Jose Mourinho labelled Paul Pogba a “monster” after the World Cup-winning midfielder captained Manchester United to victory on the opening day of the Premier League season, SkySports reports.
Pogba was a force in United’s midfield and showed no sign of fatigue in Friday night’s 2-1 victory over Leicester, which came just 26 days after he inspired France to World Cup glory.
United’s captain sent them on their way to victory with a third-minute penalty – the first goal of the 2018/19 season – and answered his manager’s call by lasting 84 minutes when alternatives were sparse.
“Pogba was a monster,” Mourinho said in his post-match press conference. “We thought maximum [he would play] 60 minutes, but he managed more than 80.
“It was not a hard decision [to start Pogba], the decision was down to him. With Ander Herrera injured, I had only two options, Scott McTominay or Pogba.
“If I played Scott, I would have two kids and a new player [Fred] in midfield. So I asked Paul and he put himself forward for the team and was very, very good for us.”
Mourinho also singled out Luke Shaw for what the Portuguese described as a “complete performance”.
The left-back scored what proved to be the winning goal with United’s second on 83 minutes – the first goal of his senior career.
With Mourinho keen to highlight the lack of options at his disposal after the World Cup and a testing summer transfer window, a reminder of the talent Shaw possesses proved timely for the United manager.
“His game was very complete,” Mourinho added. “If I forget the goal, which was an important goal for us, the performance was very complete.
“I think there was one defensive mistake, and probably the linesman could have helped him and given a free-kick against Leicester. But it was a very, very complete performance, now he has to just keep going.
“The mentality was very good, the tactical discipline was very good too. He still had the power to go forward and score an important goal for us.”