Bengaluru, Jan 21: As much as much as results Jose Mourinho's departure from Manchester United was also down to his relationship with the players. One of the most talking points in the third season of the Portuguese's tenure was his rift his star ace Paul Pogba.
The two were believed to have fallen out with each other with the Portuguese even trying to offload the World Cup winner. However, that ruined equation ultimately played a role in the manager’s departure from the club.
And now their close friend and once a colleague, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has lifted the lid on this feud and Pogba's sudden uprising. Ibrahimovic and Mourinho have worked together in two clubs sharing a good bond while he found a new friend in Pogba after coming to United.
But while discussing the situation, the Swedish all-time top scorer has insisted that it might have been Mourinho's fault that he could not give Pogba the proper freedom he required to excel.
The 37-year-old said: "There are these players that need to be free, they need to feel free to do what they are able to do under the discipline of the coach.
"Obviously, he has his tactics, he has that, but some players they go above these limits, and you need to let them be free, and I think Paul (Pogba) is one of them."
Ibrahimovic although chose not to take a direct side in the argument between his former teammate and former manager but confessed that both parties were no longer right for each other.
"Paul didn't feel confidence from the coach, and the coach didn't feel confident for Paul. It's difficult to perform as a player if you don't have confidence from the coach and you don't have that energy, that motivation, and Jose felt the same thing about Paul.
"These things happen, and that is part of the game also; I mean, not everybody can go among each other and do well together.
"I feel like you come to a moment where it is too blocked and one goes or the other one goes. At this moment, the coach left, and Paul is freer now."
Ibrahimovic: “We are seeing more happy Paul, more free Paul, more 'do whatever you want to do,' and he is succeeding with things now. It's like new energy and now he is playing like he knows how to play. And we know who Pogba is, and this is the Pogba we are seeing.” #mufc pic.twitter.com/t5C5LuAD4q— United Xtra (@utdxtra) January 20, 2019
Pogba has looked like an entirely different player ever since Mourinho was sacked. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has handed Pogba a free role in the squad and United have won all seven of their matches under interim boss Solskjaer with the Frenchman contributing five goals and four assists in the six matches he has played in.
And Zlatan has claimed additionally that the Norway manager's change information and Pogba being happy with the instructions, has played a key role in getting the best out of the midfielder which Mourinho could not.
"We are seeing more happy Paul, more free Paul, more 'do whatever you want to do," and he is succeeding with things now," said the Swede.
"It’s like new energy, new blood came in, and now he is playing like he knows how to play. And we know who Pogba is, and this is the Pogba we are seeing.
"When you play, happiness is very important, because when you feel stuck in a situation, you don’t express yourself 100 per cent and play 100 per cent."