Paul Pogba cost Manchester United the game against Arsenal by conceding a penalty.

At the other end of the pitch despite somehow playing all 90 minutes, he could not find a breakthrough either.

Pogba has seen been vilified in the press, with ex-pro’s lining up to give their opinions criticising the Frenchman.

Roy Keane, Chris Sutton and ex-coach Rene Meulensteen were among those to highlight Pogba’s shortcomings.

They weren’t wrong. Pogba has been largely disappointing this season – and across his first four seasons plus at United.

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(Photo by PAUL ELLIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Rather than criticise the Frenchman, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer chose to back the midfielder.

Speaking to the BBC Sport, Pogba said: “Paul knows in that exact instance he could’ve done better and held his hand up.

“Paul has gone through a difficult period with an injury last season and Covid, now working up to full fitness.

“We have seen plenty of positives now and hopefully more can continue. It’s high intensity and the fitter you are the better.”

Get the best out of him while we can

Pogba may well be sold next summer. From a contract standpoint, it would make sense, rather than let his deal run into the final year.

In the meantime, United have to find a way to get the best out of Pogba.

That means showing him support at a moment he really needs it.

Piling on the criticism will not help at all. Not one bit.

 

Pogba can be an asset. He has shown this in the two Champions League games this season.

His role providing key assists to win the game against PSG and to open the scoring against RB Leipzig has gone largely ignored.

He hasn’t helped himself

Pogba could not help the record big price tag which he arrived with, or the increased expectation which followed when he helped France to a World Cup win.

Where he hasn’t helped himself is his decision to publicly court Real Madrid’s interest, as recently as this month.

This is where the lack of sympathy for Pogba comes from right now.

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(Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Pogba knows the criticism is there. But it comes internally too. He said he ‘hates himself’ after the defeat to Arsenal.

Too often Pogba is accused of not caring. He has, with his words, shown that he does.

Now it is time for him to show a response on the pitch and Pogba should start against Istanbul Basaksehir to try and give a reaction.

If he performs strongly, then he will give Solskjaer reason to consider starting him against Everton.

Right now, he should get the benefit of the doubt. If as supporters we simply pile on the criticism, it doesn’t help Pogba one bit.

When there is so much criticism for Pogba from the outside, it’s a moment where he needs the fan.

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