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Gary Neville predicts a Jose Mourinho tactical tweak for Manchester City game after Paul Pogba suspension

Neville predicts Jose Mourinho will look to outsmart Pep Guardiola after Paul Pogba ban
Jose Mourinho will be desperate to beat Manchester City (Picture: Getty)

Gary Neville has predicted Paul Pogba’s absence against Manchester City could prompt Jose Mourinho into an innovative tactical tweak.

Manchester United welcome City to Old Trafford on Sunday without their star playmaker after Pogba was brandished a straight red in the win over Arsenal.

Pogba’s recent injury comeback had inspired a return to form for United, but Mourinho must now plan for the Manchester derby without the Frenchman at his disposal.

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Neville thinks Pogba’s absence could see Mourinho try and out maneuver Pep Guardiola when it comes to formations.

‘I was excited by what I was watching in the first 20 minutes against Arsenal, the counter-attacking was fantastic,’ he said on his podcast.

Pep Guardiola watches from the bench
Pep Guardiola has been unstoppable this season (Picture: Getty)

Manchester United 2017/18 Fixtures

CSKA Moscow (H) – Tues Dec 5 (Champions League)
Manchester City (H) – Sun Dec 10
West Bromwich Albion (A) – Sun Dec 17
Bristol City (A) – Wed Dec 20 (EFL Cup)
Leicester City (A) – Sat Dec 23
Burnley (H) – Tues Dec 26
Southampton (H) – Sat Dec 30
Everton (A) – Mon Jan 1
Stoke City (H) – Sat Jan 20
Tottenham (A) – Wed Jan 31

Neville predicts Jose Mourinho will look to outsmart Pep Guardiola after Paul Pogba ban
The managers met three times last season (Picture: Getty)

‘(Jesse) Lingard, (Anthony) Martial and (Romelu) Lukaku were brilliant, and you could see a little bit how (Nicolas) Otamendi or (Vincent) Kompany could get caught.

‘You could see how that tactic could work in the Manchester derby.

‘Pogba makes a big, big difference. So when they went to Anfield, they couldn’t connect the deep defence to the midfield and into attack. He connects that, he links it, with those runs forward and his composure on the ball.

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‘It was a cloud over a very good day for United because he is such an important player in the connection between the front and the back.

‘The composure he shows travelling with the ball, you see West Ham when they were deep with 20 minutes to go, they didn’t have anybody that could travel with the ball, past (Kevin) De Bruyne and (David) Silva.

Paul Pogba cannot believe he is sent off as Marriner brandishes the red card
Paul Pogba’s suspension complicates things for Mourinho (Picture: Reuters).
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Ashley Young of Manchester United tells Manager Jose Mourinho that Paul Pogba is about to be sent off during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on December 2, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images)
He was not impressed with the sending off (Picture: Getty

‘You think about Pogba, he would beat De Bruyne and Silva with the ball at his feet and break that line.

‘Once you break that line you’re onto the weakness, you’re onto those two centre-backs with Lukaku and Martial.

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Jose Mourinho gives instructions to Romelu Lukaku
(Picture: Reuters)

‘City is a big game to not have Pogba. The person who can break the line is gone, but Jose Mourinho will be looking at how he can do it differently.

‘I was trying to think myself what Jose will be thinking. Do you play split strikers with Martial and Lukaku?

‘City bring their full-backs in narrow while two centre-backs push up the pitch, [so United could] just leave two strikers stretched wide and you play three central midfielders and five at the back, and say to City that’s what we’ll do, trust that the front two will get into those areas.’

MORE: Pep Guardiola says it is a ‘pleasure’ for Manchester City to be compared with ‘Fergie Time’

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