Jose Mourinho insists his relationship with Manchester United star Paul Pogba remains perfect despite growing speculation that the French international is unsettled at Old Trafford.
Reports this week suggested that Pogba was keen to leave United, who paid £89.3m to re-sign their midfielder from Juventus two years ago.
And there was even a claim that Mourinho exchanged angry words with Pogba after the player spoke with journalists last week and hinted at his unhappiness, claiming: “There are things I cannot say otherwise I will get fined.”
Pogba’s outburst came after playing in United’s season opening win over Leicester last Friday, just four days after returning to pre-season training follow an extended break.
But Mourinho, preparing for Sunday’s visit to Brighton, insists that there are no problems whatsoever, despite repeated suggestions that Pogba favours a potential move to Barcelona.
“The truth is we are together for two years and a couple of weeks and I've never been so happy with him as I am now, that's the truth. I cannot demand more from him,” said Mourinho.
“He came here on a Monday, trained three days, I asked for his support for his contribution in an important match for us when the team had difficulties, he did it better and for more time than we could expect.
“When he says he did it for the fans and for the team, it is exactly what I want. It is exactly what I demand from my players.
“He's working well, playing well, he does it for the fans, he does for the team and that's what I want. To play for the team and I couldn't be happier than what I am.”
With permanent club skipper Antonio Valencia still injured, Pogba will remain captain for the visit to Brighton, and Mourinho refused to address the issue of the World Cup winner’s comments after the Leicester game.
“I don't care,” said Mourinho. “I repeat: I want him to play well, I want him to play for that team, the fans and that is what it is.
“He's working extremely well here but I have to say in his defence, don't put him in a situation that people can think he's not a polite, educated guy - he is.
“He never had a fight with me. We never had a heated exchange of words, everything is respected, I have no problems at all.”
Mourinho also laughed off suggestions that Pogba would have faced a fine for talking his mind - pointing out that the only United player to have been fined on his watch was Anthony Martial, fined £180,000 for failing to return to their pre-season USA tour following the birth of his child last month.
“You have to ask Paul,” said Mourinho. “I’m here for two years and a couple of months and the only player that was fined was Anthony Martial, so is not easy to be fined here.
“So you have to ask him. I'm not going to ask him. I want him to work the way he is doing and play the way he is doing and that's all that matters.”
Mourinho was impressed by Pogba’s goal scoring performance in the 2-1 win over Leicester but, while confident of another good display from his star this weekend, the manager does not necessarily expect him to maintain such a high level every week.
“I am very confident but if he doesn't that's football,” said Mourinho. “If his objective is to play for the team, for the fans, if this is the objective, he has the right for a bad match.
“Everybody has a bad day and has little ups and downs in the performance level.”
Mourinho will welcome Anders Lingard back into his squad, after returning from World Cup duty, but Nemanja Matic and Antonio Valencia are still returning from injuries.
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