Manchester United news: Jose Mourinho says Paul Pogba 'is ready to play' against Southampton

18 Aug

Jose Mourinho has given Paul Pogba the green light to make his second Manchester United debut against Southampton on Friday and called for the Old Trafford crowd to help turn their stadium into a fortress.

Pogba, a world record £89m summer signing from Juventus, seems likely to be used in a limited role against the Saints with his manager considering him not yet ready to complete 90 minutes.

But Mourinho is more concerned with his club’s supporters, who have earned a reputation for being subdued despite their large numbers in recent years, and wants them to help inspire his players to glory.

Mourinho said: “I think everything starts there, the relationship between the team and the fans. 

“If at Old Trafford, a couple of thousand away supporters can be more noisy than 70,000, then we are in trouble, then it means there is no connection between team and supporters. 

“If there is a connection, that factor being strong at home has to be back. But I think everything starts with that relationship. 

“The way the team plays, the way it behaves, the mode of play. It includes the mental approach. If the fans feel that connection, they also want to “play” and if the fans “play”, there is no chance for the opponent.”

Pogba, back at the club he left four years ago, will certainly be guaranteed a rapturous welcome, given the enthusiasm with which his signing has been greeted and Mourinho has no qualms about throwing him into the Premier League’s first Friday night fixture of the season.

He said: “We played with some players against Leicester with less training than Paul. We have guys coming back from the Euros and holidays, just one week training and they played against Leicester. 

“Not on the top of the game, not ready for 90 minutes, but they played and performed. 

“Paul is training for more than a week, 10 or 11 days, his adaptation is really easy because he is a boy from here, he knows everybody. He doesn’t need for time to adapt, just time to build his condition and his understanding in the way the team tries to play. 

“I think he is ready to play. 90 minutes? I don’t believe. A super performance? I don’t believe. But to accelerate his integration in the team, for sure.”

The Southampton meeting has been given added spice by United’s interest in their defender Jose Fonte with the Saints believing United have deliberately leaked their interest ahead of the game to de-stabilise the player.

Mourinho said: “I don’t comment. I don’t care. The market is open until August 31. I keep saying I am very happy with the players I have. I don’t speak.”


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