The former Red Devils coach believes the Frenchman fares better when in the same side as Ander Herrera, but has disappointed on the whole
Paul Pogba is struggling at Manchester United because he lacks players of Andrea Pirlo and N’Golo Kante’s quality alongside side, says former Red Devils coach Rene Meulensteen.
The Frenchman’s most consistent showings to date have come in the colours of Juventus and his country.
Serie A title success was enjoyed in Italy, while World Cup glory was savoured with Les Bleus in 2018.
Pogba was able to thrive in those sides as he had destructive and ball-playing team-mates alongside him.
That has not been the case at United, Ander Herrera aside, and the 26-year-old has failed to deliver the consistency expected of him as a result.
“He clearly struggles to dictate the game if he doesn’t have good enough players around him,” Meulensteen, who was assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford when Pogba made a senior breakthrough, told Training Ground Guru.
“With Juventus and France, he did extremely well but had players like Andrea Pirlo, Claudio Marchisio and Arturo Vidal with him in Turin, and N’Golo Kante for France.
“The pace of the game is also much slower in Italy than it is in the Premier League, where it’s constant action and you have to be urgent both in and out of possession.
“If you look at some of Pogba’s best games for United, they’ve been alongside Ander Herrera. The two of them are complementary.
“Herrera gives Pogba the platform to get in the box and play those searching passes because he keeps the balance.
“He’s able to stop the fires, is mobile, can pick the right passes and has really good game understanding.
“I don’t think the other central midfielders we’ve seen have been able to provide that same platform.”
Pogba has been unable to line up alongside Herrera in United’s last six games, with an untimely injury stunting the progress of a Spain international.
In his absence, the likes of Scott McTominay have seen more regular game time.
“Paul has obviously suffered a bit from the lack of quality around him,” Meulensteen added.
“When Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] took over people got carried away – ‘we’ve got the old United back’ – but after that PSG away win in the Champions League everything has been turned on its head.
“He [Pogba] suffers from this languid style, he’s a heavy mover. In England especially, the fans want to say: He might not have been great today but he gave it everything.
“Paul has that languid style and needs to learn to play with more of a spring in his step. The first thing that’s expected of anyone is attitude, energy and work-rate.
“Scott McTominay doesn’t have the same technical quality as Pogba, but he is a hard-working lad, so the fans have warmed to him.”