Former Manchester United player Patrice Evra has defended Paul Pogba against people who are hoping he will play badly just so they have an excuse to criticise him.
Evra was speaking on Sky Sports ahead of United’s Premier League clash with West Ham and touched on Pogba’s return from injury.
The Red Devils have a crucial Champions League game with RB Leipzig on Tuesday night and have rested a number of their usual starters in a bid to make Europe’s last 16.
🗣”I can already feel people wait for Paul to fail tonight to again criticise him”
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) December 5, 2020
While Pogba’s appearance in the starting 11 may indicate that he will not start against Leipzig, Evra felt that it would be a good opportunity for the French international to prove himself to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
I think it’s normal that he’s starting today. Especially as we’re missing Fred and we’re missing Bruno Fernandes.
“So it’s a big opportunity for Paul Pogba. I think Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] will want to show to Pogba now that he’ll need to prove himself to be [worthy of being] on the team. No matter with injuries and so much negative talk.
“The position of Paul is easy. He’s a player – he’ll talk with the ball. He wanted to leave United at a certain point. They kept him. So it’s difficult to blame him because he’s been honest with the ball.
“Now that he’s playing for United he needs to respect the shirt and respect his team mates and the manager. He’ll have a great chance [today].
“But I can already feel people just waiting for Paul to fail tonight to again criticise him. But it’s been a problem and they didn’t deal with it at the beginning of the season,” Evra said.
‘We’ve not been clinical’
While Solskjaer does appear to have one eye on the Champions League, the former Red Devil stated that every game is of crucial importance when you are playing for United.
“We’ve not been clinical. I think Anthony Martial should have scored that goal [against PSG] and maybe it would have been a different story.
“But when you play for Manchester United every game is a crucial game. Especially today and of course the Champions League game I think is the one that Ole doesn’t want to lose.