Jose Mourinho has suggested that Paul Pogba and Michael Carrick could be the first choice pairing in midfield for United this campaign, which they kicked off with a comfortable 1-3 win against Bournemouth.
United started with the pairing of Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera, who did an excellent job in the game, while Carrick was on the bench, Pogba was suspended for this one, which is probably why Mourinho opted for the Spaniard and the Big Belgian, and resting the experienced Carrick for the Southampton game at home, so that he can begin with Pogba on the Frenchman's home debut.
Carrick knows it all
Mourinho spoke highly of the qualities Carrick offers in the middle of the park, he said that the experienced Englishman is "stable, intelligent" and is perfectly able to play in front of the back four and that he gives the team stability because "he knows everything" also adding that he is "tactically very intelligent."
He also mentioned Morgan Schneiderlin and Herrera and said that they "also play as that" and that they have experience in the Premier League. The Portugese then talked about the number 10 role in the team and how Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan give him options in that role.
The quality in-depth is there for all to see, Mourinho can always change formation in-game and the aforementioned players will seamlessly interchange into the positions assigned, which is why the boss can be confident of being flexible with his tactics, although it is more likely that he will stick with his trusted 4-2-3-1 formation.
Qualities needed alongside Carrick
Mourinho spoke about the lack of a kind of player he calls, "the second midfielder", who has to be "strong enough" to run the game, one who has "defensive intensity" to track back against any counter attacks or offense by the opposition, one who is also "creative" and has goals in him, to summarise ,second midfielder, is one who "drives the midfield forward" said the new Manchester United manager.
He acknowledged that the club has depth in midfielders who can pass, but Pogba offers them many different qualities, he is a "runner with the ball", and therefore, for Mourinho, Pogba "fits the profile" of the player he needed alongside Carrick in that two man midfield.
Mourinho has five midfielders to choose from, discounting Rooney, who for most part, looks like he will play in the playmaking number 10 role. Tactical strictness was a huge problem that United faced under Louis Van Gaal's 4-2-3-1 system, there was no link between the midfield and attack and therefore the game was slow, rigid and very boring- as we saw a much too similar problem in the FA Community Shield clash with Leicester City, in the first half of that game.
It will be an interesting blend of experience and exuberance with Pogba and Carrick, maybe the Frenchman can learn a thing or two from his partner, and make the midfield of Manchester United, a perfect one.