Pogba during United's game at Hull City.

Six things that must change for Paul Pogba to succeed at Manchester United

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All eyes have been on Paul Pogba at the start of the new Premier League season following his world-record transfer from Juventus to Manchester United.

After an encouraging debut against Southampton, it's fair to say that the £89 million man has disappointed since, trying to do too much on the ball, and he was rested for the 3-1 EFL Cup win over Northampton Town.

It's worth remembering that the Frenchman is still only 23, but with his gigantic price tag comes huge expectation and pressure on him to consistently deliver top-class performances.


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Below, we discuss what has gone wrong, some of the key issues surrounding Pogba, and what both the club and the player himself can do to turn things around.

Pogba must learn to play in a midfield two

If United boss Jose Mourinho persists with using Pogba in a two alongside Marouane Fellaini, then someone needs to reign him in and remind him of his responsibilities towards the team.

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For a central midfield pairing to be effective, the two midfielders must play next to each other and not one in front of the other - which has been the case for United at times this season, especially in the loss to Manchester City.

Pogba must show discipline in big games

Against the so-called lesser opposition, Pogba might be able to get away with it, but he produced an erratic display in the derby and was rightly criticised.

The France international seemed to go wherever he wanted, from receiving the ball off the back four to popping up on the left-wing and leaving his partner Fellaini totally stranded in the centre of the pitch.

If he wasn't given the license to roam by United's management, then the City defeat suggests that, despite all his years in Italy, Pogba lacks tactical discipline in big matches.

Also, none of his teammates seemed willing or prepared to tell him to stay in his position whilst they were being torn apart in the middle of the park by David Silva and in particular Kevin de Bruyne.


Pogba shouldn't play as a holding midfielder

Even though Pogba has both the physical and technical attributes to play in any position, most people can agree that he shouldn't be positioned in a holding role and that is not the way to get the best out of him.

The ex-United youth team starlet isn't quick to sense danger and he is pretty slow to react when the ball turns over. That is because he primarily wants to express himself when he's on the pitch, and he shouldn't be robbed of that desire.

United must play to Pogba's strengths

When you spend £89 million on one player, surely you have to base your team around him - and if that means making big decisions like dropping captain Wayne Rooney, then so be it.

Pogba is most used to operating on the left of a midfield three and the 23-year-old is at his best when he has the freedom to get forward and employ his undeniable talents in the final third.

At Juve, he had maestros like Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio behind him who each have the ability to dictate the tempo of a match. For his country, he has stars such as N'Golo Kante and Blaise Matuidi around him to provide defensive solidity and act as midfield enforcers.


Hence, Mourinho should consider bringing in the likes of Michael Carrick or Morgan Schneiderlin who have that level of awareness, which would allow Pogba to express himself and play his natural game.

United legend Paul Scholes feels a controlling midfielder like Carrick, who produced a man-of-the-match display at Northampton, or even outcast Bastian Schweinsteiger could get the best out of Pogba - but the player himself must also improve.

Pogba must try to fit in

Another potential reason for his slow start originates away from the field and concerns how he is integrating and settling in to the United team. Yesterday, per The Sun, it was suggested that Pogba isn’t too approachable and his detached persona is causing ripples in the dressing room.

Mourinho must decide what he wants from Pogba

No one can question Pogba's footballing ability, but his displays since returning to Old Trafford have been a bit all over the place. He's played in the middle, against Feyenoord he was more of a number ten, while at Watford he was part of a midfield trio which included Rooney.

Something has to change - either Pogba must adapt to the way Mourinho seemingly wants him to play or the "Special One" must alter his team in order to perfectly accommodate the French star's best qualities.


The pressure is mounting on the Red Devils, who already find themselves six points behind neighbours and bitter rivals City. That said, this is the reason why clubs sign big characters and big personalities.

When a team is underperforming, everyone looks to their key men to get them going and United will be looking for Pogba to up his game against the champions Leicester City following consecutive league defeats.

What do YOU think should change in order for Pogba and Man United to improve? Have YOUR say in the comments box below!

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Wayne Rooney
Paul Pogba
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Paris Saint-Germain
Premier League
Paul Scholes
Manchester United
Jose Mourinho

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