Sunday 18 November 2018

'I've never been happier with Pogba' - Mourinho

Paul Pogba’s form has been inconsistent since Mourinho brought him to Old Trafford two years ago (Martin Rickett/PA)
Paul Pogba’s form has been inconsistent since Mourinho brought him to Old Trafford two years ago (Martin Rickett/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Paul Pogba will retain the captain's armband for Sunday's Premier League game against Brighton, as he insisted he has 'never been so happy' with the French midfielder than he is now.

After a week of heated speculation over the future of United's club record signing amid claims of a training ground bust-up between the player and manager, Mourinho's comments at his latest press briefing were eagerly anticipated and they did not disappoint.

Urging the media to tell the truth about his relationship with Pogba, he offered these warm words of support for the World Cup winner who has been strongly linked with a move to Barcelona in recent weeks.

"The truth is we are together for two years and a couple of weeks and I’ve never been so happy with him as I am now, that’s the truth," stated Mourinho.

"I cannot demand more from him, I cannot ask more from him, he came here on a Monday, trained three days, I asked for his support for his contribution in an important match for us when the team had difficulties.

"He did it better and for more time than we could expect, when he says he did it for the fans and for the team is exactly what I want, is exactly what I demand from my players, he’s working well, playing well, he does for the fans, he does for the team and that’s what I want, to play for the team and I couldn’t be happier than what I am.

"I have no problem with him at all. I repeat: I want him to play well, I want him to play for that team, the fans, and that is what it is.

"He’s working extremely well here but I have to say in his defence, write what you want about him, me, please don’t say lies, don’t put him in a situation that people can think he’s not a polite, educated guy, he is."

A relatively upbeat Mourinho also dismissed a report in The Sun newspaper suggesting Pogba had a bust-up with his manager at United's Carrington training ground earlier this week as he stated: "He never had a fight with me. We never had a harsh exchange of words, everything is respected, I have no problems at all.

"If his objective is to play for the team, for the fans, if this is the objective he has the right of a bad match, everybody has a bad day and has little ups and downs in the performance level and if he has a bad game, no problem."

When asked about Pogba's comments that he cannot give his views on his United future for fear of getting fined by his manager, Mourinho was quick to side-step the question.

"You have to ask Paul," he added. "I’m here for two years and a couple of months and the only player that was fined was AM, so is not easy to be fined here, so you have to ask him. I’m not going to ask him. I want him to work the way he is doing and play the way he is doing and that’s all that matters."

It was the first time Mourinho had confirmed Martial was fined after he failed to return to the club's pre-season tour of America as he attended the birth of his child.

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