Manchester United’s pre-season tour came to it’s conclusion with a slender 1-0 defeat at the hands of FC Barcelona in the early hours of Thursday morning. It was great to test ourselves against the very best, although it looked like we were still behind our rivals in terms of quality and composure.
That’s probably why manager Jose Mourinho is still trying hard in the transfer market, however, so far, we’ve only brought in two new faces.
With that said, we still have real quality within our squad. We have a few of those players who are at that elite level. One of which is Paul Pogba. The Frenchman is having a wonderful pre-season tour, and big things are certainly expected of him next season.
The self-proclaimed Special One was full of praise for FC Barcelona after the loss, and he also singled out the aforementioned Pogba, claiming he is at ‘the level’ alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar.
“With Messi and Neymar, there is only one [of each], there are not two,” Jose Mourinho is quoted as saying by Manchester United’s official website. “Suarez, Iniesta, Pique, Ronaldo, Bale, Modric, Toni Kroos, there is only one of them. So they can only play for one club and not two.
“We cannot have them. They belong to the clubs. You can be working very hard tactically to improve your team, to improve your players, but some players are special and against that nature there is nothing you can do. In the real matches you try to compensate for the difference in quality with a certain tactical organisation, and with that you can win.
“In football it is possible for a team to be better than the sum of the parts. But the parts are amazing. Their [Barcelona’s] relationship with the ball is amazing. You can argue about the occupation of space, tactics and compact blocks, but the player’s relationship with the ball is still the most important thing.
“Even as an opponent on the bench like I am, it is beautiful to see the guys’ relationship with the ball. Today, one of my players, Paul Pogba, showed the level [of Messi and Neymar]. He showed that he belongs at that level.”
This is high praise indeed. Personally, I thought Pogba had a brilliant debut season at Old Trafford, but unfortunately, the price tag was always going to overshadow absolutely everything.
He’s an absolute machine in the middle of the park and he made some excellent contributions throughout the twelve months. This coming campaign, he absolutely has to push on once again, particularly as we’ll be playing the best of the best in the Champions League. Will he do it? I certainly believe so. Pogba can become a leader of this team.