POGBA SET TO PLAY

Mour­inho con­fi­dent mid­fielder will cope de­spite fa­ther’s death

New Straits Times - - Sport - JOSE MOUR­INHO

LON­DON play on Sun­day be­cause he hasn’t played or trained for a long time and he needs these min­utes on the pitch, so he plays against Palace.”

Pogba has not ap­peared for United since help­ing them reach the Europa League fi­nal in a home draw with Celta Vigo 10 days ago and Mour­inho clearly feels the French mid­fielder needs to play af­ter at­tend­ing to his fam­ily tragedy.

Bel­gian mid­fielder Marouane Fel­laini, who in­jured his ham­string in the mid­week draw at Southamp­ton, is not ex­pected to play as he bat­tles to be fit.

And de­fender Chris Smalling will also be rested against Palace to en­sure he re­cov­ers from a mi­nor mus­cu­lar prob­lem in time to face Ajax.

Mour­inho has also called up promis­ing young de­fender Tim Fosu-Men­sah, who has not played since in­jur­ing his shoul­der in the Manch­ester derby at the end of last month.

“Chris Smalling has a prob­lem, but a small prob­lem that I think is no prob­lem at all for next week,” said Mour­inho.

“It’s a prob­lem for the week­end but not for the fi­nal. Marouane Fel­laini is the ques­tion mark; we wait for to­day’s scans, we de­cided not to do it yes­ter­day. Again, his feel­ings aren’t bad, but let’s wait.

“Tim Fosu-Men­sah plays on Sun­day and, if the re­ac­tion is good, and if he man­ages to play the game with­out prob­lems, he’s a new op­tion for us for the fi­nal.”

How­ever, Fo­suMen­sah, 19, will not be the only young­ster in­volved in the squad to­day, with Mour­inho even call­ing up 16-year-old mid­fielder An­gel Gomes, who was named as the club’s Youth Player of the Year this week, among a long list of un­tried talent.

“You will have the two goalkeepers, Joel Pereira and Kieran O’Hara,” said Mour­inho.

“We will have Demi Mitchell, Scott McTom­i­nay, Josh Har­rop, Matty Wil­lock, An­gel Gomes and Zachary Dearn­ley. I think that’s it. Plus Tim Fosu-Men­sah and Axel Tuanzebe, so lots of them.

“I think one young player can play in the mid­dle of a good struc­ture, a dy­namic struc­ture, an ex­pe­ri­enced struc­ture, yes. But as for lots of them to­gether, I think no.”

Crystal Palace avoided a nerverid­den fi­nal day of the sea­son by beat­ing Hull last week­end to guar­an­tee their place in next sea­son’s Pre­mier League.

Palace man­ager Sam Allardyce in­sists, though, that his side have no short­age of in­cen­tives at Old Traf­ford.

The Ea­gles could fin­ish any­where be­tween 16th and 11th which could make a dif­fer­ence of up to £10 mil­lion (RM55 mil­lion) in prize money to the club and Allardyce knows that will have an im­pact on his trans­fer spend­ing.

“The bud­get will get big­ger if we can go up a cou­ple of places,” Allardyce said.

“The chair­man has pointed that out to me like ev­ery chair­man I’ve worked for.

“So the higher you can fin­ish in the league, the big­ger and bet­ter the prize money so if we can get a re­sult at Old Traf­ford, then that will be fan­tas­tic.

“It’s pretty sig­nif­i­cant isn’t it? For the play­ers as well be­cause they’ve got good bonuses for the po­si­tion they fin­ish in the league so they are well aware of what it means.” AFP

Paul Pogba is fine. A strong guy, strong men­tal­ity. He’s learn­ing how to live af­ter his fa­ther passed away, but he is strong.

EPA PIC

Manch­ester United’s Paul Pogba (cen­tre) at a train­ing ses­sion with his tea­mamtes on Fri­day .

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