Jose Mourinho has told Paul Pogba to have a “good impact” on the team ahead of Manchester United’s meeting with Valencia in the Champions League.
The 55-year-old was furious with Pogba’s wastefulness on the ball against Southampton, leaving him out of subsequent starting XIs for home games with Arsenal and Fulham.
He confirmed over the weekend that the Frenchman would start in Spain – a move which implies he will not start against Liverpool at Anfield.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Mourinho stressed the importance of Pogba playing for the team against Valencia.
Mourinho on Pogba: “I’m looking for him to play well in a team with players who don’t have many miles on their legs, some players who aren’t playing a lot. I’m hoping that people like Paul and a couple of others can have a good impact on the team.” #MUFC
— Manchester United (@MUFCScoop) December 11, 2018
And when asked about whether he could get the best out of Pogba, the 55-year-old responded in spiky fashion.
Mourinho on getting best out of Pogba, “I don’t think your question goes in the direction of what I want to answer or hear. I don’t like your question.”
— Chris Winterburn (@cmwinterburn) December 11, 2018
That last quote is telling. It is a common trait of Mourinho to immediately smack down the idea that, with better coaching, a different tactical approach, or even just a more conciliatory form of man-management, he could perhaps get more out of Pogba’s qualities. For a player who needs space to gallop into, there is no wonder the Frenchman struggles when holding the ball, static, in his own half, with nobody around him producing any meaningful movement.
Unfortunately, Mourinho will never concede this notion, despite its obliviousness.
And so, if Pogba is to regain his place in the starting XI, it looks as if he will have to do it the Mourinho way.