Jose Mourinho hailed the ‘phenomenal’ impact of Paul Pogba as he and Zlatan Ibrahimovic combined to inspire Manchester United to victory over Southampton.
Ibrahimovic scored in each half to seal the 2-0 success and continue his brilliant start to life in England, but Pogba also excelled on his first appearance since returning from Juventus in a world-record £89million deal.
The 23-year-old looked every bit the star attraction as he prowled the midfield with pace, poise and power and Mourinho was suitably impressed by what he saw.
Pogba’s night started with a bad first touch as he gifted Saints possession in the opening seconds, but his swaggering response thrilled his new manager.
“He was fantastic,” said the Portuguese.
“The fact his first action was bad – he loses the ball, gives a counter to the opponent – means you could see even more the ego, the personality…he’s so comfortable under that skin of a star.
“He is so confident, the way he plays. He was phenomenal.”
Mourinho had not intended to use Pogba for the full 90 minutes but saw no reason to call an early end to his happy homecoming.
He began in a deep-lying midfield role but roamed wherever he saw fit, supporting the attackers, covering Luke Shaw on the left flank and working with Marouane Fellaini to shield the back four when required.
In the end, even his own manager was left at a loss to describe his role.
“I don’t know which position he played,” admitted Mourinho with a smile.
“He has to play free, but for a player to play with freedom we have to build organisation around him.”