Paul Pogba has been on the receiving end of some particularly harsh criticism over the past couple of weeks - some of which has come from Manchester United’s own fans.
The Old Trafford faithful were disappointed that he failed to step up in the EFL Cup final against Southampton on February 26. Instead, it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic who inspired the Red Devils to glory at Wembley.
And six days later, Pogba found himself in the firing line once again following his poor performance in the 1-1 draw against Bournemouth at Old Trafford.
This was a match that United simply had to win - and the world’s most expensive footballer missed a gilt-edged opportunity to secure all three points at the death.
The ball fell kindly to the France international side the penalty area, but he fluffed his lines at the crucial moment. Furthermore, Pogba made a host of bad decisions during the second half, when it was crucial that he kept his composure.
Pogba was heavily criticised on MNF
His recent performances were then analysed on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football and Pogba was heavily criticised by legendary Premier League midfielder Frank Lampard and the ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher.
“It was a signal of their intentions, to spend £90 million on a player that I wouldn’t say is the finished article,” Lampard commented. "He has fantastic attributes. He is strong, great feet, bigger and quicker than most.
"But at this stage of the season, I am still wondering, what is his best position? What kind of player is he? What does he want to be?
“He hasn’t quite delivered. He’s young and he possibly will deliver but, as it stands, he hasn’t been the game-changer.
"If you spend £90m, you don't want a £90m problem and I feel that is what is there now. You expect results and he hasn't quite delivered."
The 38-year-old added: "We think of £90m for Bale, Suarez, Ronaldo, Messi. They win games on their own.
"We don't know if Pogba can do that yet. We need to give him time and see if he is improving.
"We think of £90m for Bale, Suarez, Ronaldo, Messi. They win games on their own.
"We don't know if Pogba can do that yet. We need to give him time and see if he is improving.”
Ryan Giggs defends Pogba
Two days on from the comments made by Lampard and Carragher, and United legend Ryan Giggs has come to the Frenchman’s defence.
"I have never seen a 23-year-old midfield player dominate games for a whole season," the Welshman was quoted as saying by the Mirror. "So, the £90 million that they paid is what obviously people focus on and what people talk about.
"He will become a brilliant midfielder; there is no doubt in that.
"I think he scored seven or eight goals, again, not many midfielders at 23 will do that... but because he cost so much, he is compared with that price tag when actually, he has done okay this season.
"Okay, not brilliant but not really bad. So yeah, I think a lot people should cut him a bit of slack."
Pogba needs to start delivering
No doubt Pogba will appreciate Giggs’ kind words - but there’s no doubt he needs to start delivering.
Four goals and three assists in 25 Premier League matches is a disappointing return from the former Juventus star, who has failed to take games by the scruff of the neck since returning to Manchester last summer.
Failure to perform against Rostov in the Europa League this evening, followed by Chelsea in the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge on Monday night, and the pressure on his heavily weighted down shoulders will increase further.
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