There are too many negative headlines created about Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho’s relationship at Manchester United.
Pogba has been a regular starter for United this season. But the way the media describes the pair, you would think the Frenchman had been banished to the under-23s.
After United’s win over Everton, Mourinho took a moment to back Pogba, when the tabloids would have loved him to do otherwise.
Pogba’s performance in the 2-1 win was mixed. At times he was lax in possession, and his penalty was frankly ridiculous.
He showed his desire by following it up to score, and it was his pass which found Anthony Martial in space for the winner.
Mourinho was asked about Pogba’s penalty after the game.
Instead of using the moment to criticise the midfielder, Mourinho gave him his backing.
He admitted Pogba could do better, but that was obvious. He made clear Pogba will remain his penalty taker, and that is what United’s record signing will want to hear.
Mourinho told AFP: “The thing I like is the desire to take it.
“I don’t like Mickey Mouses, fragile, afraid, who go, ‘I don’t take penalties.’ I like the player that wants to take it.
“Paul wants to take them and that, for me, is fantastic. Can he improve? I think he can.
“The goalkeepers know his running, they don’t move and they are waiting for his decision, so he has to learn from that but for me the most important thing is he wants to go again.”
It would have made great headlines if Mourinho had stripped Pogba of spot kick duties, and fuelled the tabloids for the next fortnight.
Instead Mourinho has used the moment to strengthen his relationship with the player, by backing him in a big spot.
It won’t generate the same amount of headlines, but Mourinho’s comments will prove to be important for player and club.