Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has made it crystal clear that he wants no player to be bigger than the club as he responded to the latest speculation on Paul Pogba's future, but crucially praised the midfielder's effort in training this week and will start him against West Ham.
Pogba, who had tested Mourinho's patience with a lax mistake that allowed Wolves to equalize at Old Trafford last weekend, was stripped of the vice-captaincy before the Carabao Cup tie against Derby in midweek to spark more rumors about a relationship at breaking point.
The Frenchman was rested for that cup game, as was always likely to be the case, but a poorly timed Instagram video followed by footage from training the following morning appeared to show visible frostiness between the two after Mourinho said something to Pogba.
Taking the opportunity to respond to all the gossip at his press conference ahead of United's trip to the London Stadium on Saturday, Mourinho underlined his stance on the matter.
"[Pogba is] a player like the others. No player is bigger than the club and if I'm happy with his work he plays, if I'm not happy he doesn't play," the boss is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.
"I'm happy with his work this week, really happy, Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday especially, because today was not so significant but he trained really well. The team needs good players, players with the personality to play - he has that and he plays tomorrow."
If the subject of his 'war' with Pogba remains speculative, Mourinho has most definitely been at war with the press in recent weeks, dubbing media claims over Marcus Rashford's apparent lack of United game time as 'compulsive lies'.
Unsurprisingly, he took another opportunity to hit back over the training ground footage and the creation of a story over something he claims happens every day with every player, insisting the media will never be allowed in to watch a full session.
"What happened the other day happens many days, conversations with players I have many, many, many times," he said. "That was not the case [on this occasion], but loud criticism, loud instruction, that happens every day, coaching is about that but you make story about it.
"So I'm happy the rules are only 15 minutes [of filming training] once a month and situations like that are not going to change, there is no chance you will watch a session."