Paul Pogba has started the season with a simple message for Jose Mourinho – stop attacking me and I’ll be free to deliver everything for Manchester United.
The French World Cup winner has an uneasy relationship with Old Trafford boss Mourinho triggering talks of a summer exit with Pogba’s agent Mina Raiola desperate to move him to Barcelona.
United’s owners and internal hierarchy at Old Trafford have no interest in selling Pogba.
Although Mourinho struggles with Pogba’s celebrity status and flashy exterior, senior club figures see him as the essential stellar star to lead United’s quest to be champions again after a five year wait for the League title.
Mourinho clashed with Pogba several times last season and even after his World Cup triumph in Russia the United boss riled the Frenchman and his camp by challenging him to play the same way every week in the Premier League.
Pogba clearly wants an end to the sniping and reckons more love and a less destructive narrative from Mourinho will benefit everyone.
And as United’s season kicked off with victory over Leicester Pogba’s mighty display showcased his special talent – and brought some straight talking from the intelligent £89million midfield power-house.
“You have to know one thing. You have to know one thing – a player that gets chosen and is happy, you always feel more comfortable than when he’s not happy” said Pogba.
“That’s all I say. After the World Cup I am the same. I am the same. It’s the same Paul Pogba.
“It’s a different team, obviously.
“I still enjoying playing football, I still love football and I still give my best with the team, for the team.
“Like I said, when you are comfortable, when people trust you and have confidence then you are good in your own head and it’s going to be easier.”
Pogba and Mourinho will never be bosom buddies. And throughout all his media duties after the Leicester win he never mentioned his manager once.
“I always give my best for the fans, for the team-mates and for the people that trust me” said Pogba.
Despite talk of wanting a new £350,000 deal to have parity with Alexis Sanchez, Pogba – on around £200,000-a-week – insists his life is about happiness not money.
“If you’re not happy in doing what you’re doing right now, there’s no point doing it” he says.
“If you’re doing it for money, there’s a point about doing things for money, but there’s a point about doing things because you love it.
“If you are enjoying what you do you give your the best. But if you’re not happy, you cannot give your best.”
That’s a clear indication his relationship with Mourinho has affected his happiness at the club and his ability to turn in the kind of dominant display he gave against Leicester.
That came after just four days training following his summer break.
And although left-back Luke Shaw – one of Mourinho’s other whipping boys – was made man-of-the-match for his win-clinching first ever goal for United it was Pogba’s drive, determination, influence and leadership that were key to victory.
“It’s three points, it’s what we wanted so I’m very happy. Of course the performance wasn’t the best, but it’s better to start like this and finish well then start very well and finish bad.
“Some of us, me included, didn’t have a lot of training and we played a game.
“After 30 minutes I was out of breath and I told one of the staff to put some water on the side, but he didn’t, so I couldn’t go and drink.
“But it’s okay. The stamina was okay but my legs lost some power. Hopefully I will be back soon fit, very fit, 100 per cent fit.
“We knew we were not going to be fit, 100 per cent, but the aim and most important thing was to start well the Premier League and we did that.”