Paul Pogba’s poor performances at Manchester United came because he had “lost total respect” for Jose Mourinho, according to Paul Scholes.
The Frenchman has been one of many United players revitalised by the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in December, with the Red Devils now pushing for a place in the top four which had previously looked unattainable under Mourinho.
Why have United improved so much under Solskjaer? Five key things to know…
- Mourinho was sacked by Man Utd with the club in sixth place following a 3-1 defeat to bitter rivals Liverpool.
- Since Solskjaer’s arrival as caretaker manager, the Red Devils have won seven and drawn one of their seven Premier League games.
- Part of the reason for the upturn in results is the return to form by the likes of Pogba.
- Scholes believes Pogba has improved in recent weeks because he did not respect Mourinho and was playing for himself.
- Pogba has scored six goals and recorded a further four assists in 10 games under Solskjaer.
Since Solskjaer took charge, Pogba has scored six goals and recorded a further four assists in 10 games across all competitions, having managed just five goals and four assists in 18 matches under Mourinho this season.
And Scholes believes Pogba’s upturn in form is down to him finally playing for his team, rather than himself as he did under Mourinho.
“He lost total respect for the manager, which I don’t agree with totally,” he told The Sun.
“Now he’s playing with his brain and he’s using the quality he has. You’ve seen the last eight to ten games what a player he is and what a player he can be.
“It’s just down to the player. I’ve been one of his biggest critics and I hated doing it, but the reason I was doing it is because I’ve played alongside the lad.
“I’ve seen over the years what a talent this player is. For the first part of this season and probably last year he was playing for himself.
“It’s difficult. Obviously, that’s what Ole has done. I’m not sure that [Max] Allegri at Juventus would have had that kind of attitude with him.”
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Scholes: United need to qualify for the Champions League
Following the poor start to the season under Mourinho, United had a mountain to climb to return to the top four and keep their place in the Champions League for next season.
But under Solskjaer, the Red Devils have seen the gap to fourth-placed Chelsea reduced to just two points with 13 games to play, including one against the Blues.
And Scholes believes Solskjaer can lead United to the top four, but any incoming permanent manager must aim for more than Champions League qualification alone.
“I think as a player you want medals, you want trophies, you want to be winning stuff and I think probably as a club, financially – Champions League is probably a little bit bigger I suppose,” he told BBC 5 Live.
The winners and losers as Man United beat Leicester in the Premier League – https://t.co/c7JB7E9wJe
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“It would be a disaster if clubs like United didn’t get into the Champions League next season. I think they will do the way they’re going.
“For Tottenham it’s massive as well but I think Tottenham – they’re at a point now where I think winning the FA Cup or winning the League Cup is much more important than being in the Champions League the year after.
“If he’s [Mauricio Pochettino] at United, he’s got to go for everything. Being in the Champions League, in the top-four places isn’t good enough. The only reason it would be good enough this season is because the way the team have performed over the first half of the year.
“Winning the FA Cup will be good for United, it will be a great achievement for Ole if he can do it, but if Pochettino comes in next season he has to try and win everything.
“Okay, the League Cup may be on the back burner but the rest of it – he has to try and win trophies for Manchester United. That’s what the fans expect and that’s what the club expect.”