• Paul Pogba "showed the professionalism that he was ready to play and help the team" after being benched for Wednesday's Champions League last-16 first-leg draw in Seville, according to Jose Mourinho
  • Manager confirms that Ander Herrera will be "out for a few weeks" after limping off after just 17 minutes at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium with a hamstring problem
  • No other injured players will return against Chelsea on Sunday, meaning that Marcos Rojo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Phil Jones, Daley Blind and Marouane Fellaini all remained sidelined
  • Mourinho would not be drawn on his feud with Blues counterpart Antonio Conte, stating that the Italian was a "very good manager with a fantastic team"
  • He also insisted that he is not worried by Romelu Lukaku's scoring record against other big teams and reiterated his trust in young Scott McTominay
Paul Pogba and Jose Mourinho
Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

Certainly not the most explosive of Mourinho pressers, with the boss obviously eager to avoid another war of words with Conte and full of praise for Pogba's reaction and McTominay.

Herrera looks set for several weeks on the sidelines and none of Rojo, Jones, Ibrahimovic, Blind or Fellaini are expected back this weekend.


On McTominay

"The trust and confidence I show towards Scott – he's earned it step by step since he came to the first-team training sessions. I know what he's good at, I know where he can improve and I think he's going to be a really good player."


We apologise for some technical difficulties experienced at IBTimes UK, but not too much more discussed by Mourinho.

He said he had faith in Romelu Lukaku despite his lack of goals against other top-eight sides...

"21 goals is not bad at all and I don't analyse the players' performances the same way you do. I have other points of analysis and I'm happy with Romelu's performances, even when he doesn't score goals."


Surprisingly no questions for Mourinho on De Gea. Surely that particular topic will come up in the embargoed section of the press conference?


Mourinho predictably stonewalling questions on his relationship with Conte...

"I don't want to speak about it."


On Ander Herrera/injury latest

"Ander is out. I don't know the final diagnosis but I know he'll be out for a few weeks. I don't know how many is few - two, three, four, five, six weeks - I don't know, but a few weeks for sure. Coming back from injury - nobody else."


Did Pogba respond to his benching in the right way?

"I think he responded in a very professional way both times he was on the bench. He was on the bench against Huddersfield in the Premier League and he responded in a professional way. He was on the bench in Seville and he did the same."


Mourinho is questioned about Pogba...

"You saw the game against Sevilla - I think it's always more difficult to come from the bench than to start. A player when he's starting the game has a different kind of preparation for it and it's easier to be on the bench and to come on even without warming up, in minute 15, or minute 20, and to get into the pace of the game is not easy.

"I think he had a very positive game for us and sometimes, details are details, but sometimes players on the bench take five minutes to be ready to play. They don't have shinpads, they don't have the strapping, they don't have a shirt. He took 10 seconds to be ready to come to the pitch, which showed the professionalism that he was ready to play and help the team which he did."


On facing Chelsea

"For the past 10, 15 years Manchester United and Chelsea have had big matches and this is one more."


Here he is...


Some team news from the opposition camp while we await the arrival of Mourinho...



On long-term Real Madrid target De Gea, out of contract in the summer of 2019, The Times stated last night that talks between United and the Spaniard over a new deal worth in excess of £220,000 per week had begun towards the end of 2017 and progressed well.

United, who have the option to extend that current agreement by a further year, are apparently looking to tie him down beyond 2021.

David De Gea


Mourinho seems likely to give inevitable questions concerning Pogba short shrift today given that the topic dominated the agenda before and after those games against Huddersfield and Sevilla.

Expect him to once again extol the virtues of young Scott McTominay instead.

Scott McTominay


"I don't enjoy," Mourinho said of those sorts of disputes. "When I start them I take the responsibilities of that and I've started many times. When I don't start it's quite funny for me to see other people on the other side acting like victims when they're not the victims. But, really, I don't enjoy. That's why for me it's over.

"Sometimes it's my fault. Sometimes it's other managers' fault. When I think it's my fault and I should behave in a different way I'm the first one to apologise, like I did with Ranieri when I had the chance. That's when our relations went from bad to good and from good to very good because I was man enough to apologise."

[quotes via The Guardian]


Conte was not amused when he was presented with a Manchester United shirt emblazoned with his name during a press conference held before Chelsea's win over Hull City last week.

The public feud between the flamboyant Italian and Mourinho was first ignited back in 2016 and really ramped up in January, when the latter inferred that Conte was a "clown" with reference to rival managers' overexuberant touchline celebrations.

Conte hit back with that infamous "demenza senile" quote, with a club spokesman later insisting that he meant to say amnesia.

Antonio Conte and Jose Mourinho

Mourinho then said that he would never be suspended for match-fixing, with Conte having been cleared of doing nothing to prevent a 2011 scandal in 2016 after initially serving a reduced four-month ban during the 2012-13 season.

The former Juventus stalwart responded by repeatedly calling his rival a "little man" and suggesting he was a "fake" for his support of Claudio Ranieri following the latter's sacking by Leicester.


After seeing off Huddersfield to book a place in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and battling to a tedious goalless draw in the away leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Sevilla on Wednesday, Manchester United return to top-flight action this weekend with the small matter of a heavyweight showdown with Chelsea at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils, now 16 points adrift of leaders Manchester City, were bested by relegation battlers Newcastle on their last league outing a fortnight ago and will be eager to secure a victory on Sunday afternoon to strengthen their increasingly feeble grip on second place. They could even start the day in third if Liverpool overcome West Ham tomorrow.

Paul Pogba

Jose Mourinho is due to hold his weekly pre-match media briefing at 13.30 GMT today, where he will no doubt face further questions on Paul Pogba, who was left on the bench in Andalusia after withdrawing from contention for the previous match through illness but ended up playing most of the game anyway due to a hamstring injury sustained by the returning Ander Herrera after just 17 minutes.

A further update on the Spaniard's condition is also expected, in addition to the latest on Zlatan Ibrahimovic's availability and the status of fellow absentees Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Daley Blind and Marouane Fellaini.

The Portuguese should also be quizzed on his fractious relationship with Chelsea counterpart Antonio Conte which deteriorated severely earlier this season and the latest regarding David De Gea's future amid reports that the highly-rated goalkeeper is set to put pen to paper on a new contract.