Neil Humphreys: Pogba's resurgence leaves a bitter taste
Back-in-form Man United star had clearly gone on strike before
What a difference a backstabbing makes. Paul Pogba looks like Paul Pogba again, the other one, the one who wanders through international midfields and wins the World Cup for a laugh.
The coup d'etat is complete. The Manchester United king is dead. Long live the court jester.
Jose Mourinho's removal and Pogba's renaissance highlight one of the game's most tawdry aspects. The boss is no longer the boss. Mourinho was once the puppet master. By the time of his sacking, he was reduced to a puppet, Pogba's puppet.
Mourinho's time was indeed up at Old Trafford and his replacement, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, has benefited from the expected honeymoon and the most benign of fixture lists.
After wins against Cardiff and Huddersfield, United will now host Bournemouth, before heading to Newcastle and then Reading for the FA Cup.
In theory, the Red Devils should remain unbeaten until at least Jan 13, when they face Tottenham at Wembley.
Pogba's recovery - a literal overnight improvement - is jaw-dropping in its bare-faced cheek.
The Frenchman has featured in four goals in two games under Solskjaer - he scored two against Huddersfield and provided two assists against Cardiff. In his previous 12 games under Mourinho, he managed just one goal and three assists.
Those contrasting figures suggest an almost Brutus-like betrayal of the fallen United emperor, with Pogba shamelessly turning on his former manager in an attempt to secure a regime change.
Gary Lineker is just one former player who dismisses such facile nonsense. He regularly insists that no professional footballer deliberately underperforms.
So Pogba's dramatic upswing must be down to Solskjaer then.
He's certainly showing Pogba a lot of love, praising him like an indulgent kindergarten teacher pacifying an overly sensitive child. He's also pushed Pogba into a roving No.10 role.
As a result, Pogba attempted more passes in Cardiff's half (68) than against every other opponent so far this season except Wolves back in September. He also managed 61 attempted passes against Huddersfield, his third-highest return.
Solskjaer's football is more expansive than Mourinho's toxic waste, as expected, and Pogba has certainly benefited as a result.
But the mood swing is something else entirely. His swishing strikes at goal and the chest-swelling, statuesque goal celebrations, reminiscent of Eric Cantona in his heyday, were not just the physical quirks of a happier player.
They were a different player. This wasn't the Pogba of a fortnight ago, this was a metamorphosis, the midfield monster replacing the timid man. Solskjaer might be a galvanising presence, but Pogba has willed his transformation from within.
It's no coincidence that here in England, the blinkered callers to radio stations are tempering their Pogba praise. Compliments come with caveats.
Yes, Mourinho had to go, but couldn't Pogba have turned on the afterburners himself? He plays for another cautious manager with France, but he still rampages forward at major tournaments, why didn't he do the same for United?
At United, Pogba took on both the dressing room and the boardroom and won.
United managers used to win these rows.But Sir Alex Ferguson's game has gone. The cards are stacked against the manager now. Player power rules all.
Maybe Pogba held something back. Maybe he didn't. But his startling recovery leaves a bitter taste nonetheless.