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Mourinho backs Pogba after Scholes taunt

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (right) and midfielder Paul Pogba leave the pitch after their FA Cup quarterfinal with Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford in Manchester on March 17. AFP
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho (right) and midfielder Paul Pogba leave the pitch after their FA Cup quarterfinal with Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford in Manchester on March 17. AFP

Mourinho backs Pogba after Scholes taunt

Jose Mourinho has defended Paul Pogba after the Manchester United star was branded “disrespectful” by Paul Scholes.

United legend Scholes claimed Pogba’s lacklustre display in Sunday’s shock defeat against lowly West Bromwich Albion showed a lack of respect for Mourinho.

Scholes’s criticism came amid growing speculation that Mourinho is ready to sell Pogba following the France midfielder’s inconsistent form over the last two seasons.

But Pogba produced one of his better performances in United’s 2-0 win over Bournemouth on Wednesday as he set up Romelu Lukaku for the second goal at Dean Court.

Asked to comment on Scholes’s criticism of Pogba, Mourinho said: “I don’t agree. I agree that it wasn’t a good performance at all [against West Brom] – with that I agree.”

Mourinho made seven changes from the West Brom loss as he axed some of his underperforming players and rested others for Saturday’s FA Cup semifinal against Tottenham.

His decision to keep Pogba in the starting line-up raised questions about the chances of the midfielder retaining his place at Wembley.

But Mourinho, who has dropped Pogba several times this season, offered an enthusiastic review of his man of the match display on the south coast.

“Top performance. Top performance. Obviously the performance against City was special, coming with two goals,” he said.

“But this performance was a very similar level. So top performance. He can do it.”

United’s return to winning ways was not enough to ease Mourinho’s frustrations over Sunday’s woeful loss to West Brom.

That result gifted the title to Manchester City, but Mourinho believes he can catch the champions next season.

“My face is still the face of last Sunday and not the face of somebody who just finished a game and a win,” Mourinho said.

“I still live with the emotions of last Sunday.

“I know how to win titles. In case some of you guys don’t know, I won eight championships in four different countries, and three in this country.

“I know why you win; I know why you don’t win.

“OK, no doubts about City’s quality, and that in any circumstances they would win this title because they are the better [team].

“But we could have, perfectly, I would say 10 more points than we have.”

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