September 24, 2018 / 10:50 AM / 2 months ago

Soccer: France boss Deschamps defends 'misunderstood' Pogba

(Reuters) - France manager Didier Deschamps believes Paul Pogba’s strained relationship with the media is due to the “unfair criticism” he has received in the past and said the misunderstood Manchester United midfielder had learnt to cope with it.

Soccer Football - UEFA Nations League - League A - Group 1 - Germany v France - Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - September 6, 2018 France's Paul Pogba during the line up. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

Pogba played an important role as France won the World Cup in Russia this year but the 25-year-old has been criticised by the media for not consistently exerting his influence at United amid talk of a rift with manager Jose Mourinho last season.

“I’ve spoken to him about his relationship with the media and I think he’s been unfairly criticised in the past. That’s why there has been this aggressive vibe and he’s had this strained relationship,” Deschamps told the British media.

“But criticism is part of the job and I think you learn to take that on board as you get more experienced. That’s what’s happened with him and I think he’s gained some respect.”

Deschamps said the outside world had an incorrect perception of United’s record signing.

“The rest of the world, and certainly in France, has an image of Pogba that doesn’t really reflect who he is. There’s this idea that he’s a bit individualistic - that’s not the case,” former France international Deschamps added.

“He joined us ready to become a world champion and he took the whole squad with him.”

Meanwhile, Pogba said United had to attack more when playing at Old Trafford, following their disappointing 1-1 draw against promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday.

“We are at home and we should play much better against Wolves. We are here to attack,” Pogba said.

“When we play like (that) it’s easier for us... I think teams are scared when they see United attacking and attacking. That was our mistake.

“Maybe the attitude should be better and we should play better because, again, we are at Old Trafford and we should just attack and press like we did against Tottenham (Hotspur), Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal last season.”

United host Derby County in the League Cup third round on Tuesday before travelling to West Ham United in the Premier League on Saturday.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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