Pogba dictated the game from deep role as Solskjaer stamps new identity on Man Utd

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THE scoreline might have flattered Manchester United – but in Paul Pogba they had a world-class player putting in a world-class shift.

His unbelievable pass for their third goal, finished by Marcus Rashford, will rightly get all of the plaudits. 

Paul Pogba put in a world-class shift against Chelsea at Old Trafford
News Group Newspapers Ltd

But his all-round game — as a deep-lying playmaker — was exceptional.

Over the last couple of seasons I’ve regularly spoken about how to get the Frenchman more freedom up the pitch.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer turned it on its head yesterday, getting Pogba to sit deep to utilise his fantastic range of passing.

And it’s clear United’s pacey forwards have been told to stretch the game, rather than going to the ball, to bring out the best in him.

If the opposition defenders drop with forward runners, the midfielders must also close down the gaps.
Time is then afforded to Pogba to dictate the game.

When he arrived at Old Trafford from Juventus three years ago he was asked to be the main man doing everything.

In Italy, by contrast, he had enjoyed the luxury of playing alongside Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal.

But in today’s game there are no box-to-box midfielders any more — you are a deep playmaker or a defensive or attacking midfielder. The game is too quick to do it all, and it looks like Solskjaer has found the perfect position for Pogba.

It is clear United’s pacey forwards have been told to stretch the game, rather than going to the ball, to bring out the best in him
PA:Press Association

Against the bigger clubs United will look to play on the counter, and in Pogba’s passing abilities they have the perfect man to start an attack.

And when up against the smaller clubs, who will look to defend deep and narrow, he will have the time and space to find the pace in wide areas from the likes of Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

The season before last they lost 1-0 to West Brom with 70 per cent of the ball and Huddersfield 2-1 with 78 per cent possession.

It was noticeable how they struggled to pass their way through the tight defences but with Pogba playing this role they should be fine. He didn’t look like a man who didn’t want to be there.

The pacey Marcus Rashford, Daniel James and Anthony Martial can set off knowing that, if they make the runs, Pogba will find you.

And if he continues in this vein, United are going to cause serious problems to everyone they come up against.

Chelsea made mistakes yesterday, and United were ruthless in punishing them.

The visitors were unlucky to lose 4-0 and looked well in the game, but once you start chasing you can concede goals very quickly.

They caused United problems early on, with Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic sitting deep, allowing their full-backs to bomb on.


It was unfair on Frank Lampard in his first game as Chelsea boss, but that’s the manner of the league and he will learn from it.

The biggest task that Solskjaer had when he replaced Jose Mourinho was to give the side a clear identity again.

And after yesterday, it is becoming increasingly clear that he has done exactly that.

 

Against the bigger clubs United will look to play on the counter, and in Pogba’s passing abilities they have the perfect man to start an attack
Reuters

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