Man Utd struggles ‘mentally impacting’ Pogba, says France boss Deschamps

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Paul Pogba, France 2020
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The World Cup-winning coach also gave an update on Kylian Mbappe's fitness and opined on rumours linking Cristiano Ronaldo to PSG

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is being hurt psychologically by his situation at the club, according to France national team boss Didier Deschamps.

Formerly the world’s most expensive player, Pogba has struggled to hold down a regular spot at Old Trafford over the course of the last 18 months, having been hampered by injury, illness and a loss of form.

His struggles continued in the international arena in midweek as he was a member of the France squad that surprisingly lost 2-0 at home against Finland.

“He’s not in his best form, of course. I knew that before the game,” Deschamps told the media on Friday. “This match was meant to give him some rhythm. He knew that he would only play for an hour.

“It’s hard to remember to be positive. Obviously, he’s not in one of his better periods.

“Like all players who have a club situation that is not positive, they are also impacted mentally. I know him well enough and it can happen at some points.”

While the World Cup-winning coach backed the player to recover from his current issues, he admitted that Pogba cannot be considered an automatic starter for Saturday’s Nations League fixture against Portugal.

“Periods like this can happen,” he said. “He has the knowledge of the highest level, the pride and the spirit to be able to answer his critics.

“After that, I have decisions to make on all the elements compared to the other players.”

Another high-profile member of the France squad struggling for fitness is Kylian Mbappe, with the PSG star still a doubt to line up against a Portugal squad containing his idol, Cristiano Ronaldo.

“He’ll do the first part of training individually,” Deschamps said of the PSG forward. “We’ll see later. I’ll wait for what happens at training.

“We’ll do a check tomorrow morning to see how he is before making a decision for the match.”

Meanwhile, Ronaldo has been tipped to join PSG from Juventus, a move Deschamps was unsure could be completed.

"Anything is possible in football, but I think he's already at a big club," Deschamps said. "Juventus are very happy to have him, like the other clubs where he has played.

"I'm not going to anticipate what he might or might not do. But he has been one of the best in the world for many years. Of course, we know the player he is, what he is capable of and what he represents.

"Obviously, it attracts attention. But if he's likely to come to Paris, I don't know."

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