Analysing Paul Pogba's performance for Manchester United against a superb Watford side
Jose Mourinho claimed his players are struggling with the pressures of playing for Manchester United after losing 3-1 to Watford at the weekend. This is now the third defeat in a week for the club, and the first time this has happened to Jose since he was in charge of Chelsea in 2006.
Many of the players, according to Jose, are not the end product and this could constitute more than anybody to the most expensive player in the world, Paul Pogba. The £89 million man has been a shadow of what he was at the Euros and at Juventus, with many fans disappointed at his impact so far.
Pogba started the game at the weekend in a midfield three, with Marouane Fellaini and Wayne Rooney in and around him. This allowed the former Juve man to play slightly higher but still didn’t contribute to much end product. He failed to create any chances throughout the match and didn’t show much signs of creativity. In fact, the Frenchman has only created four chances all season, so he is now the producer of an average of about one guilt-edged opportunity per game, which is really disappointing.
One element he looked slightly improved on was his shooting. Playing higher up the field, Pogba managed to unleash an effort which was hit with so much power that it hit the bar and bounced outside the box. This is a slight improvement for the man with only a 15% shot accuracy rate this season.
Fundamentally, the two areas of the game he needs to improve the most are his passing and his defending. During the defeat to Watford, he had a 75% pass rate. Playing as a midfielder, this is something that has to be improved. To put it into context, in Paul Scholes’ last game at Old Trafford against Swansea, he had a pass rate of an outstanding 93%. To be purchased for a record fee to play at Manchester United, that is the standard that players have to deal with.
Pogba often looks like he is struggling to adapt defensively as well. This season, he averages 58% in his duels, which means he wins just over half of his battles. For a man of his size and power, he really should be regaining the ball more frequently for his side.
As a powerful runner, he also should be able to drive forward. Against Watford, he conducted no take-ons, which means that he was not able to use his power and dominate on the field. Until he can find a way to do this against teams, Pogba is going to find it difficult to show his worth.
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