Paul Pogba says he ‘doesn’t have to be best friends’ with Jose Mourinho and casts doubt on Manchester United future

The midfielder’s future has come under question after a disappointing season for the France international ended in FA Cup final defeat on Saturday

Jack de Menezes
Monday 21 May 2018 07:33
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Jose Mourinho reflects after defeat in FA Cup final of Chelsea

Paul Pogba has stressed that he “doesn’t have to be best friends” with Jose Mourinho and that he is unsure of his future at Manchester United, reinforcing the development of a rift emerging between the club’s record signing and the manager after a disappointing campaign.

Despite improving from sixth to second in the Premier League, United finished the season trophy-less after losing Saturday’s FA Cup final 1-0 to Chelsea, a result that has seen Mourinho face extra scrutiny for his methods.

The Portuguese clashed with Pogba earlier in the season when he dropped the France international from his starting XI, and although Pogba forced his way back into the side, he has not looked at the peak of his game in recent months at Old Trafford.

That has seen the midfielder’s future come into question, and although he would cost a fee that would rule the majority of clubs out of signing him this summer, there is a handful such as Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City who certainly have the financial clout to launch a move.

In wake of the FA Cup final defeat, Pogba spoke to French television to address speculation about his future and also his relationship with Mourinho, which did not appear to be a hugely positive one.

“There were times when I wasn't playing. I was on the bench. Much has been spoken about,” Pogba told Canal+.

“People thought it was wrong but a coach and player don't have to be best friends. One is not forced to go to the restaurant together. I had some problems – it's mental.

“He put me on the bench, I answered on the pitch, I give my maximum every time. It made me grow in leadership.

“I had the armband with Mourinho, it was the first time in a club. It's important to me, it makes me grow up to be as a leader in the France team.”

Pogba returned to United two years ago in a move from Juventus that cost the Premier League side £89m to re-sign a player who they released for nothing in 2014, following a contractual dispute between former manager Sir Alex Ferguson and Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola.

Pogba and Mourinho had a public falling out earlier in the season

Should United decide to cash-in on the 25-year-old this summer, the move will undoubtedly go down as a failure, although United are understood to be keen on keeping Pogba given his best years should lie ahead of him.

Asked if he will remain at United though, Pogba remained coy on the subject and although he pointed out that he is contracted to the club for next season, he hinted that the final decision may not be in his hands.

“You're never sure of anything,” he added. “Contractually, it's on, yes.”

With City among those clubs who could afford him, there is also a reluctance to strengthen a rival, although Pogba also addressed a potential move to PSG and appeared to shut down any chances of moving to Ligue 1.

“Walking on the Parc des Princes? With a club, no for sure,” he said. “Honestly, it doesn't appeal to me.

“I grew up here, my father supported Marseille and so did my mum. Paris wasn't really in my daily life.”

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