By Andy Jones
- Paul Pogba has come in for criticism for his performance in the Manchester Derby
- Does Pogba need a more dynamic role?
These were the games United shelled out a world record fee for. The most expensive line-ups ever assembled in a football match Sky Sports gleefully told us in the week leading up to the Manchester Derby.
Paul Pogba was the man who would boss the midfield. Where previously City have given us the run-around with players like De Bruyne and Silva and their quick passing game.
But is didn’t happen, for 40 long minutes, United were totally outclassed.
City’s quickness in closing down United whenever they had the ball, coupled with their speed of thought and movement when they did have it. Meant United’s midfield pairing of Pogba and Fellaini were chasing shadows for long periods of time.
Only when the manager changed it, putting Herrera in the middle and Rooney out wide. Did we see Pogba start to influence the game.
He showed glimpses of what he can do playing further forward, being allowed to carry the ball. Beating players with his close control and playing key passes into the forwards.
We saw in the Euros when he was played mainly as a defensive midfielder by Deschamps that this is not his best position. We already have the likes of Carrick and Schneiderlin to play this role. So its foolish to suggest Pogba should be playing this role.
What did Clattenburg see?
Mourinho seems to have spotted this quickly, and had Mark Clattenburg awarded the penalty and possible red card for a studs up lunge on Rooney by the erratic Bravo. Then United could have come away with a point.
Anywhere else on the pitch and that is a red card, even the most anti United reporters admitted as much on Sunday Supplement.
But Clattenburg added this to the bizarre decision to ignore the foul by Vardy on Rafael a few seasons ago at Leicester City; to his portfolio of strange decisions against United.
Yes City were very good for most of the first half, but just as in the game against West Ham, they couldn’t maintain their high tempo and pressing game.
Lessons will have been learnt by the manager and his coaching team, expect to see changes for the Watford game.
Hopefully a 4-3-3 with the pace of Rashford and Martial, and Pogba as the most forward playing of a midfield three.