Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has ruled Paul Pogba out of Thursday’s derby with Manchester City.
Pogba was forced off in the closing stages of United’s 2-0 win over Burnley on Sunday.
Afterwards, Mourinho said the 24-year-old was “dead” having played 47 games so far this season, and he confirmed at his news conference on Wednesday that the midfielder will not be available to line up against City at the Etihad Stadium.
Mourinho also confirmed that Antonio Valencia is fit to return after missing the win at Turf Moor while Ander Herrera has shaken off an ankle knock and is available.
However, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are still out, despite Mourinho’s call for the defensive pair to step up their recovery from injury and take the burden off Eric Bailly and Daley Blind.
Smalling and Jones have both missed the last seven games with knee and toe injuries, respectively.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcos Rojo and Juan Mata are also unavailable and Mourinho said: “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 last second of the season. The boys are fighters and we go.”
Victory for United on Thursday would lift them two points clear of City in the race for the top four, but Mourinho insists he is not concerned as to whether or not his team finish above Pep Guardiola’s side this season — only whether or not they earn a place in next season’s Champions League.
He added: “It means nothing, means nothing. If you finish fifth and they are sixth, we are above them but it means nothing.
“If they finish third and we finish fourth, they are above us and it means a lot.
“This is not about Pep or City, it’s about objectives, and we want to play Champions League football and we still have two doors open.”
United can also secure a place in the Champions League if they win the Europa League, with a two-legged semifinal tie against Celta Vigo still to come.
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