The Man United boss was asked about Scholes’ recent comments on Pogba, which suggested that the Frenchman wasn’t putting enough effort in and could be playing far better.
Pogba, whether in response or not, put in a sublime second-half performance against Everton in Monday’s 2-0 win. He assisted twice, creating seven chances in tot, as he played in a new position, on the left of a midfielder three, playing very high up.
He’s usually been played far deeper and been responsible for taking the ball off the centre-backs and taking it forward, not letting United fans see his true quality.It was evident on Monday.
“I think the only thing Paul Scholes does is to criticise,” Mourinho said at the start of a harsh critique of Scholes.
“I don’t think he comments, I think he criticises, which is a different thing, but not every one of us has to be phenomenal, like he was as a player.
“He was a phenomenal player, that doesn’t mean that we all have to be phenomenal. Paul (Pogba) tries to do his best all the time. Sometimes he plays very well, sometimes he plays well, and sometimes he does not play so well.”
Mourinho attributed Scholes’ criticism of Pogba to jealousy from a United great towards the team’s current best player in a strange suggestion.
“It is not Paul’s fault that he made much more money than Paul Scholes,” Mourinho said. “It is not Paul Pogba‘s fault, it’s just the way football is.
“But I think Scholesy will be in the history like a phenomenal player, not as a pundit. So I prefer to look at him as a phenomenal player who gave so much to the club I am proud to represent and every day I try to do my best.”
Scholes’ criticism of Pogba’s effort was harsh and probably unjust. However, his critique of Pogba’s performances was correct. The 24-year-old was far improved against Everton and showed just how good he can be, so Scholes questioning why he wasn’t playing like that in the previous weeks is justified.
Mourinho continued to speak about Scholes’ coaching ambitions. The Englishman recently revealed that he wanted to take the under-23s’ managers job at Old Trafford but was rejected by his former club in favour of Ricky Sbragia, who returned to replace Warren Joyce having left in 2005.
“If Paul one day decides to be a manager, I wish that he can be 25 per cent as successful as myself, because 50 per cent is 12 and a half silverware, 25 per cent is around six. If he is 25 per cent, he will be quite happy.
“In my mind, Paul Scholes a phenomenal player, one of the best players I have ever seen playing in midfield and he gives so much to my club, I only can thank him for that, because the prestige of this club is based on people like him, so successful here.”
It’s perhaps not a rant aimed solely at Scholes, but at the Class of ’92 group turned pundits: Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs. Neville less so, but Giggs and Scholes have both spoken of their ambitions to have jobs at United in a coaching capacity. That’s far from helpful for Mourinho, and neither is their criticism. He’s hit back, and strongly. It will cause divisions in United’s support.