Jose Mourinho hits out at pundits over Paul Pogba’s best position at Manchester United
Pogba was substituted in the second-half of United’s defeat at Spurs prior to the trip to the John Smith’s Stadium and many pundits have been questioning the 24-year-old’s best position.
Liverpool legend Graeme Souness claimed Pogba lacks the concentration to play in central midfield for the Red Devils.
However, Mourinho criticised the debate and underlined exactly what he expects from Pogba as a box-to-box midfielder at Old Trafford.
‘I was laughing over the past week because I heard and watched, read a few things, and I’m not English but I think I understand English enough when you want to say box to box,’ the Portuguese said.
‘But with some comments from some important people in football I got a little confused. For me box-to-box means box-to-box. You have to be good in this box and have to be good in that box.
‘It means you have to defend well in this box, the physical condition and desire and stamina to go until the other box. In the other box you have to be good at scoring, creating, heading and so on.
‘And when your team loses the ball you have to go to the other box. Now I’m confused when some people say box-to-box has to play free of defensive duties. That’s not a box-to-box. That’s a box in the box and stay in that box. Don’t move from that box!’
Mourinho accused pundits of getting ‘confused’ over Pogba’s position.
He added: ‘I think this country produced a lot of box-to-box players. I had the pleasure to coach some of them, but nowadays with some pundits, some agents, some family members, the concept of box-to-box is changing a little bit.
‘It looks like we are going to a different concept. Box-to-box are not my words. I heard it for the first time in 2004 when I arrived. For me, with my Portuguese and trying to translate to the English I just think midfield players.
‘For me Paul is a midfield player. He’s not a left back, he’s not a striker. When people ask his best position: he’s a midfield player. It depends on the tactical system but he will always be a midfielder.
‘Then with so many opinions, and we are in a world of opinions, people can get confused. There is no confusion between me and Paul. It’s difficult to play a midfielder with more potential than Paul.’