Paul Pogba enjoyed a fantastic World Cup for France and has left Russia as a world champion. The players not involved in the latter stages of the competition are currently on the pre-season tour in America but Pogba, with the other players whose countries progressed, is currently on holiday.
Jose Mourinho has been asked by ESPN about Pogba’s displays in the summer and the manager has claimed that the high intensity environment enabled the midfielder to thrive.
I think the World Cup is the perfect habitat for a player like him to give [their] best. Why? Because it’s closed for a month, where he can only think about football. Where he’s with his team on the training camp, completely isolated from the external world, where they focus just on football, where the dimensions of the game can only motivate.
During a season, you can have a big match then a smaller match, then one even smaller, then you can lose your focus, you can lose your concentration, then comes a big match again. In the World Cup, the direction of the emotion, of the responsibility, of the big decisions is always growing up. You are in the group phase, you go to the last 16, to the quarterfinals, to the semifinals, to the finals. This feeds the motivation. This feeds the concentration of a player. So I think it was the perfect environment for him.
Many people have suggested that it is a failing of Mourinho that he can’t get Pogba to replicate his form for his country at club level, but the manager claims the responsibility is on the player.
I don’t think it’s about us getting the best out of him, it’s about him giving the best he has to give. I think players in the World Cup, they really feel that extra commitment with a country, with the people, that extra responsibility that makes them — by the emotional point of view — to be sometimes even overcommitted.
So they play for the team, and only for the team, and the team is the most important thing, and they do everything to try to succeed. So I think it’s the perfect environment for a talented player like him to focus, to fully focus on the job.