Friday 18 January 2019

Pogba can’t start thinking he’s bigger than Mourinho, warns Darren Fletcher

The former Manchester United midfielder said the France international had been ‘totally out of order’.

The relationship betwen Jose Mourinho (left) and Paul Pogba came under intense scrutiny (John Walton/PA).
The relationship betwen Jose Mourinho (left) and Paul Pogba came under intense scrutiny (John Walton/PA).

By Press Association Sport staff

Darren Fletcher has strongly criticised Paul Pogba in the wake of Jose Mourinho’s sacking as Manchester United manager, insisting the France star “needs a kick up the backside”.

Pogba posted “Caption this!” alongside a picture of himself adopting a knowing look on social media following the Portuguese’s departure on Tuesday.

That post was quickly deleted, but former United and Scotland midfielder Fletcher branded Pogba’s actions “totally out of order”.

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Former Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher was hugely critical of Paul Pogba (Martin Rickett/PA).

“I don’t think he’s conducted himself well recently and I think he needs a kick up the backside,” Fletcher told BBC Radio Five Live.

“And I think his post today, whether it was his team or whatever, it was totally out of order. That’s a big concern for me.

“Everybody talked about, ‘Who’s going to go, is it going to be Pogba or Mourinho’. Now, if Pogba starts thinking that he’s bigger than Mourinho, there’s your next problem.

“Somebody needs to get control of Paul Pogba and say, ‘Listen, this hasn’t been a battle between Mourinho and Pogba and you’ve won, you’ve got to go and prove yourself now’.

“And a manager’s got to come in there and demand more from him, to lead this team forward.”

Former United captain Gary Neville also responded to Pogba’s deleted tweet, saying on Twitter: ‘“Caption This” You do one as well!’

United sacked Mourinho on Tuesday after less than three years at the helm, with the Old Trafford club languishing in sixth place in the Premier League.

The Red Devils are expected to appoint an interim manager until the end of the season, with former striker and current Molde boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the frame for that role.

Fletcher criticised United’s hierarchy for potentially setting up an extended period of limbo before settling on their long-term managerial appointment.

Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino’s name has already been floated as a permanent long-term replacement for Mourinho – and Fletcher tipped the Argentinian for the Old Trafford helm.

“I do worry about the fact you’re basically writing off two seasons,” said Fletcher. “You’re appointing a manager next summer. There’s a real concern you could almost have two seasons of building again.

“Manchester United should never be in this position. And it’s mismanagement at the top level.

“Pochettino has had issues with players and he’s dealt with it fantastically.

“He deals with big characters at Spurs, there’s been a few bits and pieces like contract rebels and things like that. And he seems to have sorted that out. So he ticks all the boxes of experience in the Premier League.

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Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with the Old Trafford role (John Walton/PA).

“If Manchester United come calling, that’s big to turn down. I know you can say Real Madrid, but the worry about Real Madrid is, they change their manager every year.

“He could have the chance to be at Manchester United for a long period of time, settle there and build something fantastic. Manchester United have the backing, the resources and a plan that would incorporate winning the Premier League. I’m not sure Spurs’ plan involves winning the Premier League.”

Neville hailed Pochettino as the “outstanding candidate” to replace Mourinho at Old Trafford.

He said on Sky Sports: “When I look at the values of Manchester United, you look at Mauricio Pochettino’s belief in young players at (previous club) Southampton and with Tottenham. You look at his performance levels and the style of play, the way in which he carries himself at all times.

“People suggest he hasn’t won a trophy yet at Tottenham but with a net spend of minus £29million or something over the last four years, I’m not sure he could have done more.

“I do think he is the person who is the outstanding candidate.”

Pochettino himself on Tuesday insisted he is focused only on his job in north London.

The Argentinian – under whom Spurs have finished third, second, and then third again in the last three seasons – told a press conference: “First of all I want to send my best wishes to him (Mourinho) and I feel so sorry because you know very well I have a very good relationship with him.

“Then it’s not my business, what happened at another club. I only want to send my best wishes to Jose.

“We know a lot of rumours happen. But it’s not my business what happens in another club now.

“I’m so focused on delivering my best job, our best job, in this club.”

Former United Rio Ferdinand felt Mourinho had taken United as far as he could.

He said on Instagram: “Jose Mourinho Leaves @manchesterunited Right now is the right time.. things aren’t improving & he has taken it as far as he can…

“I was one of his biggest advocates 2 & half years ago when he joined the club & felt he stabilised #mufc when we needed it…

“You can’t ignore what Jose has achieved as a manager previously but I feel the time has come for fresh ideas at #MUFC…!

“People have been critical of my comments on TV of late but as a fan I am saying it as I see it. The club needs an injection of positivity & hopefully this decision will allow that to happen.”

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