jose Mourinho has hit back at rumours he has fallen out with some of his Manchester United stars by claiming: “It’s a lie.”
And he insisted World Cup winner Paul Pogba is “happy” with life at Old Trafford and is not looking for a move, amid interest from Barcelona.
Pogba, it is understood, is ready to answer Mourinho’s SOS to play against Leicester in the Premier League opener at Old Trafford tonight – despite having had only four days pre-season training under his belt.
Mourinho has been dogged by suggestions all is not well in the United camp.
But he said: “I have my players and I like my players. I like to work with my players.
“When you repeat 1,000 times that my relationship with my players is not good, it’s a lie – and repeated 1,000 times it is still a lie.
“I like my players and my group. I enjoyed last season, the fight to finish where we finished and to manage the best position this club has had in five years. I’m going to enjoy this season.”
He was full of praise for Pogba who returned from his post-World Cup break on Monday and wants to play against the Foxes to ease United’s injury crisis.
Six players are ruled out by injury – Nemanja Matic, Ander Herrera, Antonio Valencia, Marcos Rojo, new boy Diogo Dalot and No 2 goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
Mourinho added: “My perception of the situation? I see Paul very well. He arrived Monday, happy, proud, with a desire to work.
“He worked amazingly well Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and he’s one of the players that I have to speak to see how physically and mentally he feels because we need their help.”
Mourinho accepted Manchester United’s failure to land a centre half on deadline day.
He said: “It is time for me to stop thinking about the market and focus on what we have.”
But he says Anthony Martial is back at square one after missing nine days of pre-season training because of the birth of his second child.
“He had nine days of no training,” Mourinho concluded.
“No football, absolutely nothing. So he has to start again. It’s as simple as that.
“You try to make a case about it but there is no case.”