London - Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba quickly deleted a
controversial social media post of him smiling after manager Jose
Mourinho was sacked by the club on Tuesday.
READ: The Pogba power-struggle that ended in tears for Mourinho
Mourinho was dismissed
on Tuesday after United's worst start in 28 years left them trailing
Premier League leaders Liverpool by 19 points.
Mourinho's exit was in part triggered by the breakdown of his
relationship with France midfielder Pogba, who did not even make an
appearance as a substitute for Sunday's dismal 3-1 defeat at Liverpool.
took to Instagram just moments after news of Mourinho's sacking broke,
posting a picture of himself smiling and writing "caption this" next to
The 25-year-old's post was widely interpreted as celebrating
Mourinho's departure and he was criticised by former United defender
Gary Neville, who responded on Twitter by writing: "You do one as
well!", suggesting he should leave the club as well.
Over 64 000
people had 'liked' Pogba's cheeky message, but he deleted the post 10
minutes later amid claims it was actually part of a marketing campaign
The controversy was an appropriately rancorous end to the World Cup winner's stormy relationship with Mourinho.
Pogba joined United for a club record £89 million just weeks after Mourinho was hired in 2016.
But the former Juventus player was repeatedly criticised by Mourinho during his two-and-a-half year reign.
his inspired performances helped France win the World Cup in Russia in
July, Mourinho opted not to praise Pogba, instead infuriating the star
by publicly asking why he did not try as hard for United.
Pogba was stripped of the United vice-captaincy earlier this season.
pair were captured having a frosty exchange on the training ground as
Mourinho grew angry with his key midfielder's lethargic performances,
dropping him on several occasions to spark talk he would be sold by the
end of the season.
Former United midfielder Darren Fletcher knew
Pogba during the Frenchman's first spell with the club as a youngster
and he says his old team-mate "needs a kick up the backside".
fears Mourinho's sacking could convince the flamboyant Pogba that he
can now get away with whatever behaviour he feels like, unless the new
manager clamps down quickly.
"I don't think he's conducted himself well recently and I think he needs a kick up the backside," Fletcher told the BBC.
"I think his post today, whether it was his team or whatever, it was totally out of order. That's a big concern for me.
talked about, 'Who's going to go, is it going to be Pogba or Mourinho'.
Now, if Pogba starts thinking that he's bigger than Mourinho, there's
your next problem.
"Somebody needs to get control of Paul and say,
'Listen, this hasn't been a battle between Mourinho and Pogba and
you've won, you've got to go and prove yourself now.'
"A manager's got to come in there and demand more from him, to lead this team forward."