Sport Soccer

Friday 17 August 2018

Jose Mourinho defends Paul Pogba after Paul Scholes criticism

The Manchester United midfielder’s performance against West Brom was described as “disrespectful” to his manager.

AFC Bournemouth v Manchester United – Premier League – Vitality Stadium
AFC Bournemouth v Manchester United – Premier League – Vitality Stadium

By Nick Purewal, Press Association Sport

Jose Mourinho has rejected stinging criticism from Paul Scholes on Paul Pogba, insisting the France midfielder produced another “top performance” at Bournemouth.

Pogba laid on Romelu Lukaku’s goal as Manchester United prevailed 2-0 in Wednesday’s Premier League clash, with Chris Smalling also on target.

Former United midfielder Scholes insisted Pogba’s below-par showing in Sunday’s 1-0 home loss to West Brom was “disrespectful” to Red Devils boss Mourinho.

But Mourinho rejected that critique, choosing instead to praise Pogba for hitting back to form on the south coast.

Asked to comment on Scholes’ criticism of Pogba, Mourinho replied: “I don’t agree. I agree that it wasn’t a good performance at all (against West Brom); with that I agree.”

Scholes told BT Sport “I thought it was a bit disrespectful towards his manager the way he played”, of Pogba’s showing in Sunday’s 1-0 Old Trafford defeat to basement club West Brom.

Mourinho made seven changes from the loss that handed Manchester City the league title for the Bournemouth trip – but crucially retained Pogba.

And the former Juventus star produced a much-improved display, leaving Mourinho purring.

Asked to rate Pogba’s showing at Bournemouth, Mourinho replied: “Top performance. Top performance. Obviously the performance against City was special, coming with two goals.

“But this performance was a very similar level. So top performance. He can do it.”

United’s return to winning ways was not enough to ease Mourinho’s frustrations over Sunday’s shock home defeat to West Brom however.

The former Chelsea boss insisted he continues to mourn that loss, even if he still believes United can catch back up with champions and rivals City in future.

“My face is still the face of last Sunday and not the face of somebody who just finished a game and a win,” said Mourinho.

“I still live with the emotions of last Sunday.

“I know how to win titles. In case some of you guys don’t know I won eight championships in four different countries, and three in this country.

“I know why you win, I know why you don’t win.

“OK, no doubts about City’s quality, and that in any circumstances they would win this title because they are the better (team).

“But we could have, perfectly, I would say 10 more points than we have.

“No doubts we should have 10 more points than we have.”

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe bemoaned a rejected penalty claim after Luke Shaw had tangled with Callum Wilson.

The Cherries manager was left to draw positives from an improved performance despite compounding their 3-0 loss at Liverpool.

“Callum’s got goal side and the chance to tap the ball into an empty net, and for me it’s a penalty,” said Howe.

“It was a key moment in the game, with us 1-0 down.

“On the balance of play I think we deserved to get back in the game. And then they showed their quality on the counter-attack.

“It was much improved from the Liverpool game, but we were unlucky overall.”

Press Association

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