Mourinho defends Pogba, denies rift

AP
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Jose Mourinho has denied he’s fallen out with Paul Pogba at Manchester United.

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Following Pogba’s Man of the Match display as United’s captain in their 2-1 win against Leicester City to open the weekend, the French midfielder said he would be fined if he spoke about rumors regarding a move to Barcelona.

Mourinho told reporters “you have to ask him” when asked to explain Pogba’s comments, and he then went on to defend his relationship with the World Cup winner.

“The truth is we are together for two years and I’ve never been so happy with him as I am now. That’s the truth. I cannot demand more from him, I cannot ask more from him,” Mourinho said. “It is exactly what I demand from my players, what he is giving me. I want him to play for the team, which he is doing and I couldn’t be happier than what I am.”

Pressed further about why Pogba — who was handed the captains armband for the season opener and will keep it for the trip to Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday — believed he would be fined if he spoke out, Mourinho was defiant.

“I don’t care. I want him to play well. I want him to play for the team. I want him to play for the fans. And that is what he did. He is working extremely well here,” Mourinho said. “I have to say, in his defense, write what you want about him, write what you want about me. But please, don’t say lies. Please don’t put him in a situation where people can think that he is not the polite, educated guy, that he is. He has never had a fight with me. We never had an exchange of words. I have no problems at all. The only player that has been fined here is Anthony Martial, it is not easy to be fined at this club.”

Mourinho is rallying around Pogba and wants to put an end to the speculation around the World Cup winner moving away from Old Trafford.

With Barcelona lurking, Pogba won’t be sold this summer, surely, but there have been more than a few strong hints of their relationship breaking down over the past two years. From Mourinho not praising Pogba for his mature, powerful displays for France at the World Cup to Pogba being dropped last season, United’s manager can’t blame everyone else for picking up on some negative vibes.

Mourinho seems to want to end the speculation but it is down to Pogba to state if he’s happy or not at United under the combative Portuguese coach.