(Reuters) - Jose Mourinho has confirmed that record signing Paul Pogba is ready to make his second Manchester United debut when Southampton visit Old Trafford in the Premier League on Friday evening.
United spent 89 million pounds ($116.91 million) to bring the France international back to the club from Juventus following his departure in 2012, and while Mourinho isn’t expecting any immediate fireworks from his new recruit, he’s confirmed that the midfielder is “ready to play” against Southampton.
“He needs time to build his condition and his understanding in the way the team tries to play,” Mourinho told journalists on Thursday. “Ninety minutes? I don’t believe (so).
“Super performance? I don’t believe (so), but in condition to accelerate his process of integration in the team, that’s for sure. The condition is okay to play some minutes.
“Maybe I could call him the best midfielder in the world,” Mourinho added. “I am not expecting him to score a wonder goal, maybe I expect the first time he touches to ball to make a correct pass.”
Pogba’s first league debut for United came in Jan. 2012 when he came on as a substitute in a 2-0 victory against Stoke City, and Mourinho is impressed with how quickly the 23-year-old has settled back into life at Old Trafford.
“He has adapted really easily because he knows the club, knows everybody,” the Portuguese coach continued. “He has no need to have time to adapt, but he’ll need time to build his condition and his understanding of how the team plays and how he’ll fit in with that.”
Pogba was suspended for United’s opening Premier League fixture when they defeated Bournemouth 3-1 away on Sunday.
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Reporting by Ed Dove; editing by Clare Lovell