Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho was adamant that Paul Pogba produced a top-class performance in Monday night’s FA Cup loss to Chelsea.
N’Golo Kante’s second-half strike was all that separated the two sides after Ander Herrera saw red in the opening 45 minutes, with Chelsea advancing to the semi-finals of the competition after a fiery night at Stamford Bridge.
Aside from some tasty tackles and a furious bust-up between Mourinho and Antonio Conte on the sidelines as the pair had to be separated by the fourth official, it was the United manager’s post-game comments that had some scratching their heads in disbelief.
The statistics very much tell a different story as Pogba wasn’t as influential as compatriot Kante in the midfield battle on Monday, but Mourinho saw something very different from most people.
“We have to be positive, the players were phenomenal but Pogba was by far the best player on the pitch,” Mourinho said after the game, as quoted by Sky Sports.
“He was a giant on the pitch. After him, all my other boys were fantastic.
“The specialists will say a lot about him and it comes from envy. They will never ever earn 10 per cent of what he does.”
Pogba made just 27 passes, was less accurate and came off second best in duels and tackles won when compared to Kante who is proving his class and importance again this season after inspiring Leicester City last year.
While United’s expensive summer signing has seven goals and four assists so far this season, these big games are where he needs to step up and dominate. Mourinho thinks that’s what he did, a lot of other people watching the game completely disagreed…
Jose Mourinho said that 'Pogba was by far the best player on the pitch' last night. pic.twitter.com/xzIUhfhaak
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) March 14, 2017
This is a real quote from today. ??
Mourinho, "For me Paul Pogba was by far the best player on the pitch, he was a giant on the pitch."
— Feroze Ali (@feroze17) March 14, 2017
Just read that Mourinho said that Pogba was the best player on the pitch last night!!! How on earth can you come to that conclusion???
— David Brightwell (@brighty1971) March 14, 2017
Is Mourinho serious? Pogba the best player on the pitch last night? For £90M I'd want a lot more! Kante ran the game,Pogba, waste of money
— DaveW (@Davvawal) March 14, 2017
Mourinho: "Pogba was the best player on the pitch yesterday."
1 (0 OT) shots
0 key passes
8 times dispossessed
— Chelsea Alerts (@ChelseaAlerts) March 14, 2017
[email protected] have used Opta data to compare @nglkante and @paulpogba in Chelsea's @EmiratesFACup victory. Tenacity. pic.twitter.com/bzhaPCkYkq
— Opta (@OptaSuit) March 14, 2017
Pogba best player on the pitch? Mourinho's BS is better than Trump's.
— Kevin Cowley (@cowlos) March 14, 2017
Strong words from Mourinho in defence of Pogba here. Wonder what, beyond the bluster, he *really* makes of Pogba's performance level pic.twitter.com/QSf9ZN9OiR
— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) March 14, 2017
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