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Pogba starts amid talk of potential United exit

Jose Mourinho had vowed to drop several of his under-performing stars in the aftermath of Sunday’s shock 1-0 defeat.

Paul Pogba (file pic).
Paul Pogba (file pic).
Image: Nick Potts

PAUL POGBA WAS named in the Manchester United team for Wednesday’s clash with Bournemouth amid mounting speculation that the France midfielder is set to leave Old Trafford.

United manager Jose Mourinho had vowed to drop several of his under-performing stars in the aftermath of Sunday’s shock 1-0 defeat against struggling West Bromwich Albion.

United’s team-sheet at Dean Court was eagerly awaited as Mourinho — who accused them of complacency against Albion — made seven changes, yet kept Pogba in the starting line-up.

Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic, Ashley Young, Victor Lindelof, Antonio Valencia and Juan Mata were all left out ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham.

It was Pogba’s fate that attracted the most interest.

Pogba was widely criticised for his lacklustre display against Albion — the latest in a long line of disappointing efforts from the former Juventus star since his move to United two seasons ago.

That sparked talk that Mourinho has told United to put Pogba up for sale, just days after Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he had been offered the chance to sign the midfielder by his agent in January.

It could actually be bad news for Pogba that he featured against Bournemouth as Mourinho hinted he had opted to rest some of the players he feels are essential to beat Tottenham at Wembley.

Is the team selection looking back at the weekend or ahead to the semi-final? A bit of both,” Mourinho told BT Sport.

“I would say for example that Matic is looking for Saturday. But not every player that is out of the team is for the same reason.

“The message is the same. People in the stadium or at home can be confused with my message. We have a fresh team. The majority of players didn’t play the last match.

It is a team where only Chris Smalling played for 90 minutes at the weekend. I don’t even speak about the semi-final.

“We need four points to confirm a top-four position and that is target number one.”

– © AFP 2018

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