Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince believes the arrival of Alexis Sanchez last month has had negative implications for Paul Pogba.
The Chile international arrived at the club over the January transfer window in a swap deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan go the other way.
His introduction to the starting has coincided with Pogba’s two worst displays of the season so far against Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United.
And Ince, speaking earlier this week, believes that Sanchez’s presence in the side has damaged the Frenchman’s confidence.
“Since Sanchez joined the club, Pogba’s confidence and mood seems to have gone in the opposite direction to earlier in the season,” he said.
“He looks like a totally different player. It’s probably due to the fact that, pre-Sanchez, he was the main man. He was the kingpin and the one everyone was talking about.
“But the arrival of Sanchez has taken the shine off him. What I would say is, at United, you’re all main men. You should all perform like that, too.”
To think that Sanchez was the reason behind Pogba’s mediocre displays at Wembley and St James’ Park is nothing short of ridiculous.
Pogba didn’t play well against Spurs because Mourinho used him far too deep and the likes of Eric Dier and Moussa Dembele pressed him to oblivion, whereas at Newcastle he was obviously carrying some sort of injury. Any further explanations are, you sense, product of the hyperbole surrounding his name which has snowballed this week.
Good players figure out how to play together and supporters, in turn, should be excited – rather than concerned – about the prospect of Sanchez and Pogba working together in tandem.
If anything, the club’s new No.7, who will mainly play on the left, ought to have provided Mourinho with greater incentive to use Pogba in a more advanced left sided midfield role. Surely it’s only logical to put the club’s two best players – in terms of ability, at least – close together on the pitch.