Mourinho: Pogba was never Man Utd's vice-captain

The Portuguese has made a confusing revelation regarding the midfielder, with the Frenchman having previously been referred to as “second captain”

Jose Mourinho has claimed that Paul Pogba “was not the vice-captain” of Manchester United, having previously stated that the midfielder would “not be the second captain anymore”.

The France international was handed the armband at the start of the 2018-19 campaign on the back of his World Cup-winning exploits.

It was suggested that added responsibility had been passed his way as those inside Old Trafford attempted to quieten talk of internal rifts.

That saga has, however, taken several twists and turns since, with both Mourinho and Pogba speaking out in public before becoming embroiled in a training ground row.

United’s manager had apparently already taken the decision before that clash that his £89 million asset would not be skippering his side again, but the Portuguese has now suggested that the 25-year-old talent was never deputy to Antonio Valencia.

Mourinho told reporters when quizzed on the matter again prior to a Premier League clash with West Ham: “Paul was not the vice-captain.

“We had Valencia as the captain and then we had a group of players that could be the vice captain – one day I gave it to David de Gea, I gave it to Ashley Young, to Chris Smalling.

“I first thought about Paul last season, because [he is] a player of a different generation, younger player, the captain of the future.

“Because Valencia, Young, they are more or less the same age, the same generation. But he [Pogba] was not the vice-captain, so now we don’t have the vice-captain.

“Now it depends on the match, and depends on if Valencia is playing or not.

“If Valencia is playing, Valencia is the captain. If he is not playing, I will try and go in another direction.”

Mourinho is adamant that events away from the field over recent weeks will not prove to be a distraction for United, with the Red Devils needing to get back to winning ways when they travel to the London Stadium on Saturday.

“I expect to win tomorrow,” he added.

“I expect to play very well tomorrow – we have worked very well, especially Wednesday and Thursday, so tomorrow I expect a very good performance and I expect to win a very difficult match.

“I don’t come here and say ‘the training session was not good and I have a bad feeling and I have a feeling that tomorrow we are not going to play well and we are not going to win’.

“I think tomorrow we are going to play very well, and I think we are going to win against a very good opponent, an opponent with great investment, with a champion manager (Manuel Pellegrini), and lots of talented players.

“Very difficult but I am very positive.”

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