Paul Pogba acknowledged that not everything “worked well” with Jose Mourinho but thanked the former Manchester United manager for improving him as a player.
Mourinho’s two-and-a-half years in charge of the Red Devils came to an abrupt end on Tuesday when he was fired in the wake of a 3-1 defeat to bitter rivals Liverpool.
A particularly contentious element of Mourinho’s tenure concerned his relationships with some players, and he was reported to be on poor terms with Pogba by the time United dismissed him.
Pogba’s conduct in private after Mourinho’s sacking has been questioned in the media, while Gary Neville accused him of “dancing on the manager’s grave” following an ill-timed sponsored social media post showing the midfielder smirking once the news broke.
After United thumped Cardiff City 5-1 in their first game under caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Saturday, Pogba conceded not all had been well under Mourinho, but nevertheless thanked him for his work.
“I know you’re waiting for something about Jose, about the result today,” Pogba told reporters in the mixed zone after the victory.
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“Obviously, we are very happy with the result. We played well, the performance of the team was great and I know you want to ask me; ‘But oh yeah, with Jose…’
“With Jose, we won trophies and I want to thank him for that. Not everything worked well, but [some] things went well, we won trophies.
“Winning trophies makes you improve as a person as well and that’s it. That’s the past. I want to thank him for that.
“I’m sure all the players are now looking to the next game, the points, … and we want to go back to the top of the league. That’s all I want to say.
“The performance of the team was great. We are happy the first game with the manager starts like this and the important thing now is to carry on like that.
“We cannot play like this and score five goals and then lose [the next match]. That’s it.”
United are next in action at home to Huddersfield Town on Boxing Day.