Pogba is beginning to recapture his Juventus form at Old Trafford
Lindelof to sign new Benfica deal as United send scout to watch Brandt
His form has improved in recent weeks, along with United’s as a whole, and Mourinho insisted it would always take time for Pogba to readapt to the rigours of the Premier League.
“The Premier League is very difficult,” Mourinho told French television. “You play three, four years in Italy and you come to the Premier League and the world is completely different.
“He’s doing well, he’s doing more than well. His evolution is clear. So I can imagine that next season for Paul will be top.”
Pogba has scored five goals for United this season and contributed a further four assists but while Mourinho believes he is the world’s best midfielder, he feels the 23-year-old will never be voted the world’s best player because he is not a goalscorer.
The top three in the Ballon d’Or – Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann – are all strikers and Mourinho insisted the award must change if Pogba is to realise his dream and win the trophy.
“At the moment, if you’re not a goal scorer, you cannot win the Ballon d’Or,” Mourinho said.
- Stood tall when his defence could’ve done a lot better early on and did well to deny Anichebe. Had little else to contend with until Borini’s consolation strike.
- A dynamic presence down the right-hand side throughout, but especially in the opening stages, when the rest of his team-mates were struggling to get going.
- Began shakily but increasingly grew into the game to maintain his impressive form since returning to the side.
- Nice marauding run to set off the move for Blind’s opener, though the odd nervy moment at the back.
- A sluggish start, one poor header in particular should have been punished by Anichebe, but applied an excellent finish to open the scoring.
- His usual, patient self in the middle of the park, though United could’ve done with a little more impetus from him at times.
- Busy as ever and won his battle against his opposite number but, like Carrick, could have eased the burden on the attacking talents in front of him.
- When things were not quite coming together, the midfielder kept creating chances out of nothing. The stand-out performer.
- Couldn’t seem to find a rhythm and only really showed his class in flashes. Ibrahimovic should’ve done better with one excellent through ball by the Spaniard.
- His most notable contributions were ill-tempered clashes with Kone and Denayer. Replaced by Mkhitaryan on the hour mark.
- Struggled to make an impact and wasteful for much of the afternoon, but left the pitch with a goal and two assists. Even when he’s not at his best, he punishes teams.
- Sublime, but offside, goal. Injected a threat in United’s off-colour front line as soon as he was introduced.
- Equal to much of what United could throw at him. Brilliantly denying Ibrahimovic at one point with his boot.
- Shut down Lingard for much of the afternoon, but could perhaps have got a block in on Blind’s finish.
- Let himself down with several basic errors, but is showing the potential to be a good Premier League-level defender.
- Could have conceded a penalty for barging Mata but challenge was judged to be fair by Martin Atkinson, then could’ve seen red late on. Lucky boy.
- Tested De Gea with a free-kick early on. Not afforded the license to attack from full-back.
- One of the visitors’ better performers, shackled United’s attacking talents well in the first half, but was let down by those around him.
- Bullied by Herrera at times and too often failed to do the same to United’s attacking midfielders. His mistake allowed Ibrahimovic in for the second.
- Had the chance to open the scoring after Anichebe’s chance, but mis-kicked the rebound. Fantastic consolation goal, at least.
- Battled but lacked any invention. A disappointment, subbed late on for Khazri.
- Should’ve put his side in front in the first-half but was denied by De Gea, but was not undeterred by his miss. Caused problems for United’s backline throughout.
- With Anichebe chipping in defensively, he was left isolated for large parts and only showed what he could do in brief moments.
“But if the perception changes, then Paul can win it, because Paul is not a goal scorer.
“Paul is a midfielder who will score more and more goals, because I think he has good conditions to score goals. Paul is a midfielder, in my opinion, the best, the best in the world.
“Obviously, he’s young, he can still improve, he wants to improve, which is even better.”