers from his exertions this summer.
But when he returns, the United manager says he wants to see Pogba use his “brilliant” tournament as a springboard for his form at Old Trafford.
“To win the World Cup can only be a positive thing,” Mourinho told a news conference at UCLA on Tuesday.
“So many players didn’t have the opportunity to win and help their team enough. For Paul it is the first World Cup he goes and to be world champion can only be fantastic.
“I hope he understands why he was very good. That’s the point about his performance level and contribution to a winning team, is to understand why he was so good especially in the second part of the competition, where he was absolutely brilliant.”
Paul Pogba scored against Croatia in the World Cup final. Michael Regan/FIFA via Getty Images
Pogba is on holiday and will not be in the United States for United’s five-game summer tour. He is also set to miss the first game of the Premier League season against Leicester at Old Trafford on Aug. 10.
Mourinho confirmed that new signing Fred will link up with the squad in the U.S. next week but fellow new boy Diogo Dalot won’t be available until September while he recovers from a knee injury suffered at the end of last season.
“Dalot is injured,” Mourinho added. “A small injury, a small surgery. We didn’t want to lose him because of that and he’s recovering really well and we think he can start training back in England but not ready for start of the season.”