Mourinho defends envied Pogba; Rostov pitch banned

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Jose Mourinho says Paul Pogba doesn’t care about criticism, but the Manchester United manager sure does.

Mourinho spent a good portion of Wednesday’s press conference defending the midfielder as United prepares for the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 second leg against Rostov.

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“Envy is everywhere,” Mourinho said. Here’s more, from the BBC:

“I feel the world is losing balance. Envy coming to certain levels. I am scared for the next generation,” said Mourinho.

“[It’s] not Paul’s fault he gets 10 times money and some ex players need money. I and the club are very happy with Paul.”

Pogba did not have a good match against Chelsea but has otherwise been outstanding in the center of the park. He’s fallen victim to the problem of evaluating big money purchases who aren’t goal scorers.

In terms of advanced stats, Pogba is United’s top performer according to WhoScored and is third-top in the entire Premier League according to Squawka.

Another takeaway from the press conference is that Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial remain out for striker-short United, which is without suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Marcus Rashford started up top in Monday’s FA Cup clash with Chelsea, missing a chance to tie the match but also limited by United going down to 10 men after little more than a half hour.

Oddly enough, Mourinho was proven right for his blistering criticism of Rostov’s pitch ahead of last week’s 1-1 draw in Russia. Not only did the players agree, but there’s news Wednesday that the Russian Premier League has banned two pitches including Rostov’s for being subpar.