Jose Mourinho has given his thoughts on Paul Pogba’s display during Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in the FA Cup quarter final, noting that criticism of the Frenchman stems from a sense of envy.
Pogba was subject to widespread criticism after struggling to make an impact on the game against Antonio Conte’s side following Ander Herrera‘s 35th minute red card.
And Mourinho, speaking after the game, was quick to dismiss the validity of opinions expressed by the football “specialists.”
“We have to be positive, the players were phenomenal but Pogba was by far the best player on the pitch,” Mourinho said.
“He was a giant on the pitch. After him, all my other boys were fantastic.
“The specialists will say a lot about him and it comes from envy.
“They will never ever earn 10 percent of what he does.”
The 54-year-old has made an interesting point here: is it really justified for us, the meagre footballing audience, to sit there, beer in hand, and go: “See him, that Pogba lad? Complete fraud.” This is a man who, aged 19, left Old Trafford and dominated Italian football and then came back, four years later, as perhaps the most high profile name going into the new season. And what greets him? Uncontrollable vitriol at the sight of one moment of weakness.
There is, of course, answer to this: the fact that we are not just English but, more crucially, English football fans. We live off the feeling of schadenfreude when it comes to these giants of the game. It is, above anything, a natural inclination to throw nothing but anger and abuse towards someone who has, despite being just 23, achieved more than what most of us ever will.