Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has branded Paul
Pogba a ‘virus’ after his side drew 2-2 with struggling Southampton at Old
Trafford, according to the Daily Record.
Pogba starting the game after being dropped against Young Boys in the Champions League midweek, however, he didn’t look up to it.
The Portuguese manager accused the 25-year-old of showing a lack
of respect towards his fellow players and the Man United fans.
Mourinho called out the French midfielder in front of
his team-mates in his post-match team talk, according to a dressing room insider.
“You don’t play. You don’t respect players and supporters.
And you kill the mentality of the good honest people around you,” the
55-year-old is believed to have told the former Juventus player.
Mourinho lauded Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay but was critical about the rest of his midfield.
“The second goal was a direct free-kick and the first goal was because we don’t press enough the ball when our block is low, which is something that we do wrong,” Mourinho said.
“Doesn’t matter the system we play, has to do with the characteristics of the players. We don’t have many – with all the respect, hope people understand what I mean – we don’t have many ‘mad dogs’. The ones that bite the ball all the time and press all the time, we don’t have many people with that spirit so nothing to do with the system.
“I thought Scott (McTominay) and (Nemanja) Matic, they did a very positive job for two midfield players (playing in defence), and Phil Jones leads that group of three in a way that we were totally in control. I would say the only problem that we had was that the two attacking players didn’t have enough continuity because in midfield we lost too many balls.
“We lost so many balls in midfield, we lost so many balls in our transition to the last third, it was difficult to have that continuity. I think it is the only reason. What we did so well in the last 15, 20 minutes of the first half, which was to connect with the attacking players by transporting the ball, leaving the ball in the right moment, the right choice of pass, playing simple, accelerate the game.
“In the second half we went back again to that dynamic where we lose too many balls midfield. And when the players don’t understand that simplicity is genius, especially in some parts of the pitch, and they keep and keep and keep in going to complicated football it’s difficult to have that continuity.
“But good spirit, good fight, good comeback from 0-2 to 2-2. Great examples of players fighting until the limits where probably I would say as positive examples, Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones, of course many others showing that respect for our shirt, that respect for the club. I think it was not the result that we want, but a performance that, apart of that interruptions we had in our attacking waves from midfield – apart of that – I think had positive sense.”
The draw leaves the Manchester side seventh in the
league, six points off the top four and a massive 16 points behind their city
rivals, despite Mourinho saying his team could top-four by the end of the year.
It is the latest in the Mourinho/Pogba saga as the ex-Chelsea
boss stripped the World Cup winner of the vice-captaincy earlier in the season
as he criticised the side style of play before a heated training confrontation
with the gaffer.
Pogba has reportedly told his former team-mates at
Juventus he wants a return to the Old Lady, while he also said Turin feels like
home, and it could be the cards if his relationship with Mourinho doesn’t improve.
The 25-year-old is 11/2 to leave Old Trafford in the
upcoming transfer window with Barcelona his most likely destination at 10/1
with Juventus following at 16/1.