Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been mentally impacted by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to leave him on the bench in recent games, claims France boss Didier Deschamps.
Pogba put in a disappointing performance for France this week as the world champions were beaten 2-0 at home by Finland.
The United star started the game, but was hauled off for N’Golo Kante just before the hour mark.
He had been uninspiring during his time on the pitch, and was in and out of the game.
Pogba has struggled for form this season, having failed to find his place in Solskjaer’s United side in recent games.
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He’s been left on the bench in games against Everton, Chelsea, Newcastle and Istanbul Basaksehir, with the Norwegian boss preferring Fred, Bruno Fernandes and Scott McTominay in the middle.
As a result, he’s been unable to gain any consistency in the United side, and carried that form into the national camp.
And Deschamps conceded that the 27-year-old could be struggling mentally due to the situation at Old Trafford.
“He’s not at his best, obviously. I knew that before,” he said.
“I know him well enough and it can happen at some points.”
France captain Hugo Lloris echoed Deschamps’ statements, and said he wants his team-mate to get back to his best.
He explained that Pogba is one of the leaders in the camp, and would be keen to raise his levels against Portugal.
“He lacks a bit of rhythm, compared to his situation at his club,” he said.
“Like [Raphael] Varane or [Antoine] Griezmann, he comes with a smile.
“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 national team] and also knows how to raise his level when necessary, especially when there is adversity.
“[On Saturday against Portugal], he will be keen to do well.”
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