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Jose Mourinho has hit back at Paul Scholes over the Manchester United legend’s criticism of Paul Pogba. Speaking after United’s 2-0 Premier League win away to Everton on New Year’s Day, Mourinho accused Scholes of being overly critical in his role as a pundit for BT Sport, per ESPN.co.uk’s Mark Ogden.
“I think the only thing Paul Scholes does is criticise. I don’t think he comments, I think he criticises, which is a different thing. Not every one of us has to be phenomenal like he was as a player. That does not mean that we all have to be phenomenal.
“Paul (Pogba) tries to do his best all the time. Sometimes he plays very well, sometimes he plays well, sometimes he doesn’t play so well. It’s not Paul’s fault that he made much more money than Paul Scholes. It’s just the way football is.
“I think Scholes will be in history as a phenomenal player, not as a pundit. I prefer to look at him as a phenomenal player that gave so much to the club that I am proud to represent.”
Scholes had been quick to lament Pogba after United struggled to a drab goalless draw at home to Southampton on Saturday. He told BT Sport (h/t James Robson of the Manchester Evening News) Pogba was failing to match the levels he set at Juventus before returning to Old Trafford for a then-world record £89 million in 2016.
Pogba answered his critics with an imperious display against the Toffees, with Sky Sports Statto detailing how much the France international exerted his influence:
Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto
Man of the Match, @paulpogba
Completed 51 of 61 passes
5 chances created
2 assists (now 7 in PL this season)
Now unbeaten in last 34 PL apps for @ManUtd https://t.co/PZ5QtYr82K
Beating Everton gave United a first win in four in the league, after draws against LeicesterCity, Burnley ant the Saints.
The stuttering run of form prompted Scholes to question the club’s progress under Mourinho, who challenged the former midfield playmaker to try his own hand at handling the pressure of building a team: “If Paul one day decides to be a manager I wish that he can be 25 percent as successful as myself. 50 percent of that is 12.5 silverware, 25 percent is around six (trophies).”
United got back on track at Goodison Park, returning to second, but remain 12 points adrift of leaders Manchester City, who have played a game less. It means one win won’t be enough to quiet the critics, even those who won as many trophies at United as Scholes did.