José Mourinho thinks Paul Pogba can improve his focus
‘I think the World Cup is the perfect habitat for a player like him to give the best’
Paul Pogba of France celebrates after their win in the World Cup final against Croatia. Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
José Mourinho believes Paul Pogba should treat each match for Manchester United with the same intensity as those he played for France at Russia 2018, with the manager suggesting the midfielder can lose focus for his club.
Pogba was among the World Cup’s standout performers, crowning his tournament with a goal in France’s 4-2 win over Croatia in the final. Yet Pogba has struggled for consistency in United colours and Mourinho indicated how he might achieve this in the coming season.
“I don’t think it’s about us getting the best out of him,” the Portuguese told ESPN. “It’s about him giving the best he has to give. I think the World Cup is the perfect habitat for a player like him to give the 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.
“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.”
Mourinho stated that the deeper a player goes into the World Cup the easier it is for them to elevate their displays. “In the World Cup, the direction of the emotion, of the responsibility, of the big decisions is always growing up [further]. You are in the group phase, you go to the last 16, to the quarter-finals, to the semi-finals, to the finals. This feeds the motivation. This feeds the concentration of a player.
“So I think it was the perfect environment for him. At the same time, 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. 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.” – Guardian service