France men’s national team manager Didier Deschamps has come to the defence of Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, suggesting that the player “cannot be happy” with his situation at Old Trafford.
Pogba has been dropped for five of the last seven games of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side across all competitions, amid rampant speculation that the Norweigian’s tenure at the club is on shaky ground.
“[Pogba] hadn’t played for a while. He is in a situation with his club where he cannot be happy, neither with his playing time, nor with his positioning,” Deschamps said at news conference on Monday ahead of Wednesday’s friendly against Finland and two upcoming UEFA Nations League matches at Portugal and against Sweden.
Pogba did not dress for United’s 3-1 defeat to Everton last Saturday and came on as a substitute in last week’s 2-1 Champions League group stage loss to Istanbul Basaksehir. After United’s 1-0 loss to Arsenal on Nov. 1, Pogba blamed his “stupid mistake” for the defeat. United are in 14th place in the Premier League standings going into the international break.
“He is not having the best of time. He has had injuries. He was hit quite hard by [a coronavirus positive test in September],” Deschamps said. “He needs to get his rhythm and his fitness back. Last month, he had a good game [for France] despite a lack of rhythm.
“He has played since but we can’t say that he is satisfied. With me, there is no problems, I will look after him.”
Pogba has had a strong relationship with Deschamps, who gave the midfielder his international debut back in 2013. Pogba was a key figure in France’s 2018 World Cup title run, scoring in the final against Croatia, with his form for Les Bleus often rated more favourably than for his club.
“It is never easy for a player in his position. I will speak to him. I know him well. Things will go well, even if he always has to perform as well as possible.”