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Nemanja Matic Backs Paul Pogba to Get Even Better After Recent Upturn in Form

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2018

Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba (L), Manchester United's Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic (C) and Manchester United's Spanish midfielder Juan Mata attend a training session at the Carrington Training complex in Manchester, north west England on November 26, 2018, on the eve of their UEFA Champions League group H football match against Young Boys. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)        (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic has backed team-mate Paul Pogba to get even better following a recent improvement in form. 

Pogba has been excellent for United in their past two games, helping the team to a 5-1 victory over Cardiff City and then on Wednesday scoring twice in the 3-1 win over Huddersfield Town.

Matic was also on the scoresheet against Huddersfield and has spoken of how impressed he was with the way in which the France international played in the Red Devils' latest matches, per Marcus Christenson of the Guardian:

"As I've said in previous interviews about him, he's very important for us. When he plays at his best, he can make the difference in every game. He played very well [against Huddersfield], but I think that he can do even more.

"Slowly, game-by-game [he is doing better], and it's very important for him to score some goals. The confidence for the next game is going to be better, and he needs to know that he still can improve. He needs to know that he's very important for this team."

Pogba appeared to be a much happier figure on the field on Boxing Day and posted the following on social media after his two-goal display:

Paul Pogba @paulpogba

So happy for 3 points and 2 goals at home with our supporters and family there. Have great blessed holidays everyone, loads of love 🌟 @ManUtd #mufc #heretocreate https://t.co/R8gVwIxOzP

Against Huddersfield, not only did the former Juventus man net a brace, but he was the driving force behind an improved performance:

Squawka Football @Squawka

@muhammadbutt Paul Pogba's game by numbers vs. Huddersfield: 117 touches 86 passes completed 5 shots 4 shots on target 4 take-ons completed 3 chances created 3 fouls won 3 interceptions 2 goals Pog-back. 💥 https://t.co/Rpt6Jtwr8a

Pogba's spike in form has coincided with former manager Jose Mourinho's departure and the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as his replacement.

It was well documented that the Frenchman and Mourinho didn't always share the best of relationships. In the former coach's final game in charge of the Old Trafford club, Pogba was left on the bench for the entirety of the 3-1 loss to Liverpool despite the team's need for some attacking inspiration.

Solskjaer doesn't appear to have changed too much from a tactical point of view when it comes to Pogba, although there's little doubt there's more freedom in the way he's performed in the past two outings.

Football writer Daniel Storey suggested Pogba may not be the first player to have had his flair shackled by Mourinho:

Daniel Storey @danielstorey85

Already seems like Paul 'The Virus' Pogba is going the same way as Eden 'The Snake' Hazard. The post-Jose Mourinho disaffected star player bump.

Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News believes Solskjaer deserves credit for rejuvenating a squad low on morale:

Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst

Paul Pogba on form again and Alexis Sanchez working on his day off. Solskjaer deserves credit for upturn but latter gesture suggests player power is thriving at #mufc. Fans deserved better from some players.

Matic clearly believes Pogba can step up another level, something he has done in different sides in the past. During his time at Juventus, he was a key member of the team that won four Serie A titles. And in the summer, the midfielder was a linchpin during France's FIFA World Cup success.

United aren't ready to challenge for major honours and still have a lot of work to do to be in contention to qualify for the UEFA Champions League. But with Pogba's season ignited, their chances have been enhanced.

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