Paul Pogba expressed his delight with the way Manchester United controlled and beat a poor Everton team 2-0 at Goodison Park on Monday evening to start 2018 in the best way possible.
Sensational second-half finishes from Romelu Lukaku's replacement frontman Anthony Martial and man-in-form Jesse Lingard ended the Red Devils' torrid four-match winless run over the festive period.
United "wake up" in time for 2018
Three consecutive Premier League draws and Carabao Cup defeat at Championship outfit Bristol City made up the poor end to a good 2017, but Pogba wasn't shy to praise how United got back on track:
“I think we deserved to win against Leicester and Southampton, but this is football. Today we did what we had to do.”
After a tight first period against the Toffees, now on the end of two straight losses after going eight games unbeaten since Sam Allardyce took charge, Pogba insisted there was never any doubt that the visitors would break the deadlock:
"At half-time, we knew we could score, and we did. We believe in ourselves, we just have to wake up. Today, I think we did.”
Pogba thrives as part of a midfield three
Speaking with goalscorer Jesse Lingard on Sky Sports shortly after full-time, Man of the Match Pogba was full of praise for how Manchester United approached the clash on Merseyside:
“First game of the year, good win, 2-0. We had chances today, we played aggressively, but in a positive way."
José Mourinho has commonly tried to use Pogba as Nemanja Matić's partner behind the attackers in a 4-2-3-1 this season, which has tended to limit the Frenchman's clear attacking prowess.
That prowess boosted his market value to a world record £89m at Juventus, and switching his role to the left of a midfield three including Matić and Ander Herrera reaped the rewards in the final third:
“We created chances and defensively we were very good, a very good team performance today.”