Jose Mourinho admitted he may have unearthed his perfect midfield trio in the wake of Manchester United’s 1-0 win over Manchester City in the League Cup.
Such a combination wreaked havoc against Pep Guardiola’s side, with Herrera and Pogba, supported by the unfailingly composed Carrick, driving the game forward in emphatic style.
Speaking after the game, Mourinho claimed he may have unearthed his perfect midfield trio at Old Trafford.
“We were getting confident step by step, we were starting to trust our defensive organisation,” he said.
“Then in the second half, especially Herrera, Carrick and Pogba, they increased the tempo. They started pressing higher.
“I thought Ander brought the team to different levels of intensity and pressing. Then we started recovering balls and being dangerous.”
The fruitfulness of Mourinho era has been essentially determined by a variety of midfield combinations.
Marouane Fellaini and Pogba? Nope. Wayne Rooney, Fellaini and Pogba? Nope. Morgan Schneiderlin, Fellaini and Pogba? Nope. Herrera, Pogba and Rooney? Nope. Herrera, Pogba and Mata? This did work for a bit, until they suddenly became blunt-edged against Stoke City. What about Bastian Schweinsteiger? Get your coat, son.
But finally, after a seemingly never-ending episode of chopping and changing, Mourinho has finally struck gold. The perfect balance, you might say. Finding a settled midfield trio that can operate efficiently together, bringing different but vital attributes, is fundamental for this team going forward, and United fans will be delighted to see that the 53-year-old has found a midfield combination that genuinely works.