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Jose Mourinho will have Manchester United’s respect in Paul Pogba row: Nemanja Vidic

Paul Pogba’s omissions from Jose Mourinho-coached Manchester United’s starting eleven in two of their last three games has been a matter of contention over the past weeks.

football Updated: Feb 22, 2018 22:57 IST
Sarthak Bal
Sarthak Bal
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Jose Mourinho,Paul Pogba,Nemanja Vidic
Paul Pogba was left out of the Manchester United’s starting eleven in their 2-0 win over Huddersfield in the FA Cup last week(AFP)

Jose Mourinho will always have the admiration and respect of his players according to Manchester United legend Nemanja Vidic, in light of the manager’s alleged rift with star midfielder Paul Pogba.

The Frenchman’s omissions from United’s starting eleven in two of their last three games has been a matter of contention over the past weeks.

READ | Jose Mourinho hails Scott McTominay after leaving out Paul Pogba vs Sevilla

Pogba was left out of the team’s starting eleven in their 2-0 win over Huddersfield in the FA Cup last week, and again on Wednesday night, in their round of 16 Champions League clash against Sevilla.

An untimely injury for Ander Herrera though, forced Mourinho’s hand in bringing the 24-year-old on in the 17th minute of the goalless draw at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.

“I think a football player has much more power now than before. Football is changing because it is more of a business. It is a bit difficult for manager’s to establish themselves if they do not win the trophies,” Vidic explained at the sidelines of the The Football Movement hosted by Premier League and India On Track.

READ | Roy Keane defends Paul Pogba; demands more from Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez

“But of course, Mourinho is a different case. He has already won a lot of trophies and will always have the respect and admiration of all the players. No question about that,” the Serbian added.

“But I think for the younger generation to start as a manager is a bit difficult, but for Mourinho I don’t think it is a problem at all. And for Guardiola and all those who have won trophies.”

Vidic, who joined United from Spartak Moscow in the summer of 2005, winning five Premier League trophies and one Champions League title in his eight and a half years at Old Trafford also praised the team’s latest acquisition, Alexis Sanchez.

READ | Champions League: David De Gea shuts out Sevilla as Manchester United FC earn draw

“I think he is a top-player with a lot of quality. He has made a difference in the Premier League over the past few years. Personally, I would have loved for him to join earlier, to travel the pre-season with the club. But we did sign him in January, and he will surely contribute towards fighting for trophies, including the Champions League this season,” Vidic said.

“The competition in the team is also important. He has been at Barcelona in the Champion League and he has experience of that competition as well.”

Centre-back Chris Smalling, who currently plays the role that Vidic so successfully-occupied at United has been at the receiving end of criticism for his inability to hold the position.

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Vidic defended the 28-year-old saying: “I have played with Chris for two or three years. When I came he had just started out, but he was still very talented and physically strong. He has all the abilities you should have as a defender.”

“But the problem for this generation of defenders, especially Manchester Untied is that they are often compared with Rio (Ferdinand) and me. Rio and I were good, yes.

But without the team we would not be what we are. They (the team) have played a big role in our success and winning trophies. But if they (Man United) win more trophies now, all players that are at United right now will be seen in different light.”

Spotlighting the frequent change of managers as one of the biggest challenges for Smalling, Vidic added: “But I think he is doing well now, he has improved. He also of course has played under three different managers already – (David) Moyes, (Louis) Van Gaal and now Mourinho. They all have different style of football so he has to adapt to their expectations.”

“It is not easy to play as a centre-back these days because the game has changed. In my time, it was accepted that a player is good at defending and a player who is good at bringing the ball from the back. But that was the mentality in my time. Now the demand is for a player to do both, so it is not easy,” Vidic further explained on a defender’s plight in recent times.

First Published: Feb 22, 2018 20:37 IST