According to ESPN, sources ‘close’ to Manchester United have denied reports of a bust-up between José Mourinho and two of his star players in the aftermath of the Premier League defeat to Newcastle United. The United boss had reportedly been involved in “a heated row” with Phil Jones and Paul Pogba after the 1-0 defeat to the relegation strugglers, and neither featured in the FA Cup victory over Huddersfield Town on the weekend.
Pogba was said to be suffering from a “mystery illness”, though it goes without saying that such an unspecified short-term problem would be particularly expedient for plausible deniability’s sake in the aftermath of an argument with the manager. Nevertheless, he is said to be back in training, and both players are expected to play a part when United take on Sevilla in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Of course, there’s nothing majorly surprising here: United were unlikely to come out and say ‘yes, yes, we all hate each other and it’s all falling apart’, but these reports are obviously never a good sign. Even if untrue, they only heap the pressure on players and staff alike. Let’s hope we’ve heard the last of them for a while.