United’s Pogba fear Star mid­fielder in in­jury scare

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By James Ducker

Manch­ester United fear Paul Pogba will not be fully fit for to­mor­row’s derby at the Eti­had Sta­dium.

The mid­fielder was un­able to train with the rest of squad yes­ter­day and in­stead worked in­doors af­ter suf­fer­ing what was de­scribed as a “lit­tle in­jury”.

Jose Mour­inho – who has told his United play­ers to stop re­ly­ing on come­backs to win matches amid con­cerns they could be in trou­ble if they fall be­hind to Manch­ester City – will see how Pogba fares in to­day’s fi­nal train­ing ses­sion be­fore de­cid­ing on his fit­ness.

Strik­ers Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku trained yes­ter­day and seem likely to be fit. Sanchez sus­tained a dead leg in the win over Ju­ven­tus on Wed­nes­day, while Lukaku has missed the past two matches with a ham­string in­jury

United came from two goals down against City to win 3-2 at the Eti­had in April and have earned three wins and a draw from los­ing po­si­tions in four of their past five matches. Mour­inho is wor­ried his team will soon pay the price for slug­gish starts. City have scored 17 first-half goals in the Pre­mier League this term – two more than United have man­aged in to­tal in 11 top-flight matches. “If we keep con­ced­ing be­fore the op­po­nents, there will be a day where we can­not come back, so we have to grow up in our ap­proach and start matches well,” said Mour­inho.

“Against Ju­ven­tus, it hap­pened, we con­ceded the goal in minute 60 or some­thing like that and we had a good start. In the first 15 or 20 min­utes, we were to­tally in con­trol.”

Mour­inho sug­gested United would try to go toe to toe with City but will tell his play­ers to treat the match as a one-off. “If we draw, it [the gap] is nine, and if we lose, it is 12 [points], I don’t think that is the way to look at the match,” he said in ref­er­ence to the prospect of boost­ing United’s ti­tle prospects. “We have to just think about the match, it is dif­fi­cult enough as an iso­lated event. If you want to put that match in the con­text of where we are, where we can be, it be­comes even more dif­fi­cult, so I want to see it as an iso­lated event.

“It is dif­fi­cult match against a dif­fi­cult team, but they think it is a dif­fi­cult match for them.”

Mour­inho sidestepped ques­tions about the al­le­ga­tions that City had cheated Uefa’s Fi­nan­cial Fair Play rules, but claimed his ri­vals were “un­touch­able” in terms of the qual­ity of their foot­ball and the squad they have built.

Asked about the Foot­ball Leaks doc­u­ments pub­lished by Der Spiegel, Mour­inho said: “It’s dif­fi­cult for me to an­swer be­cause I fo­cus on my job, I fo­cus on foot­ball.

“If you want to speak about their foot­ball po­ten­tial, we can speak and foot­ball po­ten­tial starts with in­vest­ment. Af­ter that, there is a qual­ity of the work, of the or­gan­i­sa­tion, and I think that is un­touch­able. What is be­hind [it], I can­not say. In this mo­ment, I have only to think about foot­ball and about Manch­ester City as a foot­ball team.”

Con­cern: Paul Pogba was un­able to train with the United squad yes­ter­day

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