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Sunday 4 December 2016

Pogba: I'll adapt to Mourinho's tactics

Paul Pogba. Pic: Reuters
Paul Pogba. Pic: Reuters

Paul Pogba feels more comfortable in an attacking midfield role but is willing to work on the defensive side of his game in order to adapt to manager Jose Mourinho's tactics at Manchester United.

Pogba, who joined the Premier League club for a world record fee from Juventus in August, has been utilised in a deeper role by Mourinho and is yet to produce his best form at Old Trafford.

"I try to adapt. I am a player who would rather go forward. The coach gave me instructions, I try to follow them," Pogba told reporters after scoring the winner in France's 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in a World Cup qualifier on Monday.

Pogba, 23, has played as one of two holding central midfielders for United, scoring one goal in eight matches and failing to control games in the way Mourinho would have hoped after paying 89 million pounds ($111 million) to sign him.

"I have to retrieve balls and make defensive efforts," he said. "It cost me a bit to play differently, much like (former Juventus team mate Andrea) Pirlo. I have to play, be there to recover and play more for the team."

Sixth-placed United take on arch-rivals Liverpool, who are fourth in the league standings, at Anfield on Monday.

Meanwhile, Marcus Rashford woke up to the fact he was in a higher grade of football at United the moment he was given his first clattering at senior level.

And he is learning quickly at the school of hard knocks.

Rashford has shot from the Reds Under-18s this time a year ago, to United's seniors and the England team.

But he admits he has become alert to the extra physical side of the senior game. "You don't go through a game of football without having a knock," he said.

"I don't think I have done that for years! It does toughen you up.

"When you get the first knock it kinds of wakes you up, you know they are men and it is not like Under-18s when you can take loads of knocks and know you will be fine, that you won't feel anything after the game.

"You definitely get harder knocks but it helps. You just get up and get on with the game, and then you can give it to them back."

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