Champions League

Mourinho plays down pressure on Pogba

2018-02-21 10:52
Paul Pogba (Supplied)

Seville - Jose Mourinho played down suggestions that Paul Pogba needs to use the Champions League knockout stage to justify his huge price tag as Manchester United prepare for Wednesday's clash with Sevilla.

"I dont think it's fair to speak about the responsibilities of a player. When I decide a team to play I don't look to the age, the salary, the transfer fee, because I think that's not also fair," Mourinho told reporters on Tuesday at the Sanchez Pizjuan in Seville, where the sides meet in their last 16, first leg.

Pogba was included in United's squad for the game after missing the 2-0 FA Cup fifth-round win at Huddersfield Town on Saturday through illness, compounding a poor few weeks for the midfielder.

The French international was signed in August 2016 for a then world record fee of £89.3 million, but he has not completed 90 minutes for a month.

He was hauled off by Mourinho in recent defeats at Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United, and dropped for Huddersfield's trip to Old Trafford in the Premier League.

Mourinho has been heavily critical of Pogba's form with debate raging over what his role should be to maximise his potential.

When asked if Pogba would return to the starting line-up against Sevilla, Mourinho said the player's participation at an open training session earlier in the day indicated he was ready.

"When a player is in that competitive situation it's because they are normally ready without problems," he said.

Ander Herrera, Marcus Rashford and Antonio Valencia, who all missed the game at Huddersfield, are also hoping to return.

Mourinho is returning to Seville, having enjoyed some big victories at the Sanchez Pizjuan during his three years in charge of Real Madrid between 2010 and 2013.

He also won the UEFA Cup in the Andalusian city in 2003, when his Porto side beat Celtic at La Cartuja.

"I have to say that meant a lot because it was my first time playing in Europe and we had a young team," he said.

"If my memory is ok I think I had big victories here against Sevilla but I also lost. But I am not the kind of guy to think that what happened before has any influence.

"I think the two teams are very balanced, but we want to try, go with everything, and we are confident that over two legs we can do it."

After Wednesday's game the sides meet again in the second leg at Old Trafford on March 13.

 

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Fixtures
Tuesday, 17 September 2019
Lyon v Zenit St. Petersburg, Groupama Stadium 18:55
Inter Milan v Slavia Prague, San Siro 18:55
Ajax v Lille, Amsterdam ArenA 21:00
Benfica v RB Leipzig, da Luz 21:00
Red Bull Salzburg v Genk, Red Bull Arena 21:00
Napoli v Liverpool, San Paolo 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Barcelona, Signal Iduna Park 21:00
Chelsea v Valencia, Stamford Bridge 21:00
Wednesday, 18 September 2019
Club Brugge v Galatasaray, Jan Breydel Stadion 18:55
Olympiacos v Tottenham Hotspur, Karaiskakis Stadium 18:55
Bayern Munchen v Red Star Belgrade, Allianz Arena 21:00
Bayer Leverkusen v Lokomotiv Moscow, BayArena 21:00
Dinamo Zagreb v Atalanta, Maksimir Stadium 21:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City, Metalist Stadium 21:00
Paris SG v Real Madrid, Parc des Princes 21:00
Atletico Madrid v Juventus, Wanda Metropolitano 21:00
Tuesday, 01 October 2019
Atalanta v Shakhtar Donetsk, San Siro 18:55
Real Madrid v Club Brugge, Santiago Bernabeu 18:55
Juventus v Bayer Leverkusen, Allianz Stadium 21:00
Manchester City v Dinamo Zagreb, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Lokomotiv Moscow v Atletico Madrid, Lokomotiv Stadium 21:00
Red Star Belgrade v Olympiacos, Stadion Rajko Mitic 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayern Munchen, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 21:00
Galatasaray v Paris SG, Turk Telekom Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 02 October 2019
Slavia Prague v Borussia Dortmund, Eden Arena 18:55
Genk v Napoli, Luminus Arena 18:55
Liverpool v Red Bull Salzburg, Anfield 21:00
Barcelona v Inter Milan, Camp Nou 21:00
Valencia v Ajax, Mestalla 21:00
RB Leipzig v Lyon, Red Bull Arena 21:00
Zenit St. Petersburg v Benfica, Saint Petersburg Stadium 21:00
Lille v Chelsea, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 21:00
Tuesday, 22 October 2019
Shakhtar Donetsk v Dinamo Zagreb, Metalist Stadium 18:55
Atletico Madrid v Bayer Leverkusen, Wanda Metropolitano 18:55
Juventus v Lokomotiv Moscow, Allianz Stadium 21:00
Manchester City v Atalanta, Etihad Stadium 21:00
Club Brugge v Paris SG, Jan Breydel Stadion 21:00
Olympiacos v Bayern Munchen, Karaiskakis Stadium 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Red Star Belgrade, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium 21:00
Galatasaray v Real Madrid, Turk Telekom Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
Ajax v Chelsea, Amsterdam ArenA 18:55
RB Leipzig v Zenit St. Petersburg, Red Bull Arena 18:55
Benfica v Lyon, da Luz 21:00
Slavia Prague v Barcelona, Eden Arena 21:00
Genk v Liverpool, Luminus Arena 21:00
Red Bull Salzburg v Napoli, Red Bull Arena 21:00
Inter Milan v Borussia Dortmund, San Siro 21:00
Lille v Valencia, Stade Pierre-Mauroy 21:00
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