Paul Pogba Considered Manchester United Exit Under Jose Mourinho, Says Brother

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistFebruary 4, 2019

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03:  Paul Pogba of Manchester United reacts during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Manchester United at The King Power Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)
Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

Paul Pogba considered leaving Manchester United when Jose Mourinho was in charge, but he is much happier under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to his brother, Mathias. 

The French midfielder's relationship with Mourinho was fraught come the end of his tenure, and he was benched for the Portuguese manager's last three Premier League games in charge of the Red Devils.

Since Mourinho was replaced by Solskjaer on December 19, Pogba has played every minute of United's eight games in the English top flight, and he has been excellent:

Mathias has now told Telefoot (h/t ESPN FC) that Solskjaer's previous experience of coaching his brother when he was in the United reserves has been crucial to how the Norwegian has handled the 25-year-old since he took the top job:

"Things were not going well under Mourinho. Now that Solskjaer has given him the keys to the team, so to speak, things have started up again. That's what my little brother needs. Of course that [leaving] crosses your mind. But now, he is where he is. He was under contract, and above all he had to just keep quiet, grit his teeth, and keep working.

"As Solskjaer had Paul with the reserve team, he knows exactly what to say and how to say it to Paul. And when you give my little brother that responsibility, you will only see the best of him."

Pogba was crucial again for United as they maintained their unbeaten record under Solskjaer with a 1-0 league win over Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Sunday.

The former Juventus man's perfectly weighted ball over the Foxes defence set up Marcus Rashford for the only goal of the game in the ninth minute:

Like Pogba, Rashford is another player who has flourished under Solskjaer.

Before Mourinho departed, the England international had three goals and five assists in 14 Premier League appearances in 2018-19.

He now has nine goals and six assists in 22 outings, and he has replaced Romelu Lukaku as the first-choice forward in the United squad.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Manchester United at The King Power Stadium on February 3, 2019 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Despite having lost his starting spot, Lukaku has been positive about Solskjaer's impact and recently explained the effect the former United forward has had on the players, and Pogba in particular, per Canal Football Club (h/t Get French Football News):

"At training we are constantly saying Paul looks so happy and then he laughs. Everyone is back to their level, Paul, Marcus, me when I get playing time I try and make as big an impact as possible, Anthony [Martial], everyone.

"Everyone is more positive. Everyone is smiling more. And now we have to continue like this. And enjoy.

"This competitive spirit is coming back out of each player, it has already started in training when we play small-sided matches, 6 vs. 6, 8 vs. 8, you can see it the players want to prove themselves to the manager. They want to take their opportunity and during matches we know that each player knows that the most important thing is the team and we know that it is that attitude that will take us to the top."

After Mourinho's final game in charge, the 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on December 16, United were sixth in the Premier League, 11 points off the top four.

They are now in fifth, just two points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.

United could break into the top four after the next round of matches as the Red Devils face relegation-battling Fulham on Saturday before Chelsea visit title-chasing Manchester City.

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