Manchester: Jose Mourinho hailed captain Paul Pogba’s willingness to put his body on the line to lead Manchester United to a winning start in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Leicester City on Friday.
Less than a month since Pogba scored in the World Cup final to help France lift the trophy, he was thrown straight into action by Mourinho despite just returning to pre-season training this week.
Pogba’s third-minute spot-kick settled the hosts’ nerves as United allayed some of the doom and gloom predicted by Mourinho after failing to land a series of targets before Thursday’s transfer deadline.
Luke Shaw sealed the points seven minutes from time before Jamie Vardy headed home a consolation for the visitors.
On top of his transfer troubles, Mourinho had a host of injuries and players lacking match sharpness after the World Cup to contend with.
“Paul was fantastic, his contribution was amazing but the fuel was disappearing. We were in trouble,” added Mourinho.
“I don’t remember in my career to be in so much in trouble to make my changes because I wanted to make five or six and I could only make three.”
Chelsea, Spurs off to winning starts
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri got off to a winning Premier League start as new signing Jorginho slotted home coolly from the penalty spot in a 3-0 win at Huddersfield on Saturday.
Tottenham also made light of discontent over their lack of summer transfer activity by resisting a late Newcastle onslaught to win 2-1 at St. James’s Park thanks to goals from Jan Vertonghen and Dele Alli.
Watford, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace also picked up 2-0 wins on the opening weekend of the season.
Chelsea have endured a turbulent pre-season with Sarri sworn in to replace fellow Italian Antonio Conte less than a month before the campaign got underway.
The Londoners also smashed their transfer record and set a new world record fee for a goalkeeper in splashing 80 million euros on Kepa Arrizbalaga this week after Thibaut Courtois departed for Real Madrid.
But the young Basque ‘keeper was rarely troubled in recording a clean sheet as the visitors’ greater quality told at the John Smith’s Stadium after a slow start.