Monday 15 July 2019

Mourinho hits out at United, Pogba and player power

Jose Mourinho. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.
Jose Mourinho. Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire.

James Ducker

Jose Mourinho has broken his silence in the wake of his sacking as Manchester United manager last month by launching what appears to be a thinly-veiled attack on the club's management structure, Paul Pogba and player power.

Mourinho also seemed to have Mauricio Pochettino and Jurgen Klopp in his sights as he sought to defend his brand of football by taking a swipe at a younger generation of coaches who are lauded for their style of play, despite a lack of trophies.

The Portuguese - who has ruled out retirement by insisting he "belongs to top-level football" - is gagged from talking directly about United, owing to a confidentiality clause in his £15m (€17m) severance package.

But in his role as an Asian Cup pundit for beIN Sports, Mourinho appeared to leave little to the imagination as he spoke for the first time since his dismissal.

The final, tumultuous months of his reign were marked by disagreements with the board over signings and fallouts with players, most notably Pogba.

Mourinho's relationship with Pogba hit a nadir when he branded the club's £89m record signing "a virus" during a dressing- room tirade after a 2-2 draw at Southampton last month.

And, in what looked like a dig at Pogba, the former Chelsea manager appeared to insinuate that player power was out of control at United by suggesting the days of a player not being allowed to think he was bigger than the club were gone.

"I think it was when Manchester United sold David Beckham to Real Madrid, if I'm not wrong, but the phrase I kept with me from the biggest one in the Premier League - Sir Alex Ferguson - was, 'The day a player is more important than the club, goodbye'," Mourinho said.

"Not any more. Not any more. Because there are many things behind (the scenes) now that means it is difficult to create a situation as linear as this one.

"The manager is there to coach them (players), the manager is not there to keep the discipline at any cost.

"The structure must be made. The structure must be there to protect the manager and for the players to feel that everything is in place and they are not going to arrive into a situation where they feel more powerful than they used to be."

Mourinho appeared to suggest that United's structure behind the scenes was inadequate and responsible for undermining the manager.

"We're not any more in the time where the coach by himself is powerful enough to cope and to have a relation of education and sometimes confrontation with players that are not the best professionals," Mourinho said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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