Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has opened up about his relationship with manager José Mourinho and admits that there have been “small issues” between the two during their time working together at the club.
Mourinho made Pogba one of his first signings after taking charge of Man United in 2016, sanctioning the Frenchman’s exciting return for a then-world-record £89m following a four-year stint at Juventus.
Pogba left United to join the Serie A giants on a free transfer in 2012 after refusing a new contract due to broken promises over playing time but re-joined with all the expectations in the world hanging on his shoulders.
It hasn’t quite been a smooth ride in England for the 25-year-old though, and he’s received constant mass criticism for inconsistent performances and concentration on other things such as hair styles off the pitch.
Of course, Pogba has shown clear signs of his potential during the course of his two years as a regular first-team star, but supporters have been growing impatient with his failure to live up to his hefty price tag as of yet.
The fact that Mourinho was willing to spend a record amount to bring the dynamic midfielder back to the Premier League shows how much faith he had in him at the time, but that faith seemed to be fading away last season.
Pogba was hauled off in January’s 2-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur following what looked like a spat with his boss on the touchline as United were shambolic at Wembley Stadium, and was dropped for key fixtures afterwards.
The most notable came when he was left out of the starting line-up to accommodate Scott McTominay in the humiliating 2-1 defeat to Sevilla in the UEFA Champions League which saw Manchester united exit at the round of 16 stage.
Mourinho has found a tendency to publicly call out his underperforming players such as Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and of course Pogba, which has sparked speculation over his future.
However, Pogba has shunned rumours of a continued rift with Mourinho, despite admitted to minor problems in the past, and has reaffirmed his focus on the 2018 World Cup currently going down in Russia.
Speaking to the media ahead of France’s final Group C game against Denmark at the Luzhniki Stadium on Tuesday afternoon, Pogba said:
“It was a better season than the previous one; an experience. There were some small issues with [Mourinho], but they were nothing in the end. Being a substitute, that sort of thing, helps you to grow. I have to accept it.”
One of the clubs regularly mentioned when his potential destinations are discussed, if he was to leave Manchester, is Paris Saint-Germain in his homeland. But he made sure to set the record straight.
“I am at Manchester. I have my contract here for now, all the rest is just words, that’s it. I am concentrating on the World Cup. It is always great to play with great players, but that does not mean I want to go [to PSG].”
Pogba certainly didn’t have as bad a season as many pundits and other football fans may suggest. His 10 Premier League assists, United’s best, were only bettered by four players.
There’s no doubting that the France international will be desperate to improve throughout the 2018-19 campaign and prove to his manager that he’s the man to build the team around for the foreseeable future.
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