United look to recover pride in decisive derby
23 Apr 2019, 15:05 ( 1 Month ago)
Manchester United's players will be looking to win back the respect of their fans and at the same time dent the title hopes of neighbors Manchester City when the two sides meet at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
The game comes hot on the heels of United's 4-0 defeat away to Everton on Sunday, in a display so poor that coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the rare step of making a public apology for the performance.
United players have been criticized from all sides following the display, but such is football that much would be forgiven if they can beat City on Wednesday.
Pep Guardiola's side sit two points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool, but with a game in hand.
A win in the 'Theater of Dreams' would mean they will retain the title if they win their last three league games. However, if they drop two points at Old Trafford, the destiny of the title will be in Liverpool's hands.
United fans would take little joy in seeing rivals Liverpool lift the title, but for United midfielder Paul Pogba, the issue is about pride.
The Frenchman came in for heavy criticism for his weekend display and has recently been linked with a move to Real Madrid, but speaking to Sky Sports, Pogba also apologized for Sunday's performance and promised better things to come.
"Everything went wrong, but the most important thing is the mentality that we have on the pitch. That has to change," admitted Pogba.
He wanted to put the Everton defeat in the past and think about the derby. "You have to think about the next game and do better," he said.
"What we did on the pitch is not respectful for the team-mates, for the staff, for the people, for the kitman, for everyone. For their work, they put their life on us, the team and this club. What we showed on the pitch, we did not give them the joy back and that's why we are angry with ourselves. We want to do better for sure and we have to. The reaction has to be there," insisted the midfielder.
Although United were poor at the weekend, other results in the Premier League - with Tottenham and Arsenal both losing and Chelsea failing to beat Burnley - mean they are still in with a chance of a top-four finish.
That situation may become clearer this week with Tottenham at home to struggling Brighton on Tuesday night, while Arsenal visit Wolves on Wednesday.