Jose Mourinho has said Paul Pogba’s injury which rules him out of the Manchester derby is down to being overplayed in an intense fixture pile-up for Manchester United.
Pogba played 120 minutes against Anderlecht in the Europa League on Thursday before completing 90 minutes away at Burnley only three days later, which led him to pull up with a hamstring injury in the final few minutes at Turf Moor.
Speaking ahead of the Manchester derby, Mourinho explained: “Paul was injured because he played two hours against Anderlecht [the Europa League quarter-final last Thursday] and then he was playing 90 minutes against Burnley two days later. If you compare us with Chelsea and Liverpool we have played 18 more matches than them.
“That is half a Premier League so [consider] what that means in terms of recovering and injuries and travelling and psychological pressure and the number of training sessions … It’s not out of the context that the last two champions – I include Chelsea now and Leicester last season – didn’t play in Europe and that three years ago Liverpool were almost champions without playing European competition.”
I think this Pogba injury was completely avoidable. We were in cruise control against Burnley, so it wouldn’t have hurt United at all to bring off Pogba for the last ten minutes and give him a little bit of rest as Burnley chased the game. Instead, he picked up the injury right at the end of the game.
Was it Mourinho’s fault Pogba injured himself? No, but I feel it was a situation he could have and should have removed Pogba from as a manager.
Anyway, we’re going to have to do without Pogba tonight – unless all of this is one elaborate mind game – and we’ll find out in the coming days when Pogba is expected to return to action.