Jose Mourinho held clear-the-air talks with Paul Pogba for an hour in his office at Manchester United’s training headquarters this week, it has emerged.
Mourinho on Friday dismissed reports of a rift with the club’s £89million record signing as ‘lies’ and ‘bull***t’, but admitted Pogba is not playing well enough.
Sportsmail can reveal that the two met at Carrington for an hour on Tuesday after the Frenchman was substituted at Newcastle and Tottenham and dropped to the bench against Huddersfield.
They are understood to have had a frank discussion about Pogba’s form and best position, which left the 24-year-old midfielder stony-faced when he emerged.
‘I don’t have to speak with you about my conversations with my players — it’s my problem and the player’s problem,’ said Mourinho, who confirmed that Pogba will play in the FA Cup fifth-round tie at Huddersfield today.
‘Paul accepts he has not been playing well but that’s all. It’s a big lie that our relationship is not good, that we don’t communicate, that we don’t agree with his positions and his involvement in the dynamic of the team.
‘Say what we all know in the last couple of matches: he didn’t play well. Period. End of story. Now it’s my problem and Paul’s to improve his performance level.’
United sources say Pogba’s ‘nose has been put out of joint’ by the arrival of Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal last month.
The former Juventus star is also understood to be unhappy playing alongside Nemanja Matic in a 4-2-3-1 formation, preferring a more liberated role on the left-hand side of a 4-3-3 similar to the one he had in Italy.
Reports originating from France have suggested that Pogba is having some regrets about rejoining United in a then world record deal in the summer of 2016 and may reconsider his future at the end of the season.
Graeme Souness, Roy Keane and Paul Ince are among the pundits to weigh into the debate, but Mourinho hit back on Friday.
He said: ‘The position is quite ridiculous. I don’t want to be nasty but here we have the biggest pundit industry. There are hundreds of them with great background and knowledge in football. Some of the guys are paid millions. They are paid to read the game and explain the game. Don’t say bull***t. You don’t need to come with, “We want to sell him”. You don’t need that.
‘Some of them I know for many years and I know their surname is Liar and that’s not nice. He plays against Huddersfield.’
United watched Nice’s Ivory Coast midfielder Jean Michael Seri in the Europa League this week, ahead of the summer recruitment drive.
Barnsley have appointed Mourinho ally Jose Morais, 52, as their head coach. He worked with Mourinho at Inter Milan.