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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Paul Pogba on Manchester United's poor run of form: I'm not allowed to talk

Midfielder was tight-lipped in mixed zone following draw with Valencia, while captain Antonio Valencia denied on social media reports of a rift between him and manager Jose Mourinho

Paul Pogba claimed he was not allowed to talk after Manchester United's poor run continued against Valencia.

Old Trafford was under the spotlight on Tuesday as Jose Mourinho tried to get a tune out of a side that had failed to win their three previous matches.

However, the under-fire manager saw his side toil to a 0-0 Uefa Champions League draw against Valencia to boos at the final whistle.

Many players avoided the post-match mixed zone interview area to avoid awkward questions after their fourth successive match without a win.

Pogba was among those to go through as required by Uefa regulations, only to tell reporters "I've been told I'm not allowed [to talk]."

The 25-year-old French midfielder has been speaking more in the opening weeks of the season than the previous two seasons combined.

Pogba said he would be fined if he opened up after beating Leicester City in the curtain-raiser, then appeared to get under Mourinho's skin by saying United should "attack, attack, attack" after drawing with Wolves.

The midfielder, strongly linked to Barcelona, was soon stripped of vice captaincy duties, before having a tense, and public, training ground conversation with the manager over his social media during the League Cup exit to Derby County.

Pogba returned to the side in Saturday's 3-1 loss at West Ham United, but was withdrawn after 70 minutes following a poor performance.

"You want me dead?" he said, apparently playfully, when asked by journalists for comment after that match.

United will look for a much-needed win before the international break when Newcastle United arrive at Old Trafford in the Premier League this Saturday.

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Read more:

Andy Mitten: United's struggles continue after one-dimensional and ponderous display against Valencia

Jose Mourinho: Some Manchester United players care more than others

Richard Jolly: Short-termist Mourinho sadly fits in at what feels like a soulless Manchester United

Pogba's form and a lack of goals: The problems facing Jose Mourinho and Manchester United

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Captain Valencia denies Mourinho rift

Manchester United captain Antonio Valencia insisted he is "fully supportive" of Jose Mourinho after appearing to back calls for the under-fire manager to leave.

The 33-liked-old Ecuadorean "liked" an Instagram post from a fan account which said that "recently Mourinho has made watching us a punishment" and "it's time for Mourinho to go".

Wary of the media scrutiny it had caused, as well as the manager's argument with Pogba about social media last week, Valencia attempted to explain and apologise on Wednesday morning following Tuesday's Champions League stalemate.

"Yesterday, I liked a post on Instagram without reading the text that accompanied the picture," the right-back wrote on Twitter.

"These are not my views and I apologise for this. I am fully supportive of the manager and my teammates.

"We are all giving our everything to improve the results."

Tuesday night was just Valencia's fifth appearance of the season, having been omitted from United's previous two squads.

It is reported that Mourinho dropped the full-back for Saturday's 3-1 loss at West Ham after criticising him for not attending the match against Derby, with the pair said to be barely on speaking terms.

Asked after Tuesday's game about his relationship with the United manager, Valencia said: "I have never had any problems with anyone, thanks be to God.

"The decision is up to the manager and you've got to respect it."