Michael Owen and Paul Scholes didn’t hold back when talking about Manchester United’s problems live on BT Sport after Jose Mourinho’s side slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Fenerbahce in the Europa League on Thursday evening.
Scholes was brutally honest; admitting he’s felt “depressed” since Sir Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford in 2013. The retired midfielder also believes two players, in particular, are costing United in matches at the moment.
Owen, meanwhile, said that he’s “totally baffled” by Jose Mourinho’s treatment of a United favourite.
The retired striker is at a loss to explain why Michael Carrick, who turned 35 in July, isn’t partnering Paul Pogba on a weekly basis.
Owen believes Carrick is the best midfielder of his type in the United ranks at the moment and that his eye-catching performance in the 4-1 win over Fener at Old Trafford two weeks ago meant he had to start in Turkey.
Owen: I'm baffled why Carrick isn't starting more
“I said at the start of the season that Michael Carrick was the best person to compliment Pogba,” Owen said live on BT Sport.
“That’s the sad thing, in a way. A lot of players are coming in and being judged on how well Pogba’s doing - or whether they should be playing.
“Carrick is an old head, he’s experienced, he’s a good passer of the ball. He’s happy to do the dirty work that Pogba needs.
“I’m just totally baffled how he’s been given so few minutes; he’s started four times and they’ve won all four games. He started against Fenerbahce two weeks ago and was the best player by an absolute mile - and it was probably the best game we’ve seen from Pogba.
“I just can’t understand why Michael Carrick’s not playing more. You go through the other alternatives and none of them, in my opinion, are as good as Michael Carrick. I find it baffling.”
Scholes thinks the same thing
Scholes also believes Carrick, despite his advancing years, should be starting more matches.
“Michael Carrick’s a prime example, is he injured, is he [Mourinho] saving him for Sunday?” Scholes added.
“He’s played in the cup games, and whenever he’s played they’ve looked a different team, I think they’ve won most of their games with him in the team.
“It’s helped Pogba, a bit of experience next to him.”
Mourinho explained Carrick omission last week
However, Mourinho would argue that he explained his reasoning for not playing Carrick week-in, week-out last week.
“One thing is to have a 25 year old and another is to have a 35 year old,” the under-fire Portuguese coach was quoted as saying by United’s official website. “That is the logic of things. The only thing I can say is he is phenomenal, no doubt about it. Do I have to manage him? I have to. I cannot expect from Michael what I expect from Rashford or Herrera in terms of playing three to five consecutive matches, but he is phenomenal.
“When you say he played in the last two wins, for sure it shows that he gives us important things on the pitch. He gives stability in our game and mental freedom to the other guys around him to be more offensive. He is not just a player, but one who has a big understanding of the game.
“It's a pity he is not 25. It's a pity you can't stop the clock. In five years Messi will be 34 and we will all be crying that he is 34. Michael is a very good player and one who will be very difficult to replace.”
Should Michael Carrick be playing more games for Man Utd - or is Jose Mourinho using him sensibly? Have your say by leaving a comment below.