José Mourinho says Paul Pogba will never captain Manchester United again

Jamie Jackson on 25 September 2018

José Mourinho has told Paul Pogba he will never captain Manchester United again, though the manager denied that there was any issue between him and the Frenchman.

Pogba’s demotion emerged before United endured a shock defeat by Derby as they crashed out of the Carabao Cup here on Tuesday night. They lost 8-7 on penalties after a 2-2 draw, with Phil Jones’s kick saved by Scott Carson.

Pogba was at the match and when Mourinho was asked if he had fallen out with him, the manager said: “The only truth is that I made the decision for Paul – not to be the second captain any more.

“It was exactly the same person who decided Paul was the second captain – myself. No fallout at all, just decisions I do not have to explain.”

Despite the denial, the move places the midfielder’s future at the club in serious doubt. Pogba was rested from the match-day squad before a defeat that will also place Mourinho under further scrutiny regarding the direction of the side and his own future.

The 55-year-old’s decision regarding Pogba and the captaincy is the latest fracture in their relationship. Pogba has previously signalled a wish to leave and he could now be sold in January.

Last season, Pep Guardiola revealed that Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, informed the Manchester City manager the player would be interested in departing United for the champions during the winter window.

Barcelona also made a £45m offer for Pogba in the summer, a bid that was rejected by United and may have been made due to encouragement from the player’s camp.

Pogba had been given the armband by Mourinho for three matches this season in the absence of Antonio Valencia. He has performed erratically and after the 1-1 draw with Wolves at Old Trafford on Saturday seemed to question Mourinho’s tactics, stating that United should “attack, attack, attack” more.

José Mourinho and Frank Lampard
José Mourinho and Frank Lampard watch on from the sidelines. Photograph: Robbie Stephenson/JMP/REX/Shutterstock

It followed Pogba saying after the opening-day win against Leicester that he would be fined for saying certain things, having returned a man-of-the-match display.

After Tuesday’s defeat Mourinho again questioned his players’ attitude. He said: “You know it happened that we didn’t score when we could and we could in the first half to kill it. We didn’t.

“At half-time I repeated the words I said in the last match. Their dressing room is a dressing room with belief and we need to go and kill the game, which we didn’t.”

Goals from Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini for United and Derby’s Harry Wilson – on loan from Liverpool, the Premier League leaders – and Jack Marriott had sent the tie to the shootout.

There was further public criticism of his players when admitting concern when Jones stepped up for his penalty. “Going after the sixth and seventh I knew we would be in trouble with Jones and Eric [Bailly, who may have been next],” Mourinho said.

“We couldn’t be dominant in the second half and only after their equaliser we get a reaction, which I don’t like. I prefer to go for it but we only go for it after the 1-1. After the red card [shown to goalkeeper Sergio Romero for handball outside the area] we are in difficulty but even after that we have a group that tried until the last second and then the penalties, somebody has to miss.”

Mourinho, though, denied any criticism of the team. “You say I criticise, I don’t,” he said. “I don’t think you are correct saying I am criticising the team. You want me to say we play a phenomenal match? The truth is the opponent in the second half started better than us, we responded at 1-1.

“I would lie if I said we threw the match away. With a draw in the past you had 30 more minutes to play but without extra time you go straight to penalties and that goes against the team who with 30 extra minutes would win the match.”

The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email.

Latest football headlines

Latest Football News