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Paul Pogba's hamstring injury is a blow for Manchester United but Jose Mourinho has other quality midfield options in Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini

  • Paul Pogba suffered a hamstring injury for Manchester United on Tuesday night 
  • It came early on during their 3-0 Champions League win over Basle 
  • Marouane Fellaini came on as his replacement and provided a goal and an assist
  • Nemanja Matic impressed in midfield once more since joining from Chelsea
  • Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera shone for the Red Devils last term in midfield

With an awkward jolt of the left leg Paul Pogba's night was done – and likely his September too.

On an evening of immense pride for the midfielder, as he captained Manchester United on their Champions League return, it was one that was ultimately cut short by a left hamstring injury.

In trying to tackle his Basle counterpart Taulant Xhaka, the Red Devils star pulled up lame.

Manchester United were dealt a blow on Tuesday night when Paul Pogba injured his hamstring

Manchester United were dealt a blow on Tuesday night when Paul Pogba injured his hamstring

The Frenchman suffered the injury trying to tackle Basle counterpart Taulant Xhaka

The Frenchman suffered the injury trying to tackle Basle counterpart Taulant Xhaka

The 24-year-old shows his frustration after having his evening cut short by injury

The 24-year-old shows his frustration after having his evening cut short by injury

It was set to be a big night for him as he captained United on their Champions League return

It was set to be a big night for him as he captained United on their Champions League return

His injury will have given United manager Jose Mourinho food for thought moving forward

His injury will have given United manager Jose Mourinho food for thought moving forward

Marouane Fellaini came on as his replacement on 19 minutes and shone with a goal and an assist in their 3-0 win; but Pogba's injury will be the one blot for manager Jose Mourinho.

The £89million midfielder is an ever-present for Mourinho this season having played every minute before injury struck – leaving him to hobble out of Old Trafford on crutches.

The 24-year-old's absence will be keenly felt by the Premier League leaders, who now face five games in a 14-day period beginning on Sunday at home to domestic rivals Everton.

Since re-joining the club from Juventus last summer, United have won nearly 60 per cent of their matches with Pogba in the side (34 wins from 57 games) compared to 50 per cent (six wins from 12 games) without him.

Consequently, the Red Devils average more points per game with the Frenchman in the line-up (2.1) than without him (1.8) too . However, United tend to score more when their No 6 isn't playing (averaging 1.9 goals scored without him against the 1.7 with him).

MANCHESTER UNITED WITH AND WITHOUT PAUL POGBA SINCE HE RE-JOINED  With Pogba Manchester United in all competitions Without Pogba 57 Games 12 34 Wins 6 15 Draws 4 8 Losses 2 96 Goals For 23 1.7 Average Goals For 1.9 40 Goals Against 9 0.7 Average Goals Against 0.8 59.60% Win Percentage 50% 2.1 Points per Game 1.8

Pogba was seen leaving Old Trafford on crutches on Tuesday night following his injury
He required crutches to leave the stadium

Pogba was seen leaving Old Trafford on crutches on Tuesday night following his injury 

Paul Pogba leaving Old Trafford on crutches tonight after going off with a hamstring injury. #MUFC pic.twitter.com/PTBX7aqClI

— RedReveal (@RedReveal) September 12, 2017

Marouane Fellaini (right) came on in Pogba's absence and shone with a goal and an assist

Marouane Fellaini (right) came on in Pogba's absence and shone with a goal and an assist

The Belgian international wheels away in celebration after giving the Red Devils the lead

The Belgian international wheels away in celebration after giving the Red Devils the lead

While the latter stat may prove a worry to Everton, the former will be Mourinho's biggest concern – although it's not like he's short of options.

The Portuguese boss has other quality alternatives to choose from to sit alongside summer signing Nemanja Matic in the heart of his midfield.

Fellaini's impressive display on Tuesday would've done his chances no harm, while Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera were instrumental in United's successes last season.

Carrick, who did not feature in United's three Premier League matchday squads in August, is yet to play a minute this campaign; while Herrera has only made one league start so far this season and was omitted from the matchday squad on Tuesday night against Basle.

Speaking after Tuesday's triumph over Basle Mourinho said there was no specific reason behind his decision to omit Herrera and suggested that United's squad members had to be prepared for disappointment.

Michael Carrick, who was an unused sub, has yet to play a single minute for United this season

Michael Carrick, who was an unused sub, has yet to play a single minute for United this season

Meanwhile, Ander Herrera (right) was omitted completely from Tuesday's matchday squad

Meanwhile, Ander Herrera (right) was omitted completely from Tuesday's matchday squad

The Spaniard's only Premier League start so far this term came in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Stoke

The Spaniard's only Premier League start so far this term came in Saturday's 2-2 draw at Stoke

'No reasons to be out,' Mourinho said of Herrera as quoted in the Manchester Evening News.

'We are playing only with two midfield players, with Matic and Pogba, who are playing really well and without reason to change, the only match we decided to play with three he played, today we went back to two again and I had on the bench Carrick and Fellaini, which were also important players last season.

'We have a group of players who must be ready to play and not to play. Ashley Young was not on the bench in the last match and today he started the match and played 90 minutes and the next match you can have another surprise of some player you think is going to play and is not going to play.

'It's the squad we have, I have to use the players and that's the life in clubs with squads of quality.'

All this means is that competition for places are bound to intensify in central midfield now that Pogba is out. 

Calming presence Nemanja Matic is likely to start in midfield against Everton on Sunday

Calming presence Nemanja Matic is likely to start in midfield against Everton on Sunday

United will hope that their bright start to the season continues in the absence of Pogba

With Matic the only certainty for Sunday, Mourinho could tweak his formation to combat Everton. Instead of playing 4-2-3-1, a 4-3-3 could be rolled out with Matic, Fellaini and Herrera making that midfield three with Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku and Henrikh Mkhitaryan all potentially in front of them.

One thing is for certain though is that United will be without the creativity of Pogba. The unanswered question is though for how long?

'It looks for me too [like a hamstring injury] but I haven't spoken yet to the medical department,' Mourinho told the club's official website post-match about Pogba's injury.

'Squads are for this, squads are for injuries, squads are for suspensions. We don't cry with injuries. So if no Paul for Sunday, we have Herrera, we have Carrick, we have Fellaini and we have Matic.'

Everyone connected with the Old Trafford outfit will certainly be hoping they're not crying about poor results and performances in Pogba's absence.

United will hope that their bright start to the season continues in the absence of Pogba

United will hope that their bright start to the season continues in the absence of Pogba

ABOUT THE AUTHOR celebrityrave

Journalist, writer and broadcaster, based in London and Paris, her latest book is Touché: A French Woman's Take on the English. Read more articles from Agnes.

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