Jose Mourinho explains Matteo Darmian’s role at Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Jose Mourinho has explained Matteo Darmian‘s role at Manchester United, noting that the Italian’s more traditional style balances well with Antonio Valencia‘s attacking approach at right back.

The 27-year-old, with Luke Shaw injured, has started at left-back on nine occasions during Man United’s sixteen game unbeaten run.

He featured on the left flank during United’s 1-1 draw and provided some much needed solidity before being replaced for Maroaune Fellaini with 15 minutes remaining.

Mourinho, when asked about the nature of Darmian’s role by an Italian journalist, quipped: “Do you want to buy him? Are you an agent? Do you work for the Italian federation?”

“When you have Antonio Valencia playing as a right winger you cannot defend with two players, you need that third player to give some cover inside and to keep some balances, and he [Darmian] did that well.

“But then losing, you take Darmian out and play Mkhitaryan left winger, covering a little bit and Valencia right winger, covering a little bit, and you risk everything.

“But I was watching the game, we were losing, I was looking always to the same side – I have a problem with my neck because I was always looking to the left side – and I watched so many yellow guys in front of me I thought let’s go for it, let’s try.”

Darmian’s role at Old Trafford continues to be somewhat ambiguous. He is, by all accounts, a relatively solid influence on the left hand side, capable of maintaining a good position and taking care of the basic elements of playing at the back.

Beyond that, however, Darmian’s influence is nominal. The Italian offers very little going forward, lacks a discernible yard of pace, but does just about enough to do what one would describe as a ‘solid job’ at left back each week. One could indeed praise the defender for bringing an element of solidity to this side; but one could, on the flip-side, criticise Darmian for failing to offer much else.

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