Jose Mourinho has admitted his surprise at how much Manchester United suffered after Paul Pogba’s substitution against FC Basel.
Pogba only returned from a two-month long spell on the sidelines at the weekend as Man United comfortably saw off Newcastle United in a 4-1 victory. Pogba scored and assisted in a Man of the Match performance.
He wasn’t as imposing against FC Basel in Wednesday night’s 1-0 defeat to the Swiss champions, but was missed after being replaced by the more defensive Nemanja Matic. Having played for the first time in 67 days against Newcastle, it was sensible to take him off again.
“Did Pogba coming off have an impact on the team?” Mourinho said.
“I think it did have an impact, we were not such a good team after Paul came off but it had to be with the levels of fatigue after 65 minutes.
“I brought to the pitch an experienced player like [Nemanja] Matic and thought it couldn’t affect the game.
“I bring Marcus [Rashford] to give us more speed, more problems to them, Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] to hold the ball and the approach was good.”
Pogba ’s impact on the team is clear. Statistically, it’s huge. The Frenchman’s involvement in the side sees double the number of chances created, double the number of shots, almost double the number of touches for Romelu Lukaku in the penalty area, ore passes per game, a better passing accuracy.
United have to find a way to deal with his absence, though. A team that’s overly reliant on one player never wins trophies. Perhaps a new midfield signing is needed. One rumour links United with Valencia’s young talent Carlos Soler, a 20-year-old Spanish midfielder who could be brought to Old Trafford for around £40m. More quality is needed, that’s for sure.