Paul Pogba: We want to beat the best; Real Madrid only the start…

Manchester United are now more than half way through their pre-season tour of the United States of America after playing three matches. The Old Trafford club beat LA Galaxy 5-2, Real Salt Lake 2-1 and in the first of three matches in the International Champions Cup, United beat their cross-city rivals, Manchester City 2-0 in Houston, Texas on Thursday evening, the early hours of Friday morning in the United Kingdom. United will be pitted against Real Madrid at the San Francisco 49ers Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Sunday evening before facing their La Liga rivals Barcelona at the FedEx Field in Maryland on Wednesday, into the early hours on Thursday morning in the UK.

United midfielder and world record signing Paul Pogba believes the remaining matches of the tour are important for the club’s long-term ambition to become the best team in Europa once again. United have not played either team competitively for a few years now, the last time against each they lost, twice against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League final in three years. United will need to get used to playing the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona if they intend to dominating the Champions League in the coming years, which at this moment in time seems a world away, but you never know what the future will bring. Speaking to MUTV and reported by the official Manchester United website, Pogba said:

“The big games keep on coming. The players in the next team want to play against the best. We want to play against the best, we want to beat the best and we want to become the best. Those games are very important for us because it is not like the game against Real Salt Lake when they want to prove themselves against Manchester United. You try to play but mentally it is different. Now it is a big team, as big as Manchester United. You don’t want to lose against them.”

Pogba played 90 minutes against Manchester City in the 2-0 victory a few days ago and it may be unlikely that he starts against Real Madrid because of this. Jose Mourinho will know more about his prospective lineup, but in a period where match fitness is important, Pogba will need a rest so may only play a small part in the match. Some of Real Madrid’s star players will be treated the same by manager Zinedine Zidane, so it will not be a major moan-fest if Pogba does not start as other players will be looking for a chance to show what they can do, proving themselves to the manager who is looking to increase the number of trusted players in his team this coming season.

The Frenchman has suggested that whatever starting XI is fielded by Mourinho against the reigning La Liga and UEFA Champions League holders, the team will do their best to get the job done on the pitch. It will not be the first time United play the Madrid team this summer, this will be more of a dress rehearsal ahead of the UEFA Super Cup which will be played in Skopje, Macedonia on the 8th August with United looking to win their first trophy of the new season, a trophy which has not been lifted by United since 1991 after the UEFA Cup Winner’s Cup victory over Barcelona in Rotterdam with United going head to head with Red Star Belgrade, winning 1-0 with Brian McClair scoring the only goal of the match at Old Trafford.

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