Monday 16 September 2019

'Mourinho cannot stand for it' - Paul McGrath with a warning for Pogba as his Man United career threatens to turn sour

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho speaks with Paul Pogba during the game. Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho speaks with Paul Pogba during the game. Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

Paul McGrath believes Jose Mourinho will get Paul Pogba out of Manchester United if his presence threatens his authority at Old Trafford.

While Mourinho has dismissed reports that he has fallen out with Pogba in recent weeks, United legend McGrath suspects relations between the manager and player are fraying after Pogba was left out of the United side for high profile games this month and and substituted in defeats against Tottenham and Newcastle.

Now McGrath has questioned whether the France midfielder was ‘too sick’ to play in last weekend’s FA Cup fifth round tie at Huddersfield, as he cast a doubt over his long-term future at United.

"Mourinho has to come to out and downplay any suggestion of a rift with Pogba, but I wonder whether something has gone on between them in the last few weeks,” McGrath said.

"If Pogba has answered back to Mourinho and shown him a lack of respect, he cannot stand for it.

"After what happened to him at Chelsea, when the players turned against him and got him out of the job, he will never allow himself to be in that position again and if Pogba or anyone at United is trying to give the impression that they are bigger than the club or the manager, they will not be at the club for long and I include Pogba in that.

"Was he really sick on the morning of the Huddersfield game last weekend? If he was ill, he made a very rapid return to health as he was training again a few hours after the match and I would not be surprised if he pulled out of that game for alternative reasons.

"I was also a little concerned by his attitude when he went on in Champions League game at Sevilla on last night. He looked less than enthusiastic to get involved in the game when he went on to replace Ander Herrera and that would be a big worry to me. He doesn’t seem focused at the moment for whatever reason."

McGrath believes Pogba is still burdened by his hefty €100m price tag, as he admits he may never be good enough to reach the levels of the world’s elite stars.

"Pogba is a fine player, but that valuation put on him when United signed him will never go away and people will always expect him to be as good as Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi as a result," believes McGrath.

"He is probably never going to reach those levels, and very few players ever will, even though I have been impressed with him at times since he came to United. For a big man, Pogba has great feet and athleticism, but Premier League teams don’t take long to work out to find ways to nullify a player and you can see that rival managers and players have worked out how to counteract him.

"I would love to see Pogba become a big success at United, but it is pretty clear that Mourinho is struggling to integrate him into his team and if he becomes a nuisance, this will end with the manager winning any battle.”


An Evening with Paul McGrath, John Aldridge and Shay Given will look back on 30 years since Ireland’s Euro 88 heroics and celebrate the best moments in Irish soccer at Dublin’s Bord Gáis theatre May 7th. Tickets are on sale now.

Online Editors

The Throw-In: Selection dilemma for Dublin and All-Ireland ladies football final preview

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Also in Sport