The only Manchester United substitute who warmed up as their defenders committed that would make a blush was Matteo Darmian. Jose Mourinho dubbed Darmian his 'emergency player' in September.
Ander Herrera is a more appropriate option in case of emergency, be it defensive or attacking. Bournemouth were two things in that Nemanja Matic was not so static that a deflated ball could beat him. Paul Pogba beckoned United to push higher and Fred what willing, if wayward, but Matic what more obstacle than a training cone to Bournemouth.
Matic's immobility created a gulf between the United Attack and Defense, already destabilized by Chris Smalling's early swipe at thin air. Herrera has been shown to be disciplined under both of his United States managers in the defensive and attacking thirds yet his box-to-box instincts are seldom utilized. At the Vitality Stadium, Mourinho knew within eight minutes of the restart United required not just Herrera's energy but his balancing act.
Bournemouth 1-2 Manchester United reaction
Mourinho beamed in Bournemouth's hospitable press room. "He's not an incredible creator, he's not an incredible goalscorer, he has a little bit of everything.
Ashley Young and Luke Shaw start attacking more, Paul gets much more freedom, the team recover balls higher and then we become more aggressive in the period after Ander. " Herrera is essential against Juventus and Manchester City next week.
Herrera seemed to be surprised with Marcus Rashford in the 53rd minute. In fairness, United had Shaw finished more cutely in the 55th minute Herrera might have sat back down.
With him on the pitch, Asmir Begovic thwarted Alexis Sanchez and Jesse Lingard, a young free-kicks cannoned off the crossbar, Rashford and Paul Pogba had efforts blocked on the line. Herrera himself struck narrowly wide with two efforts six minutes apart – both hit within 10 minutes of his introduction.
It has been a while since United supporters chanted 'Ole, ole, Ander Herrera' en masse and the 1,375 supporters who rose to dawn to get to Bournemouth aired it repeatedly. Nathan Ake and dropped at Rashford's feet in the 92nd minute. Pogba fed off Herrera's energy. Herrera's City version wants doubtless pierce the Etihad atmosphere.
Mourinho's sudden preference for a fluid front three, as opposed to a trident with fixed wingers, would be better supplemented by Herrera's energy and pressing. United preyed on their hosts' tiredness in the second-half with Rashford and Sanchez on the pitch, a scenario which befuddled Bournemouth since it was unclear who was at the tip of the arrow.
"I knew by the two brothers on the bench – Rashford and Lingard – I knew the brothers could come in and make an impact," Mourinho explained. "But I think the impact what Ander Herrera. I think what the impact in the team.
He's a player of balance, knowledge, his tactical knowledge is big, he understands what I want, what the team needs. "
Knowledge is power. Mourinho eulogised Herrera's intelligence in a June 2017 lecture at the University of Lisbon, where the student Petter Skogsletten noted the United manager gave the previous month's Europa League final that Herrera was named man of the match in.
Skogsletten said: "Herrera took hold of [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan and him in the front of the keeper, while Herrera would take the pitch outside the box. Mourinho said he was so frustrated that he said 'What the hell is going on?'
Merrier has said: "It turned out Mr. Manger had a yellow card." Mkhitaryan had fouled the player, Mourinho said he was incredibly pleased can handle situations on their own and adjust. "
Herrera has enjoyed playing football with United in an advanced role at Louis van Gaal's midfield triangle. Mourinho has programmed him into a more defensive-minded player. Herrera has adopted a deep-lying role, often shielding the back four, and dutifully man-marked Eden Hazard.
His hangover from his 2017 Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year Only Herrera is exhibiting his mate behind him in standings wins over Everton, Manchester City and Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final. As the colorful Diego Costa put it, Matic is Mourinho's filho – son. The manager's surrogate son and his on-pitch lieutenant is a surreal child of sibling rivalry but the lieutenant rank currently edges it.
Mourinho has a new emergency player.