Paul Pogba injury hands Manchester United a derby scare

Jamie Jackson on 9 November 2018

Paul Pogba has handed Manchester United an injury scare before Sunday’s derby at the Etihad Stadium.

The midfielder has impressed for José Mourinho’s side in recent matches, the World Cup winner a key factor in United’s uplift in form.

United and Pogba have won their last three matches, including Wednesday night’s impressive 2-1 victory at Juventus but the Frenchman was unable to take part in full training on Friday. Instead Pogba undertook an indoors session at United’s training complex due to what is understood to be a “small injury”.

Mourinho’s squad have a final session on Saturday before the trip to City so the manager will hope Pogba can take part before any decision about his availability for the match is taken.

The United manager, meanwhile, wants his side to take the fight to the Premier League leaders in the derby.

United are nine points behind City after 11 matches as they travel to the Etihad but they are enjoying a fine week, having won at Bournemouth and Juventus, while last month they drew at Chelsea after leading until the closing moments.

Mourinho, asked whether the wish was to go toe-to-toe with Pep Guardiola’s team, said: “We are going to try. I cannot say we are going to be successful in our motivations, in our desire, but we played two different matches away against two very good teams – Chelsea and Juventus – and we managed to get good results.

“And even if the good results were not in our pockets the performances were there, the positive attitude was there so we are going to try but Manchester City are a very powerful team.”

Mourinho refused to be drawn on the alleged breaches of FFP rules by City but did praise their football operation.

“It is difficult for me to answer because I focus on my job, I focus on the four lines [pitch], focus on football. If you want to speak about their football potential we can speak and football potential starts with investment, and after that of course there is a quality of the work, of the organisation – I think that is untouchable.

“But what is behind I cannot say but in this moment I have only to think about football, and to think about football is to think about Manchester City as a football team there.”

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Romelu Lukaku could be available again following a hamstring injury. Mourinho said: “Lukaku is training with the team this [Friday] morning. If his response is positive – and we have of course one more session tomorrow – he is ready.”

Victor Lindelöf has stated he never doubted himself when struggling to convince Mourinho of his first-choice credentials.

Lindelöf was signed from Benfica for £31m in June 2016 shortly after Mourinho’s arrival but failed to establish himself in his first season. The Swede was also dropped this term, following the defeat at Brighton in August, but has started the last five matches.

Asked if he was ever concerned regarding his ability, Lindelöf said: “No, I never doubt that. I’ve always been confident. You have to work hard. It feels good – I’ve been playing a lot of games since the start of the season. I’m just trying to keep on going and doing the best for the team. At the moment I feel good – my body is fresh.

“Ever since I came he’s [Mourinho] been very important to me. He talks to me, tries to help me, he gives me – how do you say it in English – advice to improve my game. He’s been very important. I think he’s been fantastic and I’m very happy to have him as a coach.”

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