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, 02 October 2018
Juventus v Young Boys, Allianz Stadium 18:55
Hoffenheim v Manchester City, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 18:55
Bayern Munchen v Ajax, Allianz-Arena 21:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Shakhtar Donetsk, Groupama OL Academy Decines-Charpieu 21:00
Manchester United v Valencia, Old Trafford 21:00
AEK Athens v Benfica, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 21:00
Roma v Viktoria Plzen, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
CSKA Moskva v Real Madrid, VEB Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 03 October 2018
PSG v Crvena Zvezda, Parc des Princes 18:55
Lokomotiv Moskva v Schalke 04, RZD Arena 18:55
Porto v Galatasaray, Estadio Do Dragao 21:00
Atletico Madrid v Club Brugge, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 21:00
PSV v Internazionale, Philips Stadion 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Monaco, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Napoli v Liverpool, Stadio San Paolo 21:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Barcelona, Wembley Stadium 21:00
Tuesday, 23 October 2018
AEK Athens v Bayern Munchen, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 18:55
Young Boys v Valencia, STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern 18:55
Real Madrid v Viktoria Plzen, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 21:00
Ajax v Benfica, Johan Cruijff ArenA 21:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 21:00
Manchester United v Juventus, Old Trafford 21:00
Roma v CSKA Moskva, Stadio Olimpico 21:00
Hoffenheim v Olympique Lyonnais, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 21:00
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Club Brugge v Monaco, Jan Breydelstadion 18:55
PSV v Tottenham Hotspur, Philips Stadion 18:55
Liverpool v Crvena Zvezda, Anfield 21:00
Barcelona v Internazionale, Camp Nou 21:00
PSG v Napoli, Parc des Princes 21:00
Lokomotiv Moskva v Porto, RZD Arena 21:00
Borussia Dortmund v Atletico Madrid, Signal-Iduna-Park 21:00
Galatasaray v Schalke 04, Turk Telekom Stadyumu 21:00
Tuesday, 06 November 2018
Monaco v Club Brugge, Stade Louis II 19:55
Crvena Zvezda v Liverpool, Stadion Rajko Mitic 19:55
Porto v Lokomotiv Moskva, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
Atletico Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 22:00
Internazionale v Barcelona, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza 22:00
Napoli v PSG, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Schalke 04 v Galatasaray, Veltins-Arena 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v PSV, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Wednesday, 07 November 2018
Valencia v Young Boys, Estadio de Mestalla 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Roma, VEB Arena 19:55
Juventus v Manchester United, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v AEK Athens, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Viktoria Plzen v Real Madrid, Doosan Arena 22:00
Benfica v Ajax, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 22:00
Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Hoffenheim, Groupama Stadium 22:00
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