Jose Mourinho angrily refuses to answer why he can't get the best out of Paul PogbaDecember 12, 2018
The £89million midfielder, 25, will start in the Mestalla Stadium tonight having been benched for Manchester United’s last two games.
And Mourinho has challenged Pogba to carry his second-string side to victory in Valencia and prove he can be trusted for Sunday’s visit to league leaders Liverpool.
But the Red Devils boss bristled at the suggestion HE is responsible for the World Cup winner’s poor form this term.
Asked why he thought he had not got Pogba to perform, Mourinho replied: “I don’t think your question goes in the direction of what I want to answer. I don’t like your question.”
When the question was rephrased and he was probed as to why Pogba had not been at his best, he snapped: “You can put the question from another direction, but I don’t like the direction you put the question.”
Mourinho would also not divulge whether or not he has spoken one-on-one with Pogba – like he did with Romelu Lukaku.
Belgian striker Lukaku revealed at the weekend that his manager had “told me what he wanted from me” during “good conversations”.
But asked if he has done the same with Pogba, Mourinho suggested some players respond better to advise than others – in what seemed a pointed reference towards the Frenchman.
Mourinho said: “Romelu was not the only player I had meetings with.
“I have meetings when I feel I can have a positive impact on the players. I have them when I feel that the players are open to it.
“I do it when the players give me all their indications they want to improve and are really open for somebody with more experience than them to speak to them."
Pogba has not started for United since Mourinho indicated he was one of the players who lacked a “mad dog” spirit after a draw at Southampton last month.
He came off the bench for 15 minutes in last Wednesday’s draw with Arsenal, then was an unused sub in Saturday’s 4-1 win over Fulham.
But Pogba is playing against Valencia because Mourinho is making multiple changes, with United having already secured their passage to the last-16.
The Special One said: “I'm looking for Paul to play well and have a good impact in the game, and a good impact in the team.
“It is a team with many players that don't have many miles on their legs, a team with some players that are not playing a lot.
“So I hope that people like Paul have that number of miles that players need at that top level and have a good impact on the team.”
Team-mate Juan Mata, 30, said: “Paul is looking forward to playing and trying to perform at his best.
“We all know that when he does that he is a fantastic midfielder.
“As a team-mate, obviously what I want is that he can play at his best level because if he plays well the team will improve a lot.”
United will actually top Group H if they beat Valencia and Juventus fail to win away to Young Boys.
But Mourinho, who has included 17-year-olds Mason Greenwood and James Garner in his squad, added: “Normally Juventus should win the match in Switzerland.
“So I don't think the result of this match will have an impact on finishing first or second.”
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