Paul Pogba speaks out about his relationship with Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera

by Leo Nieboer

Paul Pogba has spoken out about his relationship with Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera at Manchester United, noting that the trio compliment each other.

The Frenchman, after joining in August for a world record £89m fee, initially struggled to adapt in midfield under Jose Mourinho.

However Pogba, despite a poor performance against Liverpool, has demonstrated signs of true brilliance alongside Carrick and Herrera in recent weeks.

The 23-year-old, speaking after Man United’s 1-1 draw with Jurgen Klopp’s side on Sunday, was clearly full of praise for the current midfield system employed at Old Trafford.

“It’s true we’re complementary,” he said. “There’s Michael behind us to dictate play. I’m a bit more attacking, a bit higher up the pitch, so I’m closer to Zlatan too. Ander is there, dictates play, presses. I think the three of us complement each other.

“He [Mourinho] leaves me quite free, especially to attack. He encourages us a lot. He doesn’t want us not to defend, but when we have the ball, he leaves us free. He’s ‘The Special One.’ He’s a coach who helps me a lot, I learn a lot from him, from his experience. I listen when he speaks, he helps me a lot with his advice. He’s someone who’ll help me advance in my career.”

It was clear that Klopp wanted to target United’s midfield trio on Sunday. The German opted for a diamond in midfield, with Emre Can, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson all charged with the task of pressing Pogba, Carrick and Herrera all afternoon.

The approach proved to be effective: Pogba, for one, never eased into the game, and even Carrick – an untroubled, metronomic figure so far this season – was unable to play the ball into space on a frequent basis and often found himself passing backwards to the likes of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo. That said, Mourinho’s men still managed to create a number of chances and should have gone ahead on several occasions in the first half.

Either way, Klopp’s decision to change his approach to accommodate the threat posed by United’s midfield trio is indeed a testament to the damage they can inflict.

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