The circus definitely arrived in Manchester this week.
If losing to Derby in the Carabao Cup wasn’t embarrassing enough for the United hierarchy, the video footage at training of Jose Mourinho clashing with Paul Pogba took things to an entirely new level.
Training ground tête-à-téte’s are nothing new of course, only this time the cameras were watching and tensions that had been rumoured before – but not confirmed – were laid bare.
With media only allowed 15 minutes filming per month, it was a little coincidental that one of the stories of the season just happened to be on the day that the press were around.
What we saw wasn’t Jose Mourinho throwing his weight around, or being overly unfair however. He was doing his job as a manager of an elite football team.
Sure, he has form for going after the big names at clubs, and has fallen out with a number over the years, but he is paid to bring these overpaid and overhyped young men into line.
Part of the issue with today’s modern footballer is that they believe they’re somehow above the one person whose job it is to get results.
If Mourinho has one fault, it’s a style of play that clearly doesn’t suit certain players who then have every right to question the manager’s philosophy, particularly if the Portuguese has then gone on to label one or two as the reason for a poor result within the media.
However, being a hardliner in training or generally doesn’t make him the devil incarnate.
In fact, it says more about the players, who seem to spend a great portion of their lives on social media, and attaining a lifestyle that’s not commensurate with being an elite athlete.
That, arguably, comes across in games.
Pogba has been played out of position on occasion, but even when he’s been given the opportunity of playing in his favoured role, he’s rarely excelled. You can count his world class performances on the finger of one hand.
Mourinho has swiftly rescinded the vice-captaincy from the Frenchman, clearly unimpressed with his attitude.
When you think about another Mourinho captain in John Terry, there’s simply no comparison with Pogba.
Like Terry or not as a player and a man, there was no doubting his leadership abilities, and he would be the gold standard by which Mourinho would judge any players handed the armband in future.
Pogba falls well short on that score, but to beat the Portuguese with a stick over his decision is inherently wrong.
Perhaps it might be the kick up the backside the midfielder needs to get his house in order and focus on the work that needs to be done to improve his all-round game.
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