Manchester United fans were quick to heap praise on Paul Pogba during their side’s 1-0 pre-season defeat to Barcelona in Washington.
The Frenchman, deployed alongside Michael Carrick in midfield, more or less single handedly took the fight to Ernesto Valverde’s men in the first half as the Catalans ran riot with Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez on the pitch.
He then smoothly took hold of proceedings in the second period, comfortably muscling players off the ball and bursting forward whenever he received the chance.
And Man United fans were quick to shower praise on what was another complete performance from the 24-year-old.
Pogba is just incredible. Sometimes feel sorry for him and wish he had more quality around him.
— Lee (@Lee20495) July 27, 2017
FT. Barca 1-0 United. De Gea and Pogba pluses for #mufc. Too many defenders under-performing on tour. Jones and Bailly good again, though.
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) July 27, 2017
Pogba was excellent tonight 🙌
— Ọkọ Tems (@ak1nborewa) July 27, 2017
— The Demi-God (@Kurtsazzy) July 27, 2017
You should never try to predict how a team will perform next season by analysing their pre-season performances. That is rule number one of pre-season fight club. And also number two.
But it can be hard to watch a team of Barcelona’s quality ripping through United’s back line and Pogba, in response, acting as the only meaningful threat in return, bursting through the lines and looking to generate threads of attacking play at every opportunity, and not wonder if this could happen once United take on Europe’s elite for real in a few months.
Because the Frenchman, by some distance, was the only player matching – and actively countering – the tempo set by Barcelona in the first half.
Nobody needs to tell Jose Mourinho that, above anything at this given time, he needs a militantly sturdy defensive midfielder as company for the brilliant Pogba if he wants to pose a challenge to the big boys next year.