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Paul Pogba

Why Pogba missed the Manchester derby

Jose Mourinho has been confirmed Paul Pogba is out of Sunday's Manchester derby against City, due to injury.

The midfielder played through the pain barrier in Wednesday's memorable win away to Juventus, but hasn't been able to recover for today and is replaced by Marouane Fellaini in the starting line-up.

Unfortunately, the Frenchman sustained a knock during the Champions League tie but played on due to the importance of the occasion.

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There is one other change for the Reds, with Marcus Rashford, the scorer of a winner at the Etihad Stadium in 2016, coming in for Alexis Sanchez, who is on the bench. Consequently, the England international is the only Mancunian on the pitch from the start, although Jesse Lingard was born in nearby Warrington.

Speaking in his pre-match interview with Sky Sports, Mourinho revealed: “Paul is injured. He was injured during the game in Turin. He resisted. He felt that he could resist. He felt that it was such a crucial match for the team. He made that sacrifice for us, and then it was impossible for him to recover for this match.

He is a very important player for us. People sometimes like to focus on the little problems in his performance, and we do the same. We try to make him the complete player. But his qualities are so, so good, and so important for the team at many different levels.

“Of course we are going to miss him, but I am just speaking about Paul because you asked me. Our profile is to forget that he is not available though and to focus on the ones that are and to trust the ones that are going to play.”

Mourinho also confirmed that Alexis had been struggling with a knock towards the end of the Juve game, adding: “Alexis is an option. Maybe the start of the decision [to have him on the bench] was because of his little problem in Turin, but he is completely available for the team.”

Later, after the game, the United boss said he was not sure when Pogba would be back in action but confirmed he would miss the upcoming internationals with France. He told reporters: “We have to wait and see. Of course, no national team. No chance. That’s the evolution and hopefully, yes, [he can be back for] Palace then a final [big game] against Young Boys. We need three points to get closer to qualification in the Champions League.”

On the game itself, Jose insisted: “We always have belief. I keep saying this. Even when we don't have momentum, when we are down due to bad results, the team had this good character, this good personality and we always fight. It's a third difficult match in a week but we are going to try.”

City: Ederson; Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy; Fernandinho, D. Silva (c), Mahrez; Bernardo, Aguero, Sterling.

Subs:
Muric, Kompany, Gundogan, Delph, Foden, Sane, Jesus.

United: De Gea; Young, Lindelof, Smalling, Shaw; Matic, Herrera, Fellaini; Lingard, Rashford, Martial. 

Subs: Romero, Darmian, Jones, Fred, Mata, Alexis, Lukaku.

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