Gary Neville has criticised Jose Mourinho for his attack Paul Scholes’ comments on Paul Pogba.
The former Manchester United midfielder questioned Pogba’s fitness following the 0-0 draw with Southampton, noting that he didn’t look like the player who starred for Juventus.
And Mourinho, following a superb display from his captain against Everton, hit out at Scholes for only criticising as a pundit, implying that he was jealous of the money Pogba earns.
In response, Neville has warned Mourinho against caring too much about what pundits say about Man United’s performances.
“Jose Mourinho has been defending Paul Pogba from his critics this week,” he said. “One thing we have seen a lot more of is managers and players responding to things out of their control and I actually find it quite funny. Everybody is a bit sensitive and touchy these days.”
“When somebody pays £90m for you then you’re going to be criticised. When you play for Manchester United you also get a lot of praise, fame and fortune, so for my part it is just part of the career of a footballer.
“I remember Tony Adams saying to me early in my career that over your career of 18-20 years you are going to get praise and criticism in the media, but not to listen to either. You’re going to have highs and lows and I have no idea why managers pay any attention to what is said on TV.
“The worst thing is being ignored. If you are being talked about it means you are doing something right. Pogba has the right character and personality to play for Manchester United.”
The 54-year-old has always ferociously defended his players and the sphere he deems so important to consolidating the right attitude on the pitch, and there were some elements of what he said in response to Scholes’ comments that were justified.
Making such sweeping comments on a player with so much unquestionable talent after just one performance has always been anathema to Mourinho – a man wary of the increasingly reactive nature of today’s footballing audience. There is nothing wrong with pointing that out.
But the rest was overkill, and deeply unnecessary. To assert that Scholes cares about money is a ludicrous statement about a player who repeatedly turned down huge financial temptations from other clubs in favour of staying at Old Trafford. Lavish or greedy are not terms you would ever associate with him.
But Mourinho knew what he was doing. He wanted to bring Scholes into the public eye, to shoot him down in front of the watching world. The war is never over with Mourinho and while the content of what he said can be questioned, there are no doubts that he got the outcome he wanted.