Gary Neville shares his thoughts on Paul Pogba’s performance against Liverpool

by Leo Nieboer


Gary Neville has given his thoughts on Paul Pogba’s performance during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.

The Frenchman attracted widespread criticism for what was a dramatically substandard performance against Jurgen Klopp’s side.

His malaise started in earnest when he failed to take advantage of a superb one-on-one opportunity with Simon Mignolet in the first half, and his afternoon worsened when he gave away a needless penalty after 27 minutes.

Neville, speaking after the game, claimed that the magnitude of the occasion effected Pogba’s performance.

“He was here as a kid, he knows how much this fixture means to the club and the people in the area, and it’s almost as if he built himself up a little bit too much and got a little too excited,” he said.

“It happens, though. It happened to me a few times and other players who you know what the importance of it is.

“He’s a young man, Paul Pogba, he’s learning and he’ll learn from today because in the first-half it was as tough a first 45 minutes for him as mentally as he will have had here in the sense that he looked frustrated, he gave the ball away a few times and the fans were aware of that as well and he has to come out of that.”

The 23-year-old’s display against Liverpool reminded me of something that happened with some of my friends a while back – a tale I will share with you all now.

A couple of my friends – they will remain unnamed – wanted free drinks from the vending machine, so instead of inserting £1 like every other individual they furiously shook the machine until some drinks fell to the bottom.

A relatively simple plan, you might say, but a problem quickly arose: instead of falling to the bottom, the drinks fell out of their slots and hung limply to the side of the wall, making it seem clear that somebody had tried to ransack the machine. My two friends, undeterred by this, went to shake the thing some more, really hard this time. Again, more drinks came out of place and failed to come to the bottom.

They went for one massive final shake, calling on a third member to help out. The result, rather sadly, was that the whole machine completely toppled over, making a riduculously loud thud as it crashed to the floor. My friends looked at each-other, panic all over their faces, and sprinted away. I think that was the last time they ever tried to mess with a vending machine.

This was Pogba on Sunday. One mistake, clear frustration, another mistake, more frustration. The Frenchman was clearly determined to rectify his earlier mishaps but only managed to dig himself deeper into the mire as a result. Such afternoons do happen, especially at the age of 23, and United fans will know that – despite struggling against Liverpool – Pogba is a sensational talent who will, as he has done before, bounce back in style.

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