Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has revealed what he told Paul Pogba after his man-of-the-match display against Manchester City last week, demanding "stability" and "consistency" from the French midfielder.
Pogba scored two goals for the first time in the same Premier League match in a remarkable second-half recovery as United won the Manchester derby 3-2 to deny City a win that would have seen Pep Guardiola's men clinch the title.
It was a defiant response from Pogba, whose drop in form had seen him lose his starting place under Mourinho earlier this year, although his manager does not expect him to repeat such displays on a weekly basis.
Mourinho, however, has told Pogba he wants to see greater consistency from him, particularly in training, with the United manager clearly implying the 25-year-old midfielder has not always hit the necessary standards.
"I will tell you what I told him after the (City) match and it's exactly what I told him - I don't expect you to be man of the match every week, I don't expect you to score two goals every week," said Mourinho.
"I expect you to be consistent in a certain level. So, if you ask me, I'm expecting Paul now to be man of the match every week? No. If I expect him to score goals every match? No.
"But I expect Paul - and I think that's the challenge he has to put to himself - to keep a certain stability and not to have the good match and the so-so match and the bad match."
Pogba's form, particularly since the January signing of Alexis Sanchez, has been one of the fascinating sub-plots of United's season with the player reportedly unhappy at the defensive responsibilities he has been asked to perform.
Certainly, in a more advanced role, Pogba was devastating against City and Mourinho clearly believes his club record signing is capable of repeating that form in the future.
"I think he has to try to keep that level of stability and from that stability of course will appear the special match with the special performance like it happened against City," he said.
"But he has to go for that stability and to go for that stability, the first thing is stability at training level, stability during the working week. And the past two, three weeks I'm really happy with him."
United's strong recent form sees them take on West Bromwich Albion on Sunday looking for an eighth consecutive domestic victory and has raised optimism among supporters over their prospects for next season.
But, despite upsetting City at the Etihad last weekend, Mourinho has urged caution and clearly believes Guardiola will spend lavishly again this summer, while insisting United will not attempt to match his City counterpart's outlay.
"No. We are not going to spend more than we can. We are not going to do anything crazy," said Mourinho.
"We are just trying to improve a little bit more, to give sequence to it. That's what we are going to try."