United and Chelsea are four points and one point respectively above fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who could ramp up the pressure by winning tomorrow's early kickoff at Crystal Palace.
"But if you're going to criticise Pogba for playing in a midfield two against a Spurs team at Wembley where they will dominate possession, obviously he didn't affect the game".
Mourinho's side host Chelsea in a crucial top-four Premier League battle with much of the pre-match talk centred around the apparent bad feeling between himself and Conte.
"Matic and Pogba are brilliant players in their position... that is an incredibly gifted group of players".
Conte and Mourinho have clashed several times over the course of the campaign, exchanging steadily more provocative words as part of an ongoing public feud.
His manager Vincenzo Montella agreed, saying his team should have found the net at least once. When things aren't going well, or when the pressure of his kit number or price tag get to him, is when we need to see the inner strength and maturation from Pogba to overcome these mental hurdles.
"It was a special game in the sense that we were also trying to win the Europa League", the manager explained.
"Then it was a back-heel and a back-heel creates a contraction in the muscular area where he had the biggest problem, and now we have proof that he was not 100 per cent fit". "We had lots of matches and lots of exhausted players".
"If we play the semi-final of the FA Cup, I don't know when that will be so it can be really busy and complicated".
"I've given him my advice but I think the advice of his parents is more important than mine", added Mourinho. Mourinho once again left club-record signing Paul Pogba on the bench in Spain in favour of 21-year-old midfielder Scott McTominay.
Instead he spoke of his relationship with the Chelsea hierarchy, for whom he delivered three Premier League titles in two stints as manager. "When I decide a team to play I don't look to the age, the salary, the transfer fee, because I think that's not also fair", Mourinho told reporters on Tuesday at the Sanchez Pizjuan in Seville, where the sides meet in their last 16, first leg. His own heart is more important than my advice, because mine is purely from a career point of view. The French worldwide feels that he should be getting as much as new-signing, Alexis Sanchez if not more.