Zlatan Ibrahimovic Explains Why Pogba Struggled Under Mourinho

Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring United's second goal with Paul Pogba.

Reuters / Phil Noble

Jose Mourinho’s feud with Paul Pogba was one of the biggest talking points during the former’s final few months with Manchester United, with that ruined equation ultimately playing a role in the manager’s departure from the club.

Now, a month after the Portuguese tactician’s departure, one of his beloved players has had his say on the controversial working relationship.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who was close to both Mourinho and Pogba during his spell in Manchester, was recently asked about how the manager’s exit from Old Trafford has affected the Frenchman and his performances on the pitch.

The LA Galaxy striker provided a detail explanation, as he replied (via ESPN): “There are these players that need to be free, they need to feel free to do what they are able to do under the disciple of the coach.

“Obviously, he [Jose] has his tactics, he has that, but some players they go above these limits, and you need to let them be free, and I think Paul [Pogba] is one of them. Paul didn’t feel confidence from the coach, and the coach didn’t feel confidence for Paul.”

“It’s difficult to perform as a player if you don’t have confidence from the coach and you don’t have that energy, that motivation, and Jose felt the same thing about Paul.


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“These things happen, and that is part of the game also; I mean, not everybody can go among each other and do well together. I feel like you come to a moment where it is too blocked and one goes or the other one goes. At this moment, the coach left, and Paul is more free now.”

The Swedish legend then went on to speak about the drastic improvement Pogba has shown of late, adding: “We are seeing [a] more happy Paul, more free Paul, more ‘do whatever you want to do,’ and he is succeeding with things now.

“It’s like new energy, new blood came in, and now he is playing like he knows how to play. And we know who Pogba is, and this is the Pogba we are seeing. When you play, happiness is very important, because when you feel stuck in a situation, you don’t express yourself 100 percent and play 100 percent.”