How do we solve our midfield problem?

HailtotheKing

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Ok, clearly we have some issues in midfield. Don't want this to turn into a McFred/Donny slagathon, just want to hear some genuine ideas on how to solve it? In particular, how do we play Bruno and Pogba in the same team? Especially now we have Ronaldo who also doesn't press from the front.

If Pogba plays on the left, we're unbalanced and have to leave out one of Rashford, Sancho, Greenwood. And if Pogba plays in a 2, our midfield gets overran, unless Ole instructs him to stay back which he doesn't seem to want him to do.

So what do you think we should do? What team and what formation? Can Bruno and Pogba even play together with our current squad?
 
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Ikon

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Honestly, I'm beginning to believe that the only way United's Midfield becomes top drawer is to reach the Summer, Mata & Matic retire, Donny is sold, Pogba leaves on a Freebie, and a new manager comes in along with three top quality MFs and ditches McFred.
 
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Kopral Jono

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By playing a midfield three of Pogba, Bruno and a single pivot of either McTominay or Fred, preferably the former. For this to work, Pogba must work hard on his positional discipline and more trust needs to be placed on our centre halves.
 

Alvaro Maestre

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By playing a midfield three of Pogba, Bruno and a single pivot of either McTominay or Fred, preferably the former. For this to work, Pogba must work hard on his positional discipline and more trust needs to be placed on our centre halves.
Pogba working hard on his positioning? Not happening. Doesn't even happens with the national team where he is highly motivated.
 

Idxomer

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Not happening under Ole, so the answer is "under the next manager".
 

thebelfastboy

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I think the only way we solve our midfield problem is with an overall formation change to a 352 or a 532 but I don't think ole has the balls to switch it up at this stage, it looks like he will persist with what we are seeing.

Having mcfred as a 2 is so limiting in our buildup. Our midfield needs to move the ball forward and build attacks as a unit by controlling the game. Currently they have no creativity and are releasing the ball forward too quickly leaving forwards totally isolated.
 

HailtotheKing

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By playing a midfield three of Pogba, Bruno and a single pivot of either McTominay or Fred, preferably the former. For this to work, Pogba must work hard on his positional discipline and more trust needs to be placed on our centre halves.
Do you think that's an Ole problem rather than a Pogba problem? I get the sense he asked Pogba to go hang-out with Bruno rather than stay back. I've seen Pogba do it before too. It's one thing people saying he doesn't track back, quite another suggesting he completely deserted his post. And I'd expect people yelling on the touchline if he did that. For sure he did that last night, the question is, was he told to or not? And if he was, well, that makes me doubt Ole's tactics even more.
 

Leftback99

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Amazed people are suggesting playing Pogba and Bruno ahead of any of our others is an answer.
 

HailtotheKing

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I think the only way we solve our midfield problem is with an overall formation change to a 352 or a 532 but I don't think ole has the balls to switch it up at this stage, it looks like he will persist with what we are seeing.

Having mcfred as a 2 is so limiting in our buildup. Our midfield needs to move the ball forward and build attacks as a unit by controlling the game. Currently they have no creativity and are releasing the ball forward too quickly leaving forwards totally isolated.
Who would you play in a 352, 532?
 

432JuanMata

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Our MF is bad no doubt but Ole isn’t helping it at all. Yes I understand the quality isn’t there but it’s up to Ole to patch it with he is failing to do. If he doesn’t soon it will cost him his job
 

VidaRed

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4-5-1
——————————————DDG——————————————
——AWB—————Varane———Maguire————Shaw——
—Mason——Donny———Bruno———Matic——Sancho—
———————————Ronaldo/Cavani———————————

On the offensive this can be converted into a 4-4-1-1 or 3-5-2.

Pogba and Bruno cannot play together in midfield and neither can mcfred, ive had enough of them.
 

thebelfastboy

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Who would you play in a 352, 532?
In a 352? I think Varane, Maguire, Shaw at the back would be solid with very good distribution and pace. In midfield, Vdb, Pogba, Bruno with 2 of Sancho, greenwood or Rashford. Ronaldo with Cavani up top.

This team needs to learn how to control a game and make transitions through the pitch. Currently it's too chaotic.

I'll probably get slated because on paper/current form that midfield is too open but what I'm getting at is their ability to control possession and the game.

Edit: I'm not even a big vdb fan but we need someone more comfortable with the ball at their feet then mcfred.
 
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Lynty

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Defending better from the front.

McTominay - Pogba in a two man.

Matic for the last 20 mins

Greenwood doesn't press well enough, so Rashford, Bruno and Sancho (Lingard and Cavani in rotation) to form a hard press around Ronaldo. Greenwood to be used in later parts of games when searching for goals.
 
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Blood Mage

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VDB would be the second name on the teamsheet after Bruno for our midfield under a manager with a clue. But Ole seems to be obsessed with trying to prove to everyone that McFred can work and that he's right not to trust VDB, even though VDB delivered the best display of any of our midfielders so far this season against West Ham.

I just think Ole hates being told what to do and wants to prove that he knows best. It riles him up that the fans are giving him grief for not picking VDB.
 

Will Singh

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I think the way we solve it is we buy a DM and box2box midfielder. Pogba can play the Box2Box but defensively he ain’t all that and Bruno literally plays upfront.
——————Bruno
—B2B————————-DM

That’s how we solve it….!
 

alexthelion

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By playing a midfield three of Pogba, Bruno and a single pivot of either McTominay or Fred, preferably the former. For this to work, Pogba must work hard on his positional discipline and more trust needs to be placed on our centre halves.
More chance of me becoming Pope :lol:
 

NZT-One

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If Pogba plays on the left, we're unbalanced and have to leave out one of Rashford, Sancho, Greenwood. And if Pogba plays in a 2, our midfield gets overran, unless Ole instructs him to stay back which he doesn't seem to want him to do.
We are not necessarily unbalanced just because Pogba plays on the left. On the contrary, a player of his ilk might be an even better fit in some games than a player like Rashford on the left because Pogba could balance out vertically the moves from Shaw. Also balance can be just as easily gained back as it can be lost - just by instructions, if Pogba joins midfield, somebody has to fill the gaps, thats it - basic stuff more or less. But obviously pretty difficult, if the players figure out that type of things on their own instead of being given a plan.

Following this particular thought, I think, the first thing that needs to die, that there is a way to set up United to be a balanced side with cramming all our attacking talent on the pitch. That just isn't happening, we have to keep up with modern football, where teams attack and defend as a team, which means more work but much more possibilities.

In conclusion, start with Pogba on the left drifting in certain games, play Donny on the right drifting infield in others. Play Rashford on the left as an insight forward in some games, as a winger in others. We also have Greenwood and Sancho for the mix. That gives us so many different skillsets which, in theory, should enable us to cause any playstyle opponents can use against us problems. Which is the plan after all, I guess. I am not against adding more attackers during the game when the situation requires that.

So what do you think we should do? What team and what formation? Can Bruno and Pogba even play together with our current squad?
Of course they can but not just plug and play but by having a plan of what to do and when. There are so many factors that could be experienced with like
- integration of coordinated pressing system to win the ball further up the field
- getting more compact as a team moving as a unit in defence and attack (by applying a higher line with the defense)
- asymetric formations
- differing midfield partnerships out of Fred, McTominay, DVB and potentially Matic
- increase overall workrate and defensive application, be it Rashford or Greenwood, when they don't play as the CF, there is just no chance whatsoever that it is ok to have both of them staying high in attacking positions at the same time. At least one has to support defense or at least be engaged of a meaningful builtup play.

Two years ago, we got step 1 from the "Top team playbook": become a weapon on the counter. We have done that, now it is time for step 2: when you can't counter be great in possession. It is just a natural progression in my eyes: as teams know our capabilities on transitions they will defend deeper on their own to not give room to go in behind to us. The natural step is now that we have to increase our capabilities to recycle possession while finding ways to consistently create good chances. To do that, we have to be more patient for sure, we have to work harder off the ball to challenge defensive organisations and force errors. But we can't just wait for the players to figure that out on their own.

But the main factor still is - do not overload the team attacking wise, always strive for balance as the baseline setup, which of course can and should be adjusted depending on a match in-game or, before a game, to the available players.

Short term solution:
1. Experiment with DVB in the double-pivot to see if there is potential or not. So worst case scenario is that we at least know at the end of the season if its worth the time investing in him transforming to a CM.
2. Make sure that no matter if Bruno or Pogba plays - at all times one of them should be available as an option for a short pass from the center mids to stop the isolation.
3. See if a higher defensive line counterbalances the gained decrease of isolation of midfield against the risk of counters.
4. Increase scouting efforts for a midfielder carrying the necessary skillset (depending on the playstyle the manager wants) to have at least Option A, B, C and D to choose from when the time is there.
 
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RDCR07

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By playing a midfield three of Pogba, Bruno and a single pivot of either McTominay or Fred, preferably the former. For this to work, Pogba must work hard on his positional discipline and more trust needs to be placed on our centre halves.
You do know he was sometimes the highest player up the pitch on Wednesday in the first half? He was playing in a midfield 2 and he was the furthest player forward pressing the keeper. Does that scream positional discipline to you?
 

Ali Dia

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Try Donny and Fred for a few games. At least they both want to get on the ball and can get it forward to Bruno or Ronaldo fast. One goes one sits. Yes we miss out on the physicality of McT but he offers so little in the tackle or on the ball. A younger Matic and Fred and the midfield wouldn’t be disgraceful at all. All it needs to do is win it back and get it forward asap. In the buildup phase young Matic can take the ball and dictate and not get pressed off it so easily, Fred sucks at that. With an attacking midfielder like Bruno we don’t need another quasi attacker in there. We need work rate, bite and tempo.
 

FatTails

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We need to play a much higher line than we currently do and actually try to press. It’s high risk, but we’re a top heavy team and we should optimize for winning the ball high up the pitch.

Currently, our front three go to press but they are so far apart and so far from the midfielders who are in turn too far from our defenders.

Anyone knows that pressing has to be a collective + pressing is impossible all over the pitch which is why you need to push your back line much higher. It’s blindingly obvious how bad it is when we press because of the spaces we leave all over the pitch.

We have pace all over the pitch and across our defence, we can do it, but it requires some serious coaching and coordination.

There are two caveats here. Ronaldo will have to run more and possibly play less, not the end of the world when the substitute is Cavani. The other thing is De Gea. He needs to be braver and more willing to rush off his line when needed, which is key for this to work.

We can play a 6 (Matic, Donny, Fred, in that order) and two 8s (Bruno, Pogba, Donny, Lingard, Mata, Fred, in that order) if we have the right setup and tactics.

Will we make a ton of mistakes? Yes. Will it take some time to adjust? Yes. Will De Gea get caught out a bunch of times? Yes. All you have to do is watch Pools first season under Klopp and City’s first season under Pep. But we will get better at it over time plus we’ll start actually playing with some purpose.
 

stevoc

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In a 352? I think Varane, Maguire, Shaw at the back would be solid with very good distribution and pace. In midfield, Vdb, Pogba, Bruno with 2 of Sancho, greenwood or Rashford. Ronaldo with Cavani up top.

This team needs to learn how to control a game and make transitions through the pitch. Currently it's too chaotic.

I'll probably get slated because on paper/current form that midfield is too open but what I'm getting at is their ability to control possession and the game.

Edit: I'm not even a big vdb fan but we need someone more comfortable with the ball at their feet then mcfred.
Are you suggesting playing Greenwood, Sancho and Rashford as wingbacks?
 

stevoc

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Honestly, I'm beginning to believe that the only way United's Midfield becomes top draw is to reach the Summer, Mata & Matic retire, Donny is sold, Pogba leaves on a Freebie, and a new manager comes in along with three top quality MFs and ditches McFred.
You forgot the er mate.
 

Demaw

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It is absolutely shocking we have probably the Rolls Royce best strike force in a long long time. it is nearly like Fifa (Ronnie, Cav, Rash, Mason, Sancho, Bruno and Martial) that is madness!!! A back 4 of AWB, Varane, Maguire and Shaw is one of the best in the world and De Gea one of the best keepers in the world. We have this Kia midfield that is feeding them. Too slow Matic, Fred (say no more) the Scottish wonder and that's it.
DVB is a talent as seen by his previous club and international record. Real Madrid wanted him.
Ole has no idea how to use him and no wonder he is down in the dumps. Imagine seeing McT and Fred in front of you. Yes, run, run, run mentality. Watch the clip, excellent technique, the movement on the goal line under pressure at 22 seconds is amazing. His vision is wonderful and I know it is the dutch league but the way he hits the ball it doesn't matter what league you are in. Some of his passes across goal Ronnie and Cav would be eating up. It is up to Ole to fit him in and if he can't do that, then he is not the manager we need to make us champions again. This team is chock full of stars. It is up to Ole, Carrick and McKenna to stop relying on 95 minute get out of jail goals and relying so much on Ronnie.
 

Ali Dia

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Mad thing is it's not even the first time I've seen it suggested. The idea of playing two of the most promising young forwards in the game as wingbacks is interesting to put it politely.
Telles would be a good wingback. James might have worked on the right. I know he’s not a tackler but he might if you were the favourites and using 5-3-2 as an attacking formation. I know he’s public enemy #1 today but i think Dalot could be a better wingback than RB. I think his defending will always be trashy but his crossing could become a weapon if he hit his stride and got confident. Problem is everyone is trying to hit the back post. You need Cavani getting across the front post and players gambling behind him. Thats a much easier cross to execute.
 

Luke1995

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One option would be to play Pogba, Fred, Matic and Mctominay together. Could that ever happen ?
 

stevoc

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Telles would be a good wingback. James might have worked on the right. I know he’s not a tackler but he might if you were the favourites and using 5-3-2 as an attacking formation. I know he’s public enemy #1 today but i think Dalot could be a better wingback than RB. I think his defending will always be trashy but his crossing could become a weapon if he hit his stride and got confident. Problem is everyone is trying to hit the back post. You need Cavani getting across the front post and players gambling behind him. Thats a much easier cross to execute.
Dalot would certainly be a better wingback than a fullback, he's decent going forward, better crosser than he showed last night. Defending just isn't his strong point though, which is a problem for someone who's a defender.
 

Red_toad

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After reading the Caf I think the answer is a Lindelof, VDB pairing and we’re all good :p
 

Nevilles.Wear.Prada

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Coach discipline into pogba, put fred on left fullback position. Use mctom as anchor man, vdb and pogba into CB, bruno free role. Greenwood drift from right, out and out left winger in sancho. Ronaldo poaching.

And yes. Straight from FM2021
 

estel_manutd

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Three-man central midfield with any three of Pogba, Fred, Matic, Scot, and Donny. Yes, this means sacrificing one attacking player and playing a diamond formation (with Bruno at the tip of the diamond) but I think this is only way to give the team some balance.