Saturday 21 July 2018

Jose Mourinho hits out at 'lies and b******t' over his relationship with Paul Pogba


Manchester United's Paul Pogba. Photo: Sportsfile
Manchester United's Paul Pogba. Photo: Sportsfile

Timothy Abraham

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has angrily denied problems with out-of-form Paul Pogba.

United's record signing has been substituted in recent defeats to both Tottenham and Newcastle and French publication L'équipe claimed Pogba, who rejoined United from Juventus for £89.3m in August 2016, had been unhappy in a more defensive role in the team and perceived his future away from Old Trafford.

The United manager spent the majority of his press conference ahead of the club's FA Cup fifth-round tie with Huddersfield Town angrily responding to questions over Pogba's future at the club amid speculation of a rift between him and the player.

Mourinho hit back at what believes are "lies" and "b*******t" regarding the France international before taking aim at the tone of the questioning.

"I think you are nice with your words because when you say a lot of speculation, you should say a lot of lies," he said.

"I can speak on Paul's behalf without any kind of problem. He accepts he's not been playing well in the last few matches, but that's all.

"It's a big lie that our relationship is not good. It's a big lie that we don't communicate. It's a big lie that we don't agree with his position and his dynamic within the team.

"The team needs him at a good level and when he isn't the team is not as good. So be objective and say what we all know - in the last couple of matches he didn't play well. Period.

"The majority of the things you can read and listen to - don't be nice, be objective and say lies."

Mourinho acknowledged Pogba preferred to play on the left of a midfield three in a 4-3-3 formation, whereas many argue he has been playing in a deep midfield role as part of a 4-2-3-1.

However, Mourinho insisted that was not the case, and Pogba has been given opportunities in his favourite position.

He said: "It's quite ridiculous to speak about his position. I would like somebody to tell me in which position they think Pogba played against Newcastle.

"We played with Matic, Lingard on the right side of Matic and Pogba on the left side of Matic. You know which is Pogba's preferred formation? 4-3-3. You know which is Pogba's favourite position in a 4-3-3? On the left. Some of the pundits are paid millions - don't say b******t." Mourinho did admit, however, that United are looking to strengthen the midfield area with Michael Carrick, 36, retiring at the end of the season and taking up a role on United's coaching staff.

"We need to sign a midfield player," Mourinho added. "Because we are going to lose Michael Carrick. Of course, we need balance in the team.

"Some of you (the media) keep saying that we are going to buy that striker, that winger, that left winger, that right winger.

"You can accuse me of many things, but you cannot say that I lied to you. When I don't want to say things, I don't say (them). But I don't take you in other directions.

"We are looking and we are going to try to sign a midfield player."

Carrick has talked up 21-year-old Scott McTominay as a potential replacement for him, and Mourinho insisted he is aware of the academy graduate's ability having utilised him in 12 games this season. "Scott McTominay didn't arrive here from the moon," added the Portuguese. "Before he came to the first-team he trained with us many times last season."

United face a crunch period of matches after the clash against Huddersfield including a two-legged Champions League tie against Sevilla and Premier League games with top four rivals Chelsea and Liverpool.

"Let's go step by step. The next one is the one that, on Saturday at 7.30pm, we are out of the FA Cup or we are in the quarter-final draw," he said.

© Independent News Service

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