Danny Higginbotham: Paul Pogba suffers from same problem as Mesut Ozil and he can’t perform in this Manchester United team

source: talksport

Paul Pogba will never be able to show his best talents playing in this ‘methodical and slow’ Manchester United team, according to former Red Devil Danny Higginbotham.

France midfielder Pogba has struggled for form since returning from injury after the starting the season excellently.

He was the target of much criticism on Monday night following United’s 3-2 defeat of Crystal Palace, which came courtesy of an injury time winning goal from Pogba’s midfield partner Nemanja Matic.

The blame for Palace’s opening goal was directed at the 24-year-old, while his entire performance was regarded as lackadaisical; his first-half showing was especially dire.

Gary Neville spoke during the game to condemn Pogba for not taking football seriously: “His great strength is that he plays with freedom and like he’s playing on the park with his mates and it’s like everyone he does is like a YouTube or an Instagram video. It’s like it’s not serious it’s like a joke to him in terms of the way in which he goes about things. It’s no wonder Jose Mourinho has left him out in the last few weeks a number of times.”

Pogba’s approach to football has often seen him criticised, but Higginbotham feels he suffers from the same problem as Mesut Ozil, the Arsenal playmaker, whose brilliance is overlooked as he does not seem to try very hard.

Furthermore, Higginbotham feels Pogba’s poor performances are due to the way in which Jose Mourinho lines his team up, with the midfielder not afforded the opportunity to display his best talents as part of a ‘methodical and slow’ set-up.

Speaking to the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast, Higginbotham said: “I think, if you are looking at mannerisms on the pitch, I would say he’s fantastic player, but sometimes you look at Ozil and his mannerisms on the pitch and sometimes that goes against him.

“I think a lot of it with Pogba is something touched on, with the way he can carry himself.

“I think there is no better sight than when he does pick up the ball and is driving at the opposition, but I just think at times, the way Manchester United play – a little bit methodical, a little bit slow – it’s difficult for Pogba to break through because teams are able to get back and sit in.

“What I would say is, if you’ve got Pogba playing on the left side of the three, the amount of times yesterday [Alexis] Sanchez was looking to drop into that position – that’s where Pogba wants to get into.

“So at times they were looking to get into each other’s way.”

Discussing the victory over Palace in more detail, Higginbotham described how the Eagles’ defensive structure further shackled Pogba in midfield.

He added: “I think the problem for Pogba yesterday was, because Crystal Palace did something they’ve done all season; defensive is not Crystal Palace’s biggest problem – it has been scoring goals.

“What they do every time the opposition get the ball is send them inside into bodies. They did it really well in the first half against Manchester United, and Pogba was getting frustrated.

“The top players, when they get frustrated, want more of the ball, so their way of getting more of the ball is coming closer to the ball.

“So what you had in the first half was Pogba, [Scott] McTominay and Matic all in the same line.

“What you want from Pogba, when you are playing him in a 4-3-3, is a midfielder breaking through – and then you are asking questions.”

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