Jose Mourinho accused Paul Pogba’s critics of being blinded by envy as the Manchester United manager launched a staunch defence of the world’s most expensive player.
The 24-year-old returned to Old Trafford in August to an enormous fanfare and huge cost, with Juventus potentially receiving 110million euros (£93.25million) for the midfielder.
However, Pogba has flattered to deceive at times since returning to United and criticism peaked following an underwhelming display in Monday’s FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Chelsea.
Few gave Mourinho’s claims that he was the “best player on the pitch” much credence but the Portuguese has now hit back at the criticisms from some onlookers.
“I feel that the world is losing values and we all know that,” he said ahead of United’s Europa League last-16 second leg at home to Rostov.
“And envy is coming to certain levels that I’m scared, especially with the next generations, if things go in this direction.
“It’s not Paul’s fault that he gets 10 times the money that some players – some very good players – did in the past.
“It is not his fault that some of the pundits, they are in real trouble with their lives and they need every coin to survive and Paul is a multi-millionaire. It is not his fault.
“I think he deserves, I think his family deserves respect.
“He is a kid that comes from a working family, a family with three boys that I am sure need a lot of food on that table every day because they are big giants.
“I am sure that the mum and the dad they had to work hard for many, many years for them.
“A kid that comes to Manchester as a teenager, that fought for his career here. That was not afraid to move and go to another country and look for better conditions for him. A kid that reached the top of the world with his work, nobody gave him anything.
“So I am really, really worried with the previous generations because things are going in such a direction that envy is everywhere.
“I am very happy with Paul, the club is very happy with Paul and I think also a good thing is that because of his personality he doesn’t give an ‘S’ to what people says.”