The manager took issue with the discussion surrounding the France global and instead extolled the virtues of Scott McTominay, but he added Pogba made a "big effort" to meet the requirements he placed on the team.
Manchester United legend Ferdinand, watching the last-16 clash in the BT Sport studio, was nearly in disbelief at De Gea's latest effort.
18 months into the Jose Mourinho's reign at Old Trafford and any suggestions that the Portuguese manager would bring about a resurgence of the "United way" seem a long way away.
This wasn't a Mourinho bus-parking masterclass.
In the Champions League this season, De Gea has kept out 95.5 per cent of the shots he has faced, which is more than any other keeper in the competition with 10 or more saves to their name. The Sevilla man even acknowledged the fact that it was a good save - followed De Gea into the tunnel at halftime to congratulate him.
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He then changed his guess to $15 and then $8 (it costs $8.98). "I'll take five!" quipped Gates, but the correct answer was $1. However, we're not sure where Gates gets his pizza rolls because he thought a bag of 120 rolls cost $22.
United didn't so much soak up pressure as let it wash through them. To me they're still rebuilding.
Given United's performance, Mourinho's assessment was correct.
As it is, United looked directionless, as have too often this season.
"Sometimes it can't be pretty and it can't always be free-flowing".
Another notable performance from the Chilean though he does not have a goal or an assist to show for it. Sanchez carved out a peach of a ball that could have potentially set up Lukaku's goal in the first half.
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The grieving father called on the federal government to do more to protect students, saying the country "failed our children". How many more teenagers and 6 and 7 year olds can be allowed to die?
"When he first came, as players we were sitting there with doubts really - 'We need to win every year, how are we going to do that with a young kid, inexperienced, who looks like he's lacking confidence?'", Ferdinand said.
As it happened, Pogba was named on the bench with Ander Herrera, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic chosen to start in central midfield.
The Spaniard was at his commanding best and made vital saves to allow United to scrape a 0-0 draw in southern Spain.
De Gea was not a darling of the Man United faithful when he signed.
United are favourites to progress to the quarter-finals but if Mourinho doesn't formulate a concrete strategy and relay that to the squad, one of Europe's top dogs could embarrass them over two legs.
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The Canadian women came just a hair behind the United States in the bronze medal race of women's team pursuit speed skating. Before the Olympics, Vonn said she would turn down an invitation to visit the White House if she wins a gold medal.
De Gea made one good early save low down to deny Colombian Muriel, while Jesus Navas, impressive at right-back, fired just wide after latching onto Ever Banega's cross-field pass.