Pogba to start at Valencia

LONDON • Jose Mourinho will start Paul Pogba in Manchester United's Champions League dead-rubber match at Valencia on Wednesday, challenging the "fantastic" France international to show his full potential and win back his place.

The United manager left the player out of his starting line-up for the second time last week as his side recorded their biggest victory in 13 months, thrashing bottom side Fulham 4-1 in the Premier League on Sunday.

They narrowly missed scoring five goals in a game for the first time since former manager Alex Ferguson retired 5½ years ago and Mourinho praised the "good result" as "the type of performance that people respect the effort".

But the absence of Pogba remains a hot issue for the Portuguese, who has ranted about his inability to compete with champions Manchester City in the transfer market, only to leave his £89 million (S$155.3 million) record signing on the bench in recent weeks.

The Red Devils remain eight points behind Chelsea in fourth.

"He has to play with the same mentality as the team are playing," said Mourinho, when asked how the midfielder could get back to being one of the first names on the United team sheet.

"Against Valencia, he has a fantastic football game to play in and show everybody how good he is."

He also made a dig at City, urging Uefa to clamp down on Financial Fair Play infringements if United are to "close the gap a little better" and become title contenders again, having not won the league since 2013.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 10, 2018, with the headline 'Pogba to start at Valencia'. Print Edition | Subscribe