Man United player ratings as Paul Pogba only earns a 6 despite brace v West Ham

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Manchester United just about kept their hopes of a top four finish in the Premier League alive with a nervy 2-1 win over West Ham United.

A pair of penalties from Paul Pogba, one won by Juan Mata and the other by Anthony Martial secured all three points for the Reds at Old Trafford.

Felipe Anderson had levelled proceedings at 1-1 in the 49th minute to out the hosts under pressure before Michail Antonio hit the crossbar.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side though took the lead from the spot with ten minutes to play and held on for the victory.

Here, we rate the performances of United’s players.

STARTING XI (4-2-3-1)

David De Gea 6 – Used his feet well once in the first half. Poor throw out led to the equaliser. Should’ve done better with his distribution. World class save to deny Antonio.

Diogo Dalot 6 – Got forward often enough but his delivery lacked quality. Struggled to keep track of Anderson when he drifted in.

Chris Smalling 6 – Probably played the best pass of the game from which Rashford forced a great save from Fabianski. Decent display at the back.

Phil Jones 5 – An embattled performance from the defender but makes things look far more labourious than they should be.

Marcos Rojo 2 – Always a liability in defence. Played out of position and it’s no surprise that he was often, well, out of position. Looked over his shoulder three times but still didn’t pick up Anderson at the far post for the goal. Bizarre.

Fred 5 – Showed good energy and impressed at times, driving from midfield. However, tried to do too much at times and still hasn’t come to terms with the physicality of the Premier League. Easily brushed off the ball on a couple of occasions.

Paul Pogba 6 – Scored both penalties but was ponderous in possession and surrendered it too easily too many times.

Jesse Lingard 4 – Ran his socks off as always but a United player needs to offer more than that. Average at best.

Juan Mata 3 – Won the penalty but he’s looked past his best years for some time and this was further evidence. Off the pace and should’ve been off the pitch sooner than the 56th minute.

Anthony Martial 5 – Some good moments mixed in with several frustrating ones. Undoubted talent but showed again his lack of poise. Did well to win the second penalty.

Romelu Lukaku 4 – Ran the channels reasonably well in the first half before he simply ran out of ideas. Far too many aimless crosses confirmed that.

Paul Pogba

SUBS

Marcus Rashford 7 (56′) – Made an instant impact off the bench, forcing a good save from Fabianski, heading over the bar and then playing the flick that sent Martial through on goal.

Mason Greenwood N/A (75′) – Didn’t have enough time to make an impact on the right wing.

Andreas Pereira N/A (75′) – Came on at right-back to bomb forward and deliver crosses but soon had to defend United’s lead.

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Fan favourite Ander Herrera will leave Manchester United having proved his loyalty

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Ander Herrera is likely to leave Manchester United this summer.

The likely departure of Ander Herrera from Manchester United this summer has sent the club’s fans into a tizzy, eliciting reactions all across the spectrum.

Plenty are lamenting losing someone who clearly loves the club, but an equal number of fans are either happy to thank him for his services and send him on his way or accusing him of a lack of loyalty.

As a player, Herrera is one who wears his heart on his sleeve. That particular quality, along with his own talent, had many installing him as United’s next captain, ahead of more gifted players like Paul Pogba, while the way Herrera connects with supporters made him out to be someone who truly gets what it means to play for the club.

He, along with fellow Spaniards Juan Mata and David De Gea, have also professed their love for the city, and seeing them strolling around Manchester has become a common sight for fans.

And then came the last international break, and revelations that Herrera, who is out of contract this summer, is in the middle of negotiating terms with Paris Saint-Germain.

The Ligue 1 giants have reportedly offered to more than double his wages, with a new deal worth up to £200,000 a week, a wage United are not ready to match. Many fans agree with that stance, believing for all his talent and commitment, that wage is exorbitant for someone who has made only one national team appearance and would not even crack the top-20 list for midfielders in Europe.

And the fact that he’s not willing to sign a new contract at United that is worth less than what the Ligue 1 champions are offering has rubbed some the wrong way, as fans say someone who claims to love the club should take a pay cut.

The responsibility United bear in this situation shouldn’t be ignored. This is an age where letting a player enter a season with only a year left on their contract is criminal.

On top of that, reports state United never seriously engaged Herrera in extension talks until they realised there was a possibility he could leave – even after the January deadline passed allowing him to negotiate with clubs outside of England. That was the month when United signed Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, and Scott McTominay to new contracts, even though none were on expiring deals.

So the question arises: is Herrera being disloyal?

The sheer scale of numbers in football distort this conversation. United’s reported offer of £150,000 per week is double his current wage, and the sort of salary most of the fans offering their opinions on Twitter can’t even dream of. Their opinion that Herrera should be satisfied with that offer, and take it, is understandable given that perspective.

But in what other profession would people expect an employee to choose a 100-per-cent wage hike over a 167-per-cent raise? There aren’t many people who “love” their employers enough to turn down that sort of extra money.

It’s hard to accept that Herrera can love United, perhaps even kiss the badge – common trigger for fans – at his next appearance, and still not take an offer that works out to £600,000 per month.

Yet when he sees the money everyone else is making at United, Alexis Sanchez,  a more talented player but one whose performance level has been far below that of Herrera, while earning a reported £400,000 per week, the midfielder is entitled to wonder if he’s being paid what he’s worth. Especially when there’s another club offering significantly more.

Why should Herrera take the same deal that players who haven’t been as consistent as he has have been offered? Should he really be earning a similar wage to Smalling and Jones – another United mistake, as the mismanagement of the wage structure has been laid bare? Especially when he turns 30 this summer, and this could be the last big contract negotiation of his career?

Herrera is leaving. (Most likely.) He’s also been a committed, passionate player who has proved his love for United.

Those statements may seem contradictory and incompatible, but that’s the truth of modern football: a player can be loyal to a club and still decide not to stay.

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Ashley Young 'the James Milner of Man United' says ex-Liverpool and United midfielder Paul Ince

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Ashley Young has been criticised for recent performances.

Former Liverpool and Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince has defended Ashley Young after a poor run of form from the veteran full-back.

Young is currently United’s captain with club captain Antonio Valencia enduring a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to an injury, but has been criticised for recent performances which saw him get sent off during a 2-1 loss against Wolves and then struggle to make an impact in Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final.

But Ince compared Young to Liverpool’s James Milner, citing the influence the 33-year-old brings as a senior figure at the club.

“It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Ashley Young, with the sending off against Wolves and his poor performance against Barcelona,” Ince said.

“But the fact is, you know what you’re getting with him.

“He’s a senior player, a great pro that has been at United for years, and it’s not fair to make him a scapegoat now.

“He’s the James Milner of Man United. But the fact is, as you get older it gets more difficult.

“He’s no spring chicken, so you’re going to have appearances where you’re not at your best, and that’s what we’re seeing with him now.

“But he’s still a leader, he talks and gives 100%. He was no worse than anyone else on Wednesday [against Barcelona], but fans like to have someone to blame.”

Young has won every major trophy at United barring the Champions League since joining in 2011, a spell that has seen him make over 230 appearances for the club.

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