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Manchester United FC

Paul Pogba was best player on the pitch against Chelsea, claims Jose Mourinho

Manchester United manager says under-fire midfielder was a ‘giant’ despite criticism of Frenchman after 1-0 FA Cup quarter-final loss

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 March, 2017, 6:07pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 March, 2017, 6:07pm

Jose Mourinho has leapt to under Paul Pogba’s defence by claiming his under-fire midfielder was a “giant” against Chelsea.

Manchester United lost a fiery FA Cup quarter-final 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in the early hours of Tuesday morning (Hong Kong time), with £89 million summer signing Pogba overshadowed by Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante who scored a superb winner.

“We have to be positive, the players were phenomenal but Pogba was by far the best player on the pitch,” Mourinho said.

“He was a giant on the pitch. After him, all my other boys were fantastic.”

Pogba has attracted criticism this season after scoring just seven goals in 40 appearances since returning to old Trafford from Juventus for a world-record fee in the summer.

“The specialists will say a lot about him and it comes from envy,” added Mourinho. “They will never ever earn 10 per cent of what he does.”

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Meanwhile, Chelsea legend Frank Lampard has claimed Kante is the currently best midfielder in the world following his outstanding display against United.

Kante signed for Chelsea from champions Leicester for a reported £30 million fee last summer and looks set to claim back-to-back winners’ medals after helping to propel Antonio Conte’s side into a 10-point lead in the Premier League.

“I’d go as far to say that he’s the best central midfield player in the world on current form, I really would,” Lampard told the BBC.

“I’d sort of compared him in my head to [former Chelsea midfielder Claude] Makelele last year, and when he came to Chelsea I thought, ‘Here’s their Makelele,’ but he’s got even more to his game.”