Paul Pogba: Man Utd star’s red card vs Liverpool compared to famous Mario Balotelli incident

  • Rob Swan
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Paul Pogba was reportedly instructed not to do anything stupid, like getting sent off, before he came on as a second-half substitute during Manchester United’s humiliating 5-0 defeat against Liverpool.

Pogba entered the fray when United were already 4-0 down, taking Mason Greenwood’s place.

Respected journalist Andy Mitten, editor of United We Stand magazine, wrote in GQ that Pogba apologised to his teammates after his tackle on Naby Keita resulted in a 60th-minute red card.

“That was after he was specifically told at half-time, before coming on, not to do anything stupid such as get sent off,” Mitten claims.

Pogba will subsequently miss United’s next three Premier League matches against Tottenham (October 30), Manchester City (November 6) and Watford (November 20).

The Frenchman’s manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, may have been sacked by the time Pogba’s suspension ends.

The Norwegian reportedly has three games to save his job, including Tuesday’s Champions League clash against Atalanta, with Antonio Conte waiting in the wings to take charge of the Red Devils’ underperforming squad.

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One man who knows exactly how Solskjaer would have felt after Pogba got himself sent off is his predecessor, Jose Mourinho.

Mitten’s story about Pogba has, for some, brought back memories of a classic footballing tale involving Mario Balotelli.

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Jose Mourinho's story about Mario Balotelli

"Mario was good fun. I could write a book of 200 pages of my two years in Inter with Mario. But the book would not be a drama, it would be a comedy,” Mourinho told CNN in 2014.

"I remember one in Kazan. We went to Kazan in the Champions League. In that match all my strikers were injured. No [Diego] Milito, no [Samuel] Eto'o, I was really in trouble and Mario was the only one.

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"Mario gets a yellow card in minute 42, 43. So when I go to the dressing room at half-time, I spend 14 minutes of the 15 speaking only for Mario.

"Mario I cannot change you. I cannot make a change. I don't have a striker on the bench. Don't touch anybody. Play only with the ball. When we lose the ball, no reaction. If somebody provokes you, no reaction. If the referee makes a mistake, no reaction. Mario, please.

"Minute 46, red card!"

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We’re not sure whether Mourinho’s memory of the incident was a bit hazy, or if he was exaggerating slightly for comedic effect, but it was actually the 60th minute (coincidentally, the same as Pogba vs Liverpool) that Balotelli was sent off against Rubin Kazan.

Watch Mourinho tell the story here:

The Portuguese coach can laugh about the incident now but he was presumably livid at the time.

And no doubt Solskjaer felt similar emotions after Pogba’s sending off last weekend.

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