Manchester United’s five-time Premier League title winner Darren Fletcher insists Wolves won the midfield battle despite losing the war to the Red Devils.
United beat Wolves 1-0 in their FA Cup third round replay at Old Trafford on Wednesday night. But it was a close affair, with only Juan Mata’s 67th-minute goal separating the teams.
Ruben Neves caught the eye in the middle for Wolves, while alongside him, Joao Moutinho also kept the ball well before Nuno Espirito Santo’s side ultimately came up short.
Midfielder Fletcher, 35, who also played 97 games for Albion from 2015-17 before two years at Stoke, believes Wolves’ pairing of Neves and Moutinho have an almost telepathic understanding with their team-mates after 18 months of playing together in a settled team.
“Yeah, I think that’s fair (Wolves dominated centre-midfield). I think that is a combination of two things; Ruben Neves is a fantastic footballer player with a great range of passing, he paroles the midfield and sprays it all around the pitch,” Fletcher told BBC Radio 5 Live after the match.
“Also, as we alluded to before the game, Wolves are so set in their tactics, they have been doing the same thing for three seasons now.
“They know where their team-mates are on the pitch, their patterns of play are the same.
“Moutinho and Neves did it – they controlled the ball because they know where their team-mates are without even looking.
“It’s a combination of vision and the patterns and shapes are exactly the same every single game.
“Manchester United are still trying to define that. If you put Ruben Neves in the Manchester United midfield, I still think we don’t have those set patterns we would like. It’s something that is developing.”