Paul Pogba Opens Up About His Controversial Sending Off Against Arsenal

Mourinho identifies three key positions to strengthen in £80m January spree

Fernandinho expects Manchester United to feel the absence of Paul Pogba in this weekend's Manchester derby.

Guardiola claimed first blood, leading City to a 2-1 win at Old Trafford in September 2016, but both teams fell by the wayside thereafter, finishing the campaign well adrift of Premier League champions Chelsea.

With the Pep Guardiola model established, his squad packed with technically gifted and tactically aware devotees, City's level is set.

"When I played for City, they were not the biggest club", he said. Mourinho knows he must try for the win and while he is aware that he is facing the most risky attacking team his players will have to deal with all season, he has to take them on and hope that my reservations about Guardiola's defence prove accurate.

In recent weeks a glint of hope has appeared, with the success of Feyenoord, Huddersfield, Southampton and West Ham - all relatively modest outfits this season - in closing down the space City could operate in and shutting up shop for a point. No stories of Lacazette or David Silva.

As yet, nobody since Everton has been able to restrict them enough to achieve anything other than narrow late defeat but there have at least been signs they are not entirely unstoppable.

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As I've said, this was proof for him that his players are on the same page as he is and that was certainly reason for him to be very satisfied with progress. Less happily still, the main thrust of that 10-point plan is that "he who has the ball has fear". City, with a pass completion rate of 88.8 per cent this season, do not look like a team with much fear of the ball. Having an additional spare man at the back should anyway make it easier to pack that key area just outside the penalty area where City can not be allowed space.

United do believe they have finally got to the root of the hamstring problem which has plagued the France worldwide on and off for the last couple of years. The nature of Guardiola's philosophy means his side will always be vulnerable if you can get through the initial press.

That they must do this without game-changer Paul Pogba simply serves to make a tough ask even more tricky.

Soon after the game Pogba refused to answer any questions on his red card, which came from a studs up challenge on Spanish wingback Hector Bellerin. Unfortunately, I won't be playing but I will be there to help the team mentally.

Manchester United have performed brilliantly this season under the management of Jose Mourinho still, they are eight points behind league leaders Manchester City in the table. If United prevail, new doubts about City's durability will surface. And on that might rest the next three to four years of English football.

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