18/11/2017 20:34, Report by Adam Higgins
Paul Pogba admitted he felt “blessed” to mark his return from injury with a goal as his influential display in the win over Newcastle saw him voted Man of the Match by Manchester United fans on Twitter.
The Frenchman put in an impressive performance and dictated the tempo in midfield throughout as he made his first appearance for the Reds since 12 September, when he sustained a hamstring injury in the first half of the Champions League win over FC Basel.
Pogba played an integral part in the 4-1 victory over the Magpies on Saturday evening, providing the cross for Anthony Martial’s equaliser before netting his third goal of the season in the second half from Marcus Rashford’s knockdown.
He was the overwhelming winner of the fans’ star man accolade, receiving 87 per cent of the final vote ahead of Martial (nine per cent) and Rashford (four per cent), and was thrilled to be back on the pitch at Old Trafford after a long recovery period.
The midfielder told MUTV: “To come back, to play again, to see Old Trafford, to see the fans again, to score at Old Trafford on my comeback, I feel blessed. But we had to win – that was the most important thing.
“Most of last season I had injuries but small ones. You just have to recover well because the Premier League is different to Italy – it’s more intense and you just have to think about recovery, then you have more games. Otherwise, I just feel good, just to come back.
He went on: “I’ve trained very hard to come back fit. The season is really long so we have to be fit – not only me but all the players. To win the league we need all our players. When you have one injured here, one injured there, it doesn’t help. It’s always better to have a full team.”
Pogba wasn’t the only player making a comeback from injury as team-mate Zlatan Ibrahimovic also made a long-awaited return as a second-half substitute, while Marcos Rojo was also back in the squad for the first time after also spending seven months out with a serious knee problem.
He added: “Zlatan’s back and Marcos after a long injury. It was hard for them but they kept believing and worked hard to come back. We need them to win the league and we’re really glad they’re here.”
Jose Mourinho also praised the Frenchman’s performance, describing it as ‘different class’.
The boss told BT Sport: “What we had in the beginning of the season with Paul and Matic growing up together and being like the engine of the team. We lost a little bit of that because other players are good players but they have different qualities, so [it] was good.
“I left it in Paul’s hands how many minutes to play until he was feeling just the first feeling of fatigue, so we made that decision at a good time and I think it was a great performance by him.”