Jose Mourinho has had his say over the debate surrounding Paul Pogba’s best position in the Manchester United team.
Since he brought Pogba to Old Trafford in summer 2016, many have speculated how best to get the most of United’s record signing.
Mourinho has employed a variety of systems, with Pogba most often forming a pair with Nemanja Matic at the base of his midfield, or playing on the left of a three.
Some claim that the defensive responsibilities a deeper role restricts Pogba, with his poor performance at Tottenham preceding Mourinho’s decision to bench the France star for last week;s clash with Huddersfield.
The United boss says there is no issue between him and Pogba but Mourinho is struggling to understand some of the talk focusing on the 24-year-old.
“Paul had a very professional behaviour,” said Mourinho ahead of Sunday’s trip to Newcastle. “This week was not different to what Paul is every week. He works well, he’s a good professional. He likes to train. I’ve never had a single problem with him. He likes to train.
“I was laughing over the past week because I heard and watched, read a few things, and I’m not English but I think I understand English enough when you want to say box-to-box.
“But with some comments from some important people in football I got a little confused.
“For me box-to-box means box-to-box. You have to be good in this box and have to be good in that box.
“It means you have to defend well in this box, the physical condition and desire and stamina to go until the other box. In the other box you have to be good at scoring, creating, heading and so on.
“And when your team loses the ball you have to go to the other box. Now I’m confused when some people say box-to-box has to play free of defensive duties. That’s not a box-to-box. That’s a box in the box and stay in that box. Don’t move from that box!
“I think this country produced a lot of box-to-box players. I had the pleasure to coach some of them, but nowadays with some pundits, some agents, some family members, the concept of box-to-box is changing a little bit.
“It looks like we are going to a different concept. Box-to-box are not my words. I heard it for the first time in 2004 when I arrived. For me, with my Portuguese and trying to translate to the English I just think midfield players.
“For me Paul is a midfield player. He’s not a left back, he’s not a striker. When people ask his best position: he’s a midfield player. It depends on the tactical system but he will always be a midfielder.
“Then with so many opinions, and we are in a world of opinions, people can get confused. There is no confusion between me and Paul. It’s difficult to play a midfielder with more potential than Paul.”