What’s happening between Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba seems like a battle of wills or egos now. They both feel they have to win – but in a situation like this, nobody does. United’s poor run of results makes it feel like make-or-break time as they face Valencia tonight in the Champions League.
It’s like a Coronation Street saga.
The United fans have had enough of it. Ed Woodward, the club’s executive vice chairman, needs to stamp it out now as it looks like all the bad feeling and suspicion is spreading throughout the squad.
There’s always been bust-ups, whether between managers and players or team mates at football clubs or any team sport.
But you keep them in-house and don’t air all your dirty linen in public.
I remember when Manchester United were trying to win the Premier League title for the first time in April ’93 and were 3-1 up away to Norwich.
I’d played well, but lost the ball in the last minute when I tried to beat a couple of players and the Canaries went down the other end and nearly scored.
After the game, Sir Alex Ferguson came in screaming: ‘See you’.
I was thinking who is he talking about? ‘Who do you think you are’ he said, pointing to me.
‘You ain’t no Cantona’. So I said to him: ‘What are you on about?’ He quickly told me ‘keep your standards, you’re not that type of player. Win it and give it to Cantona.’
He was effing and blinding, we ended up face-to-face because I was fuming.
I was ready to knock him out, we were comfortably up at the time and I’d set up a goal, yet he was on to me for this one mistake. Once I’d stepped away and came out of the shower, Sir Alex went, ‘have you calmed down now, have you?’ and then he smiled.
That was it – all over and we went on to retain the title.
And it was worse if you had a row with a team-mate. Training was different back then and because the rules have changed in football so much it seems you can’t even tackle these days.
When I played you could put in a challenge. So there were plenty of times in training when there would be a tackle, a push and maybe a punch thrown. You’d go back to the changing room, look at each other and then start laughing.
I had loads of scuffles with Roy Keane. We were similar players and hard tacklers. When we were up against each other in training, we used to give it to each other.
There’d be times when I’d go a bit high and then he’d be a bit naughty, so I’d give him a kick on the floor or when he walked by – but off the pitch we were best mates.
That made us the players that we were and created that winning mentality in that Manchester United side.
But I’d experienced it before that when I was at West Ham and I’d just gotten into the first team.
We were playing at the training ground Chadwell Heath and the ‘keeper gave me a bad pass, I lost it and he started mouthing and moaning at me.
So, I’m standing on the halfway line and he’s still shouting at me. I’m only 18 or 19, but I turn around and say ‘why don’t you shut your mouth’.
Then as I look up he’s running from his goal to me in midfield, so I’m thinking ‘f**k’.
He was sprinting at full speed, but I had enough time to think about what I’m going to do. So, I’m considering do I just move out the way and throw a punch or something else.
But as he came towards me I just stepped back and threw a karate kick. I caught him right in the face and I put him on his arse. The players at West Ham then knew, even if I was a young kid, not to mess about with me and that I’d stand my ground.
John Lyall was the manager at the time and it was like everyone was in shock after it happened. No one could believe it happened, not even me.
The ‘keeper and I didn’t speak for a week or so after the incident, but then you get over it, put it to one side and do your best for your team mates and the club. That’s exactly what needs to happen at Manchester United now.