There was a nervousness among Manchester United supporters when Marouane Fellaini was named in the starting line-up for last night’s match against Sevilla.
Jose Mourinho preferred the Belgian over Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba, claiming Fellaini’s presence would make his team “stronger”.
“We have different options and we believe Marouane Fellaini’s qualities make us stronger to start the game with,” the Portuguese said before the match.
You have to wonder if Mourinho still feels the same way after watching his side crash out of the Champions League.
Fellaini was used as he so often is – purely as a target man.
“That is Championship stuff. It’s not what you expect at this level,” Graeme Souness said on punditry.
POGBA UNIMPRESSED IN THE SECOND HALF
With 30 minutes remaining, Mourinho decided to replace Fellaini with Pogba.
It was another decision that, in retrospect, was the wrong one. Pogba offered nothing and his performance was summed up by a simple pass that went out of play in the closing stages.
Fair enough to Paul Pogba. Always delivers when Man Utd need him the most. pic.twitter.com/4qvzZFIRs9
— – (@AnfieldRd96) March 13, 2018
WHAT MAN UNITED FANS ARE SAYING ABOUT POGBA
Pogba’s problems in recent weeks have been well documented and there is a belief among Man United supporters that Mourinho simply isn’t the right manager for him.
Whether it’s the system or being benched for McTominay, what’s happening to Pogba is reminding many fans of what happened to Eden Hazard under Mourinho at Chelsea in the 2015-16 season.
Big players, confidence players, we've seen Mourinho fail at getting the best from them. Hazard, like Pogba now, the player whom the team should be built around is ground down to workhorse tasks and mentality.
Why? Because "we cannot lose" and Mourinho's MVP.
— Antoine (@7Sparky_7) March 14, 2018
JM is stifling the creativity of these players. He was run out of Madrid and then Chelsea again for the same thing. He's doing to Pogba what he tried to do with Hazard. Takes their confidence and asks them to perform in areas where they are perhaps less effective.
— Ian B (@brooklynflyer) March 14, 2018
That's what happens when you antagonize the team's best players, it disconnects the teams synchrony. That's why when Mourinho had a fallout with Casillas & Ronaldo it affected the team's performance and he got fired. Then he didn't learn & did the same with Hazard, and now Pogba.
— Sipho Dyani (@DyaniSipho) March 13, 2018
Indeed, there are some who are starting to believe that Sir Alex Ferguson was aware of Pogba’s attitude issues when he watched him leave Old Trafford in 2012.
Ferguson knew about Pogba when he got rid of him the first time around…has the wrong attitude! Total waste of space
— Chloe (@ChloeC1204) March 13, 2018
Sir Alex Ferguson ditched a big time charlie in young Pogba – now we are seeing why SAF decided it was better to get rid all those years ago – wrong attitude in so many many ways #MUFC
— Barry Reynolds (@A_view) March 13, 2018
MOURINHO: EVERYTHING HAS TO CHANGE
It cost Man United £89 million to bring Pogba back and Mourinho suggested that spending more money could be the answer in the club’s quest to return to the level level.
“Everything, everything has to change,” he said after the Sevilla defeat.
“Everybody spends money, right? Not just us, no? It’s a natural process, every team invests.
“I don’t have regrets. I did my best, the players they did their best. We tried. We lost. That’s football.”
Mourinho has attempted to improve every position since he arrived at Old Trafford in 2016 and further investment would only be an admission that some of his signings haven’t paid off.
Unfortunately for the 55-year-old, he can’t even consider Pogba a huge success.