Jose Mourinho has praised Paul Pogba and said that his unique value to Manchester United puts him on the same level as players such as Lionel Messi and Neymar.

Neymar’s goal for Barcelona resulted in United’s first defeat of their preseason campaign. United’s squad featured eight changes from the team that defeated Real Madrid. Pogba was in the starting line-up together with new signing Romelu Lukaku.

Good game yesterday 👊🏾🐝 getting ready for season kick-off #acityunited #manchesterderby #MUTOUR @manchesterunited

Публикация от Paul Labile Pogba (@paulpogba)

After the game Mourinho said that his performance puts him in the same category as the sport’s top players.

“(Lionel) Messi and Neymar, there is only one; there is not two,” said Mourinho after the game. “(Luis) Suarez, (Andres) Iniesta, (Gerard) Pique, (Cristiano) Ronaldo, (Gareth) Bale, (Luka) Modric, Toni Kroos; there is only one so they can only play for one club, not for two clubs. We can’t have them, they belong to the clubs. But I have to say that Paul Pogba showed the level… he showed he belongs to that level.”

Andreas Pereira, Anthony Martial and Pogba all had chances to score and equalise for United against Barcelona in the second half of the match, but all three failed to get past Barcelona stopper Jasper Cillessen.

However, while the loss will have been disappointing for the players, Mourinho insisted that it was important for the team to lose a game during the preseason.

“It’s very important to lose a match in pre-season. I think it would be very bad for us to leave the U.S. without a defeat, playing against teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, it would be very bad to go home with just victories. I think in the game we did some very good things and we did bad things. The very good things are to keep and the bad things are to improve.”