Jose Mourinho says that Paul Pogba to make his second Manchester United debut against Southampton on Friday night. The world record signing has spent less than two weeks training at United’s Carrington HQ, but Mourinho has no doubt the 6ft 3in midfielder is ready and raring to go to make his bow against the Saints.
“Paul has been training for more than a week, 10 or 11 days, we played against Leicester (in the Community Shield) with some players who had less training than that,’ said Mourinho.
‘They weren’t on top of their game, not ready for 90 minutes, but they played and performed. And it was a good way for them to accelerate the process of building up form.
‘I think he (Pogba) is ready to play. For 90 minutes, I don’t believe. A super performance, I don’t believe. But to accelerate his integration in the team, for sure.
‘His adaptation has been really easy because he is a boy from here, he knows everybody. He doesn’t need time to adapt, just time to build his condition and his understanding in the way the team tries to play.’
The big question is Mourinho will drop out to accommodate Pogba in the United line-up. Assuming Mourinho sticks to the 4-2-3-1 his team used to beat Bournemouth 3-1 on Sunday, Ander Herrera or Marouane Fellaini look most vulnerable.
If he switches to 4-3-3, Wayne Rooney or Juan Mata suddenly become at risk though that looks less likely for Mourinho’s first competitive game at Old Trafford as United manager.
‘We are not going to make dramatic changes to fit in one player,’ Mourinho said.
‘We are not going to change to five at the back because that’s what Juventus did.
‘We do change some details. Against Leicester, Michael Carrick played and against Bournemouth, Herrera. They are different players and we played a different way.’
Old Trafford was flat on occasions under Louis van Gaal and David Moyes as the style of play lulled the home fans into but sleep, but Mourinho wants that to change adding:
‘Not because of me, but coming from the team and the fans,’ he said. ‘Everything starts with the relationship between the team and the fans.
‘If at Old Trafford a couple of thousand away supporters can be more noisy than 70,000, then we are in trouble.
‘It means there is no connection between (the) team and supporters.
‘If there is a connection, that factor being strong at home has to be back. But I think everything starts with that relationship. The way the team plays, the way it behaves, the mode of play. It includes the mental approach.
‘If the fans feel that connection, they also want to ‘play’ and if the fans ‘play’, there is no chance for the opponent.’