Monday 15 July 2019

Jose Mourinho reveals why he is worried about Manchester United's pre-season and issues challenge to Paul Pogba

Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho
Paul Pogba

Luke Edwards

Jose Mourinho has challenged Paul Pogba to realise why he was so good at the World Cup as he looks to provoke the midfielder into replicating that form for Manchester United.

Pogba was superb in the latter stages of the tournament as France were crowned champions in Russia, but his inconsistency at club level last season was infuriating for United manager Mourinho.

But having seen the 25-year-old emerge as such a powerful presence on the international stage, Mourinho believes that can only be positive when he returns at the start of next month to Manchester.

"I hope he understands why he was very good," said Mourinho, who dropped Pogba at one stage last season following a series of ineffectual displays.

"That's the point about his performance level and contribution to a winning team: it is to understand why he was so good, especially in the second part of the competition, where he was absolutely brilliant.

"To win the World Cup can only be a positive thing. He's amazing, he's fantastic. So many players didn't have the opportunity to win or help their team enough so, for Paul, in the first World Cup he goes to, to be world champions, that can only be fantastic."

Pogba, though, is just one of the big-name players missing from United's US tour and Mourinho admitted their absence meant it would be hard to start the Premier League season at full tilt.

United have, like every major European side, had to start their preparations without those who played in the World Cup, although plans have been further disrupted by the loss of Alexis Sanchez, who has been unable to travel with the squad to America because of a visa problem.

"The pre-season is very bad," Mourinho said. "The positive thing is only for the young boys that have a fantastic opportunity to train with us. Next week will come (David) De Gea, (Nemanja) Matic and Fred, which is good, especially for Fred. He is a new player with us, but everything is really bad and then we go to the UK and have to play the Premier League.

"The broadcasters were not nice to us with the Friday match (against Leicester on August 10) which complicates more things. So, I'm worried because I'm not training (with everyone)."

Mourinho will also have to start the campaign without full-back Diogo Dalot, as the 19-year-old, signed for £19 million from Porto, is injured.

Yet, it is the loss of Sanchez that is most frustrating for Mourinho. "It is really bad, really sad, not good for him, for me, the team," he added.

"There is no one to blame, the club is making the effort.

"I have to respect the US authorities in their process of visas. But hopefully he joins us later because it could be important to work with (Anthony) Martial, Alexis and (Juan) Mata - the players we have in attack for start of the season."

The Portuguese was also vague on whether are new signings are close to arriving, although that is probably sensible given the fact there is going to be made dash in recruitment in the remaining three weeks of the window.

Mourinho said: "I've no idea (about new signings). I'm not going to lie to you, I'm not going to say somebody is coming or nobody is coming."

© Daily Telegraph, London

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