Thursday 19 April 2018

Mourinho blasts Scholes and 'rock star' pundits for Pogba criticism

 

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Jason Burt

Jose Mourinho has hit back at the "kings of rock and roll" of football punditry who criticise him - and even accused one of them, former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes, of being jealous of the money earned by Paul Pogba.

Following United's recent goalless draw against Southampton, Scholes, in his role as a pundit for BT Sport, had claimed that Pogba "doesn't look fit" and did not play like a "£90 million" midfielder, and accused Mourinho of failing as manager.

After the 2-0 win at Everton last night, Mourinho did not hold back and also claimed that other former United players who work in the media were hard on him because "they would love to be in the club and that is a problem I cannot resolve".

Upset

Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Ryan Giggs are among those who are working, or have worked, as pundits, as are Owen Hargreaves and Roy Keane, and Mourinho has clearly been upset by the criticism he has faced - although he focused his attention on Scholes.

"Maybe I'm lucky this time and the kings of the rock and roll who say I was underperforming last time think I have done well this time," Mourinho said.

Asked specifically about Scholes's comments, he added: "I think the only thing Paul Scholes does is to criticise. I don't think he comments, he criticises, which is a different thing.

"Not every one of us has to be phenomenal like he was as a player. He was a phenomenal player - that does not mean we all have to be phenomenal.

"Paul (Pogba) tries to do his best all the time. Sometimes he plays very well, sometimes he plays well, sometimes he doesn't play so well.

"It's not Paul's fault that he made much more money than Paul Scholes. It's not Paul's fault, it's just the way football is."

Mourinho continued: “Scholes will be in history as a phenomenal player not as a pundit. I prefer to look at him as a phenomenal player of the club I am proud to represent.

“Every day I try to do my best. If Paul one day decides to be a manager, I wish that he can be 25pc as successful as myself. Fifty pc of that is 12.5 silverware. Twenty-five per cent is around six. If he’s 25 per cent, he will be quite happy.

“In my mind, Paul Scholes is one of the best players I have ever seen in midfield. He gave so much to my club that I can only thank him for that. The prestige of this club is based on people like him, so successful here.”

Despite the qualification of constantly referring to Scholes as a “phenomenal” player, Mourinho was playing a dangerous game by being quite so critical of former players who are club legends, particularly as he went into this match with a run of four games without a win, including three successive Premier League draws. However, he did not pull back.

“I think they [pundits] would love to be here,” he said. “They would love to be in the club and that is a problem I cannot resolve.”

Clash

Mourinho also suggested that Romelu Lukaku, ruled out of the Everton game as an injury precaution, having suffered a clash of heads against Southampton, may surprisingly be fit for the FA Cup tie at home to Derby County on Friday.

Mourinho had suggested that Lukaku would be out for another week but later said that because the striker had not lost consciousness against Southampton, he might be fit.

Despite the win, Mourinho claimed United were “in trouble” with the injuries they faced – nine players were out and Chris Smalling, on the bench against Everton, was not fit enough to come on.

“I don’t know about transfers,” he said, with the January window now open.

“In this moment we are in trouble, in two to three weeks’ time maybe we recover and we breathe in a different way. Can we improve now or do we wait until the summer? I cannot say.”

Critics may also have been on Lingard’s mind as he put a finger to his lips while celebrating his goal and he later tweeted: “Dont Even Talk Too Much.”

Everton’s defeat was a second in succession and manager Sam Allardyce wasx disappointed by his team’s defending.

“Our attacking powers are limited. We know that, that is why I have worked so hard on keeping clean sheets,” he said.

“That is going to be our main objective – to make sure we pick up more results, by not conceding goals, knowing that one goal can win us three points.”

“James McCarthy, for me, was the shining light for us when he came on because he actually went and tackled somebody and showed the rest of our team how we had to go about our job.

“We’d worked our way back into the game. We looked a threat again which we hadn’t for that 20-minute period in the second half and the game was in the balance with 10 minutes to go.”

Allardyce said he hoped to know within the next 24 hours if his club’s attempt to sign Besiktas striker Cenk Tosun would be successful, amid fears that the Turkish club have upped their asking price.

“We have done all we can,” Allardyce said. “I presume we will know in the next 24 hours if we are successful or not. Our deal is in and it’s up to them whether they accept it or not.

“We need to strengthen the front line – we all know that.” 

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

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