MANCHESTER – World Cup winner Paul Pogba’s third-minute penalty and a late goal from Luke Shaw gave Manchester United a 2-1 win over Leicester City at Old Trafford in the opening game of the Premier League season on Friday.
Pogba, fresh from his triumph in Russia with France but also the subject of recent transfer speculation, was named captain by manager Jose Mourinho and took responsibility for the penalty after a handball by Daniel Amartey, slowly shuffling up before beating Kasper Schmeichel.
Leicester responded well though with new signing James Maddison forcing a fine save out of United keeper David De Gea as the visitors gave Mourinho’s side plenty to think about.
Leicester showed that even without Riyad Mahrez, who has joined Manchester City, they remain a team with plenty of creativity.
But Claude Puel’s side were unable to maintain that level in the second half and Juan Mata should have scored for United after good work from Pogba and Alexis Sanchez.
Leicester came close to an equaliser though when substitute Jamie Vardy robbed Shaw and found Demarai Gray whose flick forced another good save out of De Gea.
At the other end, United’s Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku, who like Vardy began on the bench, should have done better when he shot straight at Schmeichel after Sanchez found him alone in the box.
But seven minutes from the end full-back Shaw scored his first goal in professional football, firing home after an exchange with Juan Mata.
Vardy pulled a goal back for Leicester in stoppage time to give them some reward for a good performance against last season’s runners-up.
After the game, Mourinho, missing several midfield options due to injury, praised Pogba for his willingness to start the game after only recently returning from his post-World Cup break.
“He was a monster. We thought he would manage maximum 60 minutes and he went much longer,” said Mourinho.
The Frenchman, who had been linked with a possible transfer window move to Barcelona, said he remained hungry for more success.
“I won’t be full from a World Cup. I know it’s a great cup, it will stay in my mind, but I want to win all the trophies. I haven’t won the Premier League, I haven’t won the Champions League, I haven’t won the European Championship so there are more to win,” he said.