Out-of-form Pogba under scrutiny at Man United

first_imgFILE- In this file photo dated Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba reacts during the English Premier League soccer match against Watford at Vicarage Road stadium in Watford, England. Pogba seems to be experiencing the toughest period of his second spell at Manchester United, Friday Feb. 16, 2018, after he was substituted in two of the last three games and dropped from the other. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, FILE)MANCHESTER, England — Buried in his bulky, hooded Manchester United jacket, Paul Pogba slumped in a seat in the dugout and stared into space with a blank look on his face.His team was 1-0 down to relegation-threatened Newcastle in the English Premier League and heading for a second loss in three games. United needed a savior from somewhere but that wasn’t going to be Pogba, its record signing and most recognizable player.ADVERTISEMENT Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours View comments “Now, it’s my problem and Paul’s problem to deal with it and try to improve his performance level,” Mourinho said. “You don’t need to be a liar.”Pogba’s position in United’s lineup has been the subject of much debate in recent weeks, even more so since Alexis Sanchez joined the club last month in a swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan to give Mourinho a very different type of attacking option.It is widely accepted that Pogba is at his best when he plays on the left of a midfield three, as he did to great effect during his time at Juventus. It gives him less defensively responsibility, compared to being in a midfield two, therefore allowing him to roam and make more of his trademark attacking surges.He started this season playing alongside Nemanja Matic in a central-midfield two, and produced impressive performances — particularly late in games when Marouane Fellaini came on as a substitute to give United extra protection in midfield.“Just let the horses run freely,” was Mourinho’s assessment after United scored three late goals on the break — one coming from Pogba — in a 4-0 win at Swansea in August in the Premier League.Pogba was out for two months from mid-September with a hamstring injury, then served a three-match ban after getting a red card against Arsenal on Dec. 2 on his fifth game back in the team.“He was out for a long, long time,” Mourinho said on Friday, “and in this moment, he is not playing well. Period. And the team needs him at a good level, and when he is not a good level the team is not as good as when he plays phenomenal.”Pogba’s most recent two starts have been the most concerning.Against Tottenham, where he again started in a central-midfield two, he was tactically indisciplined and lacked focus. He was regularly seen wandering around and vacating the central areas, leaving Matic swamped and exposed. It came as no surprise when he was substituted early, failing to finish a Premier League game he started for only the fourth time since rejoining United.Against Newcastle on Sunday, Pogba didn’t look fit — he was seen grimacing during the warmup — and was taken off by Mourinho soon after failing to react in the buildup to Newcastle’s winning goal, scored by Matt Ritchie. Mourinho said it was a tactical decision and Pogba wasn’t injured. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Roger Federer, 36, becomes oldest number one Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Sea turtle trapped in net freed in Legazpi City Pogba again appeared to be playing in a midfield two, though Mourinho insisted on Friday the Frenchman was playing on the left of a midfield three in that game, contrary to what pundits thought.For a player of his athleticism, mobility and ability — not to mention price tag — it seems strange that Pogba can perform only one specific role on the field.“If you are going to play in midfield, you should be able to play in a two or a three,” former United captain Roy Keane said about Pogba, in his role as a TV pundit.Mourinho said Pogba will play against Huddersfield for what could prove to be an intriguing test of character for a player in the spotlight.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next “In the last couple of matches, he didn’t play well,” Mourinho said on Friday. “Period. End of story.”Except it won’t be. Not with Pogba in this kind of form.Mourinho was in spiky mood at his news conference ahead of United’s FA Cup fifth-round match against Huddersfield on Saturday, angry at having to respond to speculation — or “lies,” as he preferred to call it — that his relationship with Pogba had soured and that the pair do not communicate.Other reports said Pogba was irritated at having to play in a deeper position in midfield.All false, according to Mourinho.ADVERTISEMENT Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcanocenter_img MOST READ LATEST STORIES It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew GALLERY: Barangay Ginebra back as PBA Governors’ Cup kings That’s because Pogba had been substituted after 66 minutes. The previous match, he was dropped from the starting lineup. The match before that, against Tottenham at Wembley Stadium, he’d lasted only 62 minutes before being taken off soon after receiving stern words on the touchline by manager Jose Mourinho.The France midfielder is experiencing the toughest period of his second coming at United, with question marks over his role in the team and his on-field discipline.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkMoving for a then-world-record fee of 105 million euros (then $116 million) from Juventus in August 2016 has guaranteed that Pogba will never escape scrutiny during his time at Old Trafford.And the spotlight is on him more than ever at present. Nueva Ecija warehouse making fake cigarettes raided, 29 Chinese workers nabbed UK plans Brexit celebrations but warns businesses may sufferlast_img read more

Torrance is displaying its fortitude

first_imgSouth Torrance 3, Palos Verdes 0: Kiley Tamblyn’s second ace sealed a 25-18, 25-23, 33-31 win for host South (9-4). Tamblyn also had 20 digs. Hattie Waybright recorded 13 kills and three aces. Shannon Roberts added 11 kills and three blocks for South. Palos Verdes is 4-3. North Torrance 3, Cerritos 0: Ashleigh Gideon had nine kills to lead host North in a 25-16, 25-10, 25-18 win. Sara Elliot recorded six kills for North (10-2). In the Prep League … Chadwick 3, Webb 0: Casey Reed and Michelle McCarthy each had six kills in a 25-13, 25-13, 25-18 win for visiting Chadwick (3-1, 1-1). Boys water polo Palos Verdes lost to Ventura, 8-7, in overtime in its second-round game of the Coronado Tournament at the Coronado Aquatic Center. Sean Bauer and Michal Halac each scored three goals in Palos Verdes’ 13-5 first-round win over Torrey Pines. Palos Verdes (2-1) will play a consolation-bracket game today at 10 a.m. at La Jolla High.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The biggest contributor for Torrance was junior Chelsea Tupuola, who finished with 13 kills and 20 digs. Tupuola is Torrance’s season leader in both categories. Katie Judd added 11 kills, 11 digs and two aces. Arianna Holguin finished with 27 assists and four aces in Torrance’s win over one of its city rivals. “Every win’s a good win, but anytime you play somebody from across town, it feels even better to get a win. It’s for bragging rights,” Jones said. Another thing Torrance can brag about is the fact that it has played three matches and a total of 13 games over the last four days. Torrance beat Palos Verdes in five games Tuesday and lost to Bishop Montgomery in three games Thursday. “For them to fire up and get through a five-game (match) after a five-gamer on Tuesday really shows a lot,” Jones said. “I’m really proud of where we are.” In other nonleague matches … From staff reports Right-side hitter Katy Zukas might not have had her best day for the Torrance girls volleyball team, but the last of her four kills put away visiting West Torrance, 21-25, 25-19, 17-25, 25-26, 15-13, Friday for a nonleague victory. “I’m trying to think of a better way to put it, but she had had a bad night up until that fifth game,” Torrance coach Nathan Jones said. “It may have only been her fourth kill of the whole night, but it was a big one.” West’s Laura Day served six straight points in the fifth game to draw the Warriors within one point of Torrance (7-4) at 10-9. She finished the match with 10 kills and 18 digs. Tara O’Brien added 13 kills for West (6-4). last_img read more