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11th Jul 2018

Jose Mourinho praises ‘mature’ Paul Pogba after France win

Simon Lloyd

France will play in a World Cup final

They beat Belgium on Tuesday night by a single Samuel Umtiti / Marouane Fellaini goal. Stuff you already knew.

By now, you’re also probably aware of the fact that Paul Pogba was excellent in the game in Saint Petersburg. So excellent, in fact, that his Manchester United manager – a man who reportedly hasn’t had the best of relationships with him in the last few months – singled him out for praise.

Mourinho is now back in Manchester with United preparing to jet off on their preseason tour this weekend. From there, he helped analyse the game for RT, who he’s been working for during the World Cup.

Praising the defensive elements of France’s performance, he began by praising Raphael Varane, who he once signed when Real Madrid manager.

“A fantastic performance by Varane and I think a very good performance by Pogba,” he said.

“Pogba was mature. He played the game with great maturity.

“When he had to hold position and keep control of the game he did. When Deschamps took off [Olivier] Giroud to bring on [Stephen] N’Zonzi, then Pogba had more freedom but freedom not to do silly things.

“He had freedom to keep the ball away from the dangerous areas and to assist [Antoine] Griezmann for a great chance.

“He was very, very mature.”

France will face either England or Croatia in Sunday’s final. The second semi will take place in Moscow’s Luzhniki – also the venue for the final – on Wednesday evening.

Manchester United are scheduled to fly out on their preseason tour of the United States on Sunday, the same day as the World Cup final. When they return, they’ll open the season with a game against Leicester City at Old Trafford on August 10 before playing their first away game of the season away to Brighton.