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Mourinho, Man Utd revel in Pogba performance

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Paul Pogba blessed Manchester United with a powerful performance in the Red Devils’ 3-0 UEFA Champions League win at Young Boys on Wednesday, and it was impossible not to notice his class.

[ UCL: Real rocks Roma, Man City falls ]

Jose Mourinho did, as did several of his teammates on a night the French midfielder scored twice and assisted United’s other goal.

“Solid, class and gave the team the pace we needed at times,” said Manchester United’s manager. “He controlled the tempo and of course it was a very good goal.”

Pogba again captained the side, which has won three-straight and allowed just one goal in wins over Burnley and Watford in addition to Wednesday’s win.

Luke Shaw drew a penalty that Pogba converted for the match’s second game, and loved what he saw from his captain. From the BBC:

“He gets some stick sometimes but we know what quality he has. For me, he is one of the best in the world. He is important as captain. He shows on the pitch what kind of leader he is. Hopefully he can carry that on.”

Mourinho’s praise carries a bit more weight considering he didn’t quite enjoy the competition.

“Job done,” he said. “Not phenomenal but good enough. (Young Boys) were intense, compact and had self esteem.”

Mourinho unsure about Pogba’s future at Man United

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Jose Mourinho wants Paul Pogba to stay at Manchester United.

He just isn’t 100 percent sure Pogba wants to stay at United.

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Ahead of United’s trip to Watford on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com), Mourinho was asked about Pogba’s latest comments while on international duty with France.

Asked about interest from Barcelona and his former club Juventus, the World Cup winner said “who knows what will happen in the future.”

Understandably, Mourinho is a little confused.

“In this moment I’m completely in the dark,” Mourinho said. “The only thing that is clear for me is that the player never, never in all these days we are together, told me he wants to leave. Paul came back after the World Cup in the week before the start of the Premier League so we have been together for about two months or so and he has never told me that he wants to leave.

“So I can only comment on what is real for me, not in what I read, not in what I listen to. I have no direct relation with the people that write or the people I listen to. I have a direct relation with the players and he never told me he wants to leave. If he doesn’t tell me he wants to leave it’s because he wants to stay – that’s my conclusion.”

Mourinho’s conclusion isn’t exactly watertight, is it?

The Portuguese coach has been outspoken about Pogba in the past, benching him last season and trying to cajole the central midfielder into his best form. After handing him the captains armband for the first few games of this season, Mourinho and Pogba seemed to be getting a little bit closer.

Yet these rumors about him moving to Barca or Juve aren’t going away and his agent, Mino Raiola, doesn’t seem to be opposed to Pogba moving on from Old Trafford just two years after he arrived from Juve for a then world-record transfer fee.

Okay, now it’s your turn Mr. Pogba. Will he respond to Mourinho’s comments with more cryptic answers? Or will he state his true happiness at United?

Pogba future has Manchester United ‘in the dark’

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Rumors swirl that Paul Pogba, frustrated by his deployment at Manchester United and buoyed in confidence by the World Cup victory, wants to leave Manchester United.

But his manager is standing firm.

Jose Mourinho says that the 25-year-old Frenchman has always remained professional at Old Trafford. “The only thing that is clear for me is that the player never – never in all these days we are together – never told me that he wants to leave,” Mourinho said of Pogba.

To Mourinho, no news is good news. “At this moment, I am in the dark,” Mourinho admitted, but said he’s taking that as a good sign. “If he doesn’t tell me he wants to leave, it’s because he wants to stay. That’s my conclusion, no?”

There’s only one way the Manchester United boss will believe Pogba wants to go. “If I watch [Pogba’s agent] Mr. [Mino] Raiola on the screen saying the player wants to leave, and that he is organizing a way for him to try to leave or so on, then I will believe.”

Pogba was criticized last year for his play as Manchester United finished second in the Premier League, but after watching him play well as France won the World Cup, many have turned to Mourinho as the source of Pogba’s underperformance. The Frenchman seems to have stricter instructions while playing for his club as opposed to the national team, and the freedom he was given in Russia this summer seemed to have a positive effect on his performance.

Mourinho accuses journalists of ‘obsession’ with him

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Jose Mourinho is playing games in the media again.

There’s been plenty of talk about Manchester United attacker Marcus Rashford in the last few days, with some debating how good he truly is, how much playing time he’s earned, and whether he’s rotting away on the Old Trafford bench. So, the Manchester United manager has resorted to the oldest deflection trick in his book to take the pressure off his young England international – make it all about the boss instead.

When asked if he believes Rashford has earned more playing time after scoring twice for England over the international break, Mourinho gave a sarcastic response, making his feelings towards the media well known. “I think I can expect that Sunday I’m going to be highly criticized for not playing him,” Mourinho said, knowing that Rashford is suspended this weekend due to his sending off last time out, “because some of the boys are really obsessed with me and some of them have a problem with some compulsive lies.”

“I can expect that Sunday some of them will wake up in the morning and the first thing they think is Jose Mourinho, so I can imagine on Sunday I am going to be criticized for not playing Marcus but it’s not my fault, he’s suspended,” Mourinho said. “Probably you should remind them he is suspended and cannot play.”

Mourinho came with a prepared list of statistics he read off to the media highlighting his belief that Rashford has played a significant amount of time. He noted that Rashford eclipsed 3,000 minutes in the 2016/17 season across all competitions, and then accumulated another 2,676 minutes in the 2017/18 season. Last campaign, Rashford made 35 Premier League appearances – 18 of them starts – completing at least 80 minutes just 10 times. He also appeared in all eight of Manchester United’s Champions League games, although he started just three of them and averaged just 43 minutes a game.

The Manchester United boss also took an interesting shot at a trio of Chelsea youngsters who happened to at one time be England youth international teammates of Rashford, seeming to subversively criticize Chelsea’s sparing use of its youth products. “Marcus Rashford is not Dominic Solanke. He is not Ruben Loftus-Cheek, he is not Dominic Calvert-Lewin. He is Marcus Rashford, a Manchester United player, with an incredible number of appearances and an incredible number of minutes played at the highest level in the best possible competitions. So Manchester United supporters, for you and just for you, to know what we are doing with Marcus Rashford, that’s what we are doing here.”

Mourinho says he felt the need to read off numbers because the media doesn’t paint a fair picture of Rashford’s role within the squad.

“But for the Manchester United supporters it is important they have the right idea of how things are in reality but the most important thing of all is that the kid is a good kid, a good player, knows what Manchester United did for him. Since I was here, he was never one day out of selection because of my decision, only if he was injured or suspended. He was never ever out of a selection, so he knows and that’s the most important thing.”

Cantona says he would coach Man United if club asked

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Manchester United’s struggles under Jose Mourinho have reverberated throughout the club’s community, and one former Red Devils legend believes he could fix the team’s woes.

At least, if he received a call from the club about coaching.

Former striker Eric Cantona recently spoke with the Daily Mail about the Red Devils and their recent issues, suggesting that only he and Pep Guardiola could save the Old Trafford side from further struggles.

“Listen. I joke about Manchester City but they are playing great football,” said Cantona. “It’s just that I think Guardiola should be at United. He is the spiritual child of Johan Cruyff — he played under Cruyff at Barcelona and learned everything from him. He’s the only person who should be at United.

“Well, except for me. I would like to coach. If they called me, I would go; I would enjoy it. They know where I am. Then we would play creative football once again.

“It would be great for the fans, like it was with Alex Ferguson — he allowed players to be creative, treated them as individuals. We all felt special with him. All felt loved. He was always praising. A good man. A good leader.”