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Pogba on Roma, being a sore loser and nutmegging his mum

The Manchester United midfielder discusses UEFA Europa League ambitions, growing maturity and family.

Manchester United's Paul Pogba ahead of the quarter-final second leg
Manchester United's Paul Pogba ahead of the quarter-final second leg AFP via Getty Images

It is coming up to four years since Paul Pogba last lifted silverware with Manchester United, and the midfielder is determined to scratch that itch in the UEFA Europa League in May.

The 28-year-old discusses winning the trophy in 2017, this season's semi-final opponents Roma and why nutmegging your own mother is an acceptable thing to do.

On facing Roma in the semi-finals…

It’s quite a big challenge, but we would’ve faced one another sooner or later. We would’ve faced a big team and a massive challenge at some point. We started the competition with a winning mentality and with our minds set on lifting the trophy. Roma want to win it too; they’re not just here for fun. We need to show more desire.

On United's 2017 Europa League triumph…

It’s the last trophy that we won here at Manchester United, so I obviously remember it. It was a great day, as I got to score in the final, and it was a great year too, despite our performance in the league. We still won the Europa League, which was an objective for us, and it was a nice final touch to the season. We’re still in the running to repeat that now.

2017 final highlights: Ajax 0-2 Man. United
2017 final highlights: Ajax 0-2 Man. United

On being a leader at Old Trafford…

You can be a leader both on and off the pitch. You speak with the young players and the whole squad to motivate them; and motivating my team-mates motivates me in return. Whenever I see a team-mate training and working hard, that pushes me to train and reach my limits too. You need everyone to be involved if you want to succeed. You can’t win alone.

On following in footballing footsteps of brothers Mathias and Florentin…

My brothers are older than me, so I always wanted to be with them, to play with them, to hang out with their friends. It was always challenging, it was harder. That’s what built me up, it really did. You have to improve because when you play with guys who are older than you, it’s more physical and more technical. I often lost, but I kept going and that built me up. That's why I'm a really, really sore loser. I'm a winner; I like winning.

Paul Pogba celebrates winning the World Cup with brothers Florentin and Mathias
Paul Pogba celebrates winning the World Cup with brothers Florentin and Mathias Getty Images

On nutmegging his mother…

Given that my mum says that she used to play football ... That’s the kind of relationship we have. We like kidding around and laughing at each other, and that’s what I did. I like having a laugh. As we say, 'Teasing is loving'. I tease my mother quite a lot.

On his joie de vivre…

I’m someone who likes to laugh and to be joyful. I've always been positive, as I grew up in a positive family, and that comes across on and off the pitch. Football is first and foremost a sport that I love. I loved it then and I love it now.