France manager Didier Deschamps has called on critics to ease off Paul Pogba as the midfielder continues to struggle with the weight of expectation on his shoulders.
Pogba became the talk of the summer transfer window when Manchester United broke the world transfer record to sign him from Juventus.
But his £89million fee only served to increase the pressure on him to perform, which, thus far, he has succumbed to. In six games for the Red Devils, he has scored just once and failed to record a single assist.
His latest performance – a 1-1 draw with Stoke City – showed the frustration may be getting to him. Television cameras caught him pulling Joe Allen to the floor by his neck as the Potters midfielder outperformed him in the centre of the park.
And the international break will offer no respite for the 23-year-old. He will link up with Deschamps' Les Bleus where a whole nation will be expecting him to perform in World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and the Netherlands.
Give him time
In an effort to ease the pressure, Deschamps has explained that Pogba will simply need more time to adapt to his new surroundings and his new team-mates before he can show his best form in a red shirt.
According to the Mirror, Deschamps said: “He has changed his club and needs to find his bearing with his new team-mates.
“With Paul, we always expect more. When he does something neutral, often it is not enough.
“He is someone we expect to make assists in every game – there is an expectation that is too large. Paul is okay in his own head. He knows what he wants."
A similar tune was sung by Pogba's older brother Florentin, who claimed he will show his finest form when Jose Mourinho works out the perfect game plan to suit his style. The St Etienne defender also rejected claims that Pogba is adversely affected by the excessive media attention.
"Paul is the image of the Manchester United team at the moment," he told Telefoot. "They’ve a new coach, new players. They need to find a game plan.
"He is slowly starting to perform well and I trust him. After a while, he will bring all what he can do for the team.
"He knows he will always have media pressure, he does not need to change. Between us, we do not talk about it anyway."