LONDON – Jose Mourinho has admitted that a row over Paul Pogba’s Rolls-Royce soured their relationship as he headed for the sack at Manchester United.
Mourinho’s toxic relationship with the French midfielder came to a head in September, when the manager stripped Pogba of the vice-captaincy and clashed with him on the training ground in front of television cameras.
Sportsmail revealed at the time that Mourinho had become exasperated by Pogba’s behaviour, including an incident at Burnley in early September when Pogba left Turf Moor in his chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce instead of travelling back to Manchester on the team bus.
Mourinho confirmed the Sportsmail story during a coaching seminar in Portugal on Monday, describing Pogba mockingly as “His Excellency” and admitting that he risked being sent “on vacation” if he handled the player the wrong 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,” revealed Mourinho.
“I told him, ‘If we went to London and you wanted to stay there, that would be one thing. But this is so close that 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’s improved form since Mourinho was sacked has contributed to United’s dramatic resurgence under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
However, the new United boss confirmed earlier this week that he has spoken to the 26-year-old midfielder over recent comments that it would be “a dream” to play for Real Madrid.