It says a lot about how far the standards have slipped at Manchester United that the fan involved in a verbal altercation with Paul Pogba on Sunday has been castigated in some quarters.
Pogba’s performance against Cardiff City on Sunday, like so many of his recent displays have been, was pathetic and he was solely responsible for the visitors’ second goal at Old Trafford.
If Pogba’s showing in that game wasn’t deserving of criticism, then nothing is.
The irked supporter’s outburst wasn’t palatable but he had every right to make his feelings clear and exercised that right.
Patrice Evra, though, was unimpressed.
“It’s not like I am protecting Paul but when there are incidents like yesterday with the fan, they are killing Paul,” Evra said.
“He has the most goals, most assists. I know you can question his leadership and in the last few games you want more, so that’s why you can criticise him right now, but overall he has been the best player this season.
“Just because it’s Paul Pogba, he has haircuts, he dances, his Instagram and everything, people will criticise him while forgetting the player that he is.”
Pogba’s staunch supporters, and Evra is clearly one of them, often reference the Frenchman’s goal and assist returns when defending him but a closer look at the midfielder’s statistics show just how unreliable he has been this season.
For the two months after Solskjaer arrived Pogba was magnificent but he toiled in the periods of the campaign either side of the Reds’ mini mid-season revival.
Excluding an eight-game spell in the Premier League between the end of December and beginning of February, Pogba scored just one league goal for United from open play – and even that was a rebound from a terrible penalty in October’s 2-0 win over Everton.
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Pogba’s world-class talent is not in doubt but his attitude is and his propensity to down tools when the chips are down is a huge concern. He did it under Mourinho earlier in the season and he’s done it again under Solskjaer.
United’s manager maintains that he wants to keep the player but there are serious question marks over whether he has the character required for the rebuild operation at Old Trafford.
A huge summer lies ahead.