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Thursday 23 November 2017

'Pogba critics blinded by envy' - Jose

Mourinho defends his £90m man ahead of crunch Rostov clash

Manchester United's Paul Pogba
Manchester United's Paul Pogba
Jose Mourinho

Jose Mourinho accused Paul Pogba's critics of being blinded by envy as the Manchester United manager launched a staunch defence of the world's most expensive player.

The 24-year-old returned to Old Trafford in August to an enormous fanfare and huge cost, with Juventus potentially receiving £93.25m for the midfielder.

However, Pogba has flattered to deceive at times since returning to United and criticism peaked following an underwhelming display in Monday's FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Chelsea.

Few gave Mourinho's claims that he was the "best player on the pitch" much credence but the Portuguese has now hit back at the criticisms from some onlookers.

Direction

"I feel that the world is losing values and we all know that," he said ahead of United's Europa League last-16 second leg at home to Rostov tonight.

"And envy is coming to certain levels that I'm scared, especially with the next generations, if things go in this direction.

"It's not Paul's fault that he gets 10 times the money that some players - some very good players - did in the past.

"It is not his fault that some of the pundits, they are in real trouble with their lives and they need every coin to survive and Paul is a multi-millionaire. It is not his fault.

"I think he deserves, I think his family deserves respect.

"He is a kid that comes from a working family, a family with three boys that I am sure need a lot of food on that table every day because they are big giants.

"I am sure that the mum and the dad they had to work hard for many, many years for them.

"A kid that comes to Manchester as a teenager, that fought for his career here. That was not afraid to move and go to another country and look for better conditions for him. A kid that reached the top of the world with his work, nobody gave him anything.

"So I am really, really worried with the previous generations because things are going in such a direction that envy is everywhere. I am very happy with Paul, the club is very happy with Paul and I think also a good thing is that because of his personality he doesn't give an 'S' to what people says."

Change

Pogba is unlikely to wilt in the face of scrutiny that will again be rife when United line-up against Rostov tonight.

Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial are again sidelined, with Mourinho confirming top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, currently serving a domestic three-match ban, will be the only change to the squad that lost Monday's ill-tempered FA Cup clash at Chelsea.

The English Football Association has charged United for failing to control their players after Ander Herrera's first-half sending off, which threw Mourinho's men off kilter on a night when N'Golo Kante gave his former side a deserved 1-0 win. A bad night only got worse as issues with their flight back meant United instead had to battle traffic on the M6, getting back at around 4am.

"We had one gift and we thought one gift was enough," Mourinho said. "But then we had the second gift and we thought that was too much. And then we had third gift. The first gift was to play Monday night, the second gift was to play with 10 men and then the third gift was to have a promenade on the M6.

"But we are professionals, so the next morning we were here to train. Today the same and tomorrow we go with everything we have, and I think the fans will give us this little bit of extra energy. So we believe that tomorrow we can cope with the situation and fight to be in the quarter-final."

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