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Paul Pogba & Jose Mourinho clash and fall-out: Where do Manchester United go from here?

Wonder why Pogba and Mourinho is trending on Twitter? Here is the answer.

A clip of Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho having a training ground exchange - described as "frosty footage" on social media by one broadcaster - had two million views in just one hour on Wednesday and Pogba and Mourinho has been trending ever since.

The level of scrutiny and interest in the two men's interactions has spiked again after another bleak few days at Manchester United.

There was an unexpected home draw with Wolves, more criticism of the manager's tactics and an EFL Cup exit on home soil to Championship club Derby.

In the last two months alone, media storms have erupted over the club's transfer policy, manager Mourinho's treatment of striker Anthony Martial and now, what appears to be, his broken relationship with £89m record signing Pogba.

Mourinho says there is "no problem".

Can we believe Jose when he says there has been no fall-out?
If it is true there has been no fall-out, it would suggest Pogba does not care, which would be a terrible situation for United to find themselves in.

Pogba returned to United in August 2016 in a blaze of publicity, with an expensively-produced video featuring rapper Stormzy, the social media hashtag Pogback and a vow to complete the journey he appeared to be on towards success at Old Trafford before Sir Alex Ferguson fell out with his agent Mino Raiola and he left for nothing to join Juventus in 2012.

His performances have been erratic, his best period coming at the start of last season before his campaign was interrupted in September by injury.

However, hopes Pogba's role in France's World Cup triumph last summer would be the springboard to the player fulfilling his immense promise on a more regular basis have been dashed.

Instead, the relationship between Mourinho and his most expensive player has unravelled to the extent he might end up being sold in the January transfer window.
Pogba inflamed the situation a second time at the weekend, when he responded to a 1-1 draw with Wolves by stating United needed to stick with their traditions to "attack, attack, attack", his manager decided the situation had to be addressed.

Pogba - and his team-mates - were told on Tuesday his status as 'second captain' to Valencia was being removed.

What happens with Pogba now?

In the short term, there is no decision to make and stability needs to be restored. Pogba cannot leave until January no matter how unhappy he is. Manchester United cannot do without their best midfield player no matter how irritated some senior club figures are with his behaviour.

It has to be asked if Pogba is doing his bit to diffuse the situation.

At Old Trafford on Tuesday he sat with non-playing team-mates in an executive section of the Sir Alex Ferguson Stand wearing a top so dazzlingly white it was possible to pick him out in the crowd from the other side of the ground. That is not the work of a man trying to avoid attention.

It would seem, therefore, any attempt to get Pogba to tone his behaviour down is doomed to failure.

That means the onus is on Pogba to live up to his own hype and deliver the performances United fans expected when he returned from Juventus in the first place.

If he does that, when it gets to January, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward will be facing a very tricky choice.

It is fair to assume the Barcelona interest will remain. Pogba is understood to be keen on the move and competition regulations now allow players to appear for more than one team in a single Champions League season.

So, does Woodward say yes to the Catalan cash? Or does he stick to his previous stance and say no and hope to persuade Pogba to stay?

If he takes the latter option, the question mark would then hang over Mourinho.
Undermined over transfers, repeatedly critical of his players, concerned about the 'bad' season he predicted in the summer, when he warned of the consequences of not getting the squad he wanted, and without his right-hand man Rui Faria, who quit at the end of last season for personal reasons, Mourinho seems a more distant and isolated figure than at any stage of his United tenure.

Away supporters cruelly taunt 'You're getting sacked in the morning' when games turn against him, very rarely these days do we see the smile and mischievous humour that so characterised his first arrival in England 14 years ago.

The big question is, does Mourinho have the desire to fight the battles - internal and external - that need to be won if he is to re-establish both himself and his club at the top of the English game.

Exerting authority over Pogba on Tuesday is a positive. In truth, he had little option.

But, in order to move forward, he - and United - must believe they are engaged in a fight they can win.
Paul Pogba & Jose Mourinho clash and fall-out: Where do Manchester United go from here? Reviewed by Akande Boluwatife on September 26, 2018 Rating: 5

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