The Red Devils narrowly overcame a resilient Newcastle United side at the weekend, coming behind from a two-goal deficit to win 3-2 in the closing moments.
After goals from Newcastle’s Kenedy and Yoshinori Muto put the visitors 2-0 up inside 10 minutes, United scored three times in the second half through Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez to secure all three points and ease the pressure ever so slightly for Mourinho.
However, according to BBC Sport columnist Crooks, the United boss owes Pogba – the very player that has been a part many spats across the last few years with Mourinho – an apology, with Crooks believing it is because of the Frenchman’s performance that Mourinho is still in charge of the Old Trafford club.
Writing in his weekly segment on BBC Sport, Crooks wrote: “Jose Mourinho owes Paul Pogba an apology.
“What a second-half performance by the France international. He was the only Manchester United player who had showed any bottle in a team who, at one stage, became frightened of their own shadows against Newcastle.
“The tension at Old Trafford has largely been inflicted by their own manager. Fortunately Pogba, oblivious to Mourinho’s continual rantings, took the game by the scruff of the neck, probing and driving his team to victory.
“Not only did the World Cup winner save United against Newcastle, he might have saved Mourinho’s job for now. Many a player would have let Mourinho sink.
Mourinho & Pogba – The history
Pogba moved back to Manchester United in 2016 following a spell with Italian giants Juventus, the club where the midfielder truly realised his potential on the world stage.
It wasn’t long before Pogba was established in the United set-up and Mourinho was singing his praises, insisting at the time that his big-money signing had all the makings to become United captain in the years to come.
“I think he has. I think he has the charisma. The ambition. The mentality. He is a good professional. Being so young and with so many ingredients, I think he can,” said Mourinho.
Pogba’s form for United was inconsistent, occasionally providing performances of real quality and regularly underwhelming considering his mighty £89.3 million transfer fee and his astronomical weekly wage.
Again, Mourinho came to support the player saying :”It is not Paul’s fault that he gets 10 times the money some players did in the past.”
Pogba’s response was simple: “He trusted and defended me. That’s all a player needs.”
A successful World Cup with France showcased his talents and influence, leading to speculation of a move to Barcelona due to Pogba’s poor relationship with Mourinho.
Admitting to a “lack of attitude” in United’s 3-2 defeat to Brighton, Pogba’s comments following the club’s 1-1 draw with Wolves landed him in hot water.
He said: “We are at home and we should play much better against Wolves. When we are at home we should attack, attack, attack. That’s Old Trafford. We are here to attack. I think teams are scared when they see Man United attacking and attacking. That was our mistake today.”
This led to Mourinho stripping Pogba of his vice-captaincy role and now it seems there is no way back for the pair. Time will tell whether they are able to mend their professional relationship or if it will take a departure for United to reap the benefits.