Mourinho takes swipe at Scholes over Pogba criticism
LIVERPOOL, England — Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has hit back at club great Paul Scholes for his criticism of midfielder Paul Pogba.
While working as a TV pundit, Scholes said after United’s 0-0 draw with Southampton on Saturday that Pogba was “just strolling through games” and “doesn’t look fit.”
“I think the only thing Paul Scholes does is criticize,” Mourinho said after United beat Everton 2-0 in the Premier League on Monday. “I don’t think he comments, I think he criticizes, which is a different thing.
“Not everyone of us has to be phenomenal like he was as a player. That does not mean that we all have to be phenomenal.”
Mourinho said he thought Scholes was jealous of Pogba, who joined United in the summer of 2016 for 105 million euros (then $116 million) — a world-record fee at the time.
“Paul (Pogba) tries to do his best all the time,” Mourinho said. “Sometimes he plays very well, sometimes he plays well, sometimes he doesn’t play so well. It’s not Paul’s fault that he made much more money than Paul Scholes. It’s just the way football is.
“I think Scholes will be in history as a phenomenal player, not as a pundit. I prefer to look at him as a phenomenal player that gave so much to the club that I am proud to represent.”
Scholes, who made 718 appearances for United, is one of many former United stars who are now pundits or commentators for British broadcasters. Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Owen Hargreaves have also been critical of the team in recent weeks, with United having drawn three straight games in the Premier League over the festive season to drop out of realistic contention for the title.
Asked if he was frustrated by the number of high-profile ex-United players working in the media, Mourinho said: “I think they would love to be here, in the club. That’s a problem that I cannot resolve.”
On Scholes, Mourinho added: “If Paul one day decides to be a manager, I wish that he can be 25 percent as successful as myself. Fifty percent of that is 12.5 silverware, 25 percent is around 6. If he’s 25 percent, he’ll be quite happy.”