Paul Pogba has expressed his sheer disbelief following Manchester United’s 0-3 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur on Monday night.
Jose Mourinho’s men begun brightly and should have gone ahead before half time, with Romelu Lukaku missing an open goal after a mistake from Danny Rose.
But the home side was stunned early in the second half by goals from Harry Kane and Lucas Moura in quick succession before the Brazilian added a third with five minutes left.
Speaking after the game, Pogba claimed he did not understand how United managed to suffer defeat in the way they did.
“Even we don’t understand,” he said. “We started the game really well, and we concede two goals in the second half. That was tough to take.”
“The first goal, we did not understand, because we had the match in our hands. One goal, two goals… we continued to push, we had chances, and then we concede the third. Our fans were still pushing us. We are really sorry for them, and really disappointed, we wanted to do better.
“I think that this is a defeat that we did not deserve. When you want something… football can be cruel. We just have to bounce back. It will not be easy but it is only the beginning of the season. We are going to continue, you should not be worried. We are Manchester United and we will never give up.”
There was certainly a sense of spirit in that United performance. Even at 0-2 they were bursting forward, creating chances, getting shots away. There was a hunger to get back into that game which certainly wasn’t anywhere to be seen against Brighton and Hove Albion.
And yet perhaps that misses the point. For all their fight, United were way off the mark in the business of managing the game: once again they fell apart at the back following the first set-back they received. The midfield, too, was scratchy, disjointed. Romelu Lukaku was a blunt force in attack. They did everything except get themselves on the board.
Spurs, on the other hand, did that ruthlessly, demonstrating a growing chasm between the slickness of other top four clubs – with managers who have put proper coaching work into their teams and are seeing them improve – and the directionless feel of United.
And that is no overnight fix, regardless of who occupies the managerial hot-seat.