Manchester United fans were quick to vent their frustration at Ander Herrera during their side’s 2-2 draw with Stoke City on Saturday night.
The Spaniard hadn’t featured for Jose Mourinho’s side up to this point aside from a five minute cameo against Swansea City.
And he looked decidedly rusty at the Bet365 Stadium, seemingly unable to hassle Stoke’s midfield and lacking crispness on the ball.
Supporters were notably displeased with the lack of influence brought by Herrera in what was a ferociously paced encounter with Mark Hughes’ side.
No surprise we're so lethargic and slow with Herrera back in the side. Too easy this for Stoke.
— – (@IconicUnited) September 9, 2017
Herrera stay on the bench pal.
— 🤚🏾 (@A2Dubie) September 9, 2017
Fellaini would've offered 10x more than Herrera today.
— __ (@maddtingg_) September 9, 2017
Jose Mourinho understandably wanted to inject more legs into United’s midfield but Herrera didn’t provide the solution he was looking for.
If anything, United’s midfield looked less secure, less balanced, with Herrera rushing after players. Stoke were positive and found the likes of Jese Rodriguez and Jean-Eric Choupo-Moting on a regular basis – something Herrera was drafted in to prevent.
Mourinho will want to deploy a midfield pivot of Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic for most parts of this season, giving Henrikh Mkhitaryan a chance to impress at No.10, but he will want his midfield three to operate with the same fluidity.
And Herrera, positionally and technically, struggled to offer much of that to the 54-year-old at all. This midfield three – which, on paper, looks frightening – needs more fusion over the coming months.