The midfielder has delivered a number of top performances lately.
Paul Pogba has been undergoing a good patch at Manchester United in the 2020-21 season. The French international has regained his confidence after struggling through a tough early phase in the campaign. The midfielder struggled with fitness and spent some time on the sidelines after recovering from COVID-19.
Pogba is the most expensive transfer in the history of the club, costing the club £94.50m in fee. However, he has often failed to live up to the expectations. Since arriving in 2016, he has been inconsistent for the Red Devils. Moreover, the controversies regarding friction with former manager Jose Mourinho and comments from his agent Mino Raiola have dominated his second stint with MUFC.
But, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems to have found the perfect way to utilise the incredibly talented player. Paul Pogba has been central to the performance of Manchester United lately. He has started to chip in with crucial goals and assists.
Keeping the focus on his recent displays, here are the five factors that have enabled Paul Pogba to improve his performance at Manchester United.
5. New position on the left wing
Paul Pogba has played at several different positions in different lineups. The Frenchman has played in a deep creative role, while others have argued he is more adept in a No.10 role behind the striker. However, Solskjaer came up with an ingenious strategy and implemented Pogba on the left-wing.
The former Juventus player has enjoyed the freedom on the flank. He has combined well in the attacking third with Fernandes and Edinson Cavani. The position also allows him to utilize his plethora of skills to trouble the opposition full-backs and open up teams on the counter with his passing range.
4. Confidence from the manager
Pogba clearly thrives under a healthy environment. He has previously expressed enjoyment while representing France. The midfielder did so without admitting that it was opposed to the mood in the United camp, but one can easily join the dots. The friction between his relationship with Jose Mourinho was evident, which clearly affected his performance at that time.
Now, Solskjaer’s treatment of Pogba is poles apart from Mourinho’s. The Norwegian has always backed his players, even when the performances were not impressive. Ole has always lauded Pogba’s commitment and talent, which is a sign of brilliant man management. As a result, Pogba is playing with a smile on his face, delivering on the pitch in the process.
3. Pogba’s professionalism
Paul Pogba has displayed the highest levels of professionalism at Manchester United. Despite the noise from off-the-field controversies, he has remained committed to the cause. The Frenchman has never been affected by the comments from his family members or agent Mino Raiola, who has suggested Pogba is unhappy at the club.
One cannot doubt the 28-year-old’s determination. Unlike former players who seemingly downed tools, as narrated by Solskjaer after the defeat to Everton in April 2019, Pogba has always given his 100% on the pitch.
2. Partnership with Bruno Fernandes
The arrival of Bruno Fernandes at Manchester United meant it was the end for Paul Pogba at the club, or some assumed it to be. There were doubts if both the players would be able to coexist in the lineup, because of their similar roles. Many fans and experts thought they would not be in synergy, since both are creative forces who love to participate in attacking moves,.
However, Solskjaer’s brilliant tactics, shifting Pogba to left-midfield and employing both of them together has reaped rewards. The players have assisted each other several times, most recent of it being Pogba’s goal against AS Roma coming from Fernandes’ cross.
1. Dedication to the cause
One of the biggest factors in Paul Pogba’s improvement is the man himself. The Frenchman has shown an incredible mentality, one that is needed to succeed at a club like United. He has always produced the end product during the course of his time at the club, despite showing inconsistency on occasions.
Pogba scored 20 goals and assisted another 22 in 108 games under Mourinho. Now, under Solskjaer, Pogba has scored 18 goals and assisted 19 in 90 games only. The improvement in his overall gameplay is noteworthy.