Paris (AFP) – Paul Pogba told French television that his recent struggles to hold down a regular starting place at Manchester United were something that had “never happened to me before.”
The French international midfielder started against Swansea on Saturday and gave a strong performance in a comfortable win, but he has frequently been left out by manager Jose Mourinho in recent weeks.
“This can only make me stronger,” Pogba said in an interview recorded while he was with the France team on the international break and broadcast on Sunday morning. “I must go through this to reach another level, I think.”
In January, Mourinho humiliatingly took Pogba off after 63 minutes in a loss away to Tottenham.
“That was just tactical,” Pogba said. “No problems, just a misunderstanding. It was misunderstood. It was nothing.”
“He’s my coach, I respect all his decisions. I play less. It’s something that I haven’t experienced so far in my career. I’ve often played 90 minutes. Voila, this has happened,” said Pogba, who didn’t come off the bench until the 60th minute as United were eliminated by Sevilla at Old Trafford in the Champions League on March 13.
Asked if he was thinking of leaving United, Pogba, who cost a world-record fee when he joined, said: “It’s too early to say.”
“The situation can change.”
Pogba gave an impressive performance as France beat Russia on Tuesday and scored with a superb free kick. In the interview, he repeated his view on the need for French fans to back their team.
“In France we don’t get sufficiently behind our national team. We have a nice generation coming through with very good players. That doesn’t mean that we must win. There are other nations who are very very strong as well,” Pogba said.
“We just need the support of everybody.”