The ever-apparent ‘Mourinho vs Pogba’ is not only losing Manchester United matches but is also letting down the club’s fans.
“Manchester United are in a bit of a mess,” said Paul Scholes after the club conceded a disappointing 3-1 loss to West Ham United yesterday. It was a lifeless performance from the United players and the United manager, who are seemingly against each other at the moment.
Ever since the beginning of the new season, Manchester United has made more headlines for incidents outside the pitch, than the ones happening inside. There can be an argument, however, that little happens for the club inside the pitch, but that comes back to the position at which Manchester United finds itself at the moment.
The fact that a club like Manchester United has been reduced to a soap opera is appalling, and the fans are sick of it. Today, it has come to a point where the manager is questioning the players’ mentality, the player is using media to undermine the manager’s tactics and the club’s fans are simply imploding.
It was only a few months ago when the fans were excited with Paul Pogba’s surge to form in the World Cup. The midfielder was central to France’s success in Russia, and the club fans rallied behind him to inspire Manchester United to glory again. The club manager, Jose Mourinho also began to publicly praise Paul Pogba, even making him the captain for Manchester United’s opening Premier League game against Leicester City.
This mess started when United sacked David Moyes after 8 months and we lost all sense of the values that the club had been built on for 100 years . It’s not the manager it’s the lack of football leadership above him. They are bouncing all over the place with no plan!
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) September 30, 2018
In the press conferences, he insisted on the importance of Paul Pogba – he commended his work rate and defended him from questions about the midfielder’s inconsistency.
But it seemed all in vain.
Whenever Paul Pogba stopped in the mixed-zone, it was a treat for the media and further exhaustion for the fans. Pogba continued to attack Mourinho, stating on one occasion that he would be fined if he opened his mouth, and insisting that the team needs to attack at Old Trafford on the other – something which Mourinho’s United has hardly done, ever since he took charge two years ago.
Fans expected respite during the international break, but Paul Pogba continued to flirt with speculations. It was further reported that he wants to move to Barcelona in January.
In the midst of this feud, the manager and the player were caught arguing during a training session, reportedly over an Instagram post, a day after Manchester United succumbed to defeat by a lower-league side in the Carabao Cup. In the same week, Manchester United then lost 3-1 to West Ham.
Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba are, perhaps, the two biggest egos at Manchester United at the moment. Both of them, unsurprisingly, have refused to back down and help the cause – football. In this season, both have failed to step up when it was needed.
Manchester United fans, meanwhile, have segregated themselves to various conspiracy theories. Some believe that Paul Pogba (and the team) wants Mourinho to be sacked. Some argue that keeping the French midfielder out would solve United’s problems, and many think it is the manager’s attempt to get himself sacked.
A larger picture, however, would showcase only one thing – The fans are losing the fight between Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba.
The so-called power struggling at Man UTD is not a even struggle
– Mourinho is the manager and Pogba is a player
– Pogba needs to be a warrior ON the pitch before he tries to be be one OFF the pitch
– and if we compare him to the former Man UTD- legends. He is not close
— Jan Aage Fjortoft (@JanAageFjortoft) September 27, 2018
It is highly unlikely that the relationship between Mourinho and Pogba will be fixed. But it would be foolish to also assume that either Mourinho or Pogba are the mainstays at Manchester United. Both have their own selfish interests to satisfy, and it is completely possible that Pogba may have issues with Mourinho’s successor, or vice-versa.
The situation is complex at Manchester United, but it is further made so by a thoroughly incompetent board. Ed Woodward’s sturdy obsession with commercial deals has largely overshadowed the football-related interests for the club this season. In hindsight, it is unfortunate that United were deprived of David Gill’s experience in leadership at the same time as the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.
When the authoritative figures of the club begin to take sides, one realizes that the problems are deeply rooted. It also negates the values at which Manchester United was built, and pushes it further away from its rich traditions.
The fans, dreading the inevitable, would return a full circle once again. Manchester United will have to start from scratch again, like they’ve been doing ever since Sir Alex retired in 2013.