Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes and a refocused Paul Pogba get midfield ticking like Real Madrid

One of the hallmarks of Madrid’s recent spell of Champions League success has been how the ball-playing ability of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos has imposed a style of play, so the entire team can impose themselves on the opposition. There is first of all a squad with plenty of pace, and a manager who is very popular with the players, but has had questions asked about what his exact style is. As with Modric and Kroos, then, the range of passing of Fernandes and Pogba adds a further spark and creativity to that possession. Jose Mourinho may fairly quibble that’s the role the absent Tanguy N’Dombele is meant to have, but even then the Portuguese has never been too intent on playing in midfield unless it’s gettingthe ball through there as quickly as possible on the counter-attack. He was the player offering by far the best passes, and his long shots had troubled Hugo Lloris. The midfielder took command of a counter with a quick piece of control off the chest and heel, before playing the most magnificent half-volley into the path of Marcus Rashford. This was real thoroughbred stuff, and a timely reminder of why United have persisted with Pogba for so long, despite so many frustrations. His footwork got him past Eric Dier, then drew the midfielder into the foul for the penalty. “We’re a club who want the best players in the world playing together, we need to find a balance between attacking and defending, that’s key when you set the team up.