Jose Mourinho has challenged Paul Pogba to realise why he was so good for France at the World Cup as he looks to provoke the midfielder into replicating that form for Manchester United.
Pogba was superb in the latter stages of the tournament as France were deservedly crowned world champions, but his inconsistency for United last season was infuriating for his manager, as well as supporters.
But, having seen the 25-year-old emerge as such a powerful presence for his country in France, Mourinho believes that can only be positive when he eventually returns to Manchester at the start of next month.
“I hope he understands why he was very good,” said Mourinho, who dropped Pogba from his first choice XI at one stage last season following a series of ineffectual displays, especially away from home.
“That's the point about his performance level and contribution to a winning team: it is to understand why he was so good especially in the second part of the competition, where he was absolutely brilliant.
“To win the World Cup can only be a positive thing. He’s amazing, he's fantastic. So many players didn't have the opportunity to win or help their team enough so, for Paul, in the first World Cup he goes to, to be world champions, that can only be fantastic.”
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Pogba, though, is just one of the big-name players who are missing from United’s tour of the USA and Mourinho admitted their absence means it will be difficult to start the Premier League season at full tilt.
United have, like every major European side, had to start their new season preparations without those who played in the World Cup, although their plans have been further disrupted by the loss of Alexis Sanchez, who has been unable to travel with the squad to America because of a Visa problem.
“The pre-season is very bad,” Mourinho explained. “The positive thing is only for the young boys that have fantastic opportunity to train with us. Next week will come [David] De Gea, [Nemanja] Matic and Fred, which is good, especially for Fred.
“He is a new player with us, but everything is really bad and then we go to the UK and have to play the Premier League. The broadcasters were not nice to us with the Friday match [against Leicester City on 10 August] which complicates more things.
“So, I'm worried because I'm not training [with everyone] and then I go to the Premier League without lots of players. But it is what it is and we have to try and make the best out of it with the players we have here.”
Mourinho will also have to start without new signing Diogo Dalot, as the 19-year-old fullback signed from Porto for £19m, has picked up an injury.
Yet, it is the loss of Sanchez that is the most significant frustration for Mourinho, who wanted to make sure the Chilean was in a position to recapture the form he showed for Arsenal after a disappointing start to his United career.
“It is really bad, really sad, not good for him, for me, the team,” Mourinho added. “There is no one to blame, the club is making the effort. I have to respect the US authorities in their process of visas. But hopefully he joins us later because it could be important to work with Martial, Alexis and Mata - the players we have in attack for start of the season. There is no [Romelu] Lukaku, [Jess] Lingard, or [Marcus] Rashford, so it will be very bad [our preparation].”
The Portuguese was also deliberately vague on whether new signings are close to arriving, although that is probably sensible given the fact there is going to be made dash in recruitment in the remaining three weeks of the window.
Mourinho said: “I've no idea [about new signings]. I'm not going to lie to you, I'm not going to say somebody is coming or nobody is coming.”