Paul Pogba must start producing consistent match-winning performances for Manchester United, former United star Gary Neville has said.
France international Pogba inspired Saturday’s sensational 3-2 win at Manchester City, with his two goals in quick succession dragging United back from a 2-0 deficit at the break.
And Sky Sports pundit Neville said Pogba, an £89 million signing, needed to make that sort of impact on a regular basis to be considered an Old Trafford success.
“I’ve said all year, Manchester United are a far better team with Paul Pogba in it. He brings arrogance, confidence and belief,” he said.
“But when you’re a player who is signed for that money, when you dance like he does and when you’ve got hair like he has you have to play well and you have to match it.
“It’s no good shouting and singing and not playing. You have to play well and he hasn’t in the last couple of months and he’s fallen out with his manager. It’s a difficult situation.
“He is a fantastic footballer and he makes Manchester United a better team. He shows great belief and confidence and shows total confidence in himself — but you have to deliver consistently.”
Neville stressed that United fans “don’t want robots, they want characters,” but added: “Then it is demonstrating it on the pitch and doing it consistently.
“He hasn’t done that in the last couple of months, but he is a good lad and a good player and I hope for him and for United that he can start now to affect the biggest matches and win the biggest games.
“That’s what he was brought in to do and today was a big, big turnaround for him. He needed that second half like you wouldn’t believe.”
On Friday, City boss Pep Guardiola said Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, had offered the opportunity to sign the midfielder in the winter transfer window.
Neville said: “At half-time I could see this getting quite messy for Pogba and the questions Jose would have to be asked about his midfield player.
“For Pogba to come out in the second half and score those two goals … he needed that, he absolutely needed that more than ever because there were big questions being asked before this game, during this game and at half-time.”
The former England international blasted Raiola, saying he “would lie to anybody” and calling him “a really poor reflection on Paul Pogba.”
Pogba, meanwhile, told United’s official website he was delighted with the team’s dramatic comeback.
“It obviously feels great to score two goals but it’s an even better feeling to win against Manchester City and not let them win today against us in their own stadium,” he said.
“I feel very happy but there is one side of me that is disappointed too because, with a performance like we had in the second half, if we had done this all season I think we would be fighting for the title with City or we’d be just in front of them.
“This is football. It happens. And we have to carry on like this — we’re learning. I’m very happy today.”
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