‘He knows how to raise his level’: Hugo Lloris admits Paul Pogba is ‘lacking rhythm’ as the French captain backs Manchester United star to recover from ‘adversity’
Didier Deschamps is battling to recover his star midfielder’s form but a below-par 57 minutes in an embarrassing 2-0 defeat to Finland did little to raise Pogba’s spirits.
Once the world’s most expensive footballer, Pogba has only started four of United’s eight Premier League matches this season, and was left on the bench until the 82nd minute in a 3-1 victory against Everton last Saturday.
Midfield star Paul Pogba’s form is a worry for both Didier Deschamps and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
The 27-year-old can’t lock down his starting spot at Manchester United amid a bad patch
France skipper Hugo Lloris acknowledged the blip but is confident Pogba will rebound
The French team are attempting to rally around Pogba, with Spurs keeper Lloris keen to stress just how vital the 27-year-old is to his national side.
‘He lacks a bit of rhythm, compared to his situation at his club. Like Varane or Griezmann, he comes with a smile,’ Lloris said.
‘We see him ready to meet the challenges, the jersey of Les Bleus is close to his heart.
‘He is one of the leaders of this team. He has a long history (with the French team) and also knows how to raise his level when necessary, especially when there is adversity.
Deschamps is working to rebuild Pogba’s confidence while he is on international duty
United’s record signing was disappointing against Finland in a shock 2-0 defeat on Wednesday
‘He will be keen to do well.’
Deschamps acknowledged Pogba’s poor form after hitting out at United for their treatment of the midfielder, saying: ‘He cannot be happy, neither with his playing time nor with his positioning,’ as Bruno Fernandes steals the spotlight at Old Trafford.
‘Like all players who have a club situation that is not positive, they are also impacted mentally. I know him well enough and it can happen at some points,’ the France boss added.
Pogba remains a crucial player for France, with World Cup winning experience in 2018
‘Periods like this can happen. He has the knowledge of the highest level, the pride and the spirit to be able to answer his critics.
‘After that, I have decisions to make on all the elements compared to the other players.’
Fernandes and Pogba could go face-to-face on Saturday when France take on Portugal in a crunch Nations League tie, with the Euro 2016 finalists locked together on 10 point at the top of Group 3.
However, Pogba’s starting spot is at threat and Deschamps faces a tough call on whether to risk relying on the struggling midfielder.