Jose Mourinho believes Paul Pogba needs time to readjust to English football and produce his best form at Manchester United.
Pogba became the world’s most expensive player when he re-joined United from Juventus in August but he has failed to regularly hit the heights while being shunted to and from a variety of midfield roles.
United face rivals Manchester City in the fourth round of the EFL Cup on Wednesday as they aim to bounce back from a chastening 4-0 loss at Chelsea, but Mourinho is talking a long-term view over his marquee acquisition.
“He can play in so many positions,” he said in an interview with Sky Sports. “The problem is not the position. The problem is not the tactical system.
“The problem is, in my opinion, somebody that comes from a different style of football and needs this time to be at his best level in football that is really difficult to play, especially for midfield players.
“I think it is really difficult to play or adapt from different realities, but he is a phenomenal player. He has unbelievable potential.
“He has years and years to develop his game, so that expectation and investment from the club is based on that – a super player for the next seven or eight years.
“He’s getting better and better and better at every level. That’s our expectation. We don’t expect Paul to arrive here and the next day to be unbelievable. But the other thing is that we trust him so much that we pass to him this kind of feeling.”
Meanwhile, Mourinho has described his living arrangements in Manchester as a “disaster”, as his wife and children remain in London and he resides in the Lowry Hotel – with an established paparazzi presence for company.
He said: “For me it’s a bit of a disaster because I want sometimes to walk a little bit and I can’t. I just want to cross the bridge and go for a restaurant. I can’t, so it is really bad. But I have my apps and I can ask for food to also be delivered.
“The reality is that my daughter will be 20 next week. My son will be 17 in a couple of months. They are very stable… university in London, football in London, friends.
“So, they are at an age where they can’t chase me like they did before. So, for the first time, the family lives in a different way. We try to feel it, we try to see the evolution of our feelings and see how we cope with the situation.
“But maybe, if I can get a good apartment… not these giant houses that the press says I’m going to buy. I will never buy that! But if I find a nice apartment with a good connection from the garage to the apartment, maybe I do it – but I can’t cook!”
He added: “You know the history of the paparazzi. For the hotel and the brand that sponsors me, the clothes brand, it’s amazing because they are there every day.
“Everybody knows the name of the hotel. Everybody knows the last arrivals of that brand. So, for them, it is amazing.”