Newcastle United lost 4-1 at Old Trafford despite going a goal up and looking the better team in the first half hour, only for the returning Paul Pogba to lead a Manchester United fightback.
The midfielder probably man of the match as he made the first goal and scored the killer third.
After the game, Rafa Benitez was pressed as to how good Paul Pogba was, and how he compared with Steven Gerrard.
Wanting to instead talk about the game and his own players, the Newcastle boss was eventually forced into an answer, saying:
“They are different. Stevie was a top class player for so many years.
“He was very consistent and could make the difference in every game, with or without the ball.
“He (Steven Gerrard) was a top class player.
“Pogba is a great player but he still has to be consistent for years, like Stevie was for 10 or 15 years.
“Pogba is not my player, so I don’t need to talk too much about him.
“He is a great player, like the majority of the Manchester United players, but I’m concentrating on trying to improve my players.”
Pretty fair comments because though clearly Paul Pogba is a very good player, he is still only 24 and has his career ahead of him to prove exactly how good he is.
However, just look at the state of these headlines, totally misrepresenting what Rafa Benitez actually said…
‘Rafa Benitez aims parting dig at Man Utd in dismissing Paul Pogba’s greatness’ – Metro
‘Manchester United star Paul Pogba is not a top-class player like Steven Gerrard, claims Rafa Benitez’ – Daily Mail
‘Benitez claims Pogba is way off former Liverpool star’s level’ – Teamtalk
‘Pogba is nowhere near Gerrard’s level!’ – Goal
‘Rafael Benitez aims sly dig at Paul Pogba in Steven Gerrard comparison’ – Daily Express
I’m no lover of Steven Gerrard but I have to concede that year after year he carried Liverpool much of the time and did it in the toughest league in the world.
In the case of Paul Pogba, he played 68 Premier League minutes when first at Manchester United before dumping them and heading for an easier life in Italy.
He did very well for an all conquering Juventus who have won the league the past six seasons including the four when Pogba was there but these days you would probably put Serie A in a distant fourth place behind the Premier League, La Liga and the Bundesliga.
In fact, you only have to look to last season when many pundits were talking about how average the midfielder had been, compared to the expectations of the £89m buy.
Yes he has looked a class act this season with his five Premier League matches bringing three goals and three assists but in the whole of the last PL season, Pogba only scored five goals and got four assists.
Those headlines take the biscuit though, especially when Rafa is actually calling Paul Pogba a ‘great player’.
In actual fact, Pogba has only started 34 Premier League matches and 108 in Serie A so far in his career, so when someone hasn’t even started 150 league games, maybe even declaring them ‘great’ is going a little bit too far.