Clubs, English Premier League, Manchester United, Paul Pogba, Story

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MANCHESTER — Manchester United have played down reports of a bust-up between manager Jose Mourinho and players Phil Jones and Paul Pogba following the defeat to Newcastle.

It has been claimed Mourinho was involved in a heated row with the pair in the dressing room after the 1-0 defeat at St James’ Park.

However, sources close to the club have dismissed the reports while insisting there is no problem between Mourinho and the two players.

Jones was visibly agitated in the second half at Newcastle and was seen screaming at United’s midfielders after one Newcastle chance.

Pogba was one of the players at fault in the build-up to Matt Ritchie’s winner, which left United trailing Premier League leaders Manchester City by 16 points, and was substituted soon afterwards.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho had to deal with Paul Pogba’s late withdrawal from the Huddersfield tie.

Pogba was due to face Huddersfield in the FA Cup fifth round on Saturday, but was a late withdrawal from the squad because of illness.

Mourinho insisted afterwards he did not know the exact nature of the France international’s problem and said the 24-year-old is a doubt for Wednesday’s Champions League round-of-16 first leg clash with Sevilla in Spain.

Mourinho is already short of midfielders with injuries to both Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera.

Meanwhile, Mourinho heaped praise on Pogba’s midfield rival Scott McTominay and advised Scotland manager Alex McLeish to select him before England do.

The 21-year-old has not looked back since his surprise debut towards the end of last season, making 14 appearances in all competitions this term having proven his worth to a manager that is not known for giving youth a chance.

“We had some players that missed but we had some players that played so, so well,” Mourinho told MUTV. “Honestly, I think Scott deserves more than what he is getting.

“I think maybe it’s because he’s this kind of kid profile: a normal haircut, no tattoos, no big cars, no big watches, humble kid, arrive in the club when he was nine or 10.

“Last season he was almost leaving the club to go somewhere, who knows where, who knows in which division he would be playing now.

“He has now played already, I don’t know, seven or eight 90 minutes — he’s not play five or 10 minutes — in every competition: Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, Capital One Cup.

“I think the kid deserves a little bit more [recognition] and because it looks like England is missing him, if I was Alex McLeish the first thing I would do would be to [makes phone gesture] come to me.”

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

Rob is ESPN FC’s Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.

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