Friday 25 May 2018

Manchester United backing Jose Mourinho for squad overhaul and would sanction sale of Paul Pogba

Jose Mourinho’s relationship with Paul Pogba is coming under increasing scrutiny as the Frenchman struggles to justify his huge transfer fee. Photo: Getty Images
Jose Mourinho’s relationship with Paul Pogba is coming under increasing scrutiny as the Frenchman struggles to justify his huge transfer fee. Photo: Getty Images
'Mourinho is fully aware of the situation and knows that, if United do not do better in the league and the Champions League, his own position will come under threat.' Photo: Getty Images

Jason Burt

Jose Mourinho has the full backing of Manchester United to undertake a radical overhaul of his underperforming squad this summer - even if that means selling Paul Pogba.

The midfielder is understood to be part of Mourinho's plans, as things stand, but the manager was extremely disappointed and felt let down by his performance during the shocking defeat at home to West Brom on Sunday.

Mourinho is expecting a response from the midfielder from now until the end of the season. If Pogba does not improve, Mourinho could attempt to force him out of United. The hierarchy are adamant the club will have made progress under Mourinho, even if they do not win a trophy this season, but he has to push on in the next campaign and mount a far more serious title challenge to maintain that support.

Mourinho is fully aware of the situation and knows that, if United do not do better in the league and the Champions League, his own position will come under threat.

Demanding

Having called out his players following the West Brom defeat, Mourinho is demanding a response - beginning with the Premier League match away to Bournemouth tonight and then the FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. That competition is United's last chance to win a trophy this season.

Pogba, along with big names such as Alexis Sanchez, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera, are in danger of being dropped for the Wembley encounter after lacklustre performances at the weekend.

Mourinho has already made it clear to United that, despite the significant spending under him so far, he wants another summer of huge investment - and will point to Manchester City's backing of Pep Guardiola as justification.

Mourinho is prepared to ditch some of his own signings, whom he believes have failed to cope with the demands.

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For some of the players who have fallen out of favour with the manager, there has been a lingering hope that they may outlast him, but it is becoming increasingly apparent that United will back Mourinho for at least one more summer.

It is already known Luke Shaw, Matteo Darmian and Daley Blind are up for sale, but it is possible that Anthony Martial, who is disenchanted, Mata, Herrera and - most dramatically of all - Pogba could be added to that list, despite the French international being the most expensive signing in English football at £89m.

Guardiola disclosed that Pogba's agent, Mino Raiola, had contacted clubs earlier this year to gauge interest in him and the relationship with Mourinho has become increasingly strained.

A big stumbling block, should Pogba be put up for sale, is which club could afford to sign the 25-year-old. Paris Saint-Germain could be a logical destination but there is no suggestion they have made a move, while Real Madrid have said any deal would be too expensive.

Tonight Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford, who started the defeat to West Brom on United's bench, are expected to come into the side and, as Mourinho suggested on Sunday evening, they may stay there for Saturday.

"Rotating is not the right word," the United manager said. "If I play a player against Bournemouth and the player is phenomenal, he plays the semi-final. So is not rotating." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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Telegraph.co.uk

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