Pep Guardiola would like Paul Pogba to play in next week’s Manchester derby at Old Trafford and does not believe the influential United midfielder wants City stars to be struck down by injury.
United’s chances of getting Pogba’s three-match ban for treading on Hector Bellerin during Saturday’s pulsating 3-1 win at Arsenal overturned appear remote, a significant blow for boss Jose Mourinho with Premier League leaders City next on the agenda domestically.
Pogba’s pending ban was gleefully received by some City fans after the France international earlier told the BBC’s Football Focus he hoped their rivals would “get some very important players injured”, as had been the case at United while the gap at the top widened.
Speaking after the West Ham game, Guardiola seemed bemused by such a sentiment.
“Did he say that? Hopefully we don’t have injuries,” the Catalan told a news conference as he began scratching his head.
“I would like it if Paul could play against us because I like to face the teams with the best players possible to see if we are able to beat them.
“In the end, I think it was an expression. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want other players to get injured.”