Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has launched a scathing attack on the media over claims that he fell out with Paul Pogba.
Record £89m signing Pogba has struggled lately, getting substituted as United lost Premier League games at Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle.
There have been reports that Pogba is unhappy at United and his deeper midfield role, and he could leave the club.
But a furious Mourinho has lashed out at the “lies”.
“I think you are nice with your words, when you say a lot of speculation, you should be saying a lot of lies,” Mourinho said during his pre-match press conference on Friday ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup fifth round clash at Huddersfield Town.
“Paul accepts he hasn’t been playing well recently but that’s all, if you want to speak about that is one thing, but the majority of things you can read about are lies.
“I don’t have to speak with you about my conversations with my players. It’s a big lie that our relationship isn’t good, it’s a big lie that we disagree about his position in the team dynamic.
“In the last couple of matches he didn’t play well, period. That’s all. That’s it. There’s no need to be a liar.
“I think we have and I don’t want to be nasty with other countries, but we have the most pundits and I would like somebody to tell me in which position Pogba played against Newcastle, any of you?
“Did we play with one number six and two eights? We played with one six and two eights. Lingard and Pogba on the side of Matic. Pogba was on the left. Do you know Pogba’s favourite system is 4-3-3, his favoured position is a number eight on the left.”
The former Chelsea boss then defended Pogba on the Frenchman’s loss of form.
“Look he had a big injury in the season, he almost went to surgery with a very similar injury to Dembele at Barcelona. We chose a more conservative treatment. He was playing phenomenal before that and phenomenal after that,” Mourinho explained.
“In this moment he isn’t playing well, period. The team needs him at a good level and when he isn’t at that level the team isn’t as good. It happens at every team when the best players aren’t performing, period.
“You don’t need to come out with things like we want to sell him, we fight every day. There are people in your profession that I know well and their surname is liar.
“You are paid to analyse and describe the game, not to talk about bullshit.”
Mourinho then gave a short “He will play tomorrow” when asked if Pogba would be involved against Huddersfield.
Mourinho added that long-term injury absentee Eric Bailly is fit and ready for Saturday’s tie with Huddersfield, but Ander Herrera and Marcus Rashford are ruled out.
Mourinho led Chelsea to 2007 FA Cup triumph when they pipped Manchester United 1-0 after extra-time following Didier Drogba’s goal and wants more.
It was Mourinho’s first and only FA Cup win as a manager in England.
“We want to go to the quarter-finals so we go with a serious approach,” Mourinho said.
“I have more Premier Leagues and League Cups so, of course, I’d like more [FA Cups] but I’m not thinking about myself. I’m thinking about the club and the fans.”