Jose Mourinho confirmed that Paul Pogba will be back in the Manchester United side this weekend, but indirectly warned the Frenchman not to get too big for his boots.
The United boss played down a tense exchange between himself and Pogba at the training ground on Wednesday, accusing the media of making a big deal out of nothing.
Mourinho was angry with Pogba because he thought the Frenchman made an Instagram post during United’s defeat to Derby. In reality, Pogba had made the post some time before. When the situation was explained to him, Mourinho accepted the explanation and apologised.
The Mourinho/Pogba Fued subtitled. I did the best I could.
— #XhakaBall (@26W12D0L49UnBTN) September 26, 2018
“You made a story – an incredible story – out of 15 minutes of training,” Mourinho told the media on Friday.
“Conversations with players I have many, many, many times. It was not the case but loud criticism, loud instruction happens every day.
“Coaching is about that, but you make stories out of it, so I’m happy that the rules are only 15 minutes [of open training] once a month, and with situations like that it is not going to change.
“There is no chance I am going to open the training session and let you watch a training session. No chance.”
Asked if it was a good idea to confront Pogba in front of the cameras, Mourinho said: “I don’t care about the cameras. What confrontation? It’s not a confrontation.”
Mourinho insists his relationship with Pogba remains good, despite stripping the World Cup winner of his vice-captaincy role recently.
But while he confirmed Pogba will be back in the side for United at West Ham on Saturday, he also made it clear who’s boss going forward.
“Tomorrow he plays. He is a player like the others,” said Mourinho.
“No player is bigger than the club. If I am happy with his work he plays, if I am not he doesn’t play.
“I am really happy with his work this week. Nobody trained better than Paul Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Some trained as well as, nobody better. The team needs good players. He is a good player.”
Asked about his decision to strip Pogba of his captaincy role, Mourinho added: “I explained in detail to the people that have to know, which is the squad and especially Paul.
“After weeks of analysing and changing opinions with my coaching staff, we made the decision that from now Paul is just a player and not a captain.”