Paul Scholes has criticised Jose Mourinho for failing to field a balanced side in the wake of Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat to Watford in the Premier League.
Man United kicked off with a midfield triumvirate of Wayne Rooney, Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini – an approach that failed to provide any defensive cover or direction in attack, resulting eventually in Watford going into the break 1-0 to the good.
Mourinho then switched to a 4-2-3-1 for the second half, giving United more leverage and width going forward, leading to a well-deserved equaliser via Marcus Rashford. However, the visiting side continued to suffer from a lack of defensive cover in midfield, and Watford duly capitalised with two late goals.
Speaking after the game, Scholes highlighted Mourinho’s failure to field a balanced side against Watford.
“He needs to find the right mix of players,” he said.
“He’s got 22 players but I don’t think there’s much difference between those in the starting line-up and the bench.
“I can’t understand why Michael Carrick is here [on the bench]. What he’s done I don’t know.”
There is a very fine line between ambition and foolhardiness, and Mourinho’s decision to field Rooney, Fellaini and Pogba without any defensive cover at the base of his midfield signals a systematic error in his tactical approach.
One would have thought that Mourinho – a pragmatist who isn’t afraid to make big changes – would have addressed the manifest faults in midfield exposed by Manchester City. And yet, there he was, once again making the mistake of not playing a more defensively orientated midfielder to compliment the likes of Pogba and Fellaini.
United fans will hope that, this time around, Mourinho rectifies this clear fault in his system in time for the game against Leicester City.