Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has said that Paul Pogba’s substitution against Newcastle United had nothing to do with an injury. The France international was replaced with Michael Carrick shortly after Matt Richie scored the only goal of the game for the Magpies.
Pogba had picked up a knock during the warm-up session prior to the game, and he had spoken to United assistant Rui Fario before heading through the tunnel. Despite this, he was picked for the starting lineup, though he struggled to make much of an impression.
Following the game, Mourinho was asked whether Pogba’s substitution was enforced, and after a short pause, the Portuguese stressed that the move was tactical with Michael Carrick brought on to change the dynamics of the match.
He told Sky Sports: “No. No problems. I wanted a better way to come out in the first phase against a team that was defending in a very compact block. And bring Alexis [Sanchez] close to [Romelu] Lukaku, where he could be a second striker to try to win the game.”
Despite Mourinho’s comments, something was not right with Pogba, who started the game limping on the field. Aside from a couple of one-twos’ early on, the Frenchman struggled to restrict the movement of Jonjo Shelvey at the heart of the midfield, and Nemanja Matic was given an overwhelming task of doing most of the duties.