Paul Pogba believes world-record transfer fee led to unrealistic expectations

first_imgManchester United’s Paul Pogba believes his “mountain” transfer fee has led to unrealistic expectations.Four years after swapping Old Trafford for Juventus, the 24-year-old returned in an eye-watering deal that could reach 110million euros (£92.35million).Increased anticipation, pressure and scrutiny was only natural after becoming the world’s most expensive player, so too the way Pogba has struggled to fulfil such lofty expectations.It has led to criticism that has clearly irked the France international, who laid bare that frustration in his first press conference since returning to United.“The people are looking at me,” he said. “They judge me for not scoring goals and stuff like this.“If I was scoring goals, the people wouldn’t talk like this but it’s football.“The transfer is something else, on the pitch is something else.“I am doing a job. I am a midfield player and people think sometimes I’m an attacking player.“When I give some assists to people and we don’t score it can happen, nobody talks about this – but it’s fine because they want me to score goals because of the mountain of the transfer.“People are looking me saying ‘Pogba should score goals’, ‘Pogba should do this’ – I think you are putting me like as a striker, defender and midfielder.“But I just have to do my job: my job is to make the game. Sometimes if I can make the team win, I will do it.“But my job is to be a midfielder, make the game, do some assists and everything.“If I was scoring the goals that hit the crossbar, I don’t think people would speak like this. But it’s football and we just enjoy it, we love it. It’s fine.”Pogba has scored seven times for United this season and hit the woodwork on nine occasions.The midfielder was philosophical about those near misses as he spoke in the bowels of the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in Brussels, where he spoke openly about his form and United’s.“I feel great, to be honest,” he said ahead of the Europa League quarter-final first leg against Anderlecht.“We won two trophies. Obviously I want to do better, you can always do better.“But I can say I am doing good, the team is doing good and we are looking forward as well to win the Europa League.“We are trying to, we are going to fight for the top four.“We can forget about the transfer fee. It’s in the past.“I think about the pitch, I think about myself doing good on the pitch, doing good for the team and that’s it.”There have certainly been signs of promise individually and collectively, but some shenanigans have rankled with onlookers.Former United defender Rio Ferdinand took exception to Pogba’s social media post of him practicing a celebration with Jesse Lingard as the side struggled in the league.“What is in the pitch is in the pitch and what’s outside the pitch is outside the pitch,” Pogba retorted on Wednesday.“I love life, I am someone who likes to dance and do things like this.“It doesn’t affect me on the pitch, to be honest. I can switch on and be focused on the pitch.“Like he said, the time is different – before you wouldn’t do this and now you do it.“An example, in America the basketball players listen to music, you’re in your world and they practice.“For me, it’s just dancing and enjoying life with Jesse Lingard and it doesn’t affect me.“When I’m on the pitch, I’m serious, I’m focused and I want to win.“I took it as advice because it’s a big club and everything, but I spoke with him and he told what he meant.“It’s a different generation, it’s nothing bad.”Bad may, though, be an apt description of United’s campaign should they once more fall short of Champions League qualification.“I came to Manchester United to do a big challenge,” he said. “The challenge is to go back to the basics.“I think for Manchester United the basic thing – the thing that is normal for them, for a big club like Manchester United – is to play in the Champions League.“We have the chance, we have everything to do it: we have the manager, the staff, the players.“I think we have the mentality and we have to go back to the Champions League. That’s the objective, that’s the big one.” The French midfielder returned to Old Trafford for £92million 1last_img read more

Cup derby with Hibs provides incentive for Jamie Walker’s return

first_imgHe said: “I don’t think the bragging rights are there. The bragging rights were we got promoted, which was the objective at the start of the season.“There’s been quite a change around in our team, a few players moving on and a few players coming in.It’s going to be a new experience for these guys and they’ll understand how big a game it is and how important it is for the club. It’s a great draw, I’m really pleased with it.” “For the other guys it’s a case of trying to stay in the team or try to get into the team.”Neilson admitted being paired with their city rivals was the talk of Riccarton this morning and he is looking forward to another sell-out in Gorgie after knocking out Aberdeen in the last round.In last season’s Scottish Championship Hearts gained one win and two draws against Alan Stubbs’ men before the Easter Road side won the final meeting of the campaign.Despite that result the Hearts coach doesn’t believe Hibs hold the bragging rights in the capital. Robbie Neilson believes Hearts’ Scottish Cup derby with Hibernian provides the perfect incentive for Jamie Walker to return to fitness and the Tynecastle first-team.The 22-year-old has returned to light training and is set to be back in action towards the end of the month, weeks before the cup clash on February 6 or 7.Winger Walker has been out of action since the end of October after knee surgery and Neilson expects every member of his squad to be desperate for a place in the starting eleven.He said: “We’ve had Jamie Walker out for a wee priod now but this is a huge incentive to get himself fit again and back in the team.last_img read more