Manchester United have reportedly picked a side in the Mourinho and Pogba battle
It has become very messy between the two key figures at Old Trafford
When Jose Mourinho left Chelsea for the second time in December 2015, the club statement released after his sacking spoke of the "palpable discord" that had developed between the manager and his players. Three years later, it appears that Mourinho and Paul Pogba are entering "palpable discord" territory.
The pair have been at odds for most of 2018. Mourinho took issue with Pogba's performances and dropped him for key games last season, including both legs of the Champions League defeat to Sevilla.
The situation has deteriorated significantly since the start of the new season.
Pogba has frequently tested Mourinho's patience with post-game comments and the club are already eight points behind Liverpool in the Premier League.
Following the 1-1 draw with Wolves on Saturday, the French midfielder lamented that his team didn't "Attack, Attack, Attack" at Old Trafford.
This appeared to be a dig at Jose's often reactionary tactics. And the manager appears to have viewed the comments that way.
Mourinho was reportedly furious and stripped Pogba's of his vice-captaincy ahead of United's EFL Cup defeat to Derby County on Tuesday night.
When Pogba arrived at training on Wednesday morning there was a tense stand-off between the pair.
— Man Utd Updates (@utds_updates) September 26, 2018
With Pogba the club's most valuable player, and Mourinho seemingly in the midst of another third-season struggle, you might expect the club to back the player in this dispute.
However, according to Miguel Delaney, writing in The Independent, the United power brokers are backing the manager as he attempts to put Pogba in his place.
According to the report:
- Sources say that Mourinho has the "full backing" of Ed Woodward, the club's executive vice-chairman, on this matter.
- The pair have disagreed on United's transfer approach. But the report claims that Mourinho's stance on Pogba is "the one area" that the manager has Woodward's complete support.
- Others in the United hierarchy have noted that Alex Ferguson had problems with Pogba before the midfielder left for Juventus in 2012.
- They reportedly feel that Ferguson's warnings about the player "have all come true."
- They are also uncomfortable about the influence Pogba's agent Mino Raiola has on his client.
- Some at United feel that Pogba wants to join Barcelona, and that stance won't change, regardless of whether Mourinho is the manager or not.
Barcelona reportedly submitted a bid for Pogba in the summer, but it wasn't a realistic offer - £45m and Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes.
It's possible they could return with a serious offer in January.
Yet, will Mourinho even still be at United by January if the club fail to reverse their current form?
It looks set to be an eventful few months at Old Trafford.