Paul Pogba’s return to Manchester United, under the guidance of Jose Mourinho, was supposed to see the club return to the heights they reached during Sir Alex Ferguson’s era.
Despite winning two trophies in the 2016-17 season, with Pogba scoring in the final of the Europa League against Ajax, United fell well short of expectations and Mourinho was sacked in December 2018 when the club were 6th.
In Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first full season at the club we moved up to 3rd and are now comfortably in 2nd place.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, which will be aired in full on Sunday ahead of our game against Burnley, Pogba has spoken about why Solskjaer has got more out of the players than Mourinho did.
What I have now with Ole is different, he wouldn’t go against the players. He wouldn’t go against the players. Maybe Ole wouldn’t pick them, but it’s not like he puts them on the side like they don’t exist anymore. That’s the difference between Mourinho and Ole. Once I had a great relationship with Mourinho, everybody saw that, and the next day you don’t know what happened. That’s the strange thing I had with Mourinho and I cannot explain to you because even I don’t know. So, yeah.
While Pogba was certainly a target for Mourinho as time went by, with reports suggesting that the manager had labelled the midfielder a “virus” during a dressing room row, Luke Shaw was often bullied too.
When he finally did give Shaw praise for a good performance against Everton in 2017, Mourinho still managed to make it about himself, saying “it was his body with my brain.”
Pogba has claimed that Solskjaer is closer with the players than Mourinho was and Shaw is benefiting from the trust Ole puts in the left-back.
Maybe [Solskjaer’s methods work] because he is a bit closer to the people. Every coach has their own way to coach and deal with players, and as a player you have to adapt. Sometimes it doesn’t suit you and sometimes it does. Ole has helped Luke a lot, it was a difficult season with Luke and Mourinho, and he has proved he has the quality he always had and the trust of the manager.
Last weekend, United beat Spurs 3-1 but the game wasn’t without controversy. In the first half, we had a goal disallowed after it was judged Scott McTominay had fouled Son Heung-min in the build up. The Spurs man rolled around on the floor for five minutes and needed treatment, when replays suggested McTominay’s fingers had barely touched Son, when he was trying to shrug off the opponent who had been trying to pull him back.
Solskjaer was critical of Son’s behaviour after the game and joked he wouldn’t feed his son if he behaved in such an embarrassing way. What followed was a very odd press conference from Mourinho, where he talked about how Son’s father was a better human being than Solskjaer because you should always feed your children.
Pogba has laughed off this response from Mourinho and said we are all familiar with this sort of behaviour from him.
I don’t know what happened, I’m sure Mourinho said something that would make people speak, that’s what he does. We got the result we wanted, Ole knows it and we enjoyed that moment because we know Mourinho and we know what he likes. We don’t need this [war of words], we just focus on us. We won the game, he lost the game and he doesn’t want to speak about the game, he wants to speak about the dad of someone, that’s what he does. Everybody knows him, it’s very Mourinho.