Jose Mourinho Admits that Paul Pogba Withdrawal Impacted Man United Result

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Superstar midfielder Paul Pogba was handed the captain’s armband tonight in Manchester United’s 1-0 loss at FC Basel in UEFA Champions League group play. Pogba returned to action this past weekend after a more than two month layoff, and this was just his second match. He was impressive again, just like he was on Saturday, and he came off in the 66′.

United manager Jose Mourinho admitted in his postgame news conference that Pogba leaving the game had influence over the result. A draw at Basel would have won Group A for United.

“Did Paul Pogba coming out have an affect on the team? I think it had,” Mourinho asked and answered himself.

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“We were not such a good team after Paul came out but he had to be, he cannot go to levels of fatigue after 65 minutes, but I brought to the pitch an experienced player like Matic that I thought could affect the game, I bring Marcus to give us more depth, more speed, more problems, Zlatan to hold the ball, drop and have it, the approach was good.

“I cannot blame the players I think we play a match like this 10 times and nine we win comfortably. The one was now.”

Defender Daley Blind blamed himself for the lone goal, and hence the defeat in a postgame interview, but Mourinho wasn’t having any of that. Mourinho said it is unfair to blame Blind and the instead the problem could have been the team’s ambivalent ambition, or mixed motivation.

A draw or better would have clinched their passage through to the knockout round, but as it stands, United are still all but certain to got through. Basel would now have to beat Benfica, and United would have to lose 7-0 at home to CSKA Moscow in order to not reach the round of 16.

jose mourinho

“We didn’t score in the second half probably [because of] the fact that we know one point is enough,” Mourinho said of the team’s ambiguity about whether they were playing for one point or three in this one.

“Probably at 75 minutes, 80 minutes we didn’t score, so it is not time to try to win, it is now time to try control and in the end we lost.

“So it’s hard for me to be upset with the players. The first half the attitude was good, the football was good. It is really difficult to blame. It’s just football.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

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