We couldn’t help but notice that Jose Mourinho has been putting on something of a ‘Mr Nice Guy’ charade for the past few weeks, offering generous compliments to opponents, refusing to be drawn on match officials and the like – all with a vaguely unsettling smile on his face.
Thankfully, it would appear that his little dalliance with feigned contentment is over, with the old, cantankerous, venom-tinged Jose returned to bare his teeth at his Friday press conference.
Mourinho’s ire has been reignited once again by the media, and in particular the “bullshit” being spouted about his relationship with Paul Pogba.
Earlier this week, freelance journalist Duncan Castles broke rank by authoring an article for Arab News about the supposed schism that has opened up between the pair, claiming they are currently “at odds” after the French midfielder limped off the pitch in a huff during last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat against Newcastle.
If you’re not familiar with Castles’ work, he is renowned for essentially operating as Mourinho’s mouthpiece-for-hire; an obedient cheerleader for both the United boss and his agent, Jorge Mendes – the Salacious B. Crumb to Jose’s Jabba the Hutt.
Anyway, in unprecedented turn of events, the Portuguese silky shark has taken umbrage and gnashed back at the servile remora fish vacuum-suctioned to his underbelly.
Speaking to the assembled press hordes at Carrington, Mourinho let loose with a snarling barb aimed in Castles’ general direction:
The position [on Pogba] is quite ridiculous to speak about. I think we have, I don’t want to be – what’s the opposite of nice – I don’t want to be nasty with other country’s punditry industry but we have here the biggest punditry industry because there are hundreds of them with great background and knowledge in football.
I would like somebody to tell me which position you think Pogba played in against Newcastle. Anyone of you want to tell me?
Okay midfield, but we played with one No.6 and two No.8s, or two No.6s and one No.10. We play with Matic as a No.6, Lingard on the right side of Matic and Pogba on the left side.
You know which is the Pogba preferred system? 4-3-3? Do you know Pogba’s favourite position in 4-3-3? No.8 on the left.
So it’s easy and honest and objective to say Paul didn’t play well against Newcastle but some of the guys are paid millions, don’t let people read things that are not true, you are paid to read the game and explain the game, don’t say bullsh*t.
He had a big injury in the season, big injury, he had a big injury, he almost went to surgery like Dembele in Barcelona with a similar injury, the decision was not to do it and go to a conservative treatment, everyone really happy.
He was playing phenomenal after that and before that, he had a red card against Arsenal probably in his best match and the team’s best moment, he was out for a long long time and in this moment he is not playing well, period, and the team needs him at a good level, when he is not a good level the team is not as good.
It happens with every team when the most crucial players are not performing.
You don’t need to come out with ‘we want to sell him’, you don’t need that. Some people go in that direction, some of them I know for many, many years and I know their surname is Liar, and that’s not nice.
He (Pogba) plays tomorrow.
Whisper it, but we kind of missed spiky, irascible Jose – especially when he’s busy tearing into journalists like Castles.
Good to have him back.