Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho ‘staged Paul Pogba bust-up’ during Manchester United days
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Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho staged his infamous bust-up with Paul Pogba during their time together at Manchester United, it has been claimed. The two are primed to be reunited on Sunday, with the teams facing off in their Premier League clash in north London. And it promises to be a blockbuster showdown.
Mourinho signed Pogba for Manchester United back in the summer transfer window of 2016.
The France international swaggered back into town after departing for Juventus four years previously and, initially, things worked well.
Pogba was a vital asset for Mourinho as United won the EFL Cup and Europa League trophies in 2017, starting both final triumphs over Southampton and Ajax respectively.
Yet things soured the following year.
Pogba was unhappy at the arrival of Alexis Sanchez and Mourinho, frustrated with the midfielder’s inconsistency, started to bench him for Scott McTominay with increasing regularity.
In September 2018, things came to a head on the training ground.
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Sky Sports cameras picked up Mourinho venting his fury at Pogba, who he believed had uploaded a jovial Instagram clip after a shock EFL Cup defeat to Derby County.
Yet a source has told now The Athletic that Mourinho ‘deliberately interrogated Pogba’ over the incident in front of the cameras for effect.
One is quoted as saying: “Blame shifting.
“It was a staged bust-up. Jose saw Paul in the changing room before going out, so could have done it there. It was diversion tactics, 100 per cent.”
Another insider added: “Once you start falling out with the players, or if they are in cliques, it makes it very difficult.
“The situation became hard. He’d say things in the media. When it goes wrong, he almost likes to air his dirty laundry in public. A lot of people would keep things quiet, but he goes the other way.”
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Pogba seems far happier at United nowadays, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in charge.
But his long-term future at Old Trafford is currently up in the air, with his contract due to expire in the summer of 2022.
Solskjaer has, however, made it clear he wants the 2018 World Cup winner to stay put – believing he’s vital to the club’s future.
“While he’s been at the club Paul has always wanted what is best for Man United,” the Norwegian declared. “He’s been such an important part of the squad on and off the pitch.
“Paul is a player we want to see at Man United and play well. Just to have him back fit for the last two months, he’s going to be important to us.
“We know he can be the difference between many, many points or going through in Europe like we did against AC Milan.
“The focus is now on finishing the season strongly and Paul knows what my thoughts are.”
He also insisted a fully-fit Pogba would be a ‘boost’ ahead of the crunch months of the campaign.
“It’ll be a massive boost and he’s come back bright and he’s ready to go,” the United manager said. “We know how important he will be for us and how important he has been.
“To have players of his quality out for longer periods, that just shows the quality of the others as well.
“But towards the end of the season now, having Paul back fit and getting our forwards back firing again, hopefully we can get that spark and score more goals again.”
Mourinho guided United to second in the Premier League table in 2018, with Solskjaer on track to do the same.
But while the Tottenham boss expressed a belief that feat was one of his finest achievements within the game, his successor at Old Trafford has taken issue with those words.
“If we manage that you can’t say that is an achievement. Our ambition is a lot more than second place,” said the 48-year-old.
“I said that when I wasn’t even at the club – you can never be happy with that and we’re not.
“The mood in the club is good, but the players are not happy – they are hungry to improve and win something.
“They want to establish themselves in and around the top of the league.”
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