Paul Pogba is ‘impacted mentally’ by Manchester United’s struggles, says Didier Deschamps as France manager defends midfielder’s stuttering start to the season
- Didier Deschamps said Paul Pogba was finding it hard to ‘be positive’ right now
- The France coach admitted he knew Pogba’s form was bad when he played him
- Deschamps defended Pogba by saying he has ‘the spirit to answer his critics’
- He said Kylian Mbappe may miss Nations League tie versus Portugal on Saturday
- The former World Cup winner also doubted Cristiano Ronaldo’s move to PSG
Deschamps admitted that he knew the Manchester United superstar was struggling with his form and that his decision to play Pogba in France’s shock 2-0 home defeat to Finland was in part to try and rebuild his confidence.
‘He’s not in his best form, of course. I knew that before the game,’ Deschamps said on Friday ahead of the international football week. ‘This match was meant to give him some rhythm. He knew that he would only play for an hour.
Didier Deschamps said Paul Pogba is ‘mentally impacted’ by Manchester United’s poor form
The France national coach said Pogba was ‘obviously not in one of his better periods’ right now
‘It’s hard to remember to be positive. Obviously, he’s not in one of his better periods.’
Pogba was the world’s most expensive footballer when he was brought back to Old Trafford for a whopping £89million in 2016. But he has constantly battled to win over United fans with his wildly inconsistent form.
Such are his troubles at the moment that he has lost his starting berth in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first team, despite the club’s struggles so far this campaign. Deschamps pointed to United’s poor start to the season as a key factor in Pogba’s decline.
Deschamps said Pogba was finding it hard to ‘be positive’ about his situation at the moment
But the France coach backed the Man United star to ‘answer his critics’ and regain his form
‘Like all players who have a club situation that is not positive, they are also impacted mentally. I know him well enough and it can happen at some points,’ he said.
Pogba’s standing has fallen so dramatically that United are said to be ready to accept as little as £53million for the Frenchman, with Real Madrid reportedly interested.
Following his performance against Finland, Deschamps hinted that Pogba may not start in France’s Nations League tie against Portugal on Saturday, but backed him to regain his best form.
Deschamps admitted that Pogba may lose his starting place for the match against Portugal
‘Periods like this can happen,’ he said. ‘He (Pogba) has the knowledge of the highest level, the pride and the spirit to be able to answer his critics.
‘After that, I have decisions to make on all the elements compared to the other players.’
The France boss also said Kylian Mbappe remained a doubt for the Portugal match.
‘We’ll do a check tomorrow morning to see how he is before making a decision for the match,’ he said.
Deschamps said Kylian Mbappe (left) may not play against Cristiano Ronaldo (right)
Deschamps also weighed in on the rumours that Cristiano Ronaldo is poised to join PSG from Juventus, saying ‘anything is possible in football’ but remaining doubtful. Ronaldo will line up against France this weekend.
‘I think he’s already at a big club,’ Deschamps said. ‘Juventus are very happy to have him, like the other clubs where he has played.
‘I’m not going to anticipate what he might or might not do. Obviously, it attracts attention. But if he’s likely to come to Paris, I don’t know.’