Paul Ince has launched an attack on Paul Pogba for bringing a “sulky” attitude to Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat to Sevilla.
The Frenchman, who had missed last weekend’s win over Liverpool through injury, recovered in time to make the bench on Tuesday.
He was introduced in the second half as Man United struggled for ideas going forward but, if anything, the 25-year-old only gave the visitors more momentum in midfield.
Speaking in the aftermath, Ince was quick to hit out at Pogba’s poor attitude after coming on.
“A player I’ve never criticised is Pogba, he’s been an easy scapegoat for a lot of United’s poor performances,” he said.
“In fact, I’ve always backed him. But, against Sevilla, I started to see why some pundits and fans moan about him. I’d describe his performance, in one word, as ‘sulky’.”
“He came on and looked totally disinterested. I can understand he was probably annoyed at Marouane Fellaini being chosen ahead of him, but you shouldn’t take those frustrations out on the rest of the team and the happiness of the fans.
“Irrespective of what’s going on, whether you’ve been having a tough time of it lately or you’re feeling irritated at not being selected, you need to appreciate what an honour it is to be at United. And you need to put a shift in, if not for yourself but for the sake of your teammates and loyal fans.”
The midfielder was introduced to inject life into United’s performance. More crucially, he was there to keep it away from Steven N’Zonzi and Ever Banega, who had dominated the middle for most of the clash.
But what transpired was, above anything, a damning indictment of the sheer neurosis pervading the ground on that horrible night. Nobody – the fans, the players, the manager – seemed to believe United would score, and when Pogba was introduced he only seemed to reflect that notion through a sheepish, limited performance.
He could have done better, sure, but thriving in an atmosphere as impregnated with fear and scrutiny as that is near impossible.