Pogba ruled out for rest of February as Man Utd attempt to end Spanish hoodoo

By Sports Desk February 17, 2021

Paul Pogba will not play again in February, with the Manchester United midfielder still needing a couple of weeks to recover from a thigh injury.

Pogba has not featured for United since sustaining the injury in their 3-3 draw with Everton on February 6.

He seemingly faces a race against time to be fit for the derby with Manchester City on March 6, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ruling him out of Premier League games against Newcastle United and Chelsea as well as the two legs of the Europa League last-32 tie versus Real Sociedad.

Speaking ahead of the first leg of that tie, Solskjaer told a media conference: "Paul, his recovery, he's starting the treatments, it'll still be a few weeks.

"He won't be playing in February that's for sure. Still a few weeks until we see Paul, definitely.

"Apart from that we have a couple of doubtful ones if they'll be fit enough [to face Sociedad].

"Anthony [Martial] and Scott [McTominay], we'll have to check them tomorrow and Donny [van de Beek] and Edinson [Cavani] definitely not travelling."

Muscle injuries will keep Van de Beek and Cavani out of the away leg against Sociedad on Thursday, which will take place in Turin rather than San Sebastian because of coronavirus concerns.

Though the away leg will be played at a neutral venue, Solskjaer still sees a side fifth in LaLiga as the toughest opponent they could have been given.

"You've got to be very, very good against Sociedad, it's probably the hardest you could pick from our unseeded group," he said.

"They were top of LaLiga for a while, now they're still in the hunt for the Champions League for next year, got some top players, some very experienced players, some quality players, some young very good ones.

"We have to play at a high level to get a result, of course we do, because the Spanish league is a quality one."

United are winless in their past nine meetings with Spanish opposition since beating Celta Vigo 1-0 in the semi-finals of the 2016-17 Europa League.

They have lost six of those matches, but Solskjaer is not concerned by the history that appears to be against them.

"It's probably down to the level of teams we've played against," Solskjaer said of that record. "Spanish teams are good, make no mistake about that, and we haven't performed well enough, that's for sure.

"We have to perform very well to beat a Sociedad team who are aggressive defensively, they're very good on the ball, good possession team, got good pace, got most of the ingredients of a top team.

"We don't go into games worrying [about that record], but we know we have to perform well to get a good result."

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Ex-Inter star Eriksen set to complete Brentford move imminently Rumour Has It: Ex-Inter star Eriksen set to complete Brentford move imminently

    Christian Eriksen had his contract terminated with Inter last month.

    The Danish midfielder has been training with Ajax in recent weeks.

    But the 29-year-old former Tottenham star is set to return to England.

     

    TOP STORY – ERIKSEN SET TO COMPLETE BEES DEAL

    Former Inter midfielder Eriksen is set to complete a deal to join Brentford in the next 72 hours according to the Mirror.

    Ex-Tottenham star Eriksen has agreed terms but needs to pass a medical with the Bees to seal the imminent deal.

    The Denmark international, who suffered a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020, was unable to play for Inter this season due to Italian football regulations.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - Newcastle United will open new talks with Brighton as they move to sign Yves Bissouma, claims the Daily Mail. The Magpies are also pondering an offer for Tottenham's Dele Alli.

    - The Sun reports that Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola may be lured away with by the offer to take over as the Netherlands national team boss. The Dutch deal would start in 2023 when his current contract expires.

    - West Ham will make a bumper move for Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin claims The Sun. The deal would be worth £60million.

    - Mundo Deportivo claims that ex-Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj is set to extend his current deal with Real Sociedad .

    - Diego Carlos' representatives are trying to convince Sevilla to sell him to Newcastle with a £60m deal on the table according to 90min.

  • Simeone: Atletico 'left their soul out there' in remarkable comeback win Simeone: Atletico 'left their soul out there' in remarkable comeback win

    Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone lavished praise on his side for their fighting performance after netting two stoppage-time goals to win 3-2 over Valencia on Saturday.

    Simeone's side appeared destined for a third consecutive defeat in all competitions after Yunus Musah and Hugo Duro had put the visitors two goals up at the interval.

    Matheus Cunha reduced the deficit in the 64th minute, before added-time strikes from Angel Correa and Mario Hermoso secured a remarkable victory.

    “At half time I spoke to the players, I told them what I felt and I have transmitted in recent years, 'if we have to lose we lose with pride'," Simeone told reporters.

    “The team left their soul out there, they left their lives on the pitch. There are nights that remain with you and this one is going to stay with us."

    He added: "It was a fantastic second half. We were ourselves. Watching that second half, I felt: this is us."

    Atleti had collected just four points from the previous 18 available in LaLiga, with the win boosting their lagging top-four aspirations.

    Simeone was almost reduced to tears on the touchline after Hermoso's winner as the Spanish champions firmed up fourth spot, three points clear of fifth-placed Real Sociedad.

    "What did I feel? That it's marvellous, this place I'm in," Simeone said. "Whenever it feels like it might be going, I want to hold on even tighter. In the first half, my heart hurt."

    The result saw Atletico become just the second LaLiga team in the 21st century to come from behind to win a game with two goals in added time, after Betis did so – also against Valencia - in December 2011.

  • Manchester City boss Guardiola reaches 500 Premier League points in record time Manchester City boss Guardiola reaches 500 Premier League points in record time

    Pep Guardiola became the fastest manager in Premier League history to accrue 500 points with Manchester City's 1-1 draw against Southampton on Saturday.

    The Catalan coach, who first took charge of City in August 2016, reached the milestone figure in 213 matches – 18 fewer than previous quickest Jose Mourinho.

    Jurgen Klopp is next on the list having reached 500 points in 236 games with Liverpool, while legendary Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson needed 242 matches to do so.

    Arsene Wenger (249 games) completes the top five, with Rafael Benitez (267), David Moyes (340), Martin O'Neill (351), Mark Hughes (367), Sam Allardyce (386), Harry Redknapp (392) and Steve Bruce (441) also members of the 500 club.

    City have taken more points against Arsenal (34) than any other opponent under Guardiola, followed by Burnley, West Ham (both 31), Leicester City and Watford (both 27).

    Reigning Premier League champions City have put together four runs of 12-plus victories in the competition in Guardiola's five-and-a-half-year tenure, the most recent of which came to an end with their draw against Southampton.

    The Citizens dropped points for the first time in 13 matches in a run stretching back to a 2-0 home loss against Crystal Palace on October 30, leaving them 12 points clear of second-placed Liverpool having played two games more.

    Kyle Walker-Peters fired Southampton into an early lead with a sensational outside-of-the-boot strike – just the third first-half goal City have conceded in the league this term – but the visitors hit back through Aymeric Laporte's header.

    Despite his side's losing run coming to an end, Guardiola was pleased with their display at St Mary's Stadium.

    "We played really well. Unfortunately, in the first half we conceded a goal, but I think this was one of our best performances of the season, by far," he told Sky Sports.

    "They were incredibly organised and this is one of the best performances we played against them. Yes, the result was not good, but in terms of performance and the way we played, it was excellent.

    "We played better than in the Arsenal game, when we won, and today we drew. Sometimes you deserve it and you don't win, but the way we played here was excellent.

    "Southampton are a really good team. They are organised, they play 4-4-2, long balls, good pace in counter-attack, good build up. But we were brilliant today.

    "Why should we lose belief in what we have done? It was a good performance. We are going to drop points, but the way we behave is very good."

    Liverpool could move to within six points of City should they win their games in hand, while the sides still have to meet at the Etihad Stadium in April.

    "People will say the Premier League race is not over and that is good for this side," Guardiola added. "We have many tough games ahead of us, but we will try to behave until the end.

    "I would like to have a 40-point lead ahead of Liverpool, but that is not possible in January. I didn't expect to have this lead, but now we will rest and come back as best as possible."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.