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Jose Mourinho, like a petulant teenager angered by a video game, benched Paul Pogba for Saturday’s game against Huddersfield, three days after player and manager argued with each other during Manchester United’s 2-0 loss at Tottenham.
Which would be hilarious, if not for the fact that Premier League clubs probably don’t want rage-quitting video gamers running their teams.
Pogba is United’s most talented player. But Mourinho hasn’t quite figured out how to get consistent quality out of the French midfielder. He has often opted to play Pogba in a deeper role, despite that restraining his playmaking and/or leaving United susceptible to counterattacks.
During a pitiful performance at Tottenham, the disconnect between player and manager was clear for all to see. During the second half, with Spurs thoroughly dominant, Pogba came over to the sideline during a stoppage in play and animatedly went back and forth with his boss.
Mourinho and Pogba's touchline debate last night.
The Frenchman was subbed off soon afterwards pic.twitter.com/Hm6Ka2Bx4O
— ComeOn! UK (@ComeOnPulse) February 1, 2018
Minutes later, Mourinho subbed Pogba off. Three days later, Pogba was on the bench, dropped in favor of 21-year-old reserve Scott McTominay.
Mourinho was asked about the decision prior to the match. He dodged the question, and comically claimed the decision was all about giving McTominay a chance. “No Pogba, the player is McTominay,” he said. “McTominay is a kid that arrived here at 9 years old, many, many years in the academy, waiting for an opportunity that I’m giving him now and again, and today is another one.”
Which would be an acceptable explanation if not for the fact that Mourinho has a longstanding reputation for not caring about playing youngsters.
Mourinho has turned rage quitting into its soccer equivalent, rage benching. He also left Phil Jones out of the 18 altogether. Jones had scored an own goal against Tottenham on Wednesday.
Doesn’t exactly seem like the best man management strategy, Jose. And doesn’t seem like the greatest on-field strategy, either. United was tied 0-0 with Huddersfield at halftime.
However, Romelu Lukaku scored 10 minutes into the second half to give United a 1-0 lead.
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