LONDON - Paul Pogba might have reached the pinnacle of his career by winning the World Cup this summer, but Jose Mourinho couldn’t resist issuing a word of caution to Manchester United’s erratic midfielder on Wednesday.
Mourinho hopes that Pogba can carry his success with France over to his club career after crowning an impressive tournament in Russia with the crucial goal in the final against Croatia. However, the United boss believes Pogba needs to appreciate why he was so effective for Didier Deschamps’ team if he is to hit the same heights for United.
"I hope he understands why he was very good," said Mourinho, who had a troubled relationship with Pogba last season. "It’s about his performance level and contribution to a winning team."
Pogba is one of several World Cup stars absent from United’s tour of the US, which kicks off in the early hours of Friday morning against Club America in Phoenix. Mourinho says he made little contact with the players during their time in Russia
“I did with him (Pogba) what I did with all my players. I sent a nice message before the World Cup and during it, I did not disturb anyone," he told the Manchester United website. "They needed to focus on the job for their national team. After the World Cup, I sent a different message than to the other guys, because he won the competition.”
Mourinho’s problems have been compounded by the absence of Alexis Sanchez in America. The manager admitted he doesn’t know if the Chile midfielder will be able to join his team-mates after being denied a visa over his conviction for tax fraud in Spain. "It’s really bad, really sad," he added. "It’s not good for him, for me, for the team, for the (International Champions) cup. It’s not good for anyone."
Mourinho will also have to make do without new signing, Diogo Dalot, who will miss the start of the Premier League season due to a knee injury. The 19-year-old right back joined United from FC Porto, the club Mourinho famously guided to the Champions League title, in June on a five year contract.