Manchester United grabbed a crucial three points against rivals Liverpool on Saturday, and all without £89 million man Paul Pogba.
The Frenchman had to withdraw from the game after suffering a gashed leg in the final minute of United’s final training session before the game, leaving Juan Mata having to deputise in his absence.
However, speaking on Match of the Day, Chelsea legend and a man who of course knows Jose Mourinho very well, Frank Lampard believes that the late withdrawal of Pogba actually did Manchester United a favour:
“I think the withdrawal of Paul Pogba yesterday sort of fell into José Mourinho’s lap in terms of team selection.
“I think we’ve all spoken recently about ‘can he get his best players in their best positions in the starting 11, and I think he managed to do that today and get a better balance about the team as a whole.
“I think that people knew their jobs, particularly without the ball, and I think that is what Jose Mourinho really wants from his players – to know your jobs and stick to them.
“He released Sanchez further up the pitch, nearer to Lukaku. Without the ball, yes he has to work, but also obviously when you get the ball, Mata on the right, balanced, disciplined defensively. Rashford, out-and-out width on the left, Matic and McTominay disciplined in midfield.
“They set out for the start like that and it carried on through the game. The first half they were very impressive, very organised.
“Those two in front of the back four, McTominay and Matic again, this is a job that Pogba has struggled to do – particularly in these big games where you need someone to defend for you and shield that back four.”