Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been accused of stifling Paul Pogba by former Arsenal forward, Jérémie Aliadière. The Frenchman has suggested that his compatriot is something of a divisive figure for the nation, and praised his performance in Saturday’s 4-3 defeat of Argentina whilst also calling into question his application in other matches.
“When you train with a manager day in, day out you get that momentum, and if that manager doesn’t let you play the way you want to play football, it’s difficult to switch as soon as you get in the French squad,” said Aliadiere to Talksport. “The players that are performing now have been performing all year, and they’ve been ready and training all year. It’s not just ‘here’s the World Cup. I haven’t performed all season for Man United, but now I’m going to do it for France’. I remember him at Juventus, before he joined Man United, and he was a completely different player.
“I’m feeling a bit that Jose Mourinho doesn’t really give him what he needs to get to the next level, and to carry on performing like he used to. Some games he wants to play and is brilliant, and other games he’s just very nonchalant. You just don’t feel he gives 100 per cent, or he’s fighting or working hard.
“That’s what we all kind of feel [about Pogba] in France. He had a great game [against Argentina] because the players around him had a good game, so he kind of feels like ‘oh good, we are all having a good game, everybody’s turned up today so let’s have fun’. But when we really need him, and the team needs him in the middle with the ball to come forward, sometimes he’s not really there.”
Aliadiere’s comments are unlikely to cause too much of a stir, given that the Frenchman’s status is hardly gigantic within the game these days, but it’s an interesting notion to present, all the same. The forward is also voicing an opinion that many United fans would likely agree with, too.