Paul Pogba has told Sky Germany that his first season back at Manchester United was “complicated,” but praised Jose Mourinho’s management of players.
Pogba returned to Old Trafford after four seasons at Juventus in an £89.3 million deal that made him the most expensive footballer in the world.
He scored nine goals in 51 games, including one in the Europa League final against Ajax that helped secure a place in the Champions League, but despite ending on a high note, the 24-year-old said it has not all been straighforward.
“My first season back here in Manchester was good, but quite complicated,” he said. “I had to adapt to the English football. I didn’t really have a preseason so I had to jump straight in.
“But the more I trained the better it got. With the other players, I felt at ease from the first moment on.
“It’s true that the results weren’t as positive as we had wished, but we reached our goals. All in all, it was a good season for us.”
Like Pogba, Mourinho has been the subject of some criticism in his first season at United, but the midfielder says his manager is still the “Special One.”
Not least because of the way he defended Pogba when criticism of his performances reached its height.
“He is the Special One because he wins,” Pogba added. “Sometimes he does some extreme things. Against Chelsea, he changed our tactical formation just before the game.
“We had never trained it before but it worked out well. That was special. He won three trophies in his first year, that’s special as well. He deserves his name.
“He’s a manager who is really close with the players. Personally, he welcomed me. We had a talk and I had a good feeling from the first moment on. He trusted and defended me. That’s all a player needs.”
Meanwhile, Pogba could have added competition in midfield next season with Andreas Pereira returning from a season on loan at Granada.
The 21-year-old is expected to get the chance to impress Mourinho on this summer’s tour of the United States and Pereira thinks he is ready to push for a place in next season’s squad.
“I think I’m ready now,” he told the club’s official website. “I have played over 2,000 minutes now in men’s football, in La Liga, and I did quite well.
“I feel I’m ready, more than ready, to play men’s football now. I am more mature as well, physically and mentally, and I am ready to come back and hopefully push to play next season for United.
“I think it’s good to be more of an all-round player and Granada have used me in every midfield position so I am happy the coach trusted me and I did my job.
“It’s important but, as always, I will go where the manager needs me, I will play in any position and feel I can fulfil many roles.”
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