Michael Owen: Jose Mourinho to blame for Paul Pogba’s poor form at Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Michael Owen believes the blame lies at Jose Mourinho’s door when it comes to Paul Pogba’s poor form for Manchester United this season.

The Frenchman was excellent at the World Cup in the summer, improving as the tournament went on and scoring in the final.

His relationship with Mourinho and many supporters, however, has become toxic, and the 55-year-old’s lack of attacking nuance has severely limited what Pogba can offer this team.

Speaking earlier this week, Owen insisted Mourinho was failing to get the very best out of his players at Old Trafford.

“I think he’s a great player, although I find it quite frustrating watching him,” he said. “Considering his age he ought to know a lot more and play a lot more maturely than he does.”

“Consistency comes with maturity, but again there’s mitigating circumstances with the manager and things like that. Under Ferguson he would be the best player in the world.

“He got the best out of players and would see the unbelievable talent. You look at the likes of Eric Cantona. Even if he did something that everyone sees is wrong, Ferguson would still make a case and make allowances for players like that, because he realised how important they are.

“Mourinho has a long list of players…you look at Mohammed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne, players like that. Now Pogba and Alexis Sanchez. There’s no question that they’ve been better in different teams and I think you could say that about a lot of his players. Mourinho has improved some players – but the majority of those are defenders.”

Just a few months ago, Pogba was lifting the World Cup as one of France’s best players at the tournament. He had been brilliant: powerful, skilful, determined, energetic, smart, connecting with his teammates.

Weirdly enough, though, all of that deserts him when he pulls on the red shirt. But of course it doesn’t. That talent is still absolutely there. And the same goes for Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku.

Mourinho, in over two years, has not created a collective way of playing, nor provided key players with the platform to fulfil their potential. It is no surprise that Pogba wants to leave.

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