Paul Pogba’s confidence is growing game by game and he remains central to Manchester United’s hopes this season, according to teammate Nemanja Matic.
Pogba scored twice on Boxing Day as United beat Huddersfield 3-1 at Old Trafford to continue their revival under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and he appears to have slipped out of the shackles imposed on him during the final weeks of Jose Mourinho’s doomed tenure.
The France international’s relationship with Mourinho disintegrated after the Portuguese referred to him as a “virus” following United’s 2-2 draw with Southampton earlier this month.
But Pogba publically thanked his former manager for helping to “improve” him after last Saturday’s 5-1 win against Cardiff City, and Matic believes there is more to come from the club’s record signing after his recent uplift.
“As I’ve said in previous interviews about him, he’s very important for us,” the Serb told the Guardian.
“When he plays at his best, he can make the difference in every game. He played very well [against Huddersfield] but I think that he can do even more.
“Slowly, game-by-game [he is doing better] and it’s very important for him to score some goals. The confidence for the next game is going to be better and he needs to know that he still can improve. He needs to know that he’s very important for this team.”
“It’s difficult to answer what we changed [under Solskjær],” he said. “For sure, our approach to the game was different because this team have quality and we have to give our best every game if we want to win the games.”
United have scored eight goals in their two games since the Norwegian took over from Mourinho, and have re-discovered the attacking verve that has so often been absent since the club last won the Premier League in 2013.
“Everyone wants to show against Manchester United that they can compete with us, so we need to know that our level of running and fighting needs to be the same or even higher than the other team. Then our quality can make the difference.”
“But when we are fighting, when we know what we have to do in every moment of the game, then the other teams don’t have a lot of chance to take points from here. The next game is a new challenge. We have to do more. We have to do everything to win because this is the way to make [improvements].”