Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has again questioned his players' desire - amid reports he has told Paul Pogba he will not captain the club again.
Mourinho was critical of United's display following the 1-1 draw with Wolves at Old Trafford at the weekend, with speculation suggesting Pogba was at the centre of his ire after losing the ball in the build-up to the visitors' equaliser.
The World Cup-winning France midfielder subsequently questioned Mourinho's tactics in an interview, suggesting they should adopt a more attack-minded approach at home.
That has inevitably not gone down well with widespread reports on Tuesday claiming Mourinho has told Pogba he will not wear the captain's armband again and the Portuguese also took other players to task in his programme notes prior to the EFL Cup clash with Derby.
He wrote: "I hope we can look back on Saturday's game against Wolves for an important lesson; a lesson that I repeat week after week, a lesson that some boys are not learning.
"Every team that plays Manchester United are playing the game of their lives, and we need to match that level of aggression, motivation and desire - 95 per cent isn't enough when others give 101 per cent.
"That is how Wolves treated Saturday's game and I am sure it is how Derby's players will regard tonight's match.
"The important thing is always that our players are ready for this and always have the same attitude, whoever the visitors are."
Champions League mode pic.twitter.com/SvINocTn66— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) September 19, 2018
Pogba has been the regular stand-in skipper for United when captain Antonio Valencia is absent - as was the case last week in the 3-0 Champions League success at Young Boys, a match in which the former Juventus man scored twice.
The news of his demotion was apparently given in front of the squad at a team meeting at the club's Carrington training ground earlier on Tuesday.
Mourinho later elaborated on his programme notes, telling Sky Sports: "From our opponents I always know what they want from the game and that's what I demand from my boys. If you don't match the opponents' motivation you are in trouble."
Pogba was left out of the United squad for the clash with Frank Lampard's men but Mourinho insisted there was no hidden motive.
Asked to explain his omission, he said: "Rested. I gave a rest to Luke [Shaw], to Paul, to Victor [Lindelof], to Valencia, to David [de Gea]. I gave a rest to these five players.
"I knew I couldn't give any more. I knew I had to play with a good team because I was expecting from Frank and Derby what they have brought."
|Gomez renewal a ´smart decision´ for both parties – Klopp|
|Magnificent Molinari named European Golfer of the Year|
|Barcelona best option for Frenkie de Jong, insists midfielder´s father|
|Gronkowski on Miami Miracle: ´Got to make that tackle´|
|Tottenham youngster Walker-Peters signs on until 2023|
|Juventus ´more of a family´ than Real Madrid - Ronaldo|
|Kingsley Coman contemplates retirement if injury nightmare continues|
|McVay ´sick´ over offensive failings as Rams coach takes blame for loss|
|Calleja axed as Villarreal coach|
|Kenyan Drake on Miami Miracle: I couldn´t let Gronk tackle me!|
|Ronaldo: I deserved Ballon d´Or, the numbers don´t lie|
|Rugby Australia to make Cheika decision this month|
|England defender Gomez signs new Liverpool deal|
|Ronaldo wants to see Messi follow him to Italy|
|Neymar happy to play in any position for PSG - Draxler|
|Paine insists he is ´fine´ after taking blow to finger|
|Ponzio: River players will be ´idolised´ for Libertadores success|
|Champions League permutations: How Inter, PSG and Liverpool can progress|
|Kohli: India were better and deserved to win|
|Bears shut down Goff, Rams|
|India survive dramatic finish against Australia|
|Klopp calls for electric Anfield atmosphere against Napoli|
|Saints clinch back-to-back NFC South titles, Bears trump Rams|
|Bucks improve to 2-0 against Raptors with win in Toronto|
|Black Caps include Patel for Sri Lanka Tests|
|Maidana: River want Real Madrid clash|
|Cowboys top Eagles in OT behind stellar Cooper display|
|AC Milan evaluating Fabregas signing – Leonardo|
|WATCH: Steelers´ chance at game-tying field goal slips away|
|Hayne will plead not guilty to charges, says lawyer|
|Boca boss Schelotto: The only thing I feel is sadness|
|Cardinals´ Fitzgerald makes NFL history with most receptions for one team|
|River Plate´s Copa Libertadores star Gonzalo Martinez confirms January departure|
|Klopp: I was never worried about Salah´s form|
|Packers QB Rodgers sets NFL record for most passes without an interception|
|World Cup bulking hampered Man United form – Lukaku|
|Leonardo rules out Ibrahimovic Milan return|
|Warriors´ Green to return against Timberwolves|
|I feel for him… we´ll make it work – Butler responds to Embiid´s frustration|
|Torino draw no missed opportunity for misfiring AC Milan, claims Gattuso|
|We´ll always be linked together forever - Wade reflects on playing with James before final match-up|
|O´Sullivan wins record seventh UK title|
|Chiefs secure playoff berth, Saints win NFC South|
|River Plate 3 Boca Juniors 1 (aet, 5-3 agg): Quintero and Martinez clinch Libertadores title in extr|
|WATCH: Chiefs QB Mahomes throws no-look pass|
|Dolphins defeat Patriots on miraculous final play|
|Kizzire eagle snatches QBE Shootout victory|
|AC Milan 0 Torino 0: Donnarumma shines, Cutrone misses late chance|
|Back to the drawing board for West Indies - Chase|
|Copa Libertadores: Messi and Griezmann among stars in Madrid for River-Boca Superclasico|
|Brady sets NFL record for most career TD passes|
|Copa Libertadores: Tevez named on Boca bench for Superclasico final|
|Premier League needs VAR, right now! - Benitez fumes over Dean´s decisions|
|McCall expects Itoje to fit for the Six Nations|
|Solari salutes Real Madrid character after ´ugly´ Huesca win|
|Berbatov defends under-fire Lukaku|
|Sarries crush Blues to maintain unbeaten start|
|Newcastle United 1 Wolves 2: Doherty punishes Yedlin red with late winner|
|Deeney jokes he´ll ´smash´ former Watford star Richarlison|
|Huesca 0 Real Madrid 1: Bale ends drought as Solari´s men edge to victory|
|Ponting: Umpires not looking at no-balls|
|Bale ends longest LaLiga goal drought|
|Porter backs Brees for MVP, Saints for Super Bowl|
|Verstappen eyeing 2019 title fight|
|Wall ´shouldn´t have played´ against Cavaliers after scoring just one point|
|Hazard: Man City the best team in the Premier League despite Chelsea win|
|LeBron explains why he gave a Grizzlies employee his game-worn shoes|
|Bangladesh cruise to ODI victory as seamers punish Windies|
|Football will win over violence, claims CONMEBOL president|
|Alcorcon support Reus Deportiu over unpaid players|