With Manchester United 2-0 down against Newcastle on Saturday, Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho opted to play Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba in a much deeper role in the second half.
Pogba’s positioning was so deep that many assumed the France international was playing as a centre-back alongside Chris Smalling.
Manchester United fought back to win 3-2 and Mourinho revealed after the game why he opted to play Pogba in a much deeper role in the second half.
“He didn’t play centre-back,” Mourinho said.
“He was playing with Matic in front of [Chris] Smalling because we need some technical quality to bring the ball from the back and the way to have some technical quality to bring the ball from the back was to play Paul and Matic there.”
One player whose Manchester United career could be nearing an end after the victory over Newcastle is Manchester United defender Eric Bailly. Mourinho substituted the defender after just 19 minutes and opted to play midfielder Scott McTominay as a centre-back instead.
Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand believes Bailly will struggle to regain his place in the team after that substitution.
“I don’t see a way back for [Eric] Bailly [after he was] dragged off,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.
“The manager has stated before the last game that he hasn’t got defenders who can play the ball out from the back.
“He’s been made the fall guy.”