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Manchester United take on Chelsea on Sunday afternoon and before a ball has even been kicked we might we wise to fear for our chances of claiming a win.
In the last 15 times we’ve gone there in the league we have won once and lost nine. To make matters worse, the only game we won was when Chelsea went down to nine men in 2012. We took a 2-0 lead, Chelsea pulled it back to 2-2, before we scored the winner after they had two players sent off.
Last year in the league we got thrased 4-0. Jose Mourinho seemed to learn from this and approached the game in a much better way when we faced them in the FA Cup. United were on top and playing well before the ridiculous decision to send off Ander Herrera with an hour left to play. Chelsea only managed a 1-0 win at home against our 10 men.
We then took them on at Old Trafford and Mourinho put in arguably his best tactical performance of his time at the club. Eden Hazard was marked out of the game and we won 2-0. Chelsea didn’t have a single shot on target for the first time in a decade (in a game that was also against us, coincidentally).
Still, while our record at Stamford Bridge is poor, maybe the addition of Mourinho improves our chances of beating them. If we look to that Cup game, as well as the game at home, our manager had something over Antonio Conte tactically.
What has been repeatedly overlooked though is the absence of Paul Pogba, who has been missing for the last 11 games with injury. He was pictured arriving to training today, although Mourinho claimed in his press conference that we still be without the midfielder.
We’ve fared OK during the time without him, winning nine, losing one and drawing one, but his injury has been massively underestimated in the media.
When you consider how much fuss was made over the £89m we paid to bring him back to the club, it’s incredible how little was made by his absence. When Spurs came to Old Trafford without Harry Kane, our 1-0 victory was reported as though we were playing a 5-a-side team.
Mourinho has claimed that if he had made more fuss of Pogba’s injury then maybe United would have been given more credit for the results they’ve had without him in the team.
I think it’s my fault because I should cry every week about our injuries and remind everybody day after day or press conference after press conference. It’s my decision, it’s my way of dealing with problems, it’s my way of trying to motivate and give confidence to the players that are going to replace people but again maybe I have to reconsider my profile. I know that I moan with a lot of things but I don’t do with injuries and probably I should.
I think any other manager would be speaking about Pogba every day. ‘Oh I don’t have Pogba. Oh, when I have Pogba. Oh, 10 matches without Pogba. Oh, all the Champions League group phase without Pogba. Oh, all the big matches against Liverpool, against Chelsea, against Spurs without Pogba.’
I don’t speak about Pogba one single time, it’s only when you ask me about his situation and it’s not just Pogba. It’s Fellaini, it’s Carrick, it’s Ibra, it’s Marcos Rojo — it’s a big group of players. So yes, I think we are doing very, very well. Very, very well.
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