Jose Mourinho was happy with Paul Pogba's reaction to being against Sevilla.
Jose Mourinho has praised Paul Pogba’s professionalism after being dropped for Manchester United’s Champions League game against Sevilla on Wednesday.
The French midfielder was a surprise omission from Jose Mourinho’s starting line-up for the 0-0 draw, though he did come on as a substitute in the 17th minute to replace the injured Ander Herrera.
That came after Pogba was taken off with United trailing in recent defeats to Tottenham and Newcastle, while he was a late withdrawal through illness against Huddersfield in the FA Cup last weekend.
Tensions have appeared to be mounting between Mourinho and the club’s record signing in recent weeks but the United boss offered an olive branch when asked by the media if Pogba is in the right frame of mind to start against Chelsea on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
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“You saw the game against Sevilla,” Mourinho said. “It is always more difficult to come from the bench than to start.
“A player when he is starting the game has a different kind of preparation for it and it is easier. To be on the bench and to come on without warming up and get into the pace is not easy. I think he had a very positive game for us.
“And details are details. Sometimes players on the bench take five minutes to be ready to play. They don’t have the shinpads or the strapping or the shirt or this or that. He took ten seconds to be ready to come to the pitch.
“He showed his professionalism and that despite being on the bench he was ready to play and to help the team. And he did.
“I think he responded in a very professional way, both times he was on the bench. He was on the bench against Huddersfield in the Premier League and he responded in a professional way. And he was on the bench against Sevilla and he did the same.”
Mourinho was also asked Romelu Lukaku’s poor scoring record against the top eight sides in the Premier League this season. So far, the Belgian has failed to score in 10 games against Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, Burnley and Leicester.
In six games against teams in the top six this season, Lukaku has failed to register a shot on target but Mourinho insists he is not concerned about his star striker’s record in big games.
When asked why Lukaku has been unable to score for United against any teams in the top eight, Mourinho replied: “I don’t know but I am not worried – 21 goals is not bad at all.
“I don’t measure the players’ performances the same way you do. I have other points of analysis and I am happy with Romelu’s performances, even when he doesn’t score goals.”