Jose Mourinho has being discussing Paul Pogba, once again, as the Manchester United superstar was left out of the starting lineup for their 2-2 draw against Arsenal on Wednesday.
Pogba played in the draw at Southampton at the weekend but struggled, and both he and Romelu Lukaku were dropped to the bench for the game against the Gunners.
Mourinho’s pre-game notes in United’s programme stated that “there isn’t space for people that are not ready to give it their all” and many believed he was pointing the finger at Pogba after his inconsistent displays and amid reports the Portuguese coach had called Pogba a “virus” after his disappointing display against Saints.
Mourinho revealed before the Arsenal game that Pogba had been dropped simply due to “tactical reasons.”
Both Pogba and Lukaku came on and had an impact in the draw, but we all know things are far from rosy for the star duo right now.
Speaking about the general situation to reporters after the game, Mourinho was happy with Pogba’s play off the bench but again pointed to defensive injuries causing issues.
“I think Paul came on and gave a good contribution,” Mourinho said. “I brought freshness and power to the attacking players but our defenders were dead. That made it more difficult to keep that happiness for the 95 minutes. In the last part of the game it was Arsenal wanting the draw, diving, getting the game stopped.”
It is now four Premier League games without a win for United and Mourinho, but there’s no doubting that the spirit his team showed against in-form Arsenal proved they can nd drag themselves back into the top four race. The likes of Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo are far from fully fit but Mourinho had to use them and he is cranking up the pressure on his board all of the time to make at least one big defensive signing in January.
United currently sit eight points out of the top four and unless Pogba and others start to perform consistently it is tough to see them qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.
Mourinho’s bizarre treatment of Pogba, Lukaku and others is clearly having an impact on their performances and there is no end in sight.
His old school man-management just doesn’t appear to be getting the best out of United’s young, but sometimes misguided, players.