Paul Pogba will play for Manchester United at West Ham on Saturday but manager Jose Mourinho says “no player is bigger than the club”.
A clip of midfielder Pogba and Mourinho having a tense exchange on the training ground emerged on Wednesday.
Mourinho said they have a good relationship, despite telling the 25-year-old France international he will not captain the team again.
“Tomorrow he plays. He is a player like the others,” said Mourinho on Friday.
“No player is bigger than the club. If I am happy with his work he plays, if I am not he doesn’t play. I am really happy with his work this week. He trained really well. The team needs good players. He is a good player.”
Asked if this week’s events could have an impact on United’s reputation, he replied: “Manchester United is bigger than anyone. I have to defend that.”
The Portuguese was commenting for the first time since pictures emerged of a dispute between the pair at the Premier League club’s Carrington training complex.
That came a day after Mourinho told Pogba he is no longer United’s vice-captain.
“I explained in detail to the people that have to know, which is the squad and especially Paul,” he said.
“After weeks of analysing and changing opinions with my coaching staff, we made the decision that from now Paul is just a player and not a captain.”
‘Nobody trained better’ than Pogba
When it was suggested at Friday’s news conference that he did not need to rebuke his £89m record signing in front of the cameras, which were present for the training session, Mourinho said: “I don’t care about the cameras. What confrontation? It’s not a confrontation.”
He added: “Nobody trained better than Paul on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. Some trained as well as, nobody better.”
Wednesday’s exchange took place after Mourinho was told a social media post had been uploaded by Pogba in which he was laughing and joking with team-mate Andreas Pereira shortly after the end of Tuesday’s Carabao Cup penalty shootout defeat by Derby.
The United manager summoned Pogba to him as the pair made their way onto the training pitch and made a press officer explain the allegation.
Pogba reacted with incredulity.
He denied responding to the defeat in the way it appeared and said – accurately – that the mobile reception on a match night at Old Trafford is so bad the post, which he had sent much earlier in the evening, had only gone live when he got a good signal, which was as he was leaving the stadium.
Mourinho, who has accepted this explanation, said: “You made a story – an incredible story – out of 15 minutes of training.
“Conversations with players I have many, many, many times. It was not the case but loud criticism, loud instruction, happens every day.
“Coaching is about that, but you make stories out of it, so I’m happy that the rules are only 15 minutes [of open training] once a month, and with situations like that it is not going to change.
“There is no chance I am going to open the training session and let you watch a training session. No chance.”
Pogba and Mourinho timeline
August: Pogba’s world record £89m transfer from Juventus is confirmed and the midfielder says: “I am really looking forward to working with Jose Mourinho.” The manager says he “will be a key part of the United team I want to build here for the future”.
March: Mourinho says criticism of Pogba’s performances are motivated by “envy”, adding: “It is not his fault that some pundits are in real trouble while Paul is a multi-millionaire.”
September: Reports emerge that Mourinho is unhappy Pogba flew to Miami to recover from a hamstring injury rather than stay in Manchester.
January: Pogba is taken off just over an hour into United’s 2-0 defeat by Tottenham and has a heated debate with Mourinho on the Wembley touchline.
February: Mourinho drops Pogba for the next game against Huddersfield, takes him off again in the 1-0 defeat at Newcastle and puts him on the bench for the Champions League fixture against Sevilla.
March: The pair are said to be “barely on speaking terms” amid reports the midfielder could be sold in the summer.
July: Pogba helps France to World Cup victory in Russia and is praised for becoming one of the team’s leaders under Didier Deschamps.
August: Pogba is linked with a move to Barcelona before the end of the transfer window.
12 August: Despite returning late from the World Cup, Pogba starts and captains United in their opening match of the season – scoring in a 2-1 win against Leicester. But he says after the game that “there are things I cannot say, otherwise I will get fined”.
17 August: Mourinho says he “couldn’t be happier” with Pogba after the player suggested he was dissatisfied at Old Trafford.
24 September: Pogba says he wants the team to be able to “attack, attack, attack” at home after being held to a 1-1 draw by Wolves.
25 September: Mourinho insists he has “no problem” with Pogba despite telling him he will not captain the club again.
26 September: A clip emerges of the pair having a tense exchange on the training ground.