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'I couldn't run!' - Manchester United star Pogba says it took him a 'long time' to recover from coronavirus


Francis
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Paul Pogba due to miss Manchester United quarter-final through illness,  days after attending brother's wedding

The French midfielder says he finally felt like himself again during the Red Devils' latest Premier League clash at West Ham, where he scored

 

Manchester United star Paul Pogba has admitted it took him a "long time" to recover physically from coronavirus and that he "couldn't run" during the first game of the season.

Pogba was diagnosed with Covid-19 on August 27, which forced him to pull out of France's squad for the first international break of the 2020-21 campaign.

The Frenchman spent 10 days in quarantine before returning to full training with United, and was subsequently named in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's starting XI for their Premier League opener against Crystal Palace on September 19.

The 27-year-old struggled as the Red Devils fell to a 3-1 defeat, which marked the beginning of an alarming loss of form for a player who had been integral during the team's run to a third-place top-flight finish post-lockdown.

Pogba has been in and out of Solskjaer's line up since giving away the penalty which gave Arsenal a 1-0 win at Old Trafford on November 1, with competition for places in midfield at an all-time high following Donny van de Beek's arrival in Manchester from Ajax in the summer transfer window.

Van de Beek, Fernandes and Fred have enjoyed prominent roles in the team ahead of the World Cup winner in recent weeks, but Pogba returned to United's starting XI for their trip to West Ham on Saturday evening.

Pogba, who scored a stunning second-half equaliser to set Solskjaer's side on their way to a 3-1 victory at the London Stadium, has now revealed that it took him far longer than originally expected to regain full fitness after testing positive for coronavirus, which ultimately affected his ability to perform.

“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," the France international told United's official website. "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 me back to my fitness and to get back physically good.”

Asked how it felt to get 90 minutes under his belt against the Hammers, Pogba responded: “So good. Obviously, it feels good to play. The lads have been playing really well as well.

"I wasn’t ready physically I would say. I felt weakness physically. You know, just to play the 90 minutes and carrying on with the games. It’s such a difference. I’m finding my rhythm as well.

"I feel so much better today, 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. I find myself good and we want to win. That’s why I came here and that’s why I want to be successful.”

The Red Devils playmaker added on his first Premier League goal of the season: “The kick from Dean [Henderson] 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 [Fernandes] had the ball and I was free. I hit it in the first half, it didn’t go well, but the second time it went in and I’m really happy with this.

"I feel confident, I feel myself, like more in my legs and physically I feel much better. It’s good, you know, just to get back in the team, 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.”


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