Mourinho wields axe: Pogba, other stars to leave Man United

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Manchester United are reportedly ready to let Paul Pogba leave this summer.

According to multiple reports the French midfielder will be sold after this season as he continues to clash with manager Jose Mourinho.

Pogba, 25, has only completed 90 minutes in four of his last 11 games for United and was subbed in the second half of their shock home defeat against West Brom on Sunday, although Mourinho insisted that was because he was on a yellow card and he didn’t want to go down to 10-men.

Yet this situation between Pogba and Mourinho has been unraveling for some time as the former was left out of plenty of United squads, then Pep Guardiola revealed recently that Man City were offered the chance to buy Pogba in January, around the same time he was dropped by Mourinho in place of youngster Scott McTominay.

Things have deteriorated quickly for the club-record $130 million signing as he started the season superbly but then injury and a loss of form derailed his campaign. It now seems like Mourinho is ready to move on from Pogba.

As for some of United’s other stars, it is believed that Anthony Martial, Daley Blind and Matteo Darmian will all be sold this summer as Mourinho wants a huge clearance as he tries to close the gap on Manchester City who wrapped up the PL title on Sunday.

Looking ahead to United’s clash at Bournemouth on Wednesday (Watch live, 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as their battle for second place rumbles on — United are four points ahead of fourth-place Tottenham and one point ahead of third-place Liverpool — Mourinho said it is an audition for players to be starters for their huge FA Cup semifinal against Spurs at Wembley on Saturday.

“If I play someone against Bournemouth and he is phenomenal, he plays the semi-final,” Mourinho said. “The word is not rotation. This is an opportunity for some people to play and to try to get a place in the team. Some of the guys who played [against West Brom], they don’t have a place in that team. I only know one criteria [for choosing the team]. It is the way you play. This is the only way I can select players. Do you want me to go for the price they cost? Or their salary? Or their beautiful face? The only way is to go with performance.”

It seems like it’s not only Pogba who will be playing for his Manchester United in the final weeks of the season, with the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera also at risk of losing their starting spot.

Mourinho is on the war-path ahead of a key semifinal clash. If United finish second in the PL and win the FA Cup, that’s not a bad season, but if they finish in fourth and don’t win the FA Cup, it’s not a great season at all despite some progression.

FULL MATCH REPLAY: The Manchester Derby

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Manchester City could’ve won the Premier League with a win over visiting derby rivals Manchester United on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium.

WATCH FULL MATCH REPLAY, ONLINE, HERE

Instead, a 2-0 halftime lead turned into a loss at the hands of Jose Mourinho and the Red Devils.

LINEUPS

Manchester City: Ederson, Danilo, Kompany, Otamendi, Delph, Fernandinho, Gundogan, Bernardo, David Silva, Sane, Sterling, Subs. Bravo, Walker, Agüero, Laporte, De Bruyne, Jesus, Yaya Touré

Manchester United: De Gea, Valencia, Smalling, Bailly, Young, Matic, Herrera, Pogba, Lingard, Lukaku, Alexis. Subs: Pereira, Lindelof, Rojo, McTominay, Mata, Martial, Rashford.

Mourinho slams Man Utd players for “lack of desire” despite FA Cup win

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Jose Mourinho, voted the manager mostly likely to zig when everyone else in the world is zagging*, laid into his Manchester United players on Saturday despite the fact the Red Devils topped Brighton & Hove Albion to advance to the semifinals of the FA Cup.

*not a real poll that has ever been taken, as far as we’re aware

[ MORE: Spurs advance to FA Cup semifinal | Man United join them ]

The Portuguese boss called out his players for what he deemed “a lack of personality, a lack of class, and a lack of desire” in the 2-0 victory at Old Trafford.

quotes from the Guardian:

“The basic things is to keep the emotional balance to play with that red shirt, which is a heavy shirt to wear. But to feel not comfortable to play, saying, ‘Please Mister, take me from the pitch.’ I felt that. So I have nothing to lose in relation to that. The strong ones will be always the strong ones. The young ones, under pressure and under criticism, will improve or will not improve.

“Matic was an island of personality and quality. But a few of the other guys, I saw them scared to play. Look, I cannot say much more. I think it is in relation with personality, in relation to trust, in relation to class. And you know when the sun is shining, and in football the sun is shining when everything goes well, you win matches, you score goals, everything goes in your direction, every player is a good player and every player wants to play and every player wants the ball and every player is confident to play and every player looks amazing.

“When it is dark and cold and that in football means a period of bad results or a bad result like what happened to us a couple of days ago, not everybody has the confidence and the personality to play really. Because to be on the pitch and touch the ball every five minutes, anyone can do it but to be on the pitch and say: ‘Give me the ball because I want to play,’ that is a little bit more difficult. Not all of them were able to do it.”

As for 21-year-old Scott McTominay, Mourinho singled him out for criticism not only in the public forum, but in the locker room after the final whistle:

“You have the kid that didn’t play well at all. I told him already, he was the first one I spoke to individually in the dressing room. And instead of being critical with him, I was positive with him saying: ‘You played very bad but you did the basic things that one player has to do.'”

This is year two of Mourinho’s reign at Old Trafford, and if the signs of fractures between manager and players are beginning to sound all too familiar, one should be reminded that Mourinho only signed a new contract to remain at the club through 2020 (with a further option) in January.

Reports: Pogba misses Manchester United training

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Paul Pogba did not feature for Manchester United against Liverpool after picking up an injury in training, and he did not train Monday either.

[ PL PREVIEW: Stoke vs. Man City ]

Whether that means he’s being rested or an indicator of a longer absence is unknown, and United hosts Sevilla in a must-win UEFA Champions League second leg after posting a nil-nil first leg in Spain.

The Times reports that Pogba was injured in a training accident with teammate Scott McTominay.

Pogba missed United’s 2-1 win over Liverpool, bringing the Red Devils’ record to 7W-1D-3L when he misses a league match this season and 13W-4D-2L when he’s in the fold.

United is 3-0 without Pogba in the Champions League, and advanced stats site WhoScored says he’s far down their pecking order in European performance (though it also says he’s their top dog in Premier League play).

Mourinho slams United’s fans over McTominay treatment

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MANCHESTER — Jose Mourinho hailed Manchester United’s “perfect result” against Liverpool as his team won 2-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday to cement their spot in second place in the Premier League table and give themselves a five-point lead over their fierce rivals.

Although he said he “wouldn’t go as far” to call the performance perfect as United’s 2-0 half time lead, via two Marcus Rashford strikes, was halved by an own goal by Eric Bailly and came under threat from late Liverpool pressure, Mourinho was fairly happy with a characteristically dogged display from his side.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned ]

However, he wasn’t happy with United’s supporters.

In the second half they loudly criticized academy graduate Scott McTominay who kept possession rather than going forward to give his team a breather with a veteran move. Mourinho applauded on the sidelines at the time, then hit out at United’s supporters over the way they treated the young midfielder.

Asked by reporters if he was unhappy with fans booing his decision to take off Rashford who was on a hat trick, Mourinho instead rounded on them for their loud criticism of McTominay.

“I am not upset at all with that reaction. I am upset with a reaction they had with Scott McTominay. A kid, 20 years old, was making all the right decisions and they want him to make the wrong decisions,” Mournho said. “When a kid decides to break the intensity of the game, not to lose, keep possession and play a back pass to give a solution and keep the ball in the opponents in the other half. It was a wonderful solution that many top players with experience, they don’t do it. The kid did it and the fans reacted against the kid. That, for me, was the bad one. To react against me and my decisions, that’s not a problem.”

It was another fine display from McTominay in the engine room alongside Nemanja Matic as United barely missed Paul Pogba who missed out through injury after getting injured late in training on Friday.

Mourinho was generally positive about the Old Trafford atmosphere, but he still isn’t happy with some of United’s fans and made his feelings very clear.