The Red Devils’ club-record signing endured a frustrating afternoon during a goalless draw with Liverpool, but he has found a spark of late
Paul Pogba possesses “magic”, says Louis Saha, with the France international starting to produce the level of performance for Manchester United that he often does for his country because the right system is being found at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils have been waiting a long time for an £89 million ($121m) club-record signing to find his spark back in English football.
Pogba was lured away from Juventus in 2016 and charged with the task of becoming a talismanic presence for a side that had suffered serious regression in the wake of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
There have been flashes of brilliance from a World Cup winner, but questions of his form, fitness and future are never far away.
A spark has been rediscovered of late, with a collection of impressive performances helping to fire United into Premier League title contention, and Saha believes that is due to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer putting the pieces in place that allow an enigmatic playmaker to express himself.
Pogba did endure a frustrating afternoon during a 0-0 draw with Liverpool, as he squandered a golden opportunity to snatch a priceless winner, but he has been looking more like the midfielder that often runs the show for France.
“I think they are two different players,” former United striker Saha told Stadium Astro of a fellow countryman who has often struggled to replicate his showings for Les Blues when with the Red Devils.
“You always have to analyse what type of players you have around. A team that is full of confidence and playing for the Champions League, it’s a different game.
“With Paul in the last few seasons he has had a team that is struggling confidence-wise, tactically. Trying to play like this, everyone is on your back asking you to score and do everything.
“Hopefully he has been helped by the introduction of Bruno [Fernandes]. This is where we will see that Paul Pogba can defend, go deep and help the team, and then bomb forward. This is what [Scott] McTominay and Fred allows.
“We need to find the players to let a magic player like him express himself. Manchester United are trying to find the balance.
“I think we have seen some big improvements. I still think that if Pogba and Bruno and the forwards that they pick start to really click, then you will see that they can do unbelievable things. The thing is consistency and I’m not sure they have found it.”
Saha added on the differences between Pogba for France and United: “It’s the same point, it depends on the players you have around you.
“When you have a [N’Golo] Kante that is going to defend, not lose one ball and give you the space to be free, then he can run forward. Kante will cover and he has more ability, for some reason, to drive the ball with France.
“The French team are in full confidence and this gives you time to do whatever you want and express yourself. In previous years, United didn’t have that – they were under pressure all the time.
“Now, there are players that are able to take the ball under pressure and this is giving time to [Anthony] Martial to do good runs.
“It’s different for Pogba in a team full of confidence rather than Pogba without those players around him.”
Pogba has taken in 23 appearances for United this season, with three goals and as many assists recorded across those outings.