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Mourinho explains Pogba’s Manchester Derby absence

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Jose Mourinho lavished praise on Paul Pogba in explaining why the Manchester United midfielder is missing from Sunday’s Manchester Derby.

Pogba was injured during his starring role in Manchester United’s memorable UEFA Champions League win over Juventus this week.

WATCH THE MANCHESTER DERBY LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

“Paul is injured,” he told Sky Sports. “He was injured during the game in Turin. He resisted. He felt that he could resist. He felt that it was such a crucial match for the team. He made that sacrifice for us, and then it was impossible for him to recover for this match.

“He is a very important player for us. People sometimes like to focus on the little problems in his performance, and we do the same. We try to make him the complete player. But his qualities are so, so good, and so important for the team at many different levels.”

Pogba was not just the star of the Juve win, but also the comeback defeat of City last Spring. Mourinho is starting Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini, and Nemanja Matic in the midfield of his 4-3-3.

Champions League Weds. preview: Pogba returns to Turin

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Manchester United knows a result against Juventus in Turin will be important on Wednesday, but it will know just how important by the time it kicks off at 3 p.m. ET

Valencia and Young Boys meet in Spain at 12:55 p.m. ET, fresh off a draw in Switzerland last month. A Valencia win would move the Spanish side ahead of United, while a Young Boys win or draw would keep United second regardless of how it fares at Juve.

[ MORE: Liverpool falls in Serbia ]

Paul Pogba is a key part of United’s hopes in Italy, and he’ll be very much in focus given his former status as a key player for The Old Lady. The new key attacker? Some guy named Cristiano Ronaldo. Here’s Pogba, via ManUtd.com:

“Obviously having such a top player like Cristiano is always positive,” Pogba said. “I think definitely that he’s very happy to be here and I believe that it’s a remarkable achievement for Juventus as they succeeded to have a player like him, because basically he scores goal just like he drinks water, so very easily.”

Ronaldo’s former club, Real Madrid, will be knocked from its Group G perch after the early match. AS Roma is in Moscow to face CSKA, and Real’s 3 p.m. kickoff at big underdogs Viktoria Plzen will be under plenty of scrutiny given the result and a tighter than expected meeting in Madrid last month.

Let’s get to the other Premier League club in action: Group F leaders Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola‘s men are home to Shakhtar Donetsk, looking to produce something similar to the Oct. 23 3-0 win in Ukraine.

City fullback Kyle Walker said the team is laser-focused, having learned from its loss to Liverpool to end its last Champions League run. From ManCity.com:

“I don’t think anything changes within the set-up of the week and the focus of the players but we have to take into consideration that the teams are different to the ones we’re facing week in, week out in the Premier League. The standard is definitely a level up. It’s something we have to think about and hopefully, we’ll put it right on Wednesday evening.”

A win for City would clinch a spot in the knockout rounds if Lyon defeats Hoffenheim in France.

Full Weds. schedule

12:55 p.m. ET kickoffs
Valencia vs. Young Boys
CSKA Moscow vs. AS Roma

3 p.m. ET kickoffs
Man City vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
Lyon vs. Hoffenheim
Viktoria Plzen vs. Real Madrid
Juventus vs. Manchester United
Benfica vs. Ajax
Bayern Munich vs. AEK Athens

Paul Pogba ahead of United v Juventus: ‘Turin is my home’

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This will go down well with Manchester United’s fans…

Paul Pogba has been talking about facing his former club, Juventus, in the UEFA Champions League group stage clash in Turin next Wednesday.

Pogba, who joined United from Juve for a then world-record fee of $120 million, spoke to RMC and told them he is looking forward to heading back to Italy.

“I expected it, it was mad,” Pogba said. “I’d spoken about it with my brother last summer. I said to him: ‘Imagine we’re in the same group as Juve’. For me, it’s a pleasure. Turin is my home – that’s where I scored my first professional goal.”

Pogba then went on to reveal he still talks to a lot of Juventus’ players and is obviously very close with the Serie A giants.

“[Juan] Cuadrado, [Paolo] Dybala, [Leonardo] Bonucci, I hear from them, we speak from time to time. We were a family, so of course we stay in contact,” Pogba said.  When you’re alongside players like Pirlo, Gigi [Buffon] or [Giorgio] Chiellini, you can only learn. Every day, in training, you try to observe them. Even as an established player, you can always learn from those sorts of men.”

Of course, Pogba is speaking affectionately about his time at Juventus where he won many trophies and developed into the powerful central midfielder known around the globe today. But considering transfer rumors continue to swirl about him rejoining Juventus or maybe heading to Barcelona in the summer, this may not be welcomed at United.

Pogba spent several years at United’s academy but famously left as a teenager after he believed he wouldn’t break into the first team. He instead joined Juve for a nominal fee and won four Serie A titles before heading back to United for a massive transfer fee two years ago.

His form at United since 2016 has been inconsistent, to say the least, but he won the World Cup over the summer and it appears Jose Mourinho is finally getting the best out of him this season, even if United have struggled early in the campaign.

The fact Pogba has spoken so fondly about Turin is human nature, of course. It is a place close to his heart and where he grew up and he won many trophies and individual accolades. 

But given the fact he said earlier this season that he wasn’t allowed to talk to the media again after comments he made about United’s playing style ended up with Jose Mourinho stripping him of the vice-captaincy, you’d expect Pogba to be taking a low profile for a little while.

Then again, that’s not really how he rolls, is it? That sound you can hear is Mourinho grinding his teeth in disapproval.

Man Utd can’t find equalizer against Dybala, Juve (video)

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  • De Gea shines, as Juve dominates first half
  • Pogba strikes post
  • Dybala scores lone goal

Paulo Dybala’s 17th minute goal was enough to give Juventus a 1-0 win over Manchester United in UEFA Champions League play at Old Trafford on Tuesday.

Valencia’s draw at Young Boys leaves United second in Group H, five points behind Juventus.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Both sides had inviting free kicks during the first dozen minutes, neither delivering on its promise.

Paulo Dybala headed a Juan Cuadrado cross wide of the frame moments later, but made it solid foreshadowing for the 17th minute.

Losing a collecting a languid Nemanja Matic, Dybala deposited a loose ball after Cristiano Ronaldo’s cross didn’t meet its mark.

David De Gea was busy, making a fine stop on Joao Cancelo moments later. He’d make a double stop, the second shot from Blaise Matuidi especially venomous, in the 38th.

United had a better hold of the match for long periods in the second half, and De Gea was needed more to deal with Juve’s counterattacks.

Paul Pogba just missed with a sensational attempt that beat Wojciech Szczesny and hit the post before bounding off the keeper’s face but avoiding the goal.

Anthony Martial coaxed a save out of Szczesny in the 90th.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Chelsea grabs late equalizer vs. Man Utd as chaos engulfs finish

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  • Rudiger gives Chelsea lead (VIDEO)
  • Chelsea out-attempts Utd 21-7
  • Martial scores twice in 18 mins
  • Barkley ties it at the death

Chelsea scored in the sixth minute of stoppage time, igniting skirmishes on-and-off the pitch in a 2-2 draw between the Blues and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Chelsea assistant Marco Ianni charged in front of Jose Mourinho, pumping his fist inches from the Manchester United manager’s face before screaming at the boss on the way back. Mourinho and his staff had to be separated from getting to the Chelsea bench.

Anthony Martial‘s second half double looked to have given Jose Mourinho and Manchester United a marquee win.

Juan Mata was a key part of both United goals, as United moved to 14 points. Chelsea could drop from its table lead to as low as fifth pending other results.

[ STREAM: Watch every PL match live ]

Manchester United was extremely lively, rewarding Mourinho for going attack-first with his lineup, and Romelu Lukaku just missed with a looping header after the first quarter-hour.

But it was Paul Pogba who let the team down.

The superstar midfielder let Antonio Rudiger use a pick to create some space on a corner kick, and couldn’t catch up to the German. Rudiger powered Willian‘s offering across goal and David De Gea couldn’t get a hand on the header. 1-0.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

United got a deserved equalizer when Kepa Arrizabalaga saved Juan Mata’s 54th minute effort. It wound up back atop the box, where Marcus Rashford‘s shot deflected to Martial in the catbird seat. 1-1, 55’.

There were chances for each team to go ahead, but it was that fella Martial who did the trick again.

It came via a terrific team play. A long ball allowed Mata to flick delightfully by a mark and into the right corner. Chelsea was very scrambled, as Mata fed Rashford, who found Martial for a pretty finish.

Olivier Giroud thought he’d won a penalty off Victor Lindelof in stoppage time, but it was far too hopeful.

David De Gea denied Rudiger a second, but Barkley slotted the loose ball to set off chaos at the Bridge.