Manchester United want Pogba 100% fit for Manchester City showdown

By Isoccer Staff

 

Paul Pogba expects to make his long-awaited return for Manchester United immediately after the international break.

France star Pogba has missed 12 club games because of a ­hamstring strain, but could be in the squad for their next match — Newcastle’s visit to Old Trafford on ­November 18.

Without their record £89million signing, Man United have slipped eight points adrift of Premier League leaders and local rivals ­Manchester City.

Pogba is expected to be integrated into full training next week, with a view to him making his return — probably from the bench — against Rafa Benitez’s Magpies.

Boss Jose Mourinho is desperate to have him match-fit for the Manchester derby at home to high-flying City on ­December 10 — a game United cannot ­simply afford to lose.

The Red Devils are already ­playing catch-up on their Blue neighbours after­ ­slipping to defeats at ­Huddersfield and ­Chelsea during Pogba’s two-month absence.

They know falling further adrift would ­virtually signal the end of their title hopes before Christmas.

The 24-year-old ­midfielder underwent a significant chunk of his rehabilitation in the United States but is now back ­at United’s Carrington HQ ahead of his imminent return.

Striker Romelu Lukaku has suffered without his close friend Pogba — the pair having struck up an impressive understanding on the pitch to complement their close relationship off it.

Lukaku, a £75m summer signing from Everton, has seen the goals dry up since Pogba was injured. After hitting 10 in his first nine full United appearances, the Belgian is now on a run of seven games without finding the back of the net.

Mourinho has tried not to use the loss of Pogba as an excuse for United slipping so far behind City, claiming he will not “cry” about injuries like some other managers.

But he admitted after Sunday’s loss at Chelsea that United miss the influence and dynamism of Pogba, who had made a fine start to the season until it was sabotaged by injury.

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