Paul Pogba has insisted that Manchester United should “attack, attack, attack” when playing at home at Old Trafford, despite performances under manager Jose Mourinho often showing what is seemingly the opposite.
It is the latest in a subtle war of comments between player and manager, but the first since tensions appeared to be cooling. Pogba was heavily linked with a Man United exit in the summer, most notably to FC Barcelona and Juventus, his former club.
Barcelona scouted Pogba in last week’s UEFA Champions League victory against Young Boys. Mourinho and the Frenchman reportedly have a frosty relationship, and Pogba’s most recent comments will not help that.
He has openly questioned United’s approach to football when playing at home, effectively challenging his own manager.
“We are at home and we should play much better against Wolves,” Pogba said, via the Telegraph.
“When we are at home we should attack, attack, attack. That’s Old Trafford. We are here to attack. I think teams are scared when they see Man United attacking and attacking. That was our mistake today.
“We should just attack and press like we did against Tottenham, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal last season. When we play like this it’s easier for us. What’s stopping us? I can’t tell you because I’m a player. It’s not me.”
What Pogba is saying is what most Man United fans think. Mourinho’s side are far too passive at home. They fall into a pattern of sitting back once going ahead in games, whether at home or away, and allow other teams to regain a foothold in the fixture.
Thta’s what happened with Wolves. United could have come out for the second half fighting to end the game with a second goal, but instead it was Wolves who threatened immediately after the break, eventually netting the equaliser through Joao Moutinho in the 53rd-minute.
“Maybe we should have showed more hunger in some parts,” Pogba admitted, after Mourinho had lambasted his side for not putting in enough effort.
“Maybe he (Mourinho) is right, I don’t know. Maybe the attitude should be better and we should play better because, again, we are at Old Trafford.”
Pogba’s criticism of his own team looks more like that of a pundit or a fan. He is not a fan. And if this was another player, someone who hadn’t spoken about a future move away from the club in recent months, then it would be fine, and even positive.
Yet with Pogba’s recent flirtatious history with Barcelona, these comments stink of classic super-agent tactics to get their player to leave a club.