Paul Pogba says he asked Wayne Rooney if he could take Man United’s opening penalty in a 4-1 Europa League victory over Fenerbahce on Thursday.
Pogba opened the scoring for United from the penalty spot before firing an impressive strike into the top corner for his second — marking the first time the midfielder had scored two or more goals in a game since November 2014.
And United’s record signing thanked his captain for the opportunity to open the scoring.
“I told Wayne I wanted to take the penalty and he let me,” Pogba told BT Sport. “I am very happy to score that penalty and from a player like him to let me it is big respect so I am very glad.
“I feel comfortable with all of the team. It is just at the start of the season and there is still a long way to go and we want to go up and do our best and be top of the [Premier] League.
“We wanted the win because it was really important and now we are top of the group and are looking forward to the next game.”
Rooney was back in the United starting XI after four games as a substitute, but coach Jose Mourinho said Pogba was always in line to take the spot kick, though Anthony Martial stepped up to take United’s second.
“The first penalty taker was Paul, we made that decision and then probably he didn’t want to repeat because it’s a second penalty a couple of minutes later,” Mourinho said.
“And then probably because Martial was the one that had the previous action and Martial also is a good penalty taker, they made that decision, it’s not a problem for me.
“I always give the indication of the one who has the responsibility to take but with the freedom for the other guys to make a decision on the pitch.”
Mourinho also hailed Pogba’s “phenomenal” performance, while also warning that the midfielder “needs time” to develop at the club.
“Two days ago he was the worst player in the Premier League and 48 hours later he is phenomenal,” Mourinho said.
“He needs time. I was in Italy, I know Italian football. To be in Italy for four or five years and come back, I was not expecting it to be a click of the fingers for intensity. He needs time.”
The victory for the Red Devils sees them move up to second in Group A, leapfrogging Fenerbahce in the process, who they now lead by two points.
“It is three points and that is what we needed,” Mourinho added. “We knew after the first defeat it was important to get nine points at home and a few more away so it was a very important victory for us.
“It was good. They came with a good defensive plan and stopped us for the first period but then after the first two goals, both clear penalties, it opened the door for quality.
“With the fourth goal we stopped and they tried to have a reaction which they did. I am never happy to concede a goal. We lacked a bit of concentration but that is the nature of the players and lots of changes, it is acceptable.”