By Felix Law
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has stated his admiration for energetic midfielder Ander Herrera Aguera who struggled to make the bench under predecessor Louis Van Gaal after his €36 million move in the summer of 2014 from Athletic Bilbao.
“You know, we manages we are strange people sometimes because some players they are better with one manager than with others and Ander is being better with me than with previous managers.”
“Other players were better with Mr. Louis Van Gaal than they are with me. This is the nature of things. You have more empathy, you have more understanding of the idea, you are more adapted to the ideas and Ander was lucky that I arrived.”
“With me he feels all of that plus the confidence so I am really happy for him. But I am probably more happy with the Ashley Young situation because to perform like he did at Anfield is only possible because he is phenomenal in the way he trains,” were the words of Jose Mourinho after the draw with Liverpool on Monday night.
Herrera was seen as one of the best players in the Spanish La Liga having made over 94 league appearances for the Basque side before his move to England. In England, the midfielder will find himself behind the likes of Michael Carrick Morgan Schneiderlin and Maroune Fellaini as Van Gaal preferred the trio. Herrera’s situation only got worse considering he was going to turn 27 this summer before the exit of Van Gaal.
The midfielder’s situation did not get better after the appointment of Mourinho who preferred the central midfield pairing of Fellaini and Paul Pogba in a 4-2-3-1 formation. With Fellaini and Pogba in midfield, United would go on to win against Bournemouth, Southampton and Hull before struggling against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City prompting Mourinho to introduce him in the second half in order to contain the devastating City attackers.
Although, United did not win the game, Herrera gave a good account of himself, shielding the back four and adding that missing steel, energy and passion as well as halting attack and at the same time building United’s attack from midfield. As if that wasn’t enough the midfielder got his first call up for the Spanish national side – La Roja at a time the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Pedro were all ignored by the Spanish coach. Again against Liverpool, the midfielder was the United’s best outfield player as his quality was evident for all. Herrera broke up play perfectly as well as matching Liverpool’s pace and zeal on the night.
At present Manchester United are seventh in the league table having slumped after a bright start which saw them win their first three league games. Herrera will have to continue his rich vein of form to continue playing in the team with the likes of Michael Carrick, Morgan Schneiderlin and Maroune Fellaini all available for selection for the same position.