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Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League.

Paul Pogba explains the reason behind his sudden improved performance vs Man City

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Paul Pogba very quickly went from zero to hero at Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening.

The French midfielder has been on the end of serious criticism from both the fans and his manager Jose Mourinho following some very below-par displays in recent times.

Pogba had failed to score since November, but struck twice in the space of two minutes to pull United level after being 2-0 behind and utterly outplayed by Manchester City.

City seemed to be heading towards their third Premier League title thanks to Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan's goals in the first-half, humiliating their rivals in the process.

But Chris Smalling completed a sensational turnaround by the Red Devils with just over 20 minutes remaining with a smart finish from close-range, meaning the Citizens' celebrations must wait at least another week.

It was £89m man Pogba who stole the headlines though, finally putting in the type of performance we all know he's capable of.

United fans must wish he'd been playing like that all season, and this title race could then be far from over.

And he has since praised the distinct tactical change that Mourinho made, allowing him to get in the position to score the goals that spared his side from embarrassment.

TOPSHOT-FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-MAN UTD

The 25-year-old said that playing in a midfield three alongside Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera awarded him the freedom to drive into the box off the ball, which he hasn't always had this term.

Pogba has often been deployed as a pair with Matic rather than in a trio, but it was as part of a three where he really made his name at Juventus, and that showed on Saturday.

Herrera and the Serbian were able to do the majority of the defensive work, leaving the Frenchman license to roam, which he was clearly very happy about.

"It's hard to make this run in a two," he started. "You have to stay and you have to control.

Manchester City v Manchester United - Premier League

"When we have three players, I know Matic will stay behind, and you have more freedom to go in front."

He has already shown good form as part of a midfield three this season, putting in a man-of-the-match display in United's 2-0 win away at Everton, in which he got both assists.

A lot has been said about his price tag, with many fans believing it is hugely excessive, but when he plays like that you can see why Mourinho was so keen to bring him back to Old Trafford.

Judging on that performance, we may well see Pogba deployed there more often when the Red Devils will attempt to dethrone City next term.

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Topics:
Premier League
Nemanja Matic
Manchester United
Jose Mourinho
Ander Herrera
Chris Smalling
Paul Pogba
Football

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