Sport | 1 week ago

Pep Guardiola has admirably given Paul Pogba the benefit of the doubt.

Pogba received plenty of criticism on Saturday for his comments about next weekend's Manchester derby as the Manchester United midfielder expressed a desire for some key opposition players to get injured in the coming seven days.

The Frenchman claimed that he was hoping for Manchester City to be weakened by injuries prior to next Sunday's clash.

"I hope - and it's bad to say things like this - but fortunately for us I hope they will get some very important players injured like what happened with us," he said on Football Focus.

The irony of the fact that Pogba will miss the derby due to the red card he picked up against Arsenal this weekend was not lost on City fans and many saw the karmic aspect of the 24-year-old's dismissal for an awkward challenge on Gunners full back Hector Bellerin.

Pogba will miss at least three games and while his absence at Old Trafford next week will significantly weaken Jose  Mourinho's side, City manager Pep Guardiola is not happy about it.

Fresh from the league leaders' hard-fought victory at home to West Ham on Sunday, Guardiola was asked if he had heard Pogba's comments and whether he was glad that United's record signing would not be on the pitch for the crucial clash between the top two.

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And the Spaniard's response was a measure of a man because, not only did he give Pogba the benefit of the doubt, but he brilliantly claimed that he'd prefer to face a full-strength Red Devils side.

"Hopefully no one will have injuries," Guardiola said.

"I would like Paul to [be able to] play against us because I like to face team with the best players as possible to see if we are able to beat them.

"I am sure it is an expression and he doesn't want our players to get injured."

City travel to the Theatre of Dreams with an eight point advantage over their noisy neighbours.

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Manchester United, Premier League, Manchester City, Paul Pogba, Pep Guardiola