Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes Manchester United team-mate Paul Pogba can cope with the 24-hour pressure on his shoulders.
Pogba has come under fire for his performance in Sunday’s 1-1 Premier League draw against Liverpool at Old Trafford.
A world-record buy from Juventus at the start of the season, Pogba handled the ball in the penalty area as James Milner converted the spot-kick before Ibrahimovic rescued a point late on for the hosts.
Ibrahimovic leapt to the defence of Pogba, insisting the 23-year-old France international can handle the criticism.
“For Paul the game was different. It was a dirty game, in the way we had to play more direct, by jumping over the midfield because the pressure Liverpool put on us was hard,” Ibrahimovic said.
“It was difficult and the game became difficult. The first game against them was the same. The guys told me every game we play against Liverpool looks like this.”
“Pressure is something I enjoy. I don’t know Paul personally to able to answer that for him [whether he can handle it]. But I think he likes it also because, without pressure, we would not be on our toes at the top level,” Ibrahimovic added.
“If you want to play at the top pressure is 24 hours and if you play well or better the pressure becomes even greater. So it’s something that we learn from and something we have to handle because we belong to the top, Paul belongs to the top absolutely and the pressure will be there.
“The pressure I have all around me is nothing compared to the pressure I put on myself. I really want to do, not perfect, more than perfect, every game, even in training. I’m not happy if I don’t win in training so imagine what it’s like in the games.
“That is the pressure I put on myself and so your pressure [from the media] becomes like a kindergarten for me. My pressure is really high. I’m not satisfied if I get what I want. What I want is to win.”
As for Pogba and his recently released Twitter emoji, Ibrahimovic said: “Football is like that today. With the social media, the media building up the game. When I started to play football there was no social media, none of these things. But it’s part of the game now.
“What is too much, what is too less? We don’t know. We just follow the game. We are professional, we train like always, try to do our best every game.”