It is only a week-and-half ago that Pogba could not get in to this team. As United succumbed at Liverpool a week gone Sunday, the Frenchman was not even summoned from the bench by Jose Mourinho.
Now Mourinho is a footnote in United’s recent modest history and Pogba is back in the spotlight for the right reasons.
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
MATCH FACTS AND STATS
MANCHESTER UNITED (4-2-3-1): De Gea 8; Dalot 6 (Young 52mins 6.5), Jones 7.5, Lindelof 7, Shaw 6.5; Matic 7, Fred 5.5 (Herrera 52mins 7); Mata 7 (Gomes 80mins 6), Pogba 8.5, Lingard 6.5; Rashford 8. Not used: Bailly, Pereira, Romero, Fellaini, Gomes
GOALS: Matic 28, Pogba 64 & 77
BOOKED: Fred Kaschunga
MANAGER: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – 7.5
HUDDERSFIELD TOWN (5-4-1): Lossl 7; Hadergjonaj 7, Jorgenson 7, Schindler 6.5, Kongolo 6.5, Darm 7; Kachunga 6 (Lowe 56mins 6), Pritchard 7, Billing 7, Mbenza 6.5 (Quaner 61mins 6); Depoitre 6 (Mounie 73mins 6). Not used: Hogg, Bacuna, Hamer, Stankovic.
GOALS: Zanka 88
MANAGER: David Wagner – 6.5
REFEREE: Jon Moss 6
MAN OF THE MATCH: Paul Pogba.
The 25-year-old scored twice here to kill off a Huddersfield team that appear to be better than their league position suggests. But it was his second goal, driven wickedly in to the bottom corner with his right foot that said everything for the volte face that appears to have taken place in Pogba’s mind.
It was a stunning strike, delivered from a standing start from 25 yards and guided away from goalkeeper Jonas Lossl with a right to left golfer’s ‘draw’. Only a technically proficient footballer could have pulled it off and only one with self-belief running through his veins would even have tried it.
As for the celebration, that carried its own message too. Standing as statuesque as he often looked under Mourinho, Pogba pointed up towards the scoreboard high above the Stretford End. It didn’t carry his name but it signalled the second victory of Ole Gunna Solskjaer’s short time in charge. It was a win that had Pogba’s influence written right through it.
There will be harder tests for United than this. There will be bigger challenges for Pogba, too. The run of games facing Solskjaer as he settles back in at his old club could have been any more accommodating had he chosen them himself.
Nevertheless, Solskjaer has been tasked with delivering an upturn in results and after two games he has six points and eight goals to reflect on.