Sport How a formation change could solve Manchester United's midfield problem with Paul Pogba

11:51  14 february  2018
11:51  14 february  2018 Source:   ibtimes.co.uk

Rooney urges United to use Pogba in box-to-box role

  Rooney urges United to use Pogba in box-to-box role Paul Pogba should be used on the left of a midfield three to recapture his Juventus form at Manchester United, says Wayne Rooney.Manchester United should deploy Paul Pogba in a box-to-box midfield role to get the best out of the France star, according to former team-mate Wayne Rooney.

Louis van Gaal has made it clear he is going to be adding to his midfield in the summer due to a lack of creativity.

As a diamond, there is perhaps no midfield that can compete with them. FAILED TO IMPRESS – Paul Pogba . But what will have pleased Mourinho is how his £75m man reacted to those setbacks. Manchester United FC Paul Pogba Real Madrid Romelu Lukaku.

  Paul Pogba © Getty Paul Pogba  Jose Mourinho is still looking to find the perfect blend to his Manchester United attack. The arrival of Alexis Sanchez has prompted a reshuffle that still needs some fine tuning in order to fully accommodate both the Chile international and Anthony Martial, with both forwards seemingly build for life on the left.

As that work in progress continues, there is another worry. Paul Pogba has provided more assists, created more chances and completed more dribbles than any other United player this term but concerns over how effective he can be in a midfield two have grown considerably over the last two weeks.

Rooney: Pogba is best utilised as a box-to-box midfielder

  Rooney: Pogba is best utilised as a box-to-box midfielder Former Manchester United star Wayne Rooney has spoken of how he feels Paul Pogba is best utilised in a box-to-box role. The Everton star was a guest on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football coverage of Chelsea’s visit to Watford and, as quoted by FourFourTwo, spoke about Pogba and his qualities. “For me Paul Pogba is a classic box-to-box player. He can do a bit of everything really well. If he has that freedom where he doesn’t have to think too much about his defensive role he can cause mayhem.” Rooney played alongside Pogba during his younger days at Old Trafford and was also able to work with him last season, prior to his eagerly anticipated return to Everton. The former England captain referenced Pogba’s role at Juventus when explaining why he feels the France international should be given a freer role in the United midfield, also implying that Nemanja Matic’s influence cannot be understated. “At Juventus he had [Andrea] Pirlo alongside him. With Matic and another alongside him, on the left of a three in midfield, that will certainly get the best out of him.” Pogba has shown flashes of quality for the Red Devils this season but has been largely hindered by injuries. He missed a large chunk of the campaign through a hamstring pull and despite making an impression, has failed to rediscover his early-season form.

Jose Mourinho had to solve United ' s midfield puzzle. Post 2003 Manchester United suffered as a result of the changing times. The two-man midfield in their typical 4-4-2 formation became obsolete. There are no more excuses left for Manchester United , Mourinho and Pogba .

Manchester United need to build their midfield around Pogba . Jose Mourinho needs to be very careful with how he builds his midfield at Manchester United . The Portuguese boss’ primary concern should be to build his squad around Paul Pogba .

Against Tottenham Hotspur, he and Nemanja Matic were hopelessly overrun with the France international wilting again at St James' Park last Sunday [11 January]. Mourinho is close to having all the pieces he needs at his disposal, but is still to assemble a cohesive unit that brings the best out of each of his talented players.

Related: What do Manchester United do with Pogba? (Sky Sports)

 

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UP NEXT
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Bringing the best out of the club's record signing could require some further tinkering in the middle of the park. IBTimes UK considers the possible solutions for Mourinho over the coming weeks.

Where to play Pogba? Rooney offers advice to Mourinho & Man Utd

  Where to play Pogba? Rooney offers advice to Mourinho & Man Utd The Red Devils legend believes the £89 million Frenchman should be used on the left of a midfield three in order to recapture his Juventus formManchester United should deploy Paul Pogba in a box-to-box midfield role to get the best out of the France star, according to former team-mate Wayne Rooney.

Manchester United ' s French midfielder Paul Pogba (L) and Manchester United ' s English midfielder Jesse LingardAFP. He could shoot, he could cross, he could dribble, he could tackle. The problem was that he didn’t have the positional sense or the discipline to play as the holding player (and to field

United are adrift in the title, but things can still change . Injuries. So, with Paul Pogba as the only creative central midfielder in this team capable of dictating from deep, creating chances and playing under pressure, that didn’t bode well The Arsenal conundrum and how Lyon players could solve it.

A return to 3-5-2?

A crucial week in late November/early December saw United provide perhaps their most scintillating performances away from home this season. With Pogba back from a hamstring injury that ruled him out for 12 games, United went to Watford and Arsenal in the space of five days, winning both matches at a relative canter while scoring seven goals in the process.

In both contests, Mourinho opted for a 3-5-2 formation, with Nemanja Matic holding from deep with Jesse Lingard and Pogba pushed further ahead. The Serbian wasn't left to do it all on his own, either. With three centre-halves on the pitch, one of them was able to step up and snuff out attacks without leaving his teammates exposed - a role Victor Lindelof picked up that evening.

Manchester United XI vs Arsenal © Provided by IBT Media (UK) Manchester United XI vs Arsenal  United were devastating on the counter as a result of that set-up, with all three of their goals at the Emirates coming during transitional phases. Pogba played an instrumental role in getting the ball up the pitch at pace to facilitate that. While Ashley Young and Lingard had gathered most of the plaudits a few days earlier at Watford after their stunning goals, Pogba's role was just as significant against a Hornets side then thriving under Marco Silva.

Mourinho confused about Rooney's Pogba assessment

  Mourinho confused about Rooney's Pogba assessment After Wayne Rooney said Manchester United should use Paul Pogba as a box-to-box midfielder, Jose Mourinho clarified the France star's role.Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho believes Paul Pogba has "everything", but should not be considered a box-to-box midfielder.

1/23 Everton 0 Manchester United 2. How did we rate the players as Jose Mourinho' s side won at Goodison Park? The Everton youngster was unsurprisingly outclassed by Paul Pogba in the centre of midfield .

So now Manchester United have Pogba , how do they plan to use him? But Pogba is such a multi-functional talent that there are a multitude of ways that United could use him and that, in turn, effects how their midfield will shape up.

Pogba's game against Arsenal ended on a sour note when he was shown a straight red card for treading on Hector Bellerin. Mourinho abandoned the 3-5-2 for United's next league match – a home defeat to Manchester City – and we haven't seen it since.

english-clubs-prepare-for-tough-champions-league-ties © Provided by IBT Media (UK) english-clubs-prepare-for-tough-champions-league-ties The temptation for Mourinho to utilise that formation again is surely there, but it would come at a cost, with room left for only two of Lukaku, Sanchez, Martial and Marcus Rashford.

4-3-3?

Pogba's injury and December suspension has ensured Mourinho hasn't always had all of his options available to him. But there is conclusive proof a midfield two of Pogba and Matic is the manager's preferred partnership in the 4-2-3-1 formation we have seen so much since his arrival in Manchester.

Of United's 27 league games, Pogba and Matic have both been available for 17 of those. In 12 of those matches, they started at the heart of the midfield as a pair. Other occasions include that two-match 3-5-2 experiment against Watford and Arsenal. In two others, Ander Herrera joined them in a midfield three against Stoke City in September and Everton in January. And just once was Pogba not included despite being fit and available, with Scott McTominay stepping in against Huddersfield Town earlier this month.

Mourinho confused about Rooney's Pogba assessment

  Mourinho confused about Rooney's Pogba assessment After Wayne Rooney said Manchester United should use Paul Pogba as a box-to-box midfielder, Jose Mourinho clarified the France star's role.Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho believes Paul Pogba has "everything", but should not be considered a box-to-box midfielder.

Man United must solve their Pogba problem . The Match 6 days ago Mark Ogden. Though eclipsed by the mixed fortunes of Manchester United ' s forwards so far this season, the state of the team' s midfield is also a major talking point.

So Manchester United lost the Manchester Derby, Jose Mourinho was humiliated by Pep Guardiola and Paul Pogba did not play well. Yes he can play defensive midfield , yes he can defend and play with responsibility but that is just part of his game (and the least fun part).

Manchester United XI © Provided by IBT Media (UK) Manchester United XI  The Matic-Pogba axis is clearly Mourinho's preferred option but two defeats in their last three against Tottenham and Newcastle could prompt a tactical rethink. Michael Carrick's availability offers one potential solution, while Herrera continues to wait in the wings.

The 4-3-3 is not without its problems. United were timid despite the presence of three midfielders against Stoke at the start of the season. The system also couldn't prevent a wretched performance away to Basel in the Champions League. And once again, it would also call for a reshuffle up front.

It's been a clear problem this season; United struggle when they line up with a two-man midfield against top level opposition. But if those struggles are now creeping in against sides lower down the division like we saw at Newcastle on Sunday [11 February], sacrifices will need to be made. 

Conte hopes Manchester United bench 'fantastic' Pogba .
Antonio Conte still has a high opinion of Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba after the pair enjoyed success at Juventus.Chelsea manager Antonio Conte hailed Paul Pogba as a "top player" and revealed a desire to avoid his former player at Old Trafford on Sunday.

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