Jos Mourinho has said Paul Pogba will start Manchester Uniteds game at West Ham on Saturday but warned that, as manager, he has to defend the club
Jos Mourinho has said Paul Pogba will start Manchester Uniteds game at West Ham United but added a warning that no player is bigger than the club.
Uniteds manager said Pogba deserved selection after training well since being stripped of the vice-captaincy. Pogba was informed by Mourinho on Tuesday that he would not wear the armband again and the following morning the pair were involved in a training-ground incident regarding the midfielders posting of an Instagram story. Mourinho was concerned that the video featuring Pogba laughing might have come after the Carabao Cup defeat by Derby County.
This proved not to be the case and Mourinho is content to select Pogba on Saturday at West Ham but his accompanying remarks were pointed and appeared to be directed at a wider audience. This season Mourinho has been particularly warm towards the fans, applauding those in the Stretford End after a 3-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur, and his comments may have been partly to send a message to this constituency. He seems to be working hard to retain support amid apparent disagreements with the executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, and his most expensive player and some disappointing results.
Hes a player like the others; no player is bigger than the club and, if Im happy with his work, he plays; if Im not happy, he doesnt play, he said. Im happy with his work this week, really happy Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday especially, because today was not so significant but he trained really well.
The team needs good players, players with personality to play; he has and he plays tomorrow. Manchester United is bigger than anyone and I have to defend that.
Mourinho bridled when asked whether he might have had the conversation with Pogba away from the cameras filming the session on Wednesday because it proved disruptive. Disruptive? I think for you it was amazing because you made a story, an incredible story out of 15 minutes of an open training session. I have to train as always I dont care about the cameras. What confrontation?
Mourinho was in relaxed mood, perhaps intent on showing that the previous few days had not affected him, and joked with his media officer. Maybe it is your fault, he said to her. What happened the other day happens many days; conversations with players I have many times loud criticism, loud instruction, happens every day. Coaching is about that but you make story about it. So Im happy the rules are only 15 minutes once a month [for filming training].
He refused to reveal what was said between him and Pogba but characterised their relationship as normal. I think Paul [said the same] in one of his appearances in the famous mixed zone and he is correct. Is a good relation: player manager.
Regarding Pogba not being captain again, Mourinho said: Paul and the other players in the squad know in detail the reason why myself and my coaching staff, we decide to do that. After weeks of analysing and changing opinions with my staff we made the decision Paul is just a player. Paul was not the [only] vice-captain. We have [Antonio] Valencia as captain and then a group of players that could be vice-captain.
Mourinho has questioned his teams attitude more than once this season and clarified why. Sometimes I feel frustrated because the work we do and what we give to the process, Im always expecting more. Especially in terms of stability in the process. It looks like when we are really improving and playing better and having a good run, there is always a little going down in terms of focus or motivation.
In comments in which he appeared to absolve himself of any responsibility for the problems, he said: Sometimes Im frustrated or surprised by a lack of concentration or apparent I repeat apparent lack of commitment and lack of attitude. If I put myself in the position of a journalist, maybe people think that sometimes the boys are not committed, the manager doesnt demand enough from them, on the training ground we dont train enough this area or that area. Thats quite frustrating.
He also denied some of his squad are intimidated by the United shirt. I dont think any player is afraid to play for the club, he said.
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