MANCHESTER — Jose Mourinho hit out at former Manchester United player Paul Scholes on Monday, claiming the Old Trafford great only “criticises,” after his recent accusation that Paul Pogba “is just strolling through games.”
United manager Mourinho, speaking after his team’s 2-0 Premier League win at Everton on New Year’s Day, also appeared to aim his riposte at Scholes’ “Class of 92” teammates — including Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Ryan Giggs — by describing United’s former players in the media as the “kings of rock and roll.”
But with Scholes taking aim at Pogba in the wake of United’s 0-0 draw at home to Southampton at the weekend, Mourinho claimed the Old Trafford legend will only be remembered as a great player rather than a great pundit.
“I think the only thing Paul Scholes does is criticise,” Mourinho said. “I don’t think he comments, I think he criticises, which is a different thing.
“Not every one of us has to be phenomenal like he was as a player. That does not mean that we all have to be phenomenal.
“Paul [Pogba] tries to do his best all the time. Sometimes he plays very well, sometimes he plays well, sometimes he doesn’t play so well.
“It’s not Paul’s fault that he made much more money than Paul Scholes. It’s just the way football is.
“I think Scholes will be in history as a phenomenal player, not as a pundit. I prefer to look at him as a phenomenal player that gave so much to the club that I am proud to represent.”
Scholes claimed in a recent interview that he was overlooked by United after applying for a job in charge of the Under-23 team last summer.
And Mourinho suggested that many of the ex-players who criticise his team are betraying their disappointment at no longer being able to work for the club.
“I think they would love to be here,” Mourinho said. “They would love to be at the club, and that’s a problem I cannot resolve.
“If Paul one day decides to be a manager, I wish that he can be 25 percent as successful as myself.
“Fifty percent of that is 12.5 silverware, 25 percent is around six [trophies]. If he’s 25 percent, he’ll be quite happy.
“In my mind, Paul Scholes is a phenomenal player. One of the best I’ve ever seen playing in midfield. He gave so much to my club that I can only thank him for that.
“But today, I think the performance was really good so maybe I am lucky this time — and the kings of rock and roll, who say I was underperforming last match say, this time, I performed.”
Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_