Paul Pogba: Man Utd midfielder experienced depression under Jose Mourinho

Paul Pogba: Man Utd midfielder experienced depression under Jose Mourinho

by Emily Smith
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Paul Pogba played under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United for 18 monthsManchester United midfielder Paul Pogba says he experienced depression after falling out with Jose Mourinho during the Portuguese manager’s time in charge at Old Trafford.

Mourinho was sacked as United manager in December 2018.

“I’ve experienced depression many times in my career, but you don’t talk about it,” he told La Figaro.external-link

“Sometimes, you don’t know you’re depressed, you only want to isolate yourself, be alone, and these are signs that don’t deceive.

“Personally, it started when I was with Jose Mourinho in Manchester. You ask yourself questions, wonder if you’re at fault, because you have never lived moments like these in your life.”

Man Utd speak to Ajax coach Ten HagPogba re-joined United for a then-world record £89m in 2016, the same summer Mourinho succeeded Louis van Gaal as Red Devils boss.

He helped United win the League Cup and Europa League in 2017 under the former Chelsea boss but their relationship soured at the start of the following season.

Mourinho told Pogba he would never captain the side again under his management, reportedly because of concerns about his attitude, before he was sacked two months later after a run of poor results.

Pogba says focusing on his family and talking to former players who also experienced depression, including former Manchester United team-mate Patrice Evra, helped him cope.

“I don’t want these negative moments to make me forget all my achievements, but it’s not necessarily easy,” he said.

“And when you can’t do it all alone I talk a lot with ‘Uncle Pat’ [Evra], former players who lived it, because they’ll understand you right away.

“Talking, being listened to, getting out all this anger and depression that gnaws at you, it’s mandatory for me.

“Of course, we earn a lot of money and we can’t complain, really, but it doesn’t stop you from going through these moments.

“Just like everyone in life, some moments are more difficult than others.

“Because you earn money, you should always be happy? That’s not how life is. But, in football, it’s not accepted, even though we’re not superheroes, only human beings.”

“Football is the most individual team sport, you’re judged every three days, you have to be good all the time although we have problems just like everyone has.

“Obviously, you’ll feel it in your body, in your mind, and you can feel unwell for a month or even a year. But you can’t say it. At least publicly. Everything’s in your mind, your mind controls everything and every high level athlete go through these moments, but only a few talk about it.

“If you’re not mentally strong, you’re dead, in this sport. These trials forge you, but you can’t give up.”

The Football News Show: Pogba’s battle with depression and his role at Man UtdWatch The Football News Show on BBC iPlayerPogba’s Manchester United future is uncertain with his contract set to expire at the end of the season.

The midfielder says he is unsure of the role he plays in the Red Devils side, unlike with the national team under boss Didier Deschamps.

“The coach [Deschamps] and I get along very well,” said Pogba, who is in a camp with France before friendlies against Ivory Coast and South Africa.

“He gave me a role that I know, but at Manchester United, do I really have a role? I’m asking the question and I don’t know the answer.”

Asked about his hopes when his contract is up, Pogba replied: “To keep on winning, progressing, and catch up all these years I couldn’t win trophies.

“To be honest, I’m not satisfied by the five last seasons, I’m really not. For this year it’s over, we still won’t win anything. Whether it’s with Manchester or in another club, I want to win trophies.”

Pogba World Cup medal stolenPogba also says burglars stole his World Cup winner’s medal when they broke into his home.

He spoke of his “family’s worst nightmare” last week when his home was burgled during his side’s Champions League game against Atletico Madrid.

His two young children and their nanny were in the house at the time.

“The main thing is that my children are well,” he said.

Speaking about what was taken, Pogba added: “There were jewels from my mother, my world champion medal.

“What scared me the most was that my two children were at home with the nanny during this incident.

“She overheard everything, called my wife and security, then locked herself with the boys in a room. For several days, she was shocked.”

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