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25th May 2017

You can probably guess what Graeme Souness made of Paul Pogba’s performance against Ajax

No surprise

Robert Redmond

Graeme Souness wasn’t impressed with Paul Pogba’s performance in the Europa League final.

Pogba scored the opening goal of the night against Ajax and won plaudits for his performance in the game, but Souness remains unconvinced by the Manchester United midfielder.

The former Liverpool captain and manager, appearing on Irish television, took exception to the host saying Pogba is capable of doing “brilliant” things on the pitch.

“They weren’t brilliant,” Souness said to Tommy Martin on TV3, before saying he wouldn’t accept his point about Pogba.

“I don’t see him doing enough things, you spend that kind of money to make a difference in the big games. I don’t see him this season changing any of the big games because of the ‘brilliance’ he’s shown.

“He does eye-catching stuff, which with all due respect to people who don’t understand the game so well, (they) go ‘wow, wasn’t that great play?’

“What I see as a midfield player, an old midfield player, is someone that’s not really got a great understanding of the game… I’ve never seen him run a game.”

Souness went on to say that Pogba’s inability to control the game in midfield is “the largest problem” the current United side have, as it forces them to go long and bypass midfield.

You can watch Souness’ analysis here:

Souness went on to say that Pogba “doesn’t really have a great understanding” of playing in central midfield, and that his performance against Ajax was similar to how he played during the season – “good and bad.”

“If he had been a top player, he wouldn’t have ended up at Man United,” Souness said.

“He would have gone to Real Madrid or Barcelona. They would have found the money if they fancied him.”

At this point, we know what you’re thinking, United fans.

“Our club have just won the Europa League, the only trophy that had eluded United, and have qualified for the Champions League. Why are you banging on about what a pundit, with close ties to Liverpool, has to say?”

Well, before you say it, it’s not because we’re biased against United. We’ve extensively covered their Europa League triumph and it’s almost impossible for any football fan, regardless of their allegiance, to begrudge the team or their fans this moment of victory, particularly after the appalling terrorist attack on Manchester on Monday.

No, we’re covering what Souness has to say about United because it’s worth writing about. He’s a high profile football pundit, who has vast experience of playing and winning at the top level, and was a manager across three decades.

He is worth listening to, whether you agree with him or not. And judging by the reaction to his comments about Mourinho, most United fans don’t.

However, it’s refreshing to get a different perspective on a topic. Souness’ punditry also makes a welcome change from the stock line you would have heard from almost every other pundit who covered Wednesday’s game, whether he’s right or wrong.