The 55-year-old was unhappy with the way Pogba went about his game during Manchester United’s 2-2 draw with 18th placed Southampton over the weekend, reportedly branding him as a ‘virus’ in front of his teammates.
“You don’t play,” he supposedly said. “You don’t respect players and supporters. And you kill the mentality of the good honest people around you.”
Speaking ahead of the game, Mourinho refused to engage journalists on the matter whatsoever, emphasising his wish to not play their game.
There are more than one ‘club sources’ claiming some sort of exchange went on between Pogba and Mourinho in the dressing room at Saint Mary’s. And they have probably sprouted up because, firstly, the Frenchman’s sloppy performance was unavoidable and, secondly, since he was targeted by Mourinho in his immediate post-match comments.
“I think because we lost so many balls in midfield,” he said. “We lost so many balls in the last third it was difficult to have that continuity.”
“I think that was the only reason. What we did so well in the last 15-20 minutes of the first half was to connect with the attacking players by transporting the ball, leaving the ball in the right moment, the right choice of pass, playing simple, accelerating the game.”
What concerns most is not necessarily the personal strain between Pogba and Mourinho. It is the professional strain. One believes the other needs to play within the parameters set for him; the other believes the parameters need to change in order to get anywhere. That, right there, is a fundamental difference of professional opinion which may well lay the platform for Pogba choosing to leave over the summer.