Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has admitted to being unaware that new signing Paul Pogba would be suspended for the Premier League opener against AFC Bournemouth until 72 hours before the Premier League opener. The Football Association have confirmed the world's most expensive player – who completed his £89m move from Juventus this week – is unavailable for selection due to two bookings picked up in the Coppa Italia at the end of last season.
Pogba returned to training this week ahead of the new Premier League season, and although he was not expected to start at the Vitality Stadium against Bournemouth this weekend, the news nevertheless disrupts Mourinho's plans for his first competitive game in charge of the Old Trafford club. The Portuguese boss is also without defender Chris Smalling after his sending off in the FA Cup final against Crystal Palace.
The FA announcement came as a surprise to many, not least Mourinho, who only discovered on Wednesday [10 August] that he would be without one of his four new signings. The United boss was alerted to the possibility in the lead up to the game but insists the France international will be fit for selection for the visit of Southampton on 19 August.
"I didn't know until Wednesday that Pogba was suspended. By next week he will be ready to play against Southampton," he told the Manchester Evening News. "I knew the situation with the yellow cards but I didn't know at that time if an accumulation of yellow cards would bring a player to suspension.
"I didn't know if the suspension would be in Italian football, a suspension for the same competition, or the correspondent competition in England, the FA Cup. I didn't know that, so I was waiting for the decision."
Fellow new additions Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Eric Bailly and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are all available for the clash against Eddie Howe's men, with Mourinho's squad otherwise at full strength. United will however, be without winger Adnan Januzaj, who has joined Sunderland on a season-long loan.
The Belgium international was sent on loan to Borussia Dortmund last term but had the agreement cancelled by United mid-way through the campaign after failing to make a single start for the club. Mourinho says he plans to include the 21-year-old in his first team plans in the future and is confident Sunderland represent the ideal place to hone his skills.
"He fits in my plans which is why he's on loan at a Premier League club," he added. "If he didn't fit into my plans then we don't care about where he's going. We care about him and think he's a talented player. I want to give him all the conditions to develop and to play well. He is in the right place with a manager that likes him a lot. Hopefully everything will go well for him because we want him back!"