London, United Kingdom | AFP | A frustrating few weeks for Manchester United’s Paul Pogba continued when he was ruled out of Saturday’s FA Cup fifth round trip to Huddersfield Town due to illness.
“U23s midfielder Ethan Hamilton has taken his place in the squad,” United posted on Twitter.
United boss Jose Mourinho angrily insisted on Friday that rumours his relationship with Pogba has broken down were “lies”.
Gutted I won’t be at Huddersfield but I need to get better. Come on United ?? @ManUtd
— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 17, 2018
The French midfielder, who returned to United from Juventus for a then world record £89 million (100 million euros, $125 million) in 2016, hasn’t completed 90 minutes since a 1-0 win at Burnley just under a month ago.
Pogba was substituted with United trailing in recent defeats at Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United, and dropped when Huddersfield visited Old Trafford on league duty two weeks’ ago.
“Paul accepts that he has not been playing well in the last few matches but that’s all,” said Mourinho.
“He is not playing well, period. And the team needs him at a good level.
Once upon a time… 6 years ago I played my first official match with our team ?? Dissapointed with yesterday’s result bt we’ll come back stronger.#wecanalwaysdobetter @ManUtd #mufc pic.twitter.com/r1RI1bPUtg
— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) February 1, 2018
“And when he is not playing at a good level the team is not as good as the team can be.
“I think it happens with every team when the best players, the most crucial players, for some reason are not performing.”
Pogba’s absence robs Mourinho of a final opportunity to find the right blend with his star midfielder and January signing Alexis Sanchez both in the side before United travel to Sevilla on Wednesday night for the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie.