Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba will miss Thursday’s Premier League trip to rivals Manchester City but the rested Antonio Valencia is set to return, said manager Jose Mourinho.
Pogba, who rejoined United from Juventus for a world record fee of 89 million pounds ($114.36 million) in August, has a muscle injury. The Frenchman hobbled off the pitch in the last few minutes of Sunday’s 2-0 victory at Burnley.
Valencia was left out of the squad at Burnley after suffering fatigue but will be back for United at the Etihad.
When asked if Pogba and midfielder Ander Herrera were fit for the derby, Mourinho said, “Paul, no. Herrera, yes.”
“We go with what we have, we fight with what we have, I trust the boys and I go with everything we have and we go until the (end of the) season. The boys are fighters and we hope.”
United, who are fifth in the league a point behind City, can leapfrog Pep Guardiola’s fourth-placed side with a victory.
Mourinho, however, is more focused on claiming a top-four finish to secure Champions League qualification regardless of whether they end up above their cross-town rivals.
“It means nothing (to finish above City), if you finish fifth or sixth and we are above City it means nothing,” he said.
“This is not about Pep, this is not about City, this is about fighting for objectives.”
United are also in the Europa League semifinals and could secure a Champions League berth if they win the competition. They face Spanish side Celta Vigo over two legs next month.
“We want to try and play Champions League football and we still have two doors open,” added Mourinho.