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The Xabi Alonso problem is one Jose Mourinho foresaw.
It's the reason he demanded the signing of Luka Modric, so he could add a different creative element to his midfield.
The Croatian represents one of the first in the line of the new-style playmaker. He's mobile, comfortable playing in a flat midfield, creates chances and passes horizontally to full-backs with precision.
So far, however, the Portuguese tactician has failed to introduce Modric in a consistent fashion.
He offers something significantly different to Alonso, as shown by his late appearance against Sevilla, but Mou appears tentative still to introduce him as a starter.