Paul Pogba was dropped by Manchester United due to a lack of discipline, says Gary Pallister, with the £89 million not fitting the Jose Mourinho mould.
Having started the 2017-18 in fine form, the France international has struggled to hit those heights since returning from an untimely hamstring injury.
As a result, he has been taken out of firing line at times, with Mourinho taking the decision to bench United’s record signing.
Much has been made of that tactical tinkering, with Pogba’s contribution and best position being discussed at length, but Pallister believes a tough call is down to the 24-year-old not offering enough.
The former Red Devils defender told Sporting Bet: “He’s a physical, imposing midfielder. I think he prefers to play on the left-hand side of the midfield three. It’s not when he’s on the ball, it’s when he’s off the ball that’s the issue.
“He’s got great vision, but without the ball, he looks uncomfortable.
“As a team, Jose is trying to make them better without the ball, pressing higher up the pitch and winning the second balls, but it’s not something they’re good at currently.
“He wants more discipline and that’s why he dropped Pogba. I think that the rumours of rifts are rubbish, and he displayed against Chelsea that he had a bit of fire in his belly.
“He kept the ball and joined up with the attack, which is when he’s at his best. I learnt under Sir Alex that you have do as the manager says and if you don’t you’ll get left outside.”
The general consensus is that Pogba offers the most when deployed in a playmaking post, and Pallister admits United are in need of added creativity.
He feels criticism of £75m frontman Romelu Lukaku is unfair, with the Belgian having contributed a healthy supply of goals, but acknowledges that a leading man in the final third needs better service if he is to really thrive.
The ex-England international added: “The way United set up, you need that creative spark to get Romelu going.
“There are certainly bits to his game he needs to improve. He needs to be stronger when holding up the ball, being that pivotal figure, and then bring in the players around him.
“We need to be more creative in the final third, our build up has been a touch slow and lethargic.
“He’s scored 23 goals this year, which you can’t ask any more of your centre-forward, but with [Alexis] Sanchez, it will only benefit Lukaku.”