Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho says that the World Cup provided the “perfect habitat” for Paul Pogba to shine following a difficult season with Manchester United.
Pogba’s play during the World Cup was far different from his play with Manchester United, and it helped France’s success in Russia.
Pogba has been hit with plenty of criticism since his £89.3 million move from Juventus in 2016, highlighted by long stretches of inconsistency.
Mourinho is holding out hope that Pogba can recreate his World Cup form in the Premier League next season.
“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,” Mourinho told ESPN FC in an exclusive interview.
“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.”
Mourinho believes that Pogba felt “extra commitment” to France, and it helped spark his strong play, pointing out that he should do the same this upcoming season for United.
“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,” Mourinho added.
“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.”