He can play in 10 positions – Guardiola marvels over United star Pogba

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The City boss acknowledged the midfielder faces high expectations but believes Pogba has had a "good season" for the Red Devils

Paul Pogba might have earned mixed reviews during his first season back at Manchester United, but the France midfielder has an unlikely champion in the form of Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola.

Jose Mourinho announced world's most expensive player will miss Thursday's derby against City at the Etihad Stadium through injury, news that is likely to come as a relief to Guardiola.

Speaking ahead of the match, the Catalan recalled Pogba's impressive display as his Bayern Munich required extra time to see off Juventus 6-4 on aggregate in a thrilling Champions league tie last season.

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"I met Paul Pogba for the first time when Bayern Munich played Juventus," he explained.

"In both games I was really impressed. He played in 10 positions. He is an outstanding player and he can do absolutely everything.

"Of course sometimes it’s not easy to handle the expectations you have when you arrive here, especially with the amount of money. It wasn't easy.

"He's an outstanding player and I think he made a good season."

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Guardiola is also accused of failing to live up to expectations in his first season at City, who are fourth in the Premier League – a point and a place above United – and saw their final chance of lifting silverware dashed in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final defeat to Arsenal.

His record against the top seven in the Premier League leaves much to be desired, with a December win against Arsenal his only success after overcoming United by the same 2-1 scoreline last September.

A morale-boosting victory would be timely for City, but Guardiola appreciates he has his work cut out against old foe Mourinho and an English contingent at United he rates highly.

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"All of them, they are perfect," he said. "I am a big fan of Michael Carrick. He is one of the best holding midfielders I've ever seen in my life by far. He's the level of Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets.

"[Marcus] Rashford is a big talent of course and [Jesse] Lingard. England is safe, you have outstanding players.

"Not just here in City – United, Tottenham, Chelsea. Come on, guys, you can do it [with the] international team!"