Paul Pogba has been told by Old Trafford colleague Nemanja Matic that he needs to be Manchester United’s “main player” in the middle of the park.
Nemanja Matic was delighted with the Frenchman’s showing against Manchester City and hopes those standards can be maintained
The Red Devils’ club-record £89 million signing has not always taken on the role of talisman since returning to England in 2016.
He has offered glimpses of what he has capable of, but has seen inconsistency lead to questions of his value and the odd spell on the bench.
Pogba did demonstrate during a thrilling derby date with Manchester City how productive he can be when given the attacking freedom to express himself; and Matic is looking for the 25-year-old to build on his two-goal showing at the Etihad Stadium.
“With his personality, Paul needs to be our main player because he plays in that position and he needs to take responsibility,” the Serbian told MUTV.
“Don’t forget that he has had an injury this season – he was out for three months and it’s not easy to come back after that.
“The people always expect a lot from you when you play for Man United – we know that this is normal. But he is still young and he can still improve. He showed character and personality. If you saw him in the last 10 minutes, he was fighting a lot for the team and helping the team.”
Pogba’s efforts against City helped United to claim a stunning 3-2 victory from two goals down, with victory at the home of noisy neighbours allowing them to delay a Premier League title party.
Two vital strikes earned the France international the Man of the Match award, but Matic believes the man who netted the winner should also be heralded, with Chris Smalling having responded positively to losing Vincent Kompany for the opening goal to make himself an unlikely hero.
“I think Chris Smalling was the main star,” Matic said.
“I think this is the best game for our fans because I know what this game means for them, especially when we knew that, if they [City] won this game, they would be champions and we didn’t allow them to celebrate in front of our supporters.
“I think it’s the most important [game] and for our supporters, it was the best way to show the pride and the best way to show how we fight for our club.”