José Mourinho hails ‘phenomenal’ Paul Pogba after Manchester United sink City

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Paul Pogba

 

Paul Pogba was the pivotal figure in the memorable Manchester derby that prevented the Premier League leaders wrapping up the title early, scoring two quick goals to trigger the most unlikely of comebacks, and Pep Guardiola made a point of speaking to the United midfielder on the pitch.

“I wanted to congratulate him on the result,” Guardiola said, defusing speculation that he might have been apologising for claiming that Pogba’s agent allegedly offered him to City in January.

José Mourinho also played down the significance of the disclosure – “I have not spoken to Paul about that. I am not interested in who is right” – and went on to praise Pogba’s contribution over the past week.

“He played well against Swansea, he produced some very good work in training, and along with Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera he was phenomenal against City,” the United manager said. “At half-time I said I wanted my defenders to be more confident and need to see more from Jesse Lingard and Alexis Sánchez, but I told my midfield players they didn’t need to improve. They were already playing well, and once we got the goals we knew we were mentally strong enough to see the game out.

“Sometimes when you are losing the instinct is to change things immediately, but I didn’t have that feeling so we stayed the same. We have a good chance to finish second now, we needed points to make sure we could do that and we managed to get them in the most difficult place, the stadium where no one else in the league has managed to win this season.”

“We wanted to win this game, I won’t deny that, but we always knew who we were playing,” Guardiola said. “United are in second, and they showed why. They only had three shots on target and they were all goals. At this level you need to be clinical at the front and solid at the back.

“We are sad for our fans, but we still have 84 points and now we have to be brave to stand up again and focus on Liverpool. At Anfield the problem was that we did not create any chances. At least we corrected that here. Even after going behind we created good positions, and but for a good save from David de Gea we might have had another goal.”

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