(Reuters) – Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho on Friday dismissed talk of a fallout with Paul Pogba, saying that he “couldn’t be happier” with the World Cup-winning France midfielder.
Pogba scored in United’s 2-1 opening day Premier League win over Leicester City last week but appeared to fuel speculation about his future at the club afterwards by saying he would be punished if he said the wrong thing.
The 25-year-old, who joined United in 2016 for $114 million (£89.7 million), has been linked with a big-money move to Spanish club Barcelona following a series of apparent rifts with Mourinho.
“The truth is, we’ve been together for two years and a couple of weeks and I’ve never been so happy with him as I’m now,” Mourinho told reporters ahead of Sunday’s league trip to Brighton & Hove Albion.
“That’s the truth. I cannot demand more from him, I cannot ask more from him… He’s working well, playing well… I want him to play for the team, which he’s doing, and, I repeat, I couldn’t be happier than what I am.
“He’s very polite, he’s very educated, he never had a fight with me. We never had a warm or hard, I don’t know how you like to say, exchange of words. Everything is respected. I have no problems at all.”
Pogba will captain United again on Sunday in the absence of regular skipper Antonio Valencia. The right back returned to training this week along with midfielders Nemanja Matic and Jesse Lingard and the trio are working towards full match fitness.
United were beaten 1-0 in their previous visit to the Amex Stadium late last season, a result that ensured Brighton held on to their top-flight status.
“They know how to play and they’ve kept the same team, they bought a few new players,” Mourinho added.
“The style is the same and the fact that they lost the first match (against Watford), they’re working for a reaction, working to improve their game, so a difficult match for us, but we are confident.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)