Manchester United manager José Mourinho has praised the efforts of the returning Paul Pogba, stating that the Frenchman is "different class" as he made a man-of-the-match return in Saturday's 4-1 win over Newcastle United.
He is a different class
It has been fair to say that The Red Devils have been wavering in the absence of their all-time record signing, with the Frenchman playing a huge part in their storming start to the campaign before picking up his injury towards the end of September.
Mourinho announced he would be in the squad for the clash with The Magpies and anticipation was heightened with his selection in the starting XI, and it was like he hadn't been away as he created one and scored another.
The Frenchman was taken off in the 70th minute to ease him back into the swing of things, but Mourinho was full of praise for the impact that Pogba had made on his return to the side.
"It was a great performance from him," Mourinho stated on the Frenchman's performance. "Paul Pogba is a different class.
"Paul and Nemanja Matic grew up together at the start of the season," the coach stated. "And are the engine of the team."
"It was in Paul's hands," Mourinho added on Pogba's early exit. "How many minutes to play until he began to feel fatigued."
Their goal was like a wake-up call
The evening clash with Rafael Benítez's men held more significance as United needed to close the gap on Manchester City following their 2-0 win over Leicester City, but concerns grew early on with Dwight Gayle giving the North East visitors and early lead.
However United pulled it around before the break with Anthony Martial's equaliser from Pogba's cross before Chris Smalling gave them the lead, Pogba put light between the teams before Romelu Lukaku's first goal in eight club matches secured the win.
Mourinho will have been disappointed falling behind so early, but stated that it was a good "wake-up call" for the side to react "very strong" throughout the rest of the clash.
"The goal was like a wake-up call," he said. "And the team reacted very well, very strong.
"In the second half I was seated and really enjoying the quality," Mourinho concluded. "And many times the beauty, of our game."