Pogba, has surprisingly found himself starting games on the bench for Manchester United recently, and with the pending game with Chelsea the Blues boss hoping Pogba will again be left out.
Antonio Conte has talked up Paul Pogba’s qualities and insisted that it would be better for Chelsea if Jose Mourinho leaves out Pogba again of his starting XI on Sunday.
Conte and his men travel to Old Trafford for the determining fixture in the race to finish in the EPL top four, with Pogba being one of the main talking points ahead of the game having been in and out of the side in recent times.
After being withdrawn 63 minutes into the United’s Tottenham 2-0 defeat in January, Pogba had since then started the United’s games from the bench or again being taken off midway through the second half of the defeat to Newcastle.
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He was then missing from the FA Cup win over Huddersfield due to illness and surprisingly started on the bench for the Champions League last-16 clash with Sevilla on Wednesday. Mourinho earlier claimed before the Sevilla game that he had “doubts” about Pogba after he had ruled himself out of last weekend’s FA Cup win at Huddersfield with a mystery illness. Mourinho has already warned Pogba that a massive price tag and exorbitant wages won’t guarantee him a regular place in his side.
Pogba on the other hand feels he is being singled out for criticism in training and he is taking the blame for some poor results and performances in recent weeks and was left shocked when Mourinho left him out of his starting line-up for Wednesday’s Champions League clash in Seville.
Scott McTominay has been on the benefit of Pogba’s absence from the team even as Mourinho showers him praise and calls for the media to pay him attention but Conte insists he would be happy if Mourinho continues to leave out Pogba and when asked about Pogbas potentially being on the bench again this weekend, the Blues boss said: “We are talking about a top player, about a fantastic player.
“My expectation is to see him on the pitch, if he stays out [of the XI] it will be better.
“As I said before, we are talking about a top player. Every coach has to find the right way to manage him. But I think that Pogba is showing at United that he is a top player.”
When asked if he was surprised Pogba had been left out recently, Conte added: “I must be honest: my focus is only on Chelsea. I’m not interested on what happens with the other teams.”
Pogba replaced Ander Herrera early on in United’s 0-0 draw in Seville, and Mourinho fears the midfielder could be out of action for a while due to a hamstring injury.
He told reporters: “Ander is out, I don’t know the final diagnosis but I know he’s out for a few weeks, I don’t know how to say few, two, three, four, five or six.”
Mourinho is now debating whether or not to start with Pogba in Sunday’s crunch clash with Chelsea at Old Trafford, or keep faith with Scott McTominay following his recent impressive performances.
United will be looking to strengthen their grip on second place in the Premier League table, with Conte’s side capable of moving ahead of them if they claim all three points at Old Trafford.