Manchester United shelled out a then world record fee for Paul Pogba to bring him back and have rarely seen the Frenchman in all his glory under Jose Mourinho.
Paul Pogba’returnun was a sign of a new dawn at Manchester United. Louis Van Gaal had lowered the expectation so as to lessen the pressure on himself. Jose Mourinho wanted the fear and the siege mentality back and bought in the big egos like Zlatan Ibrahimovic to reinvigorate the club. But United fans have not seen the Pogba of Juventus who was hailed as the best young midfielder in Europe. They blamed Mourinho’s pragmatic approach as mentioned by Rio Ferdinand after the World Cup Final.
Rio’s views on Paul Pogba’s struggles at United
The former Red Devil has urged Mourinho to allow Pogba to display his abilities to the United faithful.
“He showed in this tournament he has it all, the defensive discipline and attacking but he hasn’t come together yet in a Manchester United shirt, but [Jose] Mourinho has to unlock this Pogba at United,” Ferdinand said in the BBC studio.
But he was quick to clear up that it might also be due to the quality of the then Juventus midfield.“The reason why United paid all this money is because at Juve he was affecting games, but there he isn’t receiving the ball from a Pirlo or somebody.” Jurgen Klinsmann was in agreement with the Englishman and also suggested that the 26-year-old stepped his game up.“Pogba deserves all compliments in the world. He accepted it wasn’t a smooth game, he had to fight his way into it but he came out of the shell and played these wonderful balls. He was alert and always there, defensively he put his body in there and made this his game. It will give him a lot of confidence going back to his club.”
A solution to the Pogba conundrum -opinion
Jose Mourinho should ditch the 4-2-3-1 for a 4-3-3. Paul Pogba isn’t suited to playing in a double pivot because of him being positional unaware in a defensive sense. The Frenchman usually goes to press the man with the ball instead of holding his position. This might not be the worst thing to do. But quality sides like Manchester City and Tottenham have exploited such space vacated to deadly effect. The game at Wembley showed exactly why Pogba in a 2 is a massive no.
While Dyer(15) and Dembele(19) rarely left each other’s company. Meanwhile, Pogba(6) was playing almost as an attacking midfielder. This exposed Nemanja Matic(31) and United’s mediocre defence. And any such mistake would generally lead to goalscoring opportunities. He also likes to whip out a skill move every now and then. If the opponent managee to nick the ball off him, it’d result in a goalscoring opportunity more often than not. But when Mourinho uses a three-man midfield, United always have a man alongside Matic even if Pogba drifts off into attacking areas. So even when he loses the ball, there is still two levels of the rearguard action to bypass before then can threaten.
Next season will be a big season for both Paul Pogba and Manchester United. Jose Mourinho has hinted at using a 4-3-3 and has signed Fred. Though there have been rumours about Pogba wanting to move away, I expect him to stay and make a massive difference. If Manchester United lift their 21st league title, fans fully expect Pogba to be at the epicentre of the team.