Cape Town - Former Manchester United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel singled
out Paul Pogba for criticism after the Red Devils played to a 1-1 draw with
Arsenal on Monday night.
Scott McTominay fired the hosts ahead with a stunning strike
on the stroke of half-time, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could only watch on in
horror as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's 58th-minute effort was eventually given.
Initially, the linesman flagged for offside, but the Arsenal
striker played to the whistle and found the net for his eighth goal of the
Referee Kevin Friend went to VAR and, after a slight delay,
Aubameyang was shown to be at least a couple of yards onside when Bukayo Saka
found his team-mate.
And Schmeichel, who was at the match, was frustrated with
Pogba's performance and claimed the France international was "hiding"
in the first half.
"It was a really weird performance. 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," Schmeichel told Stadium
"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
"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’s 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 doing 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
"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."
- TeamTalk Media