Paul Pogba: Sell or keep?
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Manchester United flop Memphis Depay has revealed Paul Pogba was stunned by Jose Mourinho’s treatment of himself during their time at Old Trafford together. The current Barcelona forward moved to Old Trafford back in the summer of 2015. However, he lasted just 18 months before being flogged to Lyon.
Manchester United thought they were onto a winner when they signed Depay from PSV Eindhoven, beating Liverpool and PSG to the player’s signature.
However, despite life at Old Trafford starting well, the Netherlands international never lived up to expectations.
Depay struggled under Louis van Gaal, failing to settle in England under his compatriot.
But things worsened during Mourinho’s spell in charge, with the Portuguese failing to give the Netherlands international a single start in the Premier League.
And, now, the Barcelona forward has revealed Pogba was stunned at the way Mourinho treated him.
He told El Periodico: “I’ve thought a lot about why it went wrong.
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“The first season I had to adapt and it didn’t go well compared to my time at PSV.
“I lost a bit of confidence and I lost the confidence of [Louis] Van Gaal and his staff.
“It was hard for me. The following season I felt like I had more experience, but they changed the coach.
“Jose Mourinho came and I fought to get into the team but I think the idea of giving me a chance was never in his head. He never gave me an opportunity. Never.
“I went to his office but it changed nothing. It was a very difficult period, I felt that I was training well and the players themselves did not understand it.
“[Paul] Pogba and Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] told me: “Why don’t you ever play?” For me that was the confirmation that I had no chance.
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“And I realised that I didn’t want to be in a big club without playing.”
In the time since, Depay has rebuilt his career.
He sparkled for Lyon during his time at the club and, this summer, moved to Barcelona on a free transfer.
This isn’t the first time Depay has talked about his nightmare spell at United, where he was given the No 7 shirt.
In 2019, he claimed he was treated like a ‘naughty child’ during his time at Old Trafford, saying: “After I lost my spot in the starting line-up, I asked assistant coach Ryan Giggs to do extra training with me.
“To work on my crosses with my left foot, to become a better winger.
“After a while Van Gaal asked me to come to his office. He said that there was nothing wrong with my left foot and that the extra training with Giggs was nonsense. It’s all in your head, he also told me.
“That struck me. I mean, what could be wrong with trying to become a better player, with the help of a former top-winger like Ryan Giggs?
“More and more I got the feeling I could do nothing good according to Van Gaal.
“Later Van Gaal came to me and told me I had to talk with a mental coach he personally knew. My answer was that I wanted to think about that.
“I was still confident that I would succeed at United, as soon as I was adapted to the higher level of football and to my new life in England.
“Later on Van Gaal kept on saying that I needed to talk to that mental coach. It would benefit my focus and concentration level, he said.
“But I didn’t feel like talking to a stranger, also because I had my own mental coach since I was twelve already.
“Deep inside I felt that it would cause a problem if I didn’t do what Van Gaal told me. But I didn’t want to be an actor and pretend that I thought it was a good thing to do. Just to please the manager.
“After my third refusal to talk to that mental coach, Van Gaal didn’t speak to me for a long time. I think he’s finished with you when you don’t follow his advice.
“He kept putting me on the bench and at the end of the season he spoke to me again: to say that next year would be even more difficult to me, because United was going to buy new strikers.
“Before the last game of the season, the FA Cup-final against Crystal Palace, he even put me on the stands. Like a teacher does at school with a naughty child.”
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