In the aftermath of France’s 4-1 win over Bulgaria, in which Manchester United’s Paul Pogba played in midfield, Didier Deschamps was critical of Pogba’s performance and certain aspects of his game. Pogba, deployed in a defensive midfield role, supposedly needs to improve if he is to play in France’s 4-2-3-1 system. However, Deschamps’ comments are completely out of hand and are his fault, not his player’s.
Deschamps said that Pogba has everything it takes to play in his defensive midfield role, but he hasn’t made the adjustment yet. Admitting that Pogba’s defensive role isn’t the best for him, he completely contradicts himself in the process. He knows Pogba shouldn’t be playing in the role he is in, but he persists with the system anyways and then blames the player. For France, Pogba plays on the right side of defensive midfield to accommodate Blaise Matuidi on the left, which is just plain disgraceful.
“He can and must do better. When he has a defensive role like that, that’s not the best for him. This is more a construction part, protection as compared to the central hinge. He has everything to do it. He did some good things, some others less good.”
First of all, how is Deschamps still a manager? France easily had the best players at Euro 2016, they were the host nation, and not even one of the best five sides at the tournament, playing easy opponents and making it to the final from a series of massive flukes. Why did Deschamps think it would be a good idea to play Antoine Griezmann on the right wing to accommodate Olivier Giroud in the system? But back on topic, with the likes of Griezmann being shunted out wide for Giroud, Deschamps then decided to play Pogba on the ride side of his midfield to accommodate Matuidi, and then blamed him. That’s the qualitative equivalent of smashing a Rolls-Royce to get a tricycle.
Worse than that, though, it seems as if Deschamps wants Pogba to fail. In a time where every single move the 23-year-old makes are scrutinized completely, Deschamps decides to go out into the media and criticize him. It’s mostly your fault that he’s playing poorly, and if you have these problems, tell him in the dressing room. Instead, he decided to tell the media, who now begins to criticize Pogba despite the fact he’s been in good form for United. Most wouldn’t know he’s played well recently, though, because every time he touches a ball and doesn’t score twice, he is criticized.
Ending a cynical rant, though, the entire situation is simply irritating. Firstly, the international break has taken United’s entire Starting XI from the Stoke City game (barring Zlatan Ibrahimovic) with Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard debuting for their national teams. I’d rather just not have the international break at all, not have Deschamps criticize Pogba and have all ten of the eleven fit to start against Liverpool at Anfield this weekend. Instead, though, United has to lose all of the positive performances, momentum, and even some media praise, all to hear Deschamps moaning about his United players after a 4-1 win.