Steve McClaren has urged manager Jose Mourinho not to pander to key midfielder Paul Pogba and to control him instead.
The former-Manchester United assistant manager used a quote from Sir Alex Ferguson to explain his thoughts on the Pogba situation, which has been high-profile in the last week.
Pogba reportedly had a disagreement with Mourinho over his best position for Man United and how the team should play. He was ruled out of Saturday afternoon’s comfortable 2-0 victory against Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup Fifth Round with illness, with an announcement only coming on the morning of the game.
McClaren believes Mourinho must control Pogba.
“It’s the life of a football manager that players are going to be unsettled, unhappy if they’re not playing well,” the ex-England boss told Sky Sports. “That’s the situation at Manchester United with Pogba. It’s about controlling players, not about keeping them happy.”
Using the philosophy of Ferguson, who famously got rid of a number of key and high-profile players at Old Trafford such as Roy Keane in 2005, McClaren instructed Mourinho what to do.
”Sir Alex once said to me: ‘Steve, players are here to make us happy & pleased, not us to make them happy & pleased. They’re here for us’,” he said.
“What Mourinho has is a unhappy player because he’s not playing well,” McClaren claimed. “Before injury, Pogba was the best player.”
After his injury, Pogba was also United’s best player in most games, though he did have a spell of three poor performances after returning from a suspension for a red card against Arsenal.
While he hasn’t been quite at his best, since injury and suspension, Pogba has been named Man of the Match on a couple of occasions.
His best performance came on New Year’s Day against Everton, playing on the left side of a three-man midfield. However, one of his worst displays in a United shirt also came recently, in a 2-0 defeat at Wembley to Tottenham Hotspur. The idea he’s been in terrible form is wrong, but there is certainly more to come from the Frenchman.