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01st Jan 2019

Paul Pogba is now, incredibly, getting grief for celebrating his goals too much

Totally reasonable

Patrick McCarry

Totally reasonable

In 14 Premier League games under Jose Mourinho, this season, Paul Pogba had two goals and three assists. In three games under new boss Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, the French midfielder has five goals and three assists.

Both Pogba and Mourinho should share healthy dollops of blame for how their relationship soured and, as a result, Manchester United suffered. One thing is now for sure, Pogba is playing with the shackles blown right off.

It is early days in the Solskjaer reign, however long it lasts, but United are already more recognisable, and attacking, in the past three games than they have looked in the past five years, since Alex Ferguson left. After beating Bournemouth 4-1, Pogba told the BBC:

“We still won some games with the old manager it’s just a different style of play. We are more offensive, we create more chances, play higher.

“We want to attack. The manager wants to attack. That’s what we’re doing. Maybe we’ve just realised we’re Manchester United and we need to be at the top of the league.

“You see the reaction of the players. Everyone is enjoying themselves and that’s what we need. We need to enjoy playing, work for each other and that gets the results.”

Pogba certainly looks to be enjoying himself out there. After putting United 3-0 up, he indulged in a celebratory dance before being enveloped by his teammates.

Joie de vivre. Loud, proud and unashamed.

As long as United keep going after teams, backing their talent and embracing the free-flowing football that has won them tens of millions of fans the world over, most supporters could care less if Pogba danced or not. That’s the cherry on top. Take it or leave it.

Not for two formers pros, though. Dean Saunders (ex Liverpool and Aston Villa) and Claude Makele (former Chelsea, Real Madrid and France) have both come out to tub-thump about how Pogba should wise up.

Wind yer neck in, son. That is the basic tenet from Saunders and Makele. First up, the former Liverpool striker:

Next up was Makele, on Stadium Astro. He compared Pogba’s flamboyant celebrations to the often sullen response of former France teammate Thierry Henry when he would ripple the net. Makele recalled.

“When Thierry scored a goal before, everybody was like, ‘F***ing hell, many goals, he’s never happy’.

“One day I asked Thierry, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘It’s the way I celebrate my goal. I know people don’t like this, but I’m like this. I can’t change this’.

“Pogba, he’s like this, he can’t change this. We accept this – it’s Pogba.

“For me, it means sometimes you don’t respect your opponent, you know?

“It’s frustrating… I want to tell Pogba, ‘Listen, do this in the dressing room, not now. It’s frustrating. You win 4-0, you’re dancing in front of me’.”

With Pogba, it often feels as if he can’t win either way. To our mind, he should be himself. It has taken him to incredible heights so far and, at 25, he’s not done yet.