Jose Mourinho has hit back at the ‘lies’ in the press about the apparent unrest in his Manchester United dressing room ahead of the new season.
The Red Devils kick off the 2018/19 Premier League campaign on Friday night at home against Leicester City, but will take to the field after a tumultuous summer break.
There have been rumours of discord within the Red Devils’ ranks throughout the summer, with Martial and Pogba apparently keen to leave following disputes with their manager, while Alexis Sanchez voiced his disappointment that the club failed to bring more top signings to Old Trafford.
But a peeved Mourinho has dismissed those reports as ‘lies’ and insists he is happy with the squad at his disposal ahead of their season opener.
“I have my players, I like my players, I like to work with my players,” he said in a press conference ahead of Friday evening’s clash against Leicester.
“One lie repeated 1,000 times is still a lie, but the perception of the people is that it’s true but it’s still a lie. So, when you repeat 1,000 times that my relationship with my players is not good, it’s a lie that repeated 1,000 times is still a lie.
“But again, the perception of the people that reads can be different, but I like my players and my group.
“I enjoy the last season, the fight to finish where we finished and to manage the best position in five or six years. I’m going to enjoy this season. Again, I know the words you want me to say or not to say.
“It depends on the music, but words for me don’t come easy. I think by the end of November or December, you don’t need words – you will see by then which teams are candidates to win the Premier League.
“In this moment, words are not important. Let’s play football and by the end of November or December, you don’t need words. You will see which teams are candidates.”
Like many of the Premier League’s top teams, United’s preparations for the news season have been hampered by this summer’s World Cup.
Amid links with a move to Barcelona, Paul Pogba appears to be a doubt for the game having only returned from his post-Russia break earlier this week.
But while reports claim the World Cup winner has told his agent he wants to leave for Spain, Mourinho insists Pogba is ready to knuckle down to work in a Red Devils shirt.
“My perception? He arrived Monday, happy, proud, with a desire to work,” the United boss said of the club-record £89million signing.
“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.
“But it’s the same conversation as with (Ashley) Young, (Marouane) Fellaini, (Jesse) Lingard, it’s the same. To know how they feel physically, mentally to try to give us a help.”