It is turn for us to talk about the season Ander Herrera had. His player season review is here, as we look at the way the Spaniard played this season. It was a somewhat expected type of season for him, though it must be said that his performances were also a bit worse than last campaign. At the end of the season he did manage to improve, but overall it was not as good as in 2016-17.
What do the numbers say?
Ander Herrera made 26 Premier League appearances, 13 of them being starts. In Champions League he played six times (five starts) and he added further six starts in the two domestic cup competitions. His 1262 Premier League minutes is not much, but having in mind how good of a season Nemanja Matic had at defensive midfielder, it is no big surprise.
Herrera made only two assists in the league, the last of them coming in a great 3-2 comeback against Manchester City. That was one of his finest performances of the season, which might help paint a little bit better picture as it happened not so long ago. When he was playing, the midfielder was mostly doing his defensive duties, which is what Mourinho wants from him. Herrera was making 3.8 successful tackles per 90 in Premier League and Champions League, while adding to that 1.8 interceptions per 90 minutes.
Obviously, his offensive stats were not good, but that is simply not something that is expected of him. He was making 0.8 key passes per 90 and as many successful dribbles.
Was he an important player for the club?
He was an important squad player, with the word “squad” being the key one in that phrase. Herrera was never going to be the first team player after Nemanja Matic joined last summer. The Serbian is a better player, more experienced one and Jose Mourinho already loved working with him so it was only natural that Matic was brought in to be an upgrade on Herrera.
That is also how things worked out in the end. Matic was, De Gea aside, the most consistent of all Manchester United players this season and for Herrera to break in it was expected only when Mourinho would choose to play with a double pivot. Then it was Herrera alongside Matic and we have seen that combination in the latter stages of the season.
Herrera offered extra solidity when Mourinho needed it and he was mostly the man of the assignment. He would be the one closing down specific players and making sure they do not have a great game.
Projection for the 2018-19 season
Personally, I believe Ander Herrera will be at Manchester United next season. Fred’s imminent arrival should not change things too much, with the Spaniard still remaining a squad player that Mourinho could use occasionally. Also, if Fred really signs for United, he might need some time to adjust to English football and then Herrera could be very useful to make that transition smoother. However, I do not see him as a player that will have great importance for Manchester United’s overall results.