Manchester United fans were extremely happy with one midfielder’s performance against Wigan on Sunday afternoon.
Mourinho’s men strolled into the last 16 of the FA Cup with a comfortable 4-0 home win.
The German international was famously sent to the reserves by Jose Mourinho who had concerns about his fitness and overall quality. But the midfielder has come back with a bang, scoring and assisting in the game against Wigan.
He boasted a 93% pass accuracy rate, with 111 passes and 131 touches overall, a lot more than any other player on the pitch. Playing in the holding midfield role, Bastian dictated the play, impressing in his short and long passing with 5 of his 6 attempted long balls finding the target.
Defensively he made a respectable 3 tackles and 3 interceptions. Going forward he didn’t offer much throughout, but crucially provided an assist and scored an acrobatic goal.
This type of display will have reassured fans who previously could see a dependence on Michael Carrick in midfield. But Schweinsteiger is of a similar ilk and if managed correctly, the 30+ duo could effectively share that role and be the platform for United’s more attack-minded midfielders to flourish.
It is this type of midfielder that Manchester United need to ensure they always have in the team. For all the quality that they have within the squad, balance plays a huge part in how a team performs and they need a midfield conductor, like Schweinsteiger to provide that balance. For all the skill and flash Pogba offers, he does not give you that authority and reliability on the ball in deep areas. Schweinsteiger or Carrick appear the perfect foil to enable Pogba to play his best football.
Here’s some of the reaction to his performance from Twitter.
— Basti Schweinsteiger (@BSchweinsteiger) January 29, 2017
Mourinho : Schweinsteiger & Martial scored 1 and assisted 3
Inner Mourinho : Start Fellaini and Lingard pic.twitter.com/XrNOV6OlHL
— ARYAN (@theunitedmanc) January 29, 2017
As far as returns go, Bastian Schweinsteiger’s was a good one. 🔑 pic.twitter.com/ErUrCVWoAw
— B/R Football (@brfootball) January 29, 2017
Observation: Schweinsteiger just needs to play more.
That's all! @ManUtd
— Amos Jnr. (@Amoskeytoe) January 29, 2017
Man of the Match: Bastian Schweinsteiger. Welcome back.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) January 29, 2017
My concern would be that whilst he performed very well in this fixture, is he capable of such quality performances against bigger and better teams? His drawbacks are his slowness and lack of mobility and these were never going to be exposed against a team like Wigan. The Germans performance has done enough to make Mourinho take notice though, and he could now expect a longer run in the first eleven.
He is though, of a different ilk to the other United midfielders and his presence is certainly beneficial in some scenarios, especially when Carrick is missing. My worry would be that with so many months out the team and squad, will he be physically ready to play in the Premier League? Time will tell, if Jose gives him a chance.