14 September 2016

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says ‘jealous’ Paul Pogba critics will swallow their words

zlatanManchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic has defended team-mate Paul Pogba, saying envious critics will be proved wrong.

Pogba, who signed for United for a world-record fee this summer, came in for criticism following his midfield display alongside Marouane Fellaini in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester City at Old Trafford on Saturday.

The 23-year-old France international struggled as City’s Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva dictated play in the centre of the pitch, but Ibrahimovic, who scored his fourth goal in four Premier League games in the Manchester derby, believes those questioning Pogba’s big-money move will be forced to eat their words.

“All the jealous people who talk about him will swallow all of the words they have said about him,” Ibrahimovic told SFR Sport.

“He will only improve and will get everyone behind him.

“My relationship with Paul is easy: I speak, he listens. Paul is a player with a lot of talent.”

Pogba has not yet scored or made an assist in his opening three Premier League games since returning to United, who slipped to their first top-flight defeat under Jose Mourinho against Pep Guardiola’s City side.

While Ibrahimovic, 34, has enjoyed an immediate impact since signing for United this summer, the Swede encouraged patience when it comes to Pogba’s performances.

“Now, you have to be realistic, people are putting a lot of pressure on Paul,” said Ibrahimovic. “His transfer created a huge amount of buzz.

“I didn’t know Paul before and, now that I do, I can tell you he’s someone who works enormously. He really wants to improve and he has a super attitude. But you mustn’t forget he’s young. That’s all I can say.”

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