When Ander Herrera suffered an injury 16 minutes into Manchester United’s Champions League tie against Sevilla, Jose Mourinho had little option but to bring on Paul Pogba.
The Frenchman had been dropped for the tie in Spain, with 21-year-old Scott McTominay starting instead.
“Because McTominay is working hard every day, he is feeling good and strong, he played the last match for 90 minutes and Paul last Saturday wasn’t able to play and this is the kind of game where I think a player must feel 100 per cent,” Mourinho explained.
“Paul created some doubt by not playing on Saturday by his own decision, he was not feeling good and that created some doubt.”
Pogba came on but he looked off the pace on Wednesday night and failed to make an impact.
It continues a recent stretch in which the 24-year-old has been in and out of the side, prompting concerns of a rift between player and manager.
He was taken off before full-time in the 2-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur and had to settle for a place on the bench in the match against Huddersfield three days later.
Pogba started in the 1-0 defeat against Newcastle United but again failed to last 90 minutes and he was set for minimal minutes against Sevilla before Herrera’s injury.
What Pogba feels about his position
Dean Jones of Bleacher Report has explored Pogba's recent issues and he has revealed what sources have told him about the situation.
Apparently, Pogba is eager to have more freedom. He struggled after being given heavy defensive duties in the defeat to Spurs and the debate surrounding his best position has raged since that match
Jones writes: "He feels stifled and craves the ability to roam. He has always believed in himself as a box-to-box midfielder, but he also feels he has earned the right to decide exactly how he can best influence a game.
What Mourinho said to Pogba after Newcastle loss
The defeat to Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle has given Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham hope of catching Man United in second place and the result naturally left Mourinho furious.
According to Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones, Pogba was one of the players who felt the 55-year-old’s wrath at full-time.
Mourinho told the £89 million midfielder that he had been “too careless” in possession, Jones writes.
Pogba tweaked something in the warm-up
It was an entirely rough afternoon for Pogba, who appeared to suffer a slight injury in the warm-up.
The France international failed to shine and he was later criticised by Gary Neville for feigning his fitness.
“He’s not doing his team any favours if he stays on [when injured]," Neville said on Sky Sports.
Pogba is seemingly struggling under the strict confines of Mourinho's system. There are many who believe he should be given the licence to play a free role and to pay less attention to his defensive duties.
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