Donny van de Beek excels on rare Manchester United start in absence of Paul Pogba

Donny van de Beek seized a rare chance to impress after excelling in a deep-lying midfield role in the absence of Paul Pogba, with the Dutchman helping Manchester United to a comfortable victory over Istanbul Basaksehir.

The 23-year-old started United’s third Champions League victory from four group games that puts them in a strong position to qualify for the last-16, with games against Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig left to tackle.

The Netherlands international has struggled for regular starts this season as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has elected to deploy Pogba together with Bruno Fernandes, with the likes of Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic preferred as a more defensive option.

But with Pogba sidelined, Solskjaer elected to play Van de Beek in a deeper role behind Fernandes, who filled his regular No 10 slot in the comprehensive 4-1 victory.

READ MORE: Fernandes inspires 4-1 demolition of Istanbul Basaksehir

“It was really good. Some games I play number 10, sometimes the coach needs me in the control position, that’s fine for me. Sometimes in Ajax I was also playing in that position so it’s OK,” Van de Beek told MUTV.

“I think it’s a good reaction from the away game, 4-1 at home, you can be happy. First half was really good, especially the first 30 minutes, we played really nice football, scored really nice goals.

“Second half we lost too many balls, we gave them some chances, but the last five minutes we controlled the game again and we made a nice (fourth) goal.”

French midfielder Pogba was not in the squad and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed he was sidelined due to injury.

“His ankle has swollen up,” Solskjaer said. “We trained yesterday but he didn’t feel right. This morning it was just confirmation that he couldn’t play.”


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