France coach Didier Deschamps has suggested Paul Pogba is not satisfied with his “situation” at Manchester United after struggling to find his best form.
Pogba has played 11 times for United in all competitions this season, but only five of them were as a starter and three of those were defeats, including the 6-1 humiliation by Tottenham.
He has only had a hand in three goals as well (one scored, two set up) in that time, though the criticism of his performances runs deeper than goal involvements.
Pogba’s general influence on United’s play in the attacking third, where he would be considered at his most threatening, has been minimal, the Frenchman creating just two chances in the Premier League.
By comparison, Bruno Fernandes has laid on 10 times as many, just one shy of Mohamed Salah’s league-high 21.
Deschamps claims Pogba cannot he happy with life at United but suggested only he can help himself.
“I have no advice,” said Deschamps ahead of France’s friendly with Finland on Wednesday. “I know him well and he knows the group well.
“He’s in a situation with his club where he can’t be happy and satisfied with his playing time or his positioning.
“He had concerns, like the COVID-19 which hit him quite hard. He needs to find some rhythm. He has been playing since, but we can’t help him be fulfilled in what he does.”
Pogba is by no means the only player in Deschamps’ squad going through a tricky period – Raphael Varane is as well.
The centre-back endured a miserable match in Real Madrid’s 4-1 defeat to Valencia on Sunday, scoring an own goal, but Deschamps defended him.
“The players are in a series of matches every three days,” he said. “I know what he is capable of, same with [Presnel] Kimpembe. You all told me he matured, and he proved it in the last game with us.
“And there, the last match he just played, it went less well and you forget everything he did well? You’ve seen the matches, the Champions League, the league… The intensity is no longer there.
“They’ve been doing that [playing every three days] for the last three weeks and it inevitably leads to less physical intensity, more injuries… And that’s valid for all players.”
France manager Didier Deschamps shares his thoughts on Paul Pogba 👀 pic.twitter.com/WOpcU5uaDO
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 9, 2020
Deschamps also confirmed Houssem Aouar, an injury replacement for Nabil Fekir, has had to pull out due to an issue of his own – a replacement will not be called up.
France face Portugal and Sweden in a Nations League double-header after the meeting with Finland.