Paul Pogba: ‘We won trophies with José and I want to thank him’

Solskjaer says Manchester United teams always play well in second half of the season

 Manchester United player Paul Pogba celebrates his team’s fifth goal against Cardiff. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Manchester United player Paul Pogba celebrates his team’s fifth goal against Cardiff. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

 

Paul Pogba has thanked Jose Mourinho for improving him as a player and a person during his time as Manchester United manager.

Mourinho signed Pogba for a then-world record fee in August 2016, but the pair had a fractious relationship at Old Trafford before the Portuguese’s dismissal on Tuesday.

Pogba, however, praised Mourinho after United won 5-1 at Cardiff on Saturday evening, their first game under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

“We won trophies with Jose and I want to thank him for that,” said Pogba, who was omitted for Mourinho’s last three Premier League games as United boss.

“He makes me improve, as a person as well and that’s it.

“We work even if not everything went well. But that is the past and I went to thank him for that.”

United produced their most free-flowing performance of the season to post their biggest win.

Marcus Rashford, Ander Herrera, Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard (two) were on target as United scored five for the first time since Alex Ferguson’s final game as manager — a 5-5 draw at West Brom in May 2013.

“We are happy that the first game of the manager starts like this,” Pogba said. “It’s important now to carry on like that.

“We can not play like this and win with five goals and then the next game lose.”

Solskjaer, who has made a temporary switch from Norwegian club Molde, has been put in charge until the end of the season when it is expected United will appoint a more experienced manager.

Sixth-placed United are eight points adrift of the Champions League places, but Pogba remains defiant over the club’s long-term ambitions.

“We want to go back to the top of the league,” he said.

“I’m sure that is the same of all the players and now we are looking forward to the next game.

“We are really happy for the result. We played well and the performance of the team was great.”

Talking after the match, Solskjaer himself added: “The attitude and application of the boys when you go out there and see them, the attitude has been fantastic, the dressing room, the way they approached this game.

“It’s been a difficult week for everyone and to get the focus and perform as well as they did impress.”

Solskjaer praised his team from front to back in the Welsh capital and playfully pointed out that this was returning coach Mike Phelan’s first match in the dugout since United netted five in the league 2,043 days earlier.

“When you’ve got Martial and Jesse Lingard down either side, Rashford up top with Paul supporting them, it’s exhilarating to watch and as long as we keep that standard up we’ll keep up picking points.

“Well, we’ll take one game at a time but we’re eight points behind and we’ve caught up teams before at this club,” he said.

“Now, though, we’ve got to catch up a couple, but our job is to take one game at a time. Don’t look too far ahead but we always play well in second half of the season. Man United teams always do.”

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