Ex-Man United coach: Matic is too slow for Pogba

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Nemanja Matic of Manchester United is tackled by Julian Draxler of PSG during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford on February 12, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Nemanja Matic lacks the speed and mobility to be a suitable midfield partner for Paul Pogba at Manchester United, says Rene Meulensteen.

The Dutch coach worked for the Manchester United first-team as an assistant during the final six-and-a-half years of Sir Alex Ferguson’s trophy-laden career.

Since Meulensteen left Old Trafford in 2013, United have struggled to return to their glory days from the Ferguson era with three different managers having tried and failed.

However, the Red Devils have enjoyed a promising start under coach number four Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with 10 wins in his opening 12 games as caretaker manager.

One of the key players behind Solskjaer’s successful start has been Matic, who has had 11 starts under the Norwegian.

The Serbia international was signed from Chelsea in 2017 by Jose Mourinho and has been an ever-present figure in the United line-up ever since.

But Meulensteen believes Matic is the wrong midfield partner for Pogba and urged his old club to look for someone else.

“Nemanja Matic is a good player, but he is too slow,” Meulensteen told VG.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Assistant coach Michael Carrick looks on during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Manchester United at Selhurst Park on February 27, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Carrick explains why he decided to become a coach

The Manchester United first-team coach had "mixed feelings" after deciding to retire from playing football.

“We need someone who can move the legs and the ball quickly, dictate the tempo and at the same time maintain the balance so that Paul Pogba can attack freely.”

The 54-year-old also backed Solskjaer to become the permanent manager over hot favourite Mauricio Pochettino due to his past ties with United.

“Everyone is talking about Mauricio Pochettino,” said Meulensteen.

“And believe me: I’m a big fan of Pochettino. He is a brilliant manager who has done a wonderful job in Tottenham, but he knows nothing about United.

“Ole’s lived [United]. He has experienced it on a daily basis. You can’t learn that on a coaching course.

“There are so many who have failed, because they don’t understand how big the club is. It’s not a problem for Ole because he has been a part of it.”

Meulensteen previously labelled Jesse Lingard as the English version of Barcelona great Andres Iniesta.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 26: Jesse Lingard of Manchester United , Paul Pogba of Manchester United , Nemanja Matic of Manchester United and Juan Mata of Manchester United in action during a Manchester United Training session at Aon Training Complex on November 26, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)


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