Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes have struck a real understanding in Manchester United’s midfield.
Finally after four years a United manager has found a midfielder who the Frenchman appears to enjoy playing with…
Former Manchester United striker Robin van Persie gave glowing praise in his analysis of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s midfield, who he believes have been crucial in our upturn in form since the arrival of Fernandes.
“Pogba is a world-class midfielder,” Van Persie told 90min. “But the big teams need two of them. As forward players, you should get final balls and those balls between the lines from more than one player — the opponents know that as well. The opponents will make life very hard, like they did for Pogba.
“They will cover him double, do everything for him not to pass that ball. But now there’s two guys who are making the game. They decide when to take it easy, when to make the ball tick and when to go forward. When there’s no pressure, they say ‘okay, we are bossing the game, we are in control now. World-class players recognise world-class players.
“Pogba knows Bruno Fernandes is world class, and the front three know they have got two world-class players behind them. That gives them a feeling that everything will be okay. Sometimes you’ll need to be patient, but these guys boss the game and these guys decide when it’s time.
“Bruno Fernandes mixes it up. He has crosses, his short game is very good, he knows when the pressure comes there’s more space in behind and these strikes smell that. They know there’s space and these guys will find them.”
I think Van Persie nails it in his assessment of United’s upturn in form because everyone will point their finger at new signing Fernandes as the main reason behind it, but Pogba returning from injury has made United a lot more difficult for teams to stop.
Nemanja Matic deserves a mention as United’s midfield anchor because it’s been clear that without him at his best or in the team, neither Pogba or Fernandes get the freedom they need to exploit teams.
It’s important that United end the season with a trophy so that all of this good work comes to something. Yes, we are already guaranteed a place in next season’s Champions League without having to win the Europa League outright, but the lads must aim to turn their results into trophies.
Solskjaer has done very well in his first full season in charge at Old Trafford. By winning the Europa League he would be making a statement.
A statement Pogba and Fernandes will also want to make on Sunday when the Reds face Sevilla in the Europa League semi-finals.