Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba played through the pain barrier against Swansea City on Sunday (6 October). The 23-year-old Frenchman suffered a dead leg in United's 2-1 defeat to Fenerbahce in the Europa League and was considered an injury doubt for the game in south Wales.
Ultimately, Pogba took to the field against Swansea and produced one of his best performances since his £89m ($110m) summer move to Old Trafford. But Pogba – who opened the scoring in United's 3-1 victory at the Liberty Stadium – has confessed he was not totally fit for the game.
"I always say that when you go with your head, everything will follow," Pogba told United's in-house TV station MUTV, shortly before jetting off on international duty with France. "It [the injury] is not gone. It's still here. I was fit enough to play and after the gaffer put me in I played and I give my best every time."
Pogba's confession comes shortly after United boss Jose Mourinho aimed a swipe at his injured players, claiming some members of his squad were unprepared to play through the pain barrier against Swansea.
United were without Luke Shaw for their match at the Liberty Stadium, after the fullback ruled himself out through injury on the morning of the game. Meanwhile, summer signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan was left out of the squad entirely, having failed to reclaim his place since picking up a thigh injury in September.
"There is a difference between the brave that want to be there at any cost and the ones that a little pain can make a difference," the United boss told Sky Sports. "Great people, not just football people – great sportspeople – many, many times they play without being 100%. For the team you have to do anything, that is my way of thinking.
"If one day I meet the big ones of this club, the ones with great success in this club for sure they are going to tell me that many times. They put a lot of the line even with pains everywhere. It is not just about the players, it's about the people that surrounds the players. It takes time but with the help of people like [Ashey] Young, [Phil] Jones, [Michael] Carrick, [Wayne] Rooney; these kinds of people I think it will be not an impossible mission, it will be possible mission."