Jose Mourinho has called on Paul Pogba to bring his World Cup form with him to Manchester United. The Frenchman, a key part of the French side that lifted the Jules Rimet trophy in Russia, is currently enjoying a belated holiday after his impressive displays in the tournament, but his club manager is hoping that the experience of reaching the summit of world football will help his form for United.
“I don’t think it’s about us getting the best out of him, it’s about him giving the best he has to give,” said Mourinho in an interview with ESPN.
“I think the World Cup is the perfect habitat for a player like him to give [their] 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.”
“In the World Cup, the direction of the emotion, of the responsibility, of the big decisions is always growing up. You are in the group phase, you go to the last 16, to the quarterfinals, to the semifinals, to the finals. This feeds the motivation. This feeds the concentration of a player.”
Mourinho has essentially challenged Pogba to make sure that he brings his best even against so-called lesser opponents, something that both he and many of his colleagues struggled with throughout the season. A wonderful 2-3 victory over Premier League champions Manchester City was followed by a woeful 0-1 defeat to then-bottom club West Bromwich Albion, and it is this inconsistency that the Portuguese will be hoping to eliminate in this third season at Old Trafford.