Former Manchester United assistant manager Steven McClaren has cited a hamstring injury earlier in the season for the dip in Paul Pogba's form and claims it is only being highlighted now "because it's Pogba".

The French international picked up the injury in the Red Devils' first Champions League group stage fixture against Basel in September. Prior to the injury, the midfielder was one of the star players in his side's fixtures in the first four matches.

Pogba returned to action in mid-November and was forced to miss three domestic matches after he received a red card against Arsenal in December. The former Juventus man was taken off the pitch in United's last two defeats against Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United.

The Daily Record reported the 24-year-old was unhappy with Mourinho's formation and that the two were at loggerheads over the player's position. The United manager was quick to dismiss the suggestion in his press conference prior to the Huddersfield Town clash in the FA Cup.

McClaren claims Pogba has been struggling to regain his peak form since returning from injury. The ex-England manager also stressed the reported tension between the manager and the player is "normal" and heaped praise on Mourinho for handling the situation.

"What Mourinho has is a disappointed, unhappy player because he is not playing well. Before he got injured, he was the best Manchester United player and he's struggling after injury to get back to that form," McClaren told Sky Sports.

"That is all and this is normal, you ask any manager in any football club. They will have players who are exactly the same. It's only highlighted because it's Pogba and everybody assumes behind the scenes that there is tension and friction between the two. Of course there is, there always is with top players."

"If you're a football manager, every day you deal with tension in the dressing room

"Every day you deal with at least 11 unhappy players who haven't played on the Saturday, three players who have been brought off are unhappy, three players going on are unhappy because they should have gone on earlier.

"It's the life of a football manager that players are going to be unsettled, unhappy if they're not playing well. That's the situation at Manchester United with Pogba.

"He's the same as any other player and Mourinho has come out very strongly in a statement that's really said 'I'm in control' and it's about controlling players, not about keeping them happy.

"Sir Alex [Ferguson] once said to me: 'Steve, players are here to make us happy and pleased, not us to make them happy and pleased. They're here for us'."

Mourinho earlier said that Pogba will feature in the FA Cup clash against David Wagner's side. However, an illness forced him to miss the Red Devils' 2-0 win over Huddersfield. United will be hoping for the midfielder's recovery on time to face Sevilla in the Champions League on 21 February.

Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba was withdrawn in Manchester United's defeats against Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United Getty