Jose Mourinho has confirmed that world-record signing Paul Pogba will play “some minutes” for Manchester United against Southampton on Friday (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on USA Network and online via NBC Sports) at Old Trafford.
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Pogba, 23, joined United from Juventus for a huge $117 million fee 10 days ago, making him the most expensive transfer in world history.
Speaking to MUTV ahead of his first Premier League home game in charge of Manchester United, Mourinho told in-house TV channel that Pogba would feature against Saints and after he spoke with reporters ahead of the game, it seems likely Pogba will start on the bench.
“He’s ready to play. 90 minutes, I don’t believe. Super performance, I don’t believe,” Mourinho said. “But in condition to accelerate his process and integration in the team, that’s for sure.”
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United have got off to a good start in the Mourinho era, beating Leicester City 2-1 at Wembley to win the FA Community Shield and then beating Bournemouth 3-1 away from home in their PL opener last weekend.
Asked exactly where Pogba would slot in to his team, given the fact that Mourinho has been playing with a 4-2-3-1 formation over the past few games, the Portuguese coach revealed there will be subtle changes when Pogba arrives but that he won’t change the entire team to fit around him.
“Sometimes without you even noticing, we change details. If you expect us dramatically to change the system to fit the player, we are not going to do that. We are not going to play with five in the back because in Juventus he was playing with five in the back and he played there for many years in that system. We are not going to do that, “Mourinho said. “We are not going for dramatic changes there are details in the game where yes we have to change details.
“Against Leicester I played Michael Carrick, against Bournemouth I played Ander Herrera. They are different payers. Because they are different players we change the way we play. We changed the way Fellaini played because Fellaini is the one that was playing with them. When you are playing with Schneiderlin or Pogba or the guys we have, there are always details that are going to be changed but not the master lines of our model of play.”
Now, under the lights on a Friday night in front of an expectant home crowd, Mourinho and his main man will take center stage.
Can Pogba begin his United career in dominant fashion?
No matter how long he plays on Friday, the soccer universe will be judging his every move as a Red Devil from here on out.