Didier Deschamps had a lot to say about Paul Pogba’s role in and out of the Manchester United team this week.
The France boss saw first hand how Pogba’s flaky form and possible lack of confidence is playing out.
France suffered a shock 2-0 home defeat this week to Finland, with Pogba substituted after 57 minutes with Les Bleus two goals down.
RMC Sport reported that the match and Pogba’s performance summed up his start to the season at United.
The report noted Pogba put plenty of effort in, but he let himself down with ‘bad choices and technical inaccuracies’.
Get French Football News reported, “Paul Pogba’s body language very concerning,” regarding his first half performance.
Manager Didier Deschamps was asked about Pogba after the game and stood up for the midfielder.
There was even a little element of blaming United too, for his lack of regular playing time.
Deschamps told RMC Sport: “This match was to serve him to get back into the rhythm.
“Whether it is him or other players, they can be impacted by their daily life. They are not robots. Neither psychologically nor physically.
“It is not by snapping your fingers that you can sweep away everything that is happening. When it comes down to a match where on the whole you are not well against an opponent who is good, it brings out these difficulties a little more.”
Deschamps raises a valid point about the demands on players this season.
International breaks themselves seem like a pointless exercise, especially the Nations League games.
Pogba has admitted this season that fitness has been a challenge for him, and while he cannot blame it forever, a positive Covid test at the start of the season did not help.
France take on Bruno Fernandes’ Portugal on Saturday. Fernandes was rested in midweek, fortunately.
If this game between France and Finland was as Deschamps describes, a game to get Pogba back into rhythm, then it will be interesting to see if the midfielder can raise his performance in the next match.
The best case scenario is that it is as simple as Deschamps suggests: Pogba needs to play through it, and can return to Manchester United back on form.
However, the concern is that there are deeper problems, and Pogba’s problems may be too difficult to solve.
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