Mourinho confirms Pogba to make Man Utd return
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho confirmed on Thursday that record signing Paul Pogba will make his second debut for the club in Friday`s Premier League home game with Southampton.
England: Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho confirmed on Thursday that record signing Paul Pogba will make his second debut for the club in Friday`s Premier League home game with Southampton.
Pogba, 23, returned to United from Juventus in a world-record 89 million pounds (105 million euros, $116 million) transfer last week, four years after leaving the club.
He has not played competitively since France`s defeat by Portugal in the final of Euro 2016 on July 10, but Mourinho says he is ready to return to action at Old Trafford.
"Yes, he is ready to play," Mourinho told journalists at United`s Aon Training Complex in Carrington, west of Manchester.
"Ninety minutes, I don`t believe. Super performance, I don`t believe. But in conditions to accelerate his process of integration in the team, that`s for sure.
"Paul is training for more than a week, around 10, 11 days. The adaptation is really easy because he`s a boy from here.
"He knows the club, he knows everybody -- (there is) no need of time to adapt. He needs time to build his condition and his understanding of the way the team plays or tries to play."
Pogba thrived in a three-man midfield at Juventus, but United have started the season playing a 4-2-3-1 formation and Mourinho said he would not alter his approach just to accommodate the Frenchman.
"If you are expecting us to change dramatically the system to fit the player, we are not going to do that," he said.
As well as Pogba`s second debut, Friday`s game will also see Zlatan Ibrahimovic make his first competitive home appearance for the club.
The Swedish striker, 34, scored in last weekend`s 3-1 win at Bournemouth and afterwards suggested that he could stay at United for three years or longer.
The former Paris Saint-Germain striker signed a one-year contract with an option for a further year and Mourinho fully expects him to see out a two-year deal."I see him happy. Because I know how important it is for a family guy like he is, I ask every day about his wife, kids, integration, house. Everything is fine. Everybody`s happy," Mourinho said.
"His motivation is really high. So yes, I see him here for the next two years no doubt."
United have been linked with a move for Southampton`s Portuguese centre-back Jose Fonte.
Southampton manager Claude Puel suggested this week that United were seeking to unsettle the defender, but Mourinho refused to be drawn on the Frenchman`s comments.
"I don`t comment, I don`t care," he said. "I`m very happy with the players I have and I don`t speak about players from other clubs."
Southampton have won 1-0 on both of their most recent visits to Old Trafford, which in the past three seasons has not seemed to intimidate opposing teams as it once did.
United have lost 12 home league games since Alex Ferguson retired as manager in 2013, having taken eight years to lose the previous 12.
But in a clear challenge to United`s fans, Mourinho said that his side could not hope to turn their ground back into a fortress without boisterous home support.
Asked if he alone could restore the Old Trafford fear factor, he replied: "Not me. The team yes, and the fans too.
"I think everything starts there. The relation between the team and the fans. If at Old Trafford a couple of thousand away supporters can be more supportive and noisy than 70,000, then we are in trouble.
"It means there is no connection between the team and the supporters. If there is connection, I think that factor of being really strong at home has to be back.
"But everything starts with that relation between the team and the fans. If the fans feel that connection, they want also to play and if the fans play, no chance for the opponent."