Jose Mourinho, according to British newspaper, The Telegraph, has taken a thinly veiled swipe at Paul Pogba whom he referred to as ‘His Excellency”.
The Portugal born coach claimed he risked being sacked if he handled the Manchester United midfielder in the wrong way while he was the manager.
The collapse of Mourinho’s relationship with Pogba was one of the reasons behind United’s decision to sack the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager in December and bring in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
But Mourinho – who in January launched an attack on player power at Old Trafford – has suggested he was always treading on eggshells where Pogba was concerned.
Pogba was stripped of the vice-captaincy by Mourinho in September not long after an incident following a 2-0 win over Burnley, when the Portuguese was angered by the club record £89 million signing leaving Turf Moor in a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce instead of travelling back to Manchester on the team coach.
Detailing the story in a coaching seminar in Portugal on Monday, Mourinho referred mockingly to Pogba as “His Excellency” and claimed he was at risk of being sent “on vacation” by United if he failed to handle the midfielder in the right way.
“We would play a team that was 30 kilometres from Manchester and a player asked me if after the game he could return to Manchester without the team and go on his own,” Mourinho explained, in reference to Pogba at Burnley. “I told him, ‘If we went to London and you wanted to stay there, that would be one thing. But this is close, it doesn’t make sense’.
“The guy was upset. But then we won the game and he asked me again. Because I was happy, I gave in a little and said, ‘At least leave on the bus and ask your chauffeur to catch up with you 10 minutes from the stadium, then go as you wish’.
“And this guy in the locker-room still wasn’t happy. I went to the press conference and when I arrived at the team bus, parked beside it was a Rolls-Royce with his chauffeur.
“After all, the car was new and His Excellency would like to leave the stadium in his Rolls-Royce. Now how do we deal with this? You [tell him] never go in the Rolls? You can go when I’m happy? Or you solve this thing in another way to get me ‘on vacation’.”
Pogba wanted to quit United for Barcelona during Mourinho’s final season in charge but the Frenchman has assured Solskjaer that he is committed to the club after face-to-face talks with the new manager, despite interest from Real Madrid.