Jose Mourinho has hit out at reports Paul Pogba could seek to leave Manchester United, slamming the speculation as “lies” in a fiery press conference.
Pogba was dropped for a 2-0 win at home to Huddersfield Town in the Premier League earlier in the month and the France international struggled on his return to the team in a 1-0 loss at Newcastle United on Sunday.
A lacklustre Pogba was substituted in the second half, with various media reports claiming after the match that Mourinho’s relationship with the midfielder had broken down.
But an angry Mourinho, facing media ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie at Huddersfield, denied he has any problem with Pogba, who he says is out of form rather than unhappy at Old Trafford.
“When you say a lot of speculation you should say a lot of lies,” Mourinho said. “I accept and can speak on Paul’s behalf, he accepts he is not playing well but that’s all.
“If you want to speak about it that’s one thing then your word ‘speculation’ makes sense, but the majority of the things you can read and listen to, don’t be nice, be objective and say it’s lies.
“I don’t have to speak to you about my decisions, it’s my problem and the player’s problem. [It is] a big lie that our relationship is not good, a big lie that we don’t communicate, a big lie that we don’t agree with his positions and his involvement in the dynamic of the team.
“Be objective and say what we all know, he didn’t play well in the last couple of matches, end of story. It’s my problem and Paul’s problem to deal with it and influence his performance level. No need to be a liar.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 16, 2018
Pogba’s best position has been the subject of great debate this season, with the midfielder appearing to struggle when playing in a midfield two.
But Mourinho pointedly noted Pogba was selected in his preferred position, on the left of a midfield trio in a 4-3-3, during his poor showing at St James’ Park.
“Somebody tell me in which position Pogba played against Newcastle, any one of you want to tell me?” Mourinho said.
“We played with one six and two eights, [Nemanja] Matic as a six, [Jesse] Lingard on the right and Pogba on the left side.
“You know which is his preferred system? 4-3-3. You know his favourite position in the 4-3-3? Eight on the left.
“So it is easy and honest and objective to say Paul didn’t play well against Newcastle but some of the guys [pundits] they are paid millions.
“Don’t let people read things that are not true. You are paid to read and explain the game, don’t say [lies].”
Mourinho confirmed that regardless of the stories about Pogba’s future, the midfielder will feature against Huddersfield on Saturday in the FA Cup, while centre-back Eric Bailly is fit to play in the game.
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