Manchester United ace Paul Pogba says the impact of Covid-19 had a big effect on his early-season form and left him feeling ‘strange’.
The midfield star tested positive for coronavirus in August. It forced him out of the France squad and into quarantine.
Pogba did return for United’s opening Premier League match of the season. But he lasted just 67 minutes as the hosts were humbled 3-1 by Crystal Palace.
Before Saturday’s win at West Ham, he’d managed just one goal in 18 appearances for club and country.
However, he doubled that tally with a superb curling equaliser in the second half. That was the spark that powered the Red Devils to a 3-1 victory.
The Match of the Day analysts also singled him out for praise after his best display of the campaign.
Pogba’s consistency at Old Trafford has often been called into question. But he admits some of his lacklustre displays earlier in the campaign were due to physical problems caused by Covid-19.
Speaking on MUTV about its impact, the Frenchman said: “It’s strange, it’s hard to explain because you wouldn’t understand.
“Even in training, I would say to the fitness coach that I feel strange. It’s not me. I get tired very fast and I’m out of breath really fast.
“The first game of the season, I couldn’t run. I was trying. I spoke with the manager, ‘I will start the game and let’s see’. But I was very out of breath and it took me a long time to get back to my fitness and to get back physically good.
“It’s good to get back in the team,” he continued. “And to score this goal to help the team get back in the game, it’s very important for the team. I’m very happy for that.
“It’s such a difference. I’m finding my rhythm as well. I feel so much better, I felt I could go again, control the game, getting the ball. That’s what I like, myself.
“That’s what I think is good for the team. I’m a team player. As long as the team wins, that’s the most important, you know? That’s why I came here and that’s why I want to be successful.”
Pogba admits ball may have gone out
Pogba says his spectacular equaliser at West Ham could have been ruled out.
In the build-up, Dean Henderson’s punt upfield to Bruno Fernandes looked to have curled out of play.
VAR didn’t pick it up but West Ham boss David Moyes was underneath the path of the ball and was sure it went out. A Match of the Day graphic seemed to back him up.
Pogba said: “The kick from Dean was a bit… we didn’t know if it was out or in but we just went for it. I just went for it. I saw Bruno had the ball and I was free.
“I hit one in the first half, it didn’t go well. But the second time it went in and I’m really happy with this.”
Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford added further goals as United made it five wins out of five on the road this season.