Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho believes Paul Pogba has to cope with “unfair” expectations because of his £89.3 million world-record transfer fee. 

He told Omnisport (h/t ESPN FC): “I think the problem is the tag, the price tag on his back. I hope next summer he’s not anymore the highest transfer fee and then the pressure goes to somebody else.

“If his transfer fee was half of it, everybody would say ‘what a buy, he’s playing more than good.’ But everybody expects performances according to that huge transfer fee and that brings pressure and that brings sometimes unfair analysis.”

Mourinho went on to praise a number of his performances this season and conceded that while the midfielder still has room to grow, he has all the attributes of a top player.

The Frenchman has divided supporters since he arrived back at Old Trafford last summer, and his enormous transfer fee is a significant factor as it brings with it the expectation of match-winning contributions every week.

Pogba has scored seven goals and produced five assists in all competitions this season—numbers that many would hope to be higher given how costly his move has been for United.

However, in regards to the latter at least, he has perhaps been let down by his team-mates, per football writer Liam Canning:

Indeed, according to Squawka, Pogba has created 55 chances in the Premier League this season but only three have been converted, which is perhaps unsurprising given United’s failure to kill teams off has been a hallmark of their campaign.

The midfielder has also completed 74 take-ons, won 75 aerial duels and 40 tackles, as well as making 42 interceptions and 44 clearances.

ESPN’s Alex Shaw believes much of his good work goes unnoticed:

Pogba is perhaps not helped by his position in relation to the expectation placed on him—while midfielders can have a huge influence on matches, their contributions aren’t always as tangible as a forward’s, for example.

His efforts did see him included in the International Centre for Sports Studies’ team of the season for Europe’s top five leagues, though:

While Pogba hasn’t exactly set the world alight as many hoped he would, he has equally been better than many have given him credit for.

With transfer fees steadily increasing alongside the money in the game, more players will likely soon be in Pogba’s bracket and that should ease some of the pressure on his shoulders.

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