All is not well at Manchester United, it seems.
If their tumultuous start to the season has not been enough, the club have been hit with the constant speculation surrounding the relationship between Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba – which came to a head on Wednesday.
After confirming the £89million signing had been stripped of the vice-captaincy, although not really explaining why, the pair were involved in a frosty encounter on training in front of TV cameras.
The exchange went viral online and sprouted various reports of discord at the club, with Thursday’s back pages awash with stories after a testing 24 hours for United.
And, to save you from trawling the internet for every scrap of news, rumour and comment, your pals at talkSPORT have rounded up all the top stories on the Mourinho v Pogba grudgematch…
United players ‘angry and frustrated’ with Mourinho
According to ESPN, a number of senior Manchester United are unhappy with their manager for his poor man-management throughout the season – with his decision to strip the vice-captaincy from Pogba only the latest incident to baffle the dressing room.
Mourinho’s comments following the Red Devils’ EFL Cup exit to Derby County about knowing his side ‘were in trouble’ when Phil Jones stepped up to take a decisive penalty – which he then missed – also did not go down well with the team.
Having also fallen out with Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial, it is claimed players feel the 55-year-old is ‘picking fights with his players and then asking them to play for him’.
A Man United source then explains that players are not happy with the manager’s ‘negative and critical approach’ and that many feel he has lost his greatest quality as a manager – to read, encourage and relate to his squad.
Training ground spat was over Instagram post…
It has emerged the reason behind Mourinho and Pogba’s frosty exchange during training on Wednesday was over one of the midfielder’s Instagram posts.
A clip of their encounter was has been viewed over eight million times on social media, and sparked reports that their relationship is now irreparable.
But eagle-eyed and bat-eared viewers managed to decipher what the spat was about – with Mourinho asking club press officer John Allen: “When did Paul post on Instagram?”
During United’s EFL Cup defeat to Derby, the former Juventus star uploaded a video himself and Andreas Pereira laughing while they sat in the stands at Old Trafford.
It is claimed Pogba posted the video at half-time, but a WIFI signal problem at Old Trafford meant it was delayed, eventually going online at 10.28pm.
But Mourinho believed Pogba had uploaded the video after the match, hence his anger on Wednesday.
Watch the subtitled training clip HERE!
Watch the Instagram video which angered Mourinho HERE!
Pogba ‘determined to force Old Trafford exit’
The Daily Telegraph claim Pogba told the United hierarchy almost two months ago that he wanted to leave the club.
The paper says World Cup winner Pogba is ‘determined to quit United for Barcelona’, regardless of whether Mourinho remains as manager or not.
Mourinho and Pogba at odds from the start?
The Daily Mail claim the problems between Mourinho and Pogba began before a ball was even kicked – right from when he re-signed for the Red Devils for £89million in 2016.
Mourinho was instrumental in bringing the midfielder back from Juventus, but the manager was apparently ‘furious’ by the manner in which United unveiled his signing.
The #POGBACK announcement went vital online, as United used the player’s ties with club sponsor Adidas and now globally renowned rapper Stormzy to break the news.
Mourinho felt it put the player about the club – and thus began his ongoing fued with the Frenchman.
“It got off to a bad start and it does not appear to be getting better,” a club source is quoted as saying.
Woodward sides with Mourinho – but could face backlash
Man United vice-chairman Ed Woodward has thrown his support behind under-fire Mourinho…
… but he could now face a dressing-room revolt with a number of players unhappy with the mananger, according to the Daily Star.
It is claimed only two senior stars at the club are in Mourinho’s corner thanks to the coach’s divisive manner.
And the paper claim a number of players will consider leaving Old Trafford at the end of the season if ‘The Special One’ remains in charge.
No ‘I’ in team…
However, The Times report that Mourinho and Pogba will have to find some way of working together and resolve their differences…
…as Woodward has no plans to get rid of either of them.
Despite their rather public falling out, the Man United chief will not consider ditching his manager or the club’s record signing.
So it seems they have some talking to do…
Jose demands the same backing as Sir Alex
The Sun suggest Mourinho has told the club he wants the same kind of backing from the Man United board as former manager Sir Alex Ferguson received during his player-power battles.
Fergie famously fell out with a number of his top stars during his legendary tenure, including the likes of Roy Keane, David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy.
All three of those players left Old Trafford due with their conflicts with the fiery Scot, and yet he was never threatened by the sack.
Mourinho apparently has called for United to stick by him in the same way and offer a public vote of confidence to stop any speculation over his future.