Saturday’s clash between Arsenal and Manchester United confirmed two things – the Red Devils are still in the title race, and Paul Pogba will miss the Manchester Derby. But according to the United academy graduate, he will still play a big role in the build up for the exciting tie.
During the Gunners’ 1-3 hammering by the hands of Jose Mourinho’s men, Pogba’s late challenge that struck his studs into Hector Bellerin’s knee saw him get handed a direct red card.
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And so, Andre Marriner’s booking ruled the Frenchman out for the next three domestic fixtures for his side, including the clash against the Sky Blues.
However, the former Juventus star still believes he can help his squad win the match through mental motivation. The midfield maestro wants to be a positive influence on his teammates in hopes of getting them focused on winning the fixture.
“Unfortunately, I won’t play [against City], but I’ll be there to help the team mentally. To win those games, you need to give everything. You need to be there offensively and defensively,” the French international told United’s official website.
“Mentally, I need to be there to boost the team and, hopefully, it will help. I have complete trust in the team. Even if I’m not there, I’ll be there watching the game, giving positive energy and, hopefully, we’re going to win.
“We want to win. We need to win as well. They need to win because they know that we are behind and we are closing and closing.”
The Old Trafford outfit is still a whopping 8 points behind Pep Guardiola’s still-unbeaten side, which recently equalled Arsenal’s record of 13 straight Premier League wins.
With the 25-year-old getting downgraded to a mere spectator for one of the biggest games of the season, Mourinho will surely be looking to strengthen his side’s midfield, and will be glad about Nemanja Matic’s availability.
On the other hand, Phil Jones might also make a comeback this weekend, which may offer some reassurances to the United faithful before the derby.
Written by Ashish Sreejith
Have had two addictions in life- playing football and watching football. Usually described as introverted but not when it comes to speaking and writing about the beautiful game of football.