Paul Pogba substitution tactical, not because of injury - Jose Mourinho
NEWCASTLE -- Jose Mourinho has said his decision to substitute Paul Pogba during the defeat to Newcastle was not because of an injury.
Pogba was replaced after 66 minutes with United 1-0 down at St. James' Park, a result that left Mourinho's team 16 points behind Manchester City.
There had been speculation in the build-up that the 24-year-old suffered an injury in the warmup leading to the midfielder cutting short his preparations for the game.
But Mourinho insisted afterwards Pogba was fit to play and was replaced with Michael Carrick because he wanted someone "to do the simple things."
Asked if Pogba was injured, Mourinho told Sky Sports: "No, no, no, nothing. No, no problems."
Pogba was also substituted during his last start -- the 2-0 defeat to Tottenham 10 days ago. He was left on the bench for the 2-0 win over Huddersfield last weekend before returning to the team against Newcastle.
Mourinho was critical of his team's defending for Matt Ritchie's goal in the second half, a situation Pogba contributed to by failing to jump with Florian Lejeune to win Jonjo Shelvey's free kick.
Pogba was substituted moments later but asked to talk about the former Juventus man's performance, Mourinho declined to single him out.
He said: "I don't analyse players individually.
"We train we work, we organise, the players have their individual jobs when they defend zonal.
"The players they know there is responsibilities but I am pretty sure you already watch that goal on TV a few times, I didn't.
"So you know more than me and you know who lost the challenge in the air, you know clearly that so I think it is bad if you don't put me in a position where I have to criticise a player. By yourself you make your own analysis."
Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.