MANCHESTER UNITED’s stars stepped up against Everton last night, making the difference in a scrappy game on Merseyside.
One of these stars, Paul Pogba, has been widely criticised, not least by former United midfielder Paul Scholes who questioned the Frenchman’s contributions.
“Where’s the Paul Pogba we saw at Juventus?” asked Scholes following last Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Southampton. “The player they bought was all over the pitch, tackling, fighting, sprinting, scoring. But now he’s just strolling.”
Manager Jose Mourinho may have taken some of these comments on board as he used Pogba in a midfield three not dissimilar to that in which he played at Juventus.
The change gave him more freedom down the left side and he was able to assist Anthony Martial’s opener and set Jesse Lingard on his way for the second.
It was a much improved performance, after which Mourinho hit back at Scholes. “I think the only thing Paul Scholes does is criticise. I don’t think he comments, I think he criticises which is a different thing,” said the United manager.
“He was a phenomenal player but that doesn’t mean that we all have to be phenomenal. It is not Paul’s [Pogba] fault that he made more money than Scholes, it’s just the way football is.
“If Paul [Scholes] one day decides to be a manager, I wish that he can be 25 per cent as successful as myself, because 25 per cent is about six [trophies], he’ll be quite happy.”
Everton struggled to find any rhythm in the game after Sam Allardyce made seven changes to his side.
The away fans chanted Wayne Rooney’s name in recognition of his status at their club, but it was he who gifted possession to his former team, allowing them to open the scoring. Juan Mata found Pogba whose neat pass gave Martial space to pick his spot, which he did brilliantly.
The second was all Lingard, whose form sees him knocking on the door of England’s World Cup squad. He picked the ball up on the left and danced past Everton defender Michael Keane, before finishing emphatically past Jordan Pickford.
Allardyce needs a bigger threat up front but raised doubts as to whether Everton could complete a deal for Besiktas’s Turkish international striker Cenk Tosun.
“We’ve done all we can,” said the manager. “So I presume we’ll know in the next 24 hours if we’re successful or not.”
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