Gary Neville slams Paul Pogba for slump in form , Latest Football News - The New Paper

Gary Neville slams Paul Pogba for slump in form

Frenchman has regressed to when he was under Mourinho, says ex-United stalwart

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has hit out at Paul Pogba, after his below-par display against Barcelona at Nou Camp yesterday morning (Singapore time).

United made a bright start to their quarter-final, second leg but were soon outclassed by Barca, who won 3-0 on the night to progress to the semi-finals 4-0 on aggregate.

United were undone twice in four minutes by Messi, who first nicked the ball off the careless Ashley Young and then watched as a weak shot from distance squirmed underneath David de Gea. Philippe Coutinho then added a third with a curling effort into the top corner.

Pogba, who has contributed nine goals and six assists in 12 games following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's appointment as caretaker manager in December, has seen his form deteriorate in recent weeks.

In the Frenchman's last 10 games, he has managed only two goals - both from the penalty spot against West Ham last weekend - and one assist.

"Pogba's now playing how he was pre-Ole's arrival," Neville told beIN Sports.

"I thought he was really poor , rolling his foot over the ball all the time, playing for himself, not popping it off and moving, didn't look interested at times.

"But he's a great player and can be a great player, he just needs to get that focus back."

Ruud Gullit, however, believes Pogba's teammates are to be blamed for his poor form.

"Pogba is still a good player, but also you need players around you," the former Chelsea manager said.

"(Barca midfielder) Sergio Busquets can play like that only because of the players around him. Put him in Swansea (City) and he wouldn't touch the ball.

"So it also depends on where you play and what kind of players you play with."

Gullit cited the example of Ajax Amsterdam's Dusan Tadic, who moved from Southampton in the summer, as an example of how a player can improve by having different teammates around him.

"Look at Tadic, you see how good he is. A totally different player at Southampton than he is with Ajax," he said.

"So you play with different players around you, in a different system that suits and you play better."

The lack of quality around Pogba was also addressed by pundits Darren Fletcher and Robbie Savage, both of whom felt United are a long way from competing with the elite clubs.

"There was a gulf in quality between the two sides," former United midfielder Fletcher told BBC Radio 5.

"Paris Saint-Germain were the better side over two legs in the last round, but United rode their luck. Tonight, Barcelona were on top and two wonder goals from Messi and Coutinho were the difference.

"Solskjaer has a lot of work ahead of him tonight, but he will have seen little things from his players tonight about who kept battling and who kept playing."

Added former Leicester midfielder Savage: "Solskjaer now has an unenviable task of trying to rebuild this squad. It is going to be a transitional period for the club because they have to win titles, but they are miles off."

Solskjaer, himself, admitted his United side need a huge overhaul in order to return to Europe's elite, reported Reuters.

"We were fighting against a great team and we know there's work to be done, but I've said all along this isn't going to change overnight," said the Norwegian.

"The next few years are going to be massive to get to the level that Barca and other teams are at. We did well to get here, but we could see the difference between the two teams.

"We've got good players to work with and, at the moment, we've done really well to get to the quarters and challenge for top four, but we've got a rebuilding job. It starts with the coaches and players, and with one or two additions."

MAN UNITED: De Gea, Lindelof, Smalling, Jones, Young, McTominay, Fred, Pogba, Lingard (Sanchez 80), Rashford (Lukaku 73), Martial (Dalot 65)

BARCELONA: Ter Stegen, Roberto (Semedo 71), Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur (Vidal 75), Messi, Suarez, Coutinho (Dembele 81)