Paul Pogba has been ruled out of Manchester United’s FA Cup fifth-round match at Huddersfield due to illness.
The 24-year-old has been at the centre of speculation all week after reports surfaced that his relationship with United boss Jose Mourinho had become strained and that he was unhappy at being played too deep in midfield.
Mourinho dismissed those reports as “lies” at his press conference on Friday and said Pogba would play against the Terriers.
However, the club announced on social media that Pogba was ill and had been replaced in the squad by under-23 player Ethan Hamilton.
Mourinho accepted on Friday that Pogba was not in top form but said the reports were way wide of the mark.
“I don’t have to speak with you about my conversations with my players. I don’t have to tell you anything about it,” he said.
“It is my problem, it is the player’s problem. A big lie that our relationship is not good, a big lie that we don’t communicate, a big lie that we don’t agree with his positions and his involvement in the dynamic of the team.
“So, be objective and say what we all know: in the last couple of matches he didn’t play well. Period. End of story.
“Now, it’s my problem and Paul’s problem to deal with it and try to improve his performance level. You don’t need to be a liar.”
Mourinho then invited journalists in the room to tell him what position Pogba played in in United’s last game – the Premier League defeat to Newcastle last Sunday.
Mourinho clarified that Pogba’s preferred formation is 4-3-3 and playing as an “eight on the left”, before urging the media to explain the game and not talk “b******t”.
“He almost went to surgery like (Ousmane) Dembele in Barcelona went with a very similar injury.
“The decision was not to do it and go to a conservative treatment, which resulted very, very well. Everybody was really happy with the way things went.”