By Felix Law.
Ahead of Manchester United’s match day three game with Turkish and Dick Advocaat’s Fenernahce, former Liverpool and Manchester United forward now turned pundit Michael Owen launched an attack on United’s French box-to-box midfielder Paul Pogba for his inconsistent displays this season. Owen revealed he felt sorry for Pogba’s teammates who were let down by the record signings poor displays as United struggle to make a title challenge this season lying seventh in the table after eight games.
“There are players that are playing well, but the problem is Pogba is not playing as well as he should be.”
“So everybody else is almost taking the brunt for it and now they’re trying to find people so that it makes Pogba play a little better,” Owen told BT Sport the game against Fenerbahce.
This is not the first time the French man has been criticised since his £89 million move to United from Juventus in the summer which made him the world’s most expensive player. Pogba has been played in central midfield alongside either of Ander Herrera or Mauroune Fellaini in a 4-2-3-1 formation with the French man given the freedom to play across any position in the field while the one of the aforementioned players shield the backline halting and intercepting opposition passes.
Before the game against Fenerbahce on Thursday night, Pogba had only scored a paltry one goal in nine appearances for Jose Mourinho’s men in all competitions. The problem with the midfielder isn’t that he appears to lack the ability to consistently perform rather it appears that he tries to do so much to impress the fans and coaches instead of doing it simple.
To illustrate further, the league game against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at Old Trafford comes to mind as Pogba flopped in his first big match, holding unto the ball for so long and trying impossible dribbles which destabilised his team. Against Liverpool on Monday, the situation only became worse as he was pushed forward to his favourite role behind the main striker (No 10) after he had publicly called on Mourinho to play him in that role. To say the midfielder was missing is an understatement as it appeared he couldn’t cope with the pace of the game making it look like United were a man down.
This is different from his displays against Southampton and Leicester City where he was clearly the Man of The Match scoring a goal and creating numerous chances tormenting Robert Huth and Morgan all afternoon in a 4-0 win for United. Judging from his displays it is clear inconsistency is Pogba’s underlying problem which he should normally overcome with time having to adapt to a new culture , league and club although he was a former United player before moving to Juventus during Antonio Conte’s time at the club.
It seemed Owen’s criticism only spurred the Frenchman as he was unplayable on the night opening scoring with a penalty before scoring a second before half-time (three goals in ten appearances in all competitions for United this season) as United ran out 4-0 winners leapfrogging Fenerbahce to second place (United on six points and Fenerbahce on four) in the group a point behind leaders Feyenoord who are on seven points.
For now , Manchester United fans will pray Pogba continues his form in the League and League Cup as they play Chelsea and Manchester City in the the two completions next week.