Tensions between Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho were amplified on Tuesday as it had emerged that the head coach told Pogba he would not captain the club again.
According to reports on Tuesday, the announcement came in reaction to Pogba’s post-match comments after Man United slumped to a 1-1 draw to Wolves at Old Trafford at the weekend.
Pogba, who gave the ball away in the lead up to the Wolves’ equaliser, reinforced the need for United to attack, especially when at home.
“We are United and we should play much better against Wolves,” Pogba told journalists after the game. “When we are at home we should attack, attack, attack.”
“That’s Old Trafford. We are here to attack. I think teams are scared when they see Man United attacking and attacking. That was our mistake today.”
However, the Frenchman seemed to backtrack on his comments, suggesting that his words were blown out of proportion in a statement made via his Twitter account.
Some people make polemic even from “good morning” to create drama 🙄 Big Pogoodmorning everyone hope u get it twisted 😂
— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) September 24, 2018
Pogba has worn the captain’s armband three times this season, standing in for Antonio Valencia, but won’t be afforded the opportunity to do so again, after Mourinho clearly took exception to the Frenchman’s comments, not for the first time this season.
“The only truth is that I made the decision of Paul not to be the second captain anymore,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“But no fall-out. No problems at all. The same person that decides Paul is not second captain anymore was exactly the same person that decides that Paul was the second captain, myself.
“I am the manager, I can make these decisions, no fall out at all, no problems at all. Just one decision that I don’t have to explain.”
Pogba also caused some controversy after United’s opening EPL win against Leicester in August, claiming that he’d be fined if he said what he wanted about his situation at Old Trafford. He followed up these comments with another cryptic social media post on Instagram.
The 25-year-old World Cup winner watched from the stands as United suffered its third defeat of the season, in a dismal Carabao Cup showing against Frank Lampard’s Derby County.
Juan Mata opened the scoring with a superb team goal after just three minutes, which turned out to be the summit of the team’s performance.
The game swiftly slipped south as Sergio Romero was sent for an early shower after a blatant handball outside the box, and United quickly fell 2-1 down.
Marouane Fellaini was summoned from the bench to salvage a late equaliser, but Phil Jones failed to convert his sudden death penalty which hammered the final nail into the coffin in what was ultimately a painful performance from United.
It was rumored at the beginning of the season that Pogba and Mourinho were only communicating through the Frenchman’s super agent Mino Raiola.
It’s difficult to imagine how a big club like Manchester United can function – nevermind succeed – when its star player and head coach are locked in a non-relationship with zero communication.
While neither figure has particularly excelled in their respective roles at the club, it’s clear that tensions have now reached breaking point, with United’s on-the-pitch performances severely lacking this season.
January seems like an eternity away at this early stage of the season.
The only question is: who will be exiting Old Trafford? Will it be Pogba or Mourinho? Or will it be both?