Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has refuted the suggestion that he has any personal problems with midfielder Paul Pogba, putting the current speculation over the pair’s relationship down to “lies in journalism”.
The Frenchman has been criticised for failing to live up to his potential since making a £90 million move to Old Trafford from Juventus in the summer of 2016.
“If that happened 10 or 15 years back, it would bother me a lot, because in that time it wouldn't have lies in journalism,” he told ESPN.
"Actually, I don't even know who's a journalist and who isn't anymore, because nowadays anyone can be a journalist. In fact, me and Paul have never had a personal issue.
“If you tell me that we would have problems because me, as a coach, create different things than someone else and vice versa, ok. But personal issues, absolutely not.
“And I feel happy to say that Paul can be a lot of things, but there's a think I can assure you: he's very polite.”
Meanwhile, Mourinho believes the success he enjoyed in his managerial career prior to arriving at United has heaped additional pressure onto an already demanding club.
“It's my fault because my career was built to win,” he when asked why there is so much expectation upon the Red Devils to win the FA Cup.
“It's always victories and victories. And now it's been almost a year without any victories and I feel like that's more important than people who never won anything.
“But in reality, people who never win anything are worse than the ones who always win and someday just don't. I have never been an entire season without victories, so that means that if I don't win the FA Cup, the fact that I made it to the finals turns into only an 'option’.”
In his first season at Old Trafford, Mourinho claimed the Europa League as well as the League Cup.
This time around, however, they have finished a distant second to Manchester City in the Premier League – an improvement on last term’s sixth – but were eliminated from the Champions League in surprising circumstances by Sevilla.