Ray Wilkins: Jose Mourinho has done well to settle his midfield trio

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United midfielder Ray Wilkins has praised Jose Mourinho for finding a settled midfield trio at Manchester United.

The 53-year-old begun life at Old Trafford with a 4-2-3-1 set-up, with Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba sitting behind Wayne Rooney at No.10.

Mourinho has found a far more balanced set-up through opting for a 4-3-3 system containing a midfield trio of Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick later in the season.

Wilkins, speaking earlier this week, claimed that such an approach has benefitted the entire Man United side.

“What Jose has done well is nail down the midfield three,” he said. “Carrick, Herrera and Pogba.”

“That has allowed Pogba to go further forward and do more things. That has improved things for all concerned.”

With a wealth of midfield talent at Mourinho’s disposal, it was only a matter of time before the Portuguese struck the right balance at United.

Carrick, as always, serves the vital function of forming the axis of midfield, acting as the medium between defence and attack with his composed, metronomic style.

And whilst the Englishman provides structure and equanimity, hardly ever moving out of his deep midfield position, Herrera is simply everywhere, tearing across the pitch with an unyielding aura of tenacity.

Such a midfield platform gives Pogba, playing just ahead of the aforementioned pair, license to fully express himself going forward. The Frenchman was plagued by the need to perform defensive duties during the early stages of the season, but Mourinho has quickly handed him a chance to do what he does best: rampaging forward at will, brushing off opponents and spraying pin-point balls all over the pitch.

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