"Once I had a great relationship with Mourinho... the next day I didn't know what happened" - Paul Pogba criticises Jose Mourinho the manager in explosive exclusive interview; watch extended interview before Man Utd vs Burnley on Super Sunday live on Sky Sports Premier League; kick-off 4pm
Saturday 17 April 2021 07:37, UK
Paul Pogba has delivered a scathing verdict on Jose Mourinho's man-management, accusing the former Manchester United manager of casting players, including himself, aside without explanation.
Pogba - Mourinho's world-record marquee signing following his 2016 appointment at Old Trafford - was instrumental as the Portuguese guided United to League Cup and Europa League glory in 2017 in his first season in charge.
But Mourinho's relationship with some of his players deteriorated after a trophy-less second season and poor start to the 2018/19 campaign, typified by a training ground spat with Pogba after the player was stripped of the United vice-captaincy in September 2018.
Mourinho was relieved of his duties three months later as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the helm, and Pogba has lifted the lid on the contrasting methods of the current United manager and his predecessor.
"What I have now with Ole is different, he wouldn't go against the players," Pogba exclusively told Sky Sports in an interview that will run in full ahead of Manchester United's Super Sunday clash with Burnley. "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."
Asked about Pogba's remarks by Sky Sports following Tottenham's draw at Everton, Mourinho responded: "I would like to say that I couldn't care less with what he says. I am not interested at all."
Pogba has not been the only player to not see eye to eye with Mourinho, with Luke Shaw frozen out of the first-team fold after the former United boss suggested he lacked football intelligence.
Shaw had a good performance, but it was his body with my brain. It was because he was in front of me and I was thinking for him, I was making every decision for him. He cannot play with my understanding of the game; he must think and accelerate the process. He’s old enough to have a better understanding of the game.
Shaw has previously said Mourinho was right to criticise him in a bid to try and improve his performances but the left-back recently admitted it was a "very difficult time" of his career.
Since Solskjaer's appointment, however, Shaw has flourished, forcing his way back into the England set-up after a three-year absence, and Pogba believes the current United manager has played a crucial role in helping his team-mate's qualities come to the fore.
"Maybe [Solskjaer's methods work] because he is a bit closer to the people," Pogba explained.
"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."
Pogba's comments came after United avenged October's humiliating 6-1 defeat at the hands of Mourinho's Spurs with a 3-1 victory at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last Sunday.
Mourinho hit back at Solskjaer in a heated exchange of words after the United boss criticised Heung-Min Son's involvement in Edinson Cavani's controversial disallowed opener.
Pogba was equally dismissive of Mourinho's attempt to deflect away from Tottenham's performance, adding with a smile: "I don't know what happened, I'm sure Mourinho said something that would make people speak, that's what he does.
"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.
"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's angry reaction to Solskjaer after the Norwegian hit out at Son dominated the fallout from United's win at Spurs.
Solskjaer complained Son had "conned" the referee with his part in United's disallowed goal during the first half, going down after being caught by the stray arm of Scott McTominay before Cavani scored.
VAR reviewed the issue, sending referee Chris Kavanagh to the pitchside screen, with the goal disallowed. Son then put Spurs ahead, but United fought back with goals from Fred, Cavani and substitute Mason Greenwood to secure three points.
Speaking after the game, the United boss told Sky Sports: "I have to say, if my son gets that in the face from one of his mates, stays down for three minutes and needs 10 of his mates to help him up, he won't get any food."
Mourinho responded: "I just want to say, Sonny is very lucky that his father is a better person than Ole, because I think a father - I am a father - you have to always feed your kids, it doesn't matter what they do.
"If you have to steal to feed your kids, you steal. I am very, very disappointed, and like we say in Portugal bread is bread and cheese is cheese, I told Ole already what I think about his comments."
Manchester United vs Burnley will be shown live Super Sunday on Sky Sports Premier League and Main Event from 3.30pm; kick-off 4pm.
Sky Sports customers can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
Watch the extended interview with Paul Pogba plus analysis from Sky Sports pundits in the studio from 1.30pm on Super Sunday.
In the latest Pitch to Post Preview show, Kate Burlaga is joined by Ben Grounds, Adam Bate and Kaveh Solhekol to preview the weekend's football action.
PART 1 - Everton vs Tottenham preview - top-four chances assessed | Is Spurs' Premier League position about right?
PART 2 - West Ham looking for unprecedented top-four finish | Is Moyes manager of the year? | What is Jesse Lingard's future?
PART 3 - Arsenal and Man Utd's Europa League chances after QF progression | Pogba and Cavani | Are United in best shape post-Fergie?