Paul Pogba form at Manchester United not down to injury, Jose Mourinho says
By Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 31/03/18 3:02pm
Jose Mourinho says it is down to Paul Pogba to explain his poor form, with the Manchester United boss insisting injury is not to blame.
The 25-year-old French midfielder has been criticised for some inconsistent performances following his world-record return from Juventus.
His second campaign began well but has struggled since returning from his 10-week hamstring lay-off in November and had further spells on the sidelines through fitness and form.
Discussing Pogba's form, Mourinho said ahead of Saturday's home clash with Swansea: "It's nothing to do with his injury. His recovery was good."
When asked what it is to do with, the Portuguese said: "Ask him. Ask him when you have a chance what he thinks about it.
"I work (to get the best out of him). It's the only thing I can do. I cannot do anything else. This season and also last season (he had a bad injury).
"I think he is very fine after the injury. It was a difficult injury, it was an injury that other players, other clubs, other medical assessments, they end in surgery.
"His option with the medical opinions was not to go to the surgery table and his recovery was really, really good.
"I think he is more than fine in relation to the recovery from the injury, which is a muscular area sometimes where you have a recurrence. In his case, not at all."
Last month Mourinho denied "lies" about their relationship amid speculation of unhappiness on both sides, but said at the same time that Pogba "didn't play well" in recent matches.
That was a rather restrained critique from a manager who has not held back on some of his other players, most notably Luke Shaw.
The 22-year-old has endured large stretches out of the squad and been subjected to public criticism. He was hauled off midway through the FA Cup quarter-final win against Brighton before the international break.
Shaw was said to be annoyed by those comments and to be taken off at half-time, when he reportedly asked Mourinho in the dressing room "why are you always picking on me?"
Asked about this, the United boss said: "A report said that Luke asked me why I changed him? I told him. He didn't ask me the question. I told him.
"What happened since then? Nothing. I am the coach. I make the changes I want to do when I want to do.
"If I want to change the player in minute five I change the player in minute five. If I want to change in minute 98, I change in minute 98.
"The moment when a new rule comes to football that forbids managers to do that then I become a pundit, not a manager. Nothing happened."
On the prospect of Shaw being at Old Trafford next season, Mourinho said: "I think he will. But I always say that door is open for everyone, so no problem for him but I think so. He's selected. He's in the 18."