I’ve never been so happy with Paul Pogba as I am now’ – Mour­inho

‘I can­not de­mand more from him, I can­not ask more from him’

The Irish Times - Sports Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - Jamie Jack­son

José Mour­inho has claimed to be en­joy­ing his strong­est ever work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Paul Pogba, with the Manch­ester United man­ager prais­ing the France mid­fielder for his ap­pli­ca­tion since re­turn­ing from the World Cup – point­ing in par­tic­u­lar to last Fri­day’s dis­play against Le­ices­ter City.

Pogba con­tin­ues to be an is­sue for Mour­inho fol­low­ing the 25-year-old’s com­ments af­ter that 2-1 win over the Foxes when he claimed he would be fined for “say­ing cer­tain things”.

Com­pounded by Barcelona’s re­jected bid for him and Mour­inho’s as­ser­tion that Pogba must treat each match for United with the same in­ten­sity as those he played for his coun­try at Rus­sia 2018 the pair have been re­ported to have a dif­fi­cult re­la­tion­ship.

Yet Mour­inho struck the op­po­site tone. “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,” Mour­inho said. “I can­not de­mand more from him, I can­not ask more from him, he came here on a Mon­day [last week], trained three days – I asked for his sup­port for his con­tri­bu­tion in an im­por­tant match for us when the team had dif­fi­cul­ties.

De­mand

“He did it bet­ter [than I hoped] and for more time than we could ex­pect [be­fore be­ing sub­sti­tuted]. When he says he did it for the fans and for the team that is ex­actly what I want, ex­actly what I de­mand from my play­ers. He’s work­ing well, play­ing well, he does it for the fans, he does it for the team and that’s what I want, to play for the team and I couldn’t be hap­pier than what I am.”

In An­to­nio Va­len­cia’s con­tin­ued ab­sence Pogba will re­tain the arm­band for Sun­day’s trip to Brighton for the 4pm fix­ture. Asked specif­i­cally about Pogba’s claim re­gard­ing be­ing fined, Mour­inho said: “I don’t care. I re­peat: I want him to play well, I want him to [do] 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, me, 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 warm [heated] ex­change of words, every­thing is re­spected, I have no prob­lems at all.

“You have to ask Paul [about the fine com­ments]. I’m here for two years and a cou­ple of months and the only player that was fined was An­thony Mar­tial.

“So it 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.”

In­ac­tiv­ity

Mar­tial’s fine re­lates to the for­ward’s in­ac­tiv­ity for over a week fol­low­ing the birth of his child in July. He is not ex­pected to start against Brighton but Mour­inho be­lieves Pogba can turn in another im­pres­sive per­for­mance at Brighton, even if Va­len­cia will re­sume the cap­taincy on his re­turn from in­jury.

“I am very con­fi­dent but if he doesn’t, that’s foot­ball,” said the 55-year-old. “If he doesn’t that’s foot­ball. If his ob­jec­tive is to play for the team, for the fans, if this is the ob­jec­tive – he has the right of a bad match, ev­ery­body has a bad day and has lit­tle ups and downs in the per­for­mance level.

“Go­ing back to the ques­tion is he the cap­tain? No. An­to­nio Va­len­cia [is]. Last sea­son we thought he should be­fore the game against Basel. We thought young guy but good per­son­al­ity, made in the academy, nor­mally a start­ing line-up player – he has con­di­tions to be cap­tain in the fu­ture, and in the [think­ing] of this he was the cap­tain and will be the cap­tain again. But when An­to­nio comes back he will be the cap­tain.”

Mour­inho also stated that Mat­teo Darmian is not ex­pected to leave the club, with Italy’s trans­fer win­dow clos­ing last night.

He said: “I don’t think he will go, and he can­not have any bad feel­ing to­wards us be­cause we opened the door for him in case his de­sire was to go. But it looks like it’s not go­ing to end in a trans­fer and for me is good news that Mat­teo is stay­ing.”

– Guardian

Paul Pogba: Jose Mour­inho praised the mid­fielder for his ap­proach

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