PAUL POGBA wants boss Jose Mourinho to stop blaming him for Manchester United’s problems.
The pair had a frank dressing-room exchange following Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Southampton.
Reuters6 Paul Pogba has failed to live up to expectations at Old Trafford this season
United boss Mourinho said Pogba was like a virus who was infecting players around him.
But Frenchman laughed off the attack and said he should not be the scapegoat for United’s failings.
Mourinho also told the whole squad that they need to think of their team-mates.
And that if they are not giving 100 per cent then they need to drop out of the team.
PA:Press Association6 Jose Mourinho brutally accused Paul Pogba of being a virus
It is the latest episode in boss Mourinho’s difficult relationship with £89million club-record signing Pogba as United struggle in the league.
They face Arsenal at Old Trafford on Wednesday having taken just two points from the last possible nine.
The Red Devils had to come back from 2-0 down for a point at St Mary’s and are now already eight points off the Champions League places.
Only one team has ever had a worse start after 14 games and made it into the top four.
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Getty – Contributor6 Paul Pogba in action during the 2-2 draw with Southampton on Saturday
That, coincidentally, was tonight’s opponents Arsenal in 2012-13.
But they were only five points off the top four at this point and won eight of their last ten games.
Little wonder then that Mourinho has adjusted the target he gave the players a fortnight ago — of a top-four place by the end of the year.
The Red Devils chief did, however, backtrack on his claim it would be a “miracle” if they achieved that aim even by the end of the season.
Getty Images – Getty6 United will take on Arsenal after their heroic 4-2 North London derby win
He said: “I don’t know if I said that but if I used that word it is not what I feel at all.
“We are eight or nine points from fourth so I don’t think we need a miracle at all.
“We need a good run of results, not to waste points we shouldn’t waste.
“Last week before the Crystal Palace 0-0 I said my hopes and targets were end of December to be in that position.
PA:Press Association6 The World Cup winner covered his face after the disappointing draw against the Saints
“The target has changed but in the sense of let’s try to close the distance as best we can and be very close to these positions.”
And his target then got even lower — with Mourinho talking about a top-six place and the potential to leapfrog Everton, who are currently just above them.
He said: “Everton have made phenomenal investment and obviously there has been a great improvement in their team from last season.
“But I don’t think Everton will be in front of Manchester United at the end of the season.
“There are six teams that should stay in the first six positions, season after season.”
Right now United aren’t one of them.
Getty – Contributor6 Jose Mourinho's side are now eight points off the Champions League places
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