L’Equipe helped launch the story of Paul Pogba’s cold-war with Jose Mourinho and the French newspaper don’t seem ready to let go of the idea yet.
As they preview Sevilla versus Manchester United, they turn the whole thing into a Pogba article. That’s reasonable, he’s French and it’s a French newspaper but there’s quite some stretching going on to make the story stand.
Saying the ‘soap opera’ is continuing, L’Equipe again bring Manchester United’s big January signing into the story: ‘It may be a coincidence, but here: between Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba, until the arrival of Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United, everything was fine. It’s as if, since then, Paul Pogba was no longer Jose Mourinho’s favourite player, suddenly. Maybe he was not before, but the Portuguese coach made him believe it, at least.’
Pogba will be a 25 year old man by the middle of next month, not a needy boy stumbling into his teenage years and he can surely handle a manager making other big signings.
Mourinho’s Friday press conference is then picked upon, with it being stated the manager didn’t kill the story (again it’s worth pointing out L’Equipe largely started it): ‘Jose Mourinho has done absolutely nothing to remove the suspicion.’
The Manchester United manager had insisted the reports were ‘lies’, there’s not really an awful lot more he could have done, but the scene here has been set.
L’Equipe say that whilst a month and a half ago Mourinho was holding Pogba aloft as ‘the best midfielder in the world’ now he ‘doesn’t miss an opportunity to throw a stone in the garden of the French player, and it’s sometimes the rock of Gibraltar.’
So what’s this big rock Mourinho has disturbed Pogba’s Eden with? Praising 21 year old Scott McTominay: ‘He suddenly felt the need to say a lot of good about McTominay, his young midfielder, releasing last week: “He deserves to play more. He does not have coloured hair, no big car or big watch, no tattoos.”
‘In the process, he praised his simplicity.’
Pogba doesn’t have tattoos, praise the lord Mourinho made that distinction or it may have been taken as a declaration of war.
‘Sick, not sick, punished, not punished?’ ask L’Equipe, and if Pogba doesn’t start tonight, which they expect he will, there’s going to be more stirring from France.
Man United’s Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho problem: Six of one, half a dozen of the other.
Shades of same problems Deschamps had: "I’m not going to build the team around Paul…. he needs to adapt."
And what L'Equipe said, then and now.
— Sport Witness (@Sport_Witness) February 15, 2018