Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has denied that midfielder Paul Pogba, with whom he has reportedly fallen out, was ever his official vice-captain.
Following comments from Pogba which appeared to criticise Mourinho’s tactics, the Portuguese manager announced that he was no longer going to captain Manchester United in the absence of regular skipper Antonio Valencia.
A frosty exchange between Mourinho and the French midfielder was filmed during Manchester United training this week. However, the former Chelsea boss has repeatedly played down reports of a falling out between himself and Pogba.
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On taking away the captain’s armband from the World Cup-winner, the 55-year-old was quoted by Sky Sports as saying: “Paul was not the vice-captain.
“We had Valencia as the captain and then we had a group of players that could be the vice captain — one day I gave it to David de Gea, I gave it to Ashley Young, to Chris Smalling.
“I first thought about Paul last season, because (he is) a player of a different generation, younger player, the captain of the future.
“Because Valencia, Young, they are more or less the same age, the same generation. But he (Pogba) was not the vice-captain, so now we don’t have the vice-captain.
“Now it depends on the match, and depends on if Valencia is playing or not.
“If Valencia is playing, Valencia is the captain. If he is not playing, I will try and go in another direction.”
The Red Devils will face West Ham United — managed by Mourinho’s old foe, Manuel Pellegrini — at the London Stadium on Saturday.