Peter Schmeichel has torn strips off Paul Pogba after his performance in the 1-1 draw with Arsenal, calling the Manchester United star a “problem child”.
The World Cup winner was largely anonymous in the Monday Night Football as United’s hopes of clawing their way back into the top four took another dint after VAR intervened to correctly award Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang an equaliser for the Gunners.
With Roy Keane using his studio time to explain why United had to stick by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the long term in the wake of their ongoing struggles, Schmeichel instead vented his fury at Pogba, who had another disappointing game in the heart of the midfield.
“It was a really weird performance,” Schmeichel said Stadium Astro. “Sitting in the stands looking at the team and the shape it was difficult to understand what was going on, what the plan for the game was.
“It was very clear what Arsenal was doing.
“In every game before today they played the ball out from the back, [today] they didn’t. Every goal kick was kicked up, putting pressure up to the Manchester United half.
“But when Manchester United had the ball it was difficult to see what the plan was.
“And one thing that Ole Gunnar mentioned, when United had the ball he said it was very slow, I can only agree with that.
“The way the ball is being moved around when Pogba is in the team is different to the pace the ball is being moved around when he’s not in the team.
“That is something I think they need to work on.
“If Pogba is playing in this team he needs to speed it up a bit.
“He was seriously slowing it down, in the first 25 minutes just basically playing the ball backwards. For a player of his calibre that was disappointing.
“I don’t understand what his role in this team is. ‘Even when Ole made the substitutions and put Pogba further forward, not a lot happened.
“There were two very good passes in the game from Pogba but it’s two, it’s not 15.
“And I see that as a problem. He takes up so much attention. It kind of feels like he’s a problem child in this team.
“When you have someone who takes up so much attention, we need to understand what is his role, what is he going to do for this Manchester United team?
“I think the players are good enough around him. He was kind of hiding a little bit in the first half, especially in the first half. Second half was a little bit better.
“Of course when he gets moved further forward his defensive responsibilities are a bit less, then he gets the ball a bit more. He’s not playing in the same way he did last season for sure.
“It’s just all this slowing up, I think they need to find out what his role is, how Manchester United should play with him in the team.
“Then it should be communicated so that everyone [understands], 75,000 [fans] here are not too happy about him, to be fair. ‘You kind of hear that around, people don’t like Pogba that much because he doesn’t do much for the team.
“But we’ve seen the world-class quality, how do we get him to perform that in this Manchester United team?
“I’m not saying he’s doing everything wrong, I’m more confused as to what his job is.
“He’s a world-class player, you expect someone like him to take charge of the game, to direct the young players, there were seven academy players today, to be the guy they can look towards and find guidance when its difficult.
“But it’s kind of the other way around which is so weird. ‘With his statistics, sometimes you have the goalkeeper from the bottom team having the best statistics because he makes the most saves, you can’t really put much into those kind of statistics. It’s more for me what the eyes are seeing and there’s a big difference watching Manchester United on TV and actually sat in the stand and watching what’s going on.
“For me it’s not great to have that kind of player in the team in this period of time.”
Get the latest personalised Red Devils products on our new TEAMtalk Man Utd shop!