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After another Manchester United game where Paul Pogba started from the bench, Daniel Harris considered how long this can continue on Tuesday's OTB AM

One among many contributing factors, the dropping of Paul Pogba from Manchester United's starting XI has coincided with a drop in the number of goals his team have been conceding.

"United look better without him," argued Daniel Harris of the French midfielder's new role as an impact sub on Tuesday's OTB AM.

"I know it is only 3 games, but since United dropped Pogba and Nemanja Matic, they've gone from conceding 12 goals in 3 games to two own-goals in 3 games.

"Obviously, there will be other reasons for that too, but, you know, it isn't a coincidence."

A starter in United's opening three Premier League games, defeats to Crystal Palace and Spurs prompted Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to limit Paul Pogba's involvement to appearances off the bench.

In the subsequent wins against Newcastle United and Paris St. Germain that followed, Pogba used his reduced time to positive effect in both games.

"Paul Pogba is an excellent footballer and he did really well against Newcastle United and PSG coming off the bench," noted Harris, "but you shouldn't be surprised when he does something good on a pitch.

"He is capable of doing those things from the beginning of a match, but it is difficult to fit him in given the way United want to play. It is also difficult to fit him in unless he is prepared to up his intensity levels and play with a little bit more edge.

"What we've seen so far this season is that he mainly walks about waiting for the ball to come and then he'll try something. You can't play like that."

In some form or another, Solskjaer's preference is for a three-man midfield. Against Chelsea, Bruno Fernandes was the creative outlet alongside Fred and Scott McTominay - a duo more at home with bolstering what's behind them.

With Donny van de Beek an understudy of sorts for the Portuguese, Pogba's role in the team, or what shape his return may take, is unclear.

"The United defence isn't good enough to carry Pogba if he isn't providing the protection they need," suggested Harris. "You wouldn't be surprised when a game passes him by but there is no need for that.

"As things stand now, being an impact sub is the best role for him."

OTB AM is brought to you in association with Gillette | #MadeOfWhatMatters


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Bruno Fernandes Champions League Chelsea Donny Van De Beek Manchester United Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Paul Pogba Premier League RB Leipzig

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