Paul Pogba has launched a scathing attack on Jose Mourinho and accused his former manager at Manchester United of working against his own players and deliberately deflecting focus away from his defeats.
The Premier League’s most expensive player, signed by Mourinho in 2016, says his relationship deteriorated over the way the Portuguese coach treated him during his two-and-a-half seasons at United.
Pogba, 28, contrasted the situation with current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who wants the France midfielder to stay at United beyond 2022 when his deal expires.
“What I have now with Ole is different, he wouldn’t go against the players,” said Pogba. “He wouldn’t go against the players. Maybe Ole wouldn’t pick them, but it’s not like he puts them on the side like they don’t exist anymore. That’s the difference between Mourinho and Ole.
“Once I had a great relationship with Mourinho, everybody saw that, and the next day you don’t know what happened. That’s the strange thing I had with Mourinho and I cannot explain to you because even I don’t know. So, yeah.”
Mourinho’s methods are now under scrutiny at Tottenham Hotspur and he was engaged in a war of words with Solskjaer before and after the defeat to United last weekend, taking aim at the Norwegian for saying his sons would not be fed if they reacted like Son Heung-min when struck by Scott McTominay.
United won the fixture 3-1 and Pogba felt Mourinho tried to divert attention away from the result with his post-match comments.
“We got the result we wanted, Ole knows it and we enjoyed that moment because we know Mourinho and we know what he likes. We don’t need this [war of words], we just focus on us,” Pogba said, speaking to Sky Sports.
“We won the game, he lost the game and he doesn’t want to speak about the game, he wants to speak about the dad of someone, that’s what he does. Everybody knows him, it’s very Mourinho.”
Mourinho stripped Pogba of the vice-captaincy in his final season at United and then had a heated exchange filmed during a training session. Pogba says Solskjaer is closer to the squad and pointed to Luke Shaw’s resurgence as a mark of the current manager’s standing in the squad.
“Maybe [Solskjaer’s methods work] because he is a bit closer to the people,” Pogba said. “Every coach has their own way to coach and deal with players, and as a player you have to adapt. Sometimes it doesn’t suit you and sometimes it does.
“Ole has helped Luke a lot, it was a difficult season with Luke and Mourinho, and he has proved he has the quality he always had and the trust of the manager. I don’t know what happened, I’m sure Mourinho said something that would make people speak, that’s what he does.”