Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, whose relationship with Paul Pogba remains uncertain, has explained why he believes the midfielder played better for France at the 2018 FIFA World Cup than he has for the Red Devils so far.
The 25-year-old was excellent for Les Bleus in their World Cup-winning campaign, with many claiming his performances at the tournament proved that Mourinho is doing something wrong with him at United.
The Portuguese tactician, however, has suggested it is easier for players to focus on the job at hand over a month instead of a full season, claiming that the lack of distraction in Russia helped Pogba concentrate on giving his all for his country.
"I don't think it's about us getting the best out of him. It's about him giving the best he has to give," Mourinho told ESPN.
"I think the World Cup is the perfect habitat for a player like him to give the best. Why? Because it's closed for a month, where he can only think about football.
"Where he's with his team on the training camp, completely isolated from the external world, where they focus just on football, where the dimensions of the game can only motivate.
"During a season, you can have a big match then a smaller match, then one even smaller, then you can lose your focus, you can lose your concentration, then comes a big match again.
"In the World Cup, the direction of the emotion, of the responsibility, of the big decisions is always growing up.
"You are in the group phase, you go to the last 16, to the quarter-finals, to the semi-finals, to the finals. This feeds the motivation. This feeds the concentration of a player. So I think it was the perfect environment for him.
"At the same time, I think players in the World Cup, they really feel that extra commitment with a country, with the people, that extra responsibility that makes them by the emotional point of view to be sometimes even overcommitted.
"So they play for the team, and only for the team, and the team is the most important thing, and they do everything to try to succeed.
"So I think it's the perfect environment for a talented player like him to focus, to fully focus on the job."
Pogba put in top displays against Argentina in the round of 16 and against Belgium in the semi-final of the tournament, and also scored in France's 4-2 win over Croatia in the final.
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