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Paul Pogba's progress: Manchester United star ends first season on a high

As the world's most expensive player, Paul Pogba's return to Man United has been anything but sunshine and rainbows.

Paul Pogba began the season as the world's most expensive footballer and ended it with a goal in the Europa League final.

The France international, 24, signed off with the first goal in the 2-0 win over Ajax in Stockholm to help Manchester United book a place in next season's Champions League.

The midfielder's £89.3 million price tag has put his form under intense scrutiny this season.

Pogba scored nine goals in 51 games in his first season back at Old Trafford.

But Jose Mourinho has admitted the huge transfer fee has taken its toll. So much so, that the United manager is hopeful the record will be broken again this summer to take the pressure off the former Juventus man.

After analysis of his playing statistics from the first half of the season found he was finding his feet in English football, here's how Pogba got on during the second half of the campaign.

United matches played: 5, Minutes: 450
Output: Goals: 1, Assists: 0, Chances created: 9
Involvement: Touches of the ball: 469, Shots: 14, Shots on target:
Discipline: 5 Fouls committed/suffered: 8/13, Tackles: 6, Yellow cards: 0, Red cards: 0

Pogba was rested for FA Cup ties against Reading and Wigan Athletic but otherwise didn't miss a minute.

His goal in January was an important one, coming in the 2-1 defeat to Hull City in the EFL Cup semifinal second leg. It was enough to send United to Wembley for the final against Southampton to give Mourinho a chance to win a trophy in his first season at Old Trafford.

Pogba's low point in January came against Liverpool. At the end of a week which saw Twitter launch an official Pogba emoji, the Frenchman gave away a penalty in the 1-1 draw.

United matches played: 7, Minutes: 569
Output: Goals: 0, Assists: 1, Chances created: 12
Involvement: Touches of the ball: 620, Shots: 19, Shots on target: 8
Discipline: Fouls committed/suffered: 14/16, Tackles: 10, Yellow cards: 2, Red cards: 0

Another busy month for Pogba, who started six of United's seven games. He was left on the bench for the FA Cup tie at Blackburn Rovers but was needed late on to set up the winner for Zlatan Ibrahimovic in a 2-1 victory.

Pogba also collected his first United medal after playing 90 minutes in 3-2 win over Southampton in the EFL Cup final, although his performance at Wembley got mixed reviews.

Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba suffered a hamstring injury in March but his recovery period included the international break.

United matches played: 4, Minutes: 317
Output: Goals: 0, Assists: 0, Chances created: 4
Involvement: Touches of the ball: 300, Shots: 8, Shots on target: 3
Discipline: Fouls committed/suffered: 8/8, Tackles: 7, Yellow cards: 0, Red cards: 0

United's packed schedule finally caught up with Pogba in March when he suffered a hamstring injury against FC Rostov in the Europa League.

He missed United's last game of the month against Middlesbrough and was ruled out of France's fixtures against Luxembourg and Spain during the last international break of the season.

Pogba's injury raised questions about why Mourinho had not rested his star man more often, particularly in the Europa League last-32 second leg against St Etienne when United had won the first game 3-0.

United matches played: 6, Minutes: 524
Output: Goals: 0, Assists: 0, Chances created: 9
Involvement: Touches of the ball: 634, Shots: 15, Shots on target: 5
Discipline: Fouls committed/suffered: 8/14, Tackles: 13, Yellow cards: 0, Red cards: 0

Pogba's hamstring injury stretched into April and he missed the first game of the month against West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford. He was fit enough to return as a half-time substitute in a 1-1 draw with Everton three days later.

He starred in the 2-0 win over Chelsea at Old Trafford -- one of his best performances for United -- and played 120 minutes in the Europa League quarterfinal second leg against Anderlecht.

But by the end of the month he had suffered another injury. Substituted in the last minute of the 2-0 win at Burnley on April 23, he missed the draws against Manchester City and Swansea City as United's top four hopes drifted away.

Paul Pogba played a pivotal role in Manchester United winning the Europa League for the first time in their history.

United matches played: 4, Minutes: 314
Output: Goals: 2, Assists: 1, Chances created: 5
Involvement: Touches of the ball: 235, Shots: 8, Shots on target: 2
Discipline: Fouls committed/suffered: 10/3, Tackles: 2, Yellow cards: 1, Red cards: 0

As Mourinho focused all his attention on the Europa League, Pogba was nursed through the final month of the season. He started both legs of the Europa League semifinal with Celta Vigo but missed Premier League trips to Tottenham and Southampton following the death of his father.

He scored in the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace but came off before half-time as he was wrapped in cotton wool ahead of the Europa League final. And in Stockholm, he paid back part of his transfer fee with a goal against Ajax as he won his second trophy of the season and helped secure Champions League football for his club next term.

Information from ESPN Stats & Information was used in this report

Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.


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