EPL

Mourinho 'couldn't care less' about Pogba comments over Man Utd relationship

By Sports Desk April 16, 2021

Jose Mourinho says he "couldn't care less" about Paul Pogba's assessment of their relationship towards the end of his time at Manchester United.

Mourinho was dismissed by United midway through the 2018-19 season after two-and-a-half years in charge.

His relationship with members of United's squad was said to have deteriorated, with an apparent training ground argument with Pogba coming after the midfielder was stripped of his vice-captaincy role in September 2018.

Speaking ahead of United's game against Burnley on Sunday, Pogba suggested current Red Devils boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a better man-management style than Mourinho.

"What I have now with Ole is different, he wouldn't go against the players," Pogba told Sky Sports. "He wouldn't go against the players.

"Maybe Ole wouldn't pick them, but it's not like he puts them on the side like they don't exist anymore. That's the difference between Mourinho and Ole.

"Once I had a great relationship with Mourinho, everybody saw that, and the next day you don't know what happened. That's the strange thing I had with Mourinho and I cannot explain to you because even I don't know."

Pogba's comments were put to Mourinho after his side's 2-2 Premier League draw with Everton on Friday – a result that leaves them five points adrift of the top four having also played a game more than all of their rivals.

The Portuguese coach told Sky Sports: "I would like to say I couldn't care less with what he says, I couldn't care less. I'm not interested at all."

Harry Kane scored twice as Spurs secured a point at Goodison Park, though the England international was unable to finish the game due to an ankle injury.

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    ROUND-UP

    Arsenal are plotting a move for Everton star Richarlison, claims Fichajes. The Brazil international scored against Arsenal on Monday, while he has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain.

    - Fabrizio Romano reports Borussia Dortmund have made direct contact with Salzburg star Karim Adeyemi. The Germany international is Dortmund's main target as clubs queue up to sign Erling Haaland, who is wanted by Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, Chelsea, PSG, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

    - Tuttomercato says Franck Kessie could leave Milan on a free transfer. The soon-to-be free agent has been linked with Tottenham, Inter, PSG and United.

    Fiorentina are poised to sign Lille star Jonathan Ikone, per Gianluca Di Marzio. The deal is reportedly not related to the future of wantaway forward Dusan Vlahovic – the Serbia international has been linked with City, United, Bayern, Inter, Juve, Tottenham and Arsenal.

  • Barca fortunate Bayern didn't score 'significantly' more goals – Nagelsmann Barca fortunate Bayern didn't score 'significantly' more goals – Nagelsmann

    Julian Nagelsmann believes Bayern Munich would have won by an even greater margin had they not taken their foot of the pedal in Wednesday's comprehensive Champions League win over Barcelona.

    Bayern outclassed and overpowered Barca 3-0 midweek, a result that eliminated the embattled LaLiga giants from the Champions League.

    Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala were on target for Group E winners Bayern, who progressed to the knockout phase with a 100 per cent record.

    Bayern led 2-0 at half-time thanks to Muller and Sane before Musiala netted a third just past the hour-mark at Allianz Arena.

    With 22 goals scored and just three conceded, Bayern's goal difference of plus-19 during the group stages has only been bettered once before in Champions League history – Paris Saint-Germain in 2017-18 (+21 - F25 A4).

    Afterwards, Bayern head coach Nagelsmann felt Barca were fortunate not to have conceded more in Munich.

    "We played against an opponent who, of course, has a very big name and actually had to win today," Nagelsmann told DAZN.

    "We have never really let it unfold properly. In the second half we clearly defended deeper and let them have the ball a little more, but I believe that if we put it on properly, then we could have scored significantly more goals than three."

    Along with Liverpool and Ajax, Bayern became the third side this season to win all six Champions League group-stage matches.

    This is the first campaign to see more than one team manage this in the same season, whilst the German outfit are just the second team ever to do so on more than one occasion (also in 2019-20), alongside Real Madrid (2011-12 and 2014-15).

    Asked if Bayern are favourites to win the Champions League, Nagelsmann replied: "It's always a huge topic for the journalists: 'Who is the favourite?' You can write a lot about it. In the end, it's a fact that in the knockout stage there are more factors.

    "Sometimes the daily performance is decisive or some lucky moments. You don't have time to bring something back in order if you made some mistakes before. Of course, all teams that reach the knockout stage are some kind of favourites and can win this title. We as well. We did very well in the group stage. It's well deserved and also today our focus was really good and we reached the next round.

    "It's our own requirement to be one of the favourites, of course. We would like to win the Champions League and some of us would like to win it again. We need to show the same performances in the knockout stage and keep the same level. I believe that my team can do this. But in the end it's only about doing it. Now we wait for our opponent and then we will prepare for that, but there's still some time."

    Barca – amid a financial crisis – were consigned to the Europa League/UEFA Cup for the first time since 2003-04 following their Bayern defeat.

    It is the fourth time Barcelona have been eliminated in the Champions League group stage after 1997-98, 1998-99 and 2000-01, and the second time that they have fallen to the secondary European competition from the Champions League group stage following 2000-2001 (then, to play the UEFA Cup after finishing third behind Milan and Leeds United).

    Barca's tally of two goals after their six group-stage matches is their lowest recorded total in the Champions League, whilst only in 1997-98 (14) did they concede more goals at this stage than the nine they have shipped this season.

    "I think that the club can bounce back," Nagelsmann said of Barca. "It's still one of the biggest clubs. Today we deserved the victory and in both games we showed really good performances and our wins were well deserved.

    "I think Barcelona are a club with a lot of expertise and good guys. Not only Xavi, but also guys in the back who will make intelligent decisions for this club. I already said in the news conference before the game that it's not easy to deal with more than €1billion in debt in the daily business. It's about extremely tough decisions that need to be taken. This can take a while.

    "If I think that this would happen to us, then I am sure it would take a while until we could bounce back and be successful again. I wish them all the best and I hope the club will be soon the glorious Barcelona again that we all know."

  • Barca sink to new low as president Laporta urges unity at Camp Nou: We must row together Barca sink to new low as president Laporta urges unity at Camp Nou: We must row together

    Barcelona president Joan Laporta called for unity after the embattled club were dumped out of the Champions League.

    Barca were consigned to the Europa League/UEFA Cup for the first time since 2003-04 on Wednesday, outclassed 3-0 by Group E winners Bayern Munich at Allianz Arena.

    Xavi's Barca needed to win or hope Benfica failed to beat Dynamo Kiev elsewhere in the final round of group fixtures in order to avoid elimination, but the struggling LaLiga giants were no match for Bayern, who were led by goals from Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala.

    It is the fourth time Barcelona have been eliminated in the Champions League group stage after 1997-98, 1998-99 and 2000-01, and the second time that they have fallen to the secondary European competition from the Champions League group stage following 2000-2001 (then, to play the UEFA Cup after finishing third behind Milan and Leeds United).

    Barca are also seventh in LaLiga, 16 points off the pace as Laporta addressed the club's plight.

    "We are sad about this result, but we have to move on. It is time to work hard and try to reverse this situation," Laporta told TV3.

    "We have not been able to go down to the locker room to lift the players. We will speak with the coaching staff on the plane.

    "We did what we could and now we have to try to overcome this situation.

    "I make a call to all the Barcelona fans, today more than ever we have to row all together in the same direction to try to overcome this situation altogether."

    Barca's tally of two goals after their six group-stage matches is their lowest recorded total in the Champions League, whilst only in 1997-98 (14) did they concede more goals at this stage than the nine they have shipped this season.

    Xavi became second Barcelona head coach to fail to win in his first two Champions League games (D1 L1), after Louis Van Gaal in 1997 (D1 L1).

    Barca boss Xavi added in a news conference: "This must be a turning point. I have told the players, today a new stage has to begin for Barca, revealing ourselves to this situation.

    "We cannot accept this situation because Barcelona does not deserve to be where we are today. I tell the Barcelona fans that we will work hard because I feel this club, I love this club and we will work hard. We will leave our skin to [help] Barca recover and put them where they deserve, and that is not in the Europa League.

    "But we have to face it, it is a hard reality but it is what there is. It is the reality and we have to face it and rebel and this has to serve as a turning point to improve."

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