Paul Pogba Joins Man Utd Squad In Dubai
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Paul Pogba is winning his race to be fit for Sunday’s clash against Tottenham at Wembley as one of the Manchester United midfielder’s brothers launched a scathing attack on former manager Jose Mourinho.
Pogba joined up with United’s squad for their training camp in Dubai on Monday night after initially staying behind to receive treatment on an injury caused by Jonjo Shelvey’s reckless challenge during the 2-0 win over Newcastle last week.
It forced Pogba to miss Saturday’s FA Cup victory over Reading but the Frenchman trained in Dubai on Tuesday and will be closely assessed over the coming days ahead of Spurs, the biggest test yet for interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a run of five successive wins following Mourinho’s sacking.
United – who sent Marcos Rojo home early from Dubai with the defender still struggling with injury – are due to return from the Middle East on Thursday evening. “Hopefully we can get Paul on his feet during this week,” said Solskjaer.
Pogba has been revitalised under Solskjaer after the collapse in his relationship with Mourinho, which culminated in the Portuguese branding his record signing “a virus” in a dressing room tirade at Southampton last month and dropping him to the substitutes’ bench for his final three league matches in charge.
And Pogba’s brother, Mathias, who plays for Tours FC in the third tier of French football, blamed Mourinho entirely for his sibling’s troubles.
“It was Mourinho who was the problem,” Mathias told RMC Sport. “Mourinho still wants to be the centre of attention. The problem was Mourinho, right down the line.
“In the locker room, outside the locker room… everything, I know my brother, and you tell him, ‘Go. Go play’, the rest, he will do it.
“From what we see of Mourinho, he always wants to be the maestro, the centre of attention.
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“[Paul] does not even calculate that aspect: you respect him, he will respect you, you trust him, he will produce big performances.”
Solskjaer has welcomed United’s draw away to Arsenal in the FA Cup fourth round as another chance to prove their mettle. “Fantastic – these players need the big games to be challenged,” he said. “Of course, everyone says we’ve won the last five games but they’ve not been against big opposition. But you can only beat the teams you play and, for us to get tested and go to the next level, you need those games. And if you want to win the FA Cup, you have to beat everybody.”
Meanwhile, United have announced they will open a series of club-themed “entertainment and experience” centres across China in partnership with leading Chinese property developer Harves. It also increases the likelihood of a pre-season tour game in China this summer. United have already confirmed two games in Australia.
The first centres are due to open in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenyang by the end of next year and will involve interactive attractions and exhibitions that use the latest technology to replicate the thrill of a matchday at Old Trafford for their purported 100 million followers in China. Each centre will have a restaurant and official club retail store.