Manchester United’s prodigal son claims that for the “mountain” £89million transfer fee they paid to bring him ‘home’ from Juventus people expect him to be a striker, defender and a midfielder.
And he insists his burgeoning social media activity, constantly changing hair styles and dance routines with close pal Jesse Lingard are not a distraction to his efforts on the pitch.
Paul Pogba says the Premier League is more competitive than Serie A where he won four successive titles with Juve but is happy with the way his first season is panning out.
He has scored seven goals and contributed 10 assists but if the eight efforts that have struck the woodwork this season had all gone in he would have 15 goals and that would have quietened some of the flak.
Speaking to the media ahead of the Europa League quarter-final first leg against Anderlecht here, he said: “I feel great. We have won two trophies [the Community Shield and the League Cup]. Obviously I want to do better, you can always do better.
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“But I can say I’m doing good, the team is doing good and we are looking forward to winning the Europa League and we are going to fight for the top four.
“We can forget about the transfer fee. It’s in the past. I think about the pitch, I think about myself, doing good on the pitch, doing good for the team. That’s it.
“People are looking at me and they judge me on not scoring goals and stuff like this. If I was scoring goals, the people wouldn’t talk like this. The transfer is something else and on the pitch is something else.
“I’m doing a job. I’m a midfield player but some people see me as an attacker and a defender as well. I give some assists to some people and they don’t score – it can happen. Nobody talks about this but it’s fine.
“People talk about the mountain of the transfer. People are looking me saying, ‘Pogba should score goals, Pogba should do this’. I just have to do my job.
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“My job is to make the game. Sometimes if I can make the team win, I will do it. My job is to be a midfielder, make the game, do some assists. If I was scoring the goals that hit the crossbar I don’t think people would speak like this.
“It’s true that I’ve had a lot of chances. Once it goes in and once it doesn’t. We keep trying and training hard to make it happen. We always want to do more. We just enjoy it, we love it. It’s fine.”
After walking out on United on a free transfer as an 18-year-old in 2012, Pogba won four successive Serie A titles and reached a Champions League final, but the English game is harder because it is more competitive and unpredictable.
“In Italy it’s more tactical,” he said. “They score less goals. In England, they attack. The Premier League is very difficult to win it. The top five clubs are all very close. They fight until the end. The Premier League is very testing. You don’t know what’s going to happen. Arsenal lost 3-0 to Crystal Palace on Monday – nobody would expect that. The Premier League is something you cannot predict.”
Former United defender Rio Ferdinand criticised Pogba and Lingard for posting videos on social media of them rehearsing goal celebrations saying “you don’t do that when you are sixth in the League”.
But Pogba insists that, although he loves music, dancing and enjoying life to the full it he is serious about what he does on the pitch and revealed he has since spoken to Ferdinand and pointed out it is what the modern generation do.
“I spoke with him and he told me what he meant,” said Pogba. “I took it as advice because it’s a big club. But it’s a case of different generations, it’s nothing bad.
“What is on the pitch is on the pitch and what is outside the pitch is outside the pitch. I love life. I like to dance. It doesn’t affect me on the pitch. The time is different. Before you wouldn’t do this and now you do it.
“In America the basketball players listen to music. For me, it’s just enjoying life with Jesse [Lingard]. When I’m on the pitch, I’m serious. I’m focused and I want to win.”
Pogba is serious about United’s returning to the Champions League and, with their top four hopes in the balance, he knows the Europa League can provide the back door route.
If they do it by either route, you can be sure he will have a dance routine ready.