Jose Mourinho claims he's never been happier with Paul Pogba

Simon Peach 17/08/2018
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Jose Mourinho says he has never been happier with Paul Pogba as the Manchester United manager dismissed talk that tensions had come to a head this week.

The 25-year-old produced a captain’s performance as he opened the scoring and helped United start the Premier League campaign with a 2-1 win against Leicester a week ago.

The display would have gone a long way to silencing talk about Pogba’s Old Trafford happiness was it not for a striking post-match interview in which he claimed that “there are things that I cannot say otherwise I will get fined”.

A report this week said that those comments had led to an angry exchange, but Mourinho diffused such talk ahead of Sunday’s trip to Brighton.

“The truth is we are together for two years and a couple of weeks, and I’ve never been so happy with him as I am now,” the United boss said. “That’s the truth.

“I cannot demand more from him, I cannot ask more from him.

“He came here on a Monday, he trained three days, I asked for his support, for his contribution in an important match for us when the team had difficulties.

“He did it better and for more time than we could expect.

“When he says he did it for the fans and for the team, it is exactly what I want. It is exactly what I demand from my players is what he is giving me.

“He’s working well, he’s playing well, he does for the fans, he does for the team and that’s what I want.

“I want him to play for the team which he is doing, and, I repeat, I couldn’t be happier than what I am.”

JoseMourinhoManUnited

Mourinho’s relationship with Pogba and the club-record signing’s contentment dominated a press conference nominally previewing the Brighton match.

The United boss confirmed that the France international will wear the captain’s armband again on the south coast, but the cloud of the player’s post-match interview continued to linger.

“I don’t care,” Mourinho said of the interview. “I don’t care.

“I repeat, I want him to play well, I want him to play for that team, the fans, and that is what it is.

“He’s working extremely well here, but I have to say in his defence that write what you want about him, write what you want about me, please don’t say lies.

“Please don’t put him in a situation where people can think he’s not a polite, educated guy, which he is.

“He’s very polite, he’s very educated, he never had a fight with me.

“We never had a warm or hard – I don’t know how you like to say – change of words. Everything is respected, I have no problems at all.”

When pressed on the reasons for Pogba making his comments about possibly being fined, Mourinho added: “You have to ask him, you have to ask him.

“I am here for two years and a couple of months and the only player that was fined was Anthony Martial, so it is not easy to be fined here.

“So, you have to ask him. I didn’t ask him, I am not going to ask him.

“I repeat, I want him to work the way he is doing and to play the way he is doing and for me that’s the only thing that matters.”

Mourinho confirmed Martial’s fine revolved around recent events involving his late return following the birth of his second child.

The Frenchman was on the bench against Leicester last week, when Matteo Darmian started despite his explicit intention to return to Italy this month.

But with the transfer deadline on Friday evening, Mourinho now expects the full-back to stay despite links to Napoli, Inter Milan and Juventus.

“I don’t think he will go and he cannot have any bad feeling towards us because we opened the door for him in case his desire was to go,” he said.

“But it looks like it’s not going to end in a transfer, and for me it is good news.

“For me, it is good news that Matteo is staying. He’s always an option for us, he’s always a reliable player.”

Most popular

Monchi, Andrea Berta and Michael Zorc feature in our Man United director of football options

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

After years of mixed results in the transfer market, Manchester United appear belatedly poised to appoint their first-ever director of football.

The Guardian reported that the Premier League giants have decided to “modernise” and fix a “disjointed recruitment” process. This follows a summer transfer window stained by manager Jose Mourinho’s moans about a failure to land targets, plus an apparent disconnect with executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward about the age profile of potential buys.

Here, Sport360 picks out five potential options to fill the role.

ANDREA BERTA (ATLETICO MADRID)

FBL-ESP-LIGA-ATLETICO

If United intend to heal any divisions between Mourinho and Woodward, then Atleti’s Berta could be the perfect contender.

The Italian was first linked to the club prior to Mourinho’s arrival in June 2016. Close ties to ‘super agent’ Jorge Mendes were cited as the reason.

This talk did not come to fruition. But it is easy to see why the likes of United and Paris Saint-Germain have been enamored by his work.

Signings such as Slovenia goalkeeper Jan Oblak and France forward Antoine Griezmann have delivered trophies, plus a steep ascent in transfer value. Even flops like Colombia striker Jackson Martinez have often been sold for profit.

Symbiosis between Berta and head coach Diego Simeone shows how well he would fit into a new structure.

The only clear negative surrounding Berta is the transfer ban incurred by Atleti for breaching rules over the transfer of foreign players under 18 in 2016.

Best signings: Jan Oblak, Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Lemar

Worst signings: Alessio Cerci, Jackson Martinez, Nicolas Gaitan

ANTERO HENRIQUE (PORTO)

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-PSG-MONTPELLIER

The Portuguese administrator has gained unmatched experience working both ends of the transfer market.

In nearly two decades at Porto, he oversaw football’s most productive scouting network. The likes of Radamel Falcao, Pepe and James Rodriguez were procured cheaply and later sold for exorbitant fees.

Such work did not go unnoticed, despite a falling out with Alexandre Pinto da Costa – the son of president Jorge Nuno. A move up the food chain to PSG followed in June 2017.

There, he showed his standing as a deal maker when Brazil superstar Neymar was wrenched out of Barcelona’s grasp for a world-record €222 million (Dh928m) and a loan with a right to buy was negotiated with Monaco for striker Kylian Mbappe.

He’s also sold duds at a profit, such as left-back Yuri Berchiche, to ensure Financial Fair Play is complied with.

Best signings: Neymar, Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez

Worst signings: Walter, Diego Reyes, Adrian Lopez

MONCHI (ROMA)

Benevento Calcio v AS Roma - Serie A

If United intend to hire the very best, there is no question which director of football sits at the pinnacle.

Monchi went from goalkeeper to sporting director in 2000 of a shambolic Sevilla who’d just been relegated to Segunda Division. He left for Roma in April 2017 as a legend.

At Sevilla, homegrown talents – like Sergio Ramos – were twinned with expertly scouted prospects – like Dani Alves – and success followed. An estimated transfer profit of more than €200m (Dh836m) produced 11 major trophies in 17 years.

In the Eternal City, his touch has remained golden thanks to the recruitment of Turkey forward Cengiz Under. Even the rushed sale of Egypt forward Mohamed Salah for just £36.9m (Dh173.1m) to Liverpool can be explained by the necessity of meeting FFP obligations.

Best signings: Dani Alves, Ivan Rakitic, Cengiz Under

Worst signings: Arouna Kone, Andreas Hinkel, Tom De Mul

FABIO PARATICI (JUVENTUS)

Juventus FC v FC Crotone - Serie A

The power behind the throne in Turin and one of the sharpest operators in football.

Sporting director Paratici has played an influential role in the most-successful period in Juventus’ glittering history. Since being headhunted from Sampdoria, he corrected the course of a club who’d spectacularly lost its way in the transfer market.

Under Paratici, Juve dominate the free agents market. This summer’s bargain acquisition of Germany midfielder Emre Can follows on from the likes of compatriot Sami Khedira, the peerless Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba (sold to United for a world-record fee in August 2016).

Paratici is intrinsically linked to Juve’s CEO Giuseppe Marotta. The pair also worked together at Sampdoria.

This could lead to an opening for Woodward if Paratici is eager to strike out on his own. Similarly, he will need to be well advised on whether Paratici is capable of working productively without his mentor.

Best signings: Paul Pogba, Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo

Worst signings: Marco Motta, Alessandro Matri, Simone Zaza

MICHAEL ZORC (BORUSSIA DORTMUND)

Borussia Dortmund v Bayer 04 Leverkusen - Bundesliga

An almost impossible task awaits United if they decide on Zorc – separating him from Dortmund.

Zorc, 55, joined the club as a 15-year-old in 1978. Nearly 500 Bundesliga appearance later, the German midfielder retired in 1998 and moved straight upstairs to become sporting director.

No-one has served longer in the job, at the same side. Few have had such a varied time, either.

Dortmund experienced severe financial difficulties in the early 2000s and tough lessons were learned by Zorc. In the next decade, acute business by bringing in then-unheralded players such as Germany centre-back Mats Hummels and Poland striker Robert Lewandowski produced the 2010/11 and 2011/12 Bundesliga crowns.

Zorc is already set to leave the club in 2021. Can United expedite this process?

Best signings: Robert Lewandowski, Mats Hummels, Tomas Rosicky

Worst signings: Victor Ikpeba, Ciro Immobile, Kevin Kampl

Most popular

Thibaut Courtois' move to Real Madrid leaves Man United confident of David De Gea extension

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Manchester United are increasingly optimistic about agreeing new terms with goalkeeper David De Gea in the wake of Thibaut Courtois’ move to Real Madrid, Press Association Sport understands.

The 27-year-old’s future has been repeatedly questioned since he came close to joining Real Madrid three years ago and United are desperate to keep hold of the Spain international.

Courtois’ move from Chelsea to the Bernabeu last week has taken his most obvious destination out of the equation, boosting United’s hopes of agreeing a new contract with De Gea.

The Spaniard’s current deal expires next summer with a further year existing as an option to be triggered by the club.

The market for keepers has spiralled considerably in the past year, with Jordan Pickford costing Everton £30 million last summer when he was both uncapped by England and recently relegated, and the world record broken twice in the past month.

First Alisson Becker moved from Roma to Liverpool for around £66m, then Chelsea trumped that by replacing Courtois with Athletic Bilbao’s Kepa Arrizabalaga for £72.1m.

That makes the £18.9m De Gea cost in 2011 look paltry by comparison but United’s interest has long been in locking down a long-term stay rather than cashing in.

Most popular