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Over? Pogba and Manchester United are still entwined

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This is not a great Manchester United side by any stretch of the imagination – they wobbled rather too much in defence and five goals in five games does not suggest that their attack is anything other than faltering – but it might not take a great Manchester United side to win, or at least challenge for, the title this season.

“I can say it’s over for Paul Pogba at Manchester United,” said Mino Raiola.

We can’t say it’s over for Paul Pogba at Manchester United just yet.

It may well be that United are providing little more than a shop window for Pogba – though that interpretation is unfair on an elite footballer who craves victories and silverware like any other elite footballer – but United should embrace that shop window status if it aids their return to the top table.

What he did not say is that when things are ‘over’ for Paul Pogba, he redoubles his efforts, narrows his focus and edges closer to becoming the world-class player that United absolutely should want to build  a title-challenging team around.

It was painful to watch as United were pulled down to Burnley’s level, but a half-time reminder that they are largely excellent footballers was enough to see them immeasurably improve in the second half, with Pogba at the heart of everything United did right.

Pogba has been truly excellent in recent weeks, timing his improvement beautifully to coincide with Bruno Fernandes’ almost-inevitable loss of rhythm after almost a year of being a one-man band.
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