It was a close-run thing, but we can now confirm the three nominees for Manchester United’s Player-of-the Month award for April.
It was a positive month overall for the Reds, who won four of five games in all competitions – including impressive wins over Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal. The only disappointment was the narrow home defeat to West Bromwich Albion.
As always, there was stiff competition to make the shortlist but, after much deliberation, the three players in the frame for the penultimate star-man accolade of 2017/18 are Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and Alexis Sanchez.
Read our summary of each of their performances before casting your vote...
PAUL POGBA – Appearances/Goals: 5 / 3
April was a productive period for the Frenchman, who showed why he is an integral member of Jose Mourinho’s team with two Man-of-the-Match awards during the month. Pogba capped an influential display in the second half against Manchester City with two goals which inspired the thrilling comeback in the 3-2 derby win at the Etihad Stadium. He then turned provider for Romelu Lukaku’s exquisite goal which clinched the 2-0 victory at Bournemouth and teed up Alexis’s headed equaliser against Tottenham in the Emirates FA Cup semi-final win over Tottenham with a fine cross. The dynamic midfielder ended the month on a high by scoring the opener in last weekend’s 2-1 win over Arsenal and is looking for his second Player-of-the-Month award of the season, after claiming the accolade in August.
Jose Mourinho said:
“I told him [Pogba] after [the] Manchester City [game] that I'm not expecting him to be the Man of the Match every match. I think he was phenomenal against Manchester City. I think he was not good against West Bromwich Albion and again I think he was phenomenal against Bournemouth. I'm not expecting him to be phenomenal every match, because that is really, really difficult, but to keep a certain level, that's the challenge.”
Vote for him because: He’s been bossing games!
ANDER HERRERA – Appearances/Goals: 5 / 1
The mercurial Spaniard has been in sensational form since returning from injury and reclaimed a place in the team in April, starting all five of United’s games. He put in an excellent second-half display against City and helped spark the magnificent turnaround with a clever assist, chesting the ball into Pogba’s path for the Frenchman to net the first goal. But his crowning moment was scoring the decisive goal, with a well-taken finish from the edge of the box, in the 2-1 win over Tottenham at Wembley to book the Reds a place in the FA Cup final. Having shown the kind of form we were accustomed to seeing from the midfielder last season, when he won the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award, Herrera will be hoping he’s done enough to claim his first Player-of-the-Month award since last April.
What the boss said:
“I think the most important thing for a player is the manager and the fans. Ander has [the backing of] both the manager and the fans, so I don’t think he’s worried about others.”
How we reached the FA Cup finalVideo
Ander on his role in the team:
“I know I have to keep the balance of the team, sometimes with Nemanja [Matic] because we have Paul [Pogba] who is a fantastic player who can create everything. So we have to leave him sometimes free and I have to be more next to Nemanja, but try to sometimes be in those positions where I can score, and I did it [against Tottenham].”
Vote for him because: He got us to the cup final!
ALEXIS SANCHEZ – Appearances/Goals: 4 / 1
The Chilean is looking to win his first Player-of-the-Month award at the club, having been nominated for the first time since arriving in January. He played his part in the remarkable comeback against City by setting up Pogba’s equaliser and delivering the free-kick for Chris Smalling’s winner. After being rested at Bournemouth, the diminutive forward put in a Man-of-the-Match display against Spurs in the FA Cup semi-final, heading in the all-important leveller and being involved in the build-up to Herrera’s winning strike. He was also lively in the win over his former club Arsenal last weekend and has shown during April in particular just why the boss was so keen to secure his services.
The boss on what Alexis brings:
“We fought to have him here and I was, since day one, sure that he was the right player. Not just by the typical football qualities, but also by his mentality, and we needed that. We needed a little bit more experience, we needed a little bit more of mental aggressiveness, and I knew that sooner or later, we’re coming [improving as a team].”
What Alexis wants to achieve with United:
“I think United is a club with more history and we want to win trophies next year. We need to keep progressing; United is a big club, to which I am still adapting, and I am looking forward to giving everything I’ve got next year and aiming to win everything there is to win.”
Vote for him because: He’s had a great month!
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Three standout performers to choose from in our #MUFC Player of the Month poll for April...— Manchester United (@ManUtd) 3 May 2018