With Jose Mourinho unseated at Manchester United, the tabloid fallout has begun in earnest amid yet more reports of conflict and bickering between he and Paul Pogba.
Whether you choose to believe it or not is another matter entirely.
While it can hardly be glossed over that there was obviously an issue between the pair (Pogba was stripped of the vice-captaincy and dropped regularly), it’s being reported that Mourinho emphatically gave up on the midfielder after his less than edifying reaction to his manager’s instruction to play more like Frank Lampard.
The Sun (via Football365) claim to have gleaned the following excerpt of dialogue from a “source close to Mourinho” who was present when the recently deposed United manager attempted to use Lampard as an example of the perfect midfielder in discussion with Pogba.
Pogba, rather than heeding his manager’s advice, asked Mourinho if Lampard had won the World Cup as he did last summer.
This is supposedly the precise exchange that led Mourinho to give up on Pogba, deciding there and then that the French international was “impossible to work with” due to his “petulance and arrogance”.
It is also claimed that Pogba subsequently greeted news of Mourinho’s sacking by high-fiving teammates in the dressing room at Carrington while being heard to shout “He thought he could make a fool of me and turn the fans against me. He f*cked with the wrong baller” – you know, in the way that human beings naturally talk like wooden villainous street toughs from 90s action movies.
Michael Carrick then came wading in like Judge Dredd to put the kibosh on Pogba’s little uprising by forcefully reminding the players involved that nobody is bigger than the club.
Again, an anonymous inside source is credited and with that the anti-Pogba express juggernaut continues to rumble on.
We imagine that neither party is entirely innocent, with the friction arising from Mourinho attempting to instil his usual ‘dogged scrappers against the world’ schtick within a squad and club that are largely steeped in an entirely different dogmatic mindset – one of intrinsic superiority and a divine right to success.
Honestly, we’re just glad it’s over without bloodshed. Another six months? Who knows…