Thursday 16 August 2018

Paul Pogba calls on Manchester United to maintain standards against Arsenal

Jose Mourinho’s side are second in the Premier League.

Paul Pogba is a key man for Manchester United
Paul Pogba is a key man for Manchester United

By Simon Peach, Press Association Chief Football Writer

Paul Pogba knows Manchester United cannot afford to let standards slip in this weekend’s “big one” against Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal.

Already all but assured of a top-four spot, Jose Mourinho’s men are looking to tighten their grip on second place and secure their highest finish since Sir Alex Ferguson bowed out as champion in 2013.

Arsenal are the visitors on Sunday as Wenger’s farewell tour continues, with Pogba calling on his team-mates to do a similar job as they did to another north London side last weekend.

Dele Alli’s early goal during a bright Tottenham start could have thrown United off kilter in their FA Cup semi-final, but they bounced back through goals from Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera to emerge 2-1 victors.

“It was an objective of ours to be in the final in the cup,” Pogba said.

“We had a very good result and a very good performance.

“That was the performance we were looking for, and the mentality and the teamwork we are looking for until the end of the season.

“What (coming back again) says is that mentally we are strong, and it showed that we can be a strong team altogether.

We know it’s going to be a hard game, it was a very hard game against them earlier in the season Paul Pogba

“We have shown it during the season against the big teams, most of the time, but we need to keep it up against other teams as well.

“We need to keep playing altogether with the same mentality.”

Pogba looks set to start against the Gunners on Sunday – not something that has been guaranteed in recent months as speculation over his relationship with Mourinho went hand-in-hand with poor performances.

The United midfielder became a shell of the player that lit up proceedings at the start of the campaign but has shown he is getting back to his best with man-of-the-match displays at Manchester City and Bournemouth.

Pogba is now looking to take such positive displays into a game that can see United do the double against Arsenal.

Mourinho’s team ran out 3-1 victors at the Emirates Stadium on a December night when David De Gea pulled off a string of exceptional saves and Pogba was sent off for a dangerous challenge.

“It’s a big one,” Pogba told MUTV. “We need points.

“They have a big game against Atletico so maybe that might help us if they are a bit tired.

“We know it’s going to be a hard game, it was a very hard game against them earlier in the season.

“But we had a very good team performance and David was amazing.

“We need that again and we need everybody to be at their best because when that happens it moves the team up.

“We’ve been great in the last game with the team performance and against the top teams you always have to produce that.”

De Gea will start between the sticks again as back-up Sergio Romero continues to be sidelined with a knee injury picked up on international duty.

Right-back Antonio Valencia is available after being forced off with a muscle complaint against Spurs last weekend.

Press Association

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