Rio Ferdinand: Manchester United aren’t the same team without Paul Pogba

by Leo Nieboer

Rio Ferdinand has noted that Manchester United will only be back to their best once Paul Pogba returns to the starting XI.

The Frenchman picked up a hamstring injury against FC Basel in September and looks set to return following the international break.

Languid performances against Liverpool, Benfica and Huddersfield Town led to many making note of Pogba’s indispensability to Jose Mourinho’s starting XI.

And Ferdinand, speaking on BT Sport following the 2-0 win over Benfica, noted that Man United are simply not the same without the 24-year-old.

“Pogba’s injury has been a big reason the form has gone off,” he said. “The fluidity of the team is not the same as it was at the start of the season without Pogba.”

Any player of Pogba’s vibrancy, sheer quality, innovation and execution will always be missed when he suffers an injury. This is just common sense.

The seamless, perfectly executed transitions from defence to attack, as mediated by the effervescent Frenchman, that hallmarked their rampant start to the 2017/18 campaign is no longer there. United’s performances of late have lost their entertainment value and become more visibly Mourinho-esuqe in their cold efficiency.

And yet, to say that United’s ‘form has gone off’ is absurd. They have only lost once since the UEFA Super Cup, find themselves second in the Premier League and top of their Champions League group, and have 13 wins under their belt already.

As the boss himself has noted, some people just need to relax a bit.

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