Former Manchester United captain and central defender Rio Ferdinand believes that the arrival of Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Clube de Portugal in January had now freed French midfielder Paul Pogba from the burden of his club record £89 million transfer fee. The club legend feels that Fernandes has rejuvenated United since his arrival.
United look to be a completely different team since the Premier League resumed last month and under the guidance of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the club will be seeking to challenge the likes of Leicester City and Chelsea to finish in the top four of the Premier League this season, qualifying for the UEFA Champions League next season.
Pogba has caught the eye since returning against Tottenham Hotspur, a match which he won the penalty that earned United a point from the match. He has started in each match since his return, playing at the top of his game and helping his team prosper, sitting unbeaten in their last 16 matches, scoring 43 goals, conceding six, and keeping 11 clean sheets.
It was expected that Pogba could be leaving the Old Trafford club this summer after many rumours linking the player with a return to Juventus or a move to Real Madrid. However, the player is thriving in a deeper midfield position playing alongside Nemanja Matic and with Fernandes playing further forward, it is working for Solskjaer and United. Ferdinand feels Pogba is no longer feeling the pressure, saying:
“[Paul] Pogba has been a totally different player since the restart. The energy levels in his game, it’s the Pogba United paid £89 million for four years ago.
“A big factor is undoubtedly the man he is playing with in the centre of midfield – Bruno Fernandes. Pogba will not want to be shown up out there and that’s perhaps the motivation he needed.
“Solskjaer will be absolutely loving what he’s seeing from those two. Fernandes is just doing what comes naturally to him and it’s been a huge boost to Pogba’s form – it’s freed him up to play as well.
“There’s probably less pressure on him now because he knows that some of the burden of expectation is being shouldered by Fernandes.”
It is going to be interesting to see what the remainder of the season brings for United. They will be back in action on Thursday evening when they travel to Villa Park to face Aston Villa, who are deep in a relegation battle after being defeated 2-0 by Liverpool on Sunday. United will be seeking to continue their good form and earn all three points, keeping chase on Chelsea, Leicester City who are fourth and third respectively.