Jose Mourinho defends 'professional' Paul Pogba

Doug Mendoza
February 11, 2018

Pogba will return to the starting line-up at Newcastle after being dropped for the win over Huddersfield following his substitution in the Spurs game that prompted heavy criticism for his defensive indiscipline and a debate on how he should be played.

"I had a few laughing over the past week because I heard and watched, read a few things, and I'm not English but I think I understand English enough when you want to say box to box", Mourinho a news conference on Friday.

"But with some comments from important people in football I got a little bit confused because for me "box-to-box" means that you have to defend well in this box, you must have the physical, the desire, the intensity, the stamina condition to go to the other box and be good scoring, creating, heading, so on". The week was not different to what Paul is every week.

The former Paris Saint-Germain striker has struggled to get back to his best since suffering cruciate knee ligament damage during a Europa League victory over Anderlecht last April.

"It's hard to find a midfield player with more potential because Paul has everything". I've never had a single problem with him.

"He's not a striker so when people ask what position he plays, he is a midfield player, it depends on the tactical system, he can play with one, two or three, but he is always a midfield player".

"But then so many opinions, and we are in a world of opinions, and people can get a little bit confused but between me and Paul there is no confusion". For me, with my Portuguese and trying to translate to the English, I just think midfield players.

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"The red card comes, the yellow card comes, the second yellow card comes - we don't need managers to be speaking about this when it's an obvious thing that the referees must take care of it, which I think they try to do". "I don't see a problem". "If he has that freedom where he doesn't have to think too much about his defensive role he can cause mayhem".

Mourinho indicated full back Luke Shaw is set to sign a new long-term contract after the 22-year-old worked his way back into the first-team plans.

He made his comeback in the reverse fixture against Newcastle at Old Trafford in November, a match that Jose Mourinho's side won 4-1, but has not played since late December due to concerns over his knee.

"If you say something and the other manager says something and you win the game, the assumption is that you are winning the mind games".

"He has been free of minor injuries for a few months which sometimes stops the evolution and I'm really happy", Mourinho said.

Manchester United's Anthony Martial has been looking to the future excitedly after he won Player of the Month for the club for January.

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