Jose Mourinho insists he ‘could not be happier’ with Paul Pogba amid rumours of a rift between the Manchester United duo.
Pogba has been consistently linked with a move to Barcelona over the course of the summer but has remained at Old Trafford.
Reports emerged this week of a fresh dispute between the United boss and his midfielder, but Mourinho says he is happier with Pogba now than at any other point since his then world record return to Manchester two years ago.
He said: “The truth is we are together for two years and a couple of weeks and I’ve never been so happy with him as I am now, that’s the truth. I cannot demand more from him, I cannot ask more from him.”
Mourinho was particularly impressed that Pogba answered his SOS to play in the opening Premier League game against Leicester after just three days training following his return from his post-World Cup break.
“He came here on the Monday, trained three days, I asked for his support, for his contribution in an important match for us when the team had difficulties. He did it better and for more time than we could expect.”
After his impressive performance, Pogba pointedly said he did for the fans and the team – but didn’t mention Mourinho.
Mourinho however says they are exactly the sentiments he wants to hear.
“When he says he did it for the fans and for the team is exactly what I want, is exactly what I demand from my players.
“He’s working well, playing well, he does for the fans, he does for the team and that’s what I want, to play for the team and I couldn’t be happier than what I am.
“I don’t care [about his comments]. I repeat: I want him to play well, I want him to play for that team,, the fans, and that is what it is.
“He’s working extremely well here but I have to say in his defence: write what you want about him and me, but please don’t say lies, don’t put him in a situation that people can think he’s not a polite, educated guy, he is.
“He never had a fight with me. We never had a heated exchange of words, everything is respected, I have no problems at all.
Asked what Pogba meant when he said there were things he couldn’t say because he would be fined, Mourinho said that in his two seasons in charge he had only fined one player, Anthony Martial.
That was this summer when Martial missed eight days of training after being given permission to leave United’s pre-season tour in the USA to attend the birth of his second child.
“You have to ask Paul,” he said. “I’m here for two years and a couple of months and the only player that was fined was Anthony Martial, so is not easy to be fined here, so you have to ask him. I’m not going to ask him. I want him to work the way he is doing and play the way he is doing and that’s all that matters.”
Mourinho believes Pogba and United’s other World Cup late starters will be in far better condition after a full week of training and hopes he will maintain the level of performance he showed against Leicester, when he was man of the match.
But he insists he will not turn against him if he has a bad performance
“I am very confident he will play well but if he doesn’t, that’s football,” he said.
“If his objective is to play for the team, for the fans, he has the right to have a bad match. Everybody has a bad day and has little ups and downs in the performance level.”
Pogba will keep the captaincy for Sunday’s trip to Brighton but Mourinho will give the armband back to last season’s skipper Antonio Valencia when he is fit to return to the team again, although he hinted that Pogba could be the team leader again in the long-term.
“For the next match Paul will be captain it will stay with Antonio Valencia,” he said. “Last season I made Paul captain against Basel we thought he’s a young guy but a good personality, he was made in academy, normally a starting line-up player, so he has conditions to be captain in the future. But when Antonio comes back he will be the captain.”
Valencia and Nemanja Matic are back in full training after their injuries but are not in contention for selection for the trip to the Amex Stadium.
Copyright © 2017| MegaIconMagazine. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.megaiconmagazine.com as the source.