Neville reveals how Man Utd can beat Man City without Pogba

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The France midfielder will be out of the crucial clash with Pep Guardiola's team, but the former defender believes the Red Devils still have a chance

Gary Neville believes Manchester United should opt for a five-man defence and stick with Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial up front to cover for Paul Pogba's absence in the Manchester derby.

Jose Mourinho's side are looking to narrow the eight-point gap between them and Premier League leaders Manchester City when they meet at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The hosts will be without star midfielder Pogba after he was shown a red card for a stamp on Hector Bellerin in their 3-1 win over Arsenal, meaning he is suspended for their next three domestic matches.

Pogba has been in good form since his return from injury and set up two goals against the Gunners but Neville saw enough in that game to suggest Mourinho's side will have a chance against City.

"I was excited by what I was watching in the first 20 minutes against Arsenal, the counter-attacking was fantastic," he told Sky Sports.

"[Jesse] Lingard, [Anthony] Martial and [Romelu] Lukaku were brilliant, and you could see a little bit how [Nicolas] Otamendi or [Vincent] Kompany could get caught. You could see how that tactic could work in the Manchester derby.

"Pogba makes a big, big difference. So when they went to Anfield, they couldn't connect the deep defence to the midfield and into attack. He connects that, he links it, with those runs forward and his composure on the ball.

"It [Pogba's red card at Arsenal] was a cloud over a very good day for United because he is such an important player in the connection between the front and the back.

Paul Pogba Manchester United

"The composure he shows travelling with the ball, you see West Ham when they were deep with 20 minutes to go, they didn't have anybody that could travel with the ball, past [Kevin] De Bruyne and [David] Silva.

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"You think about Pogba, he would beat Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva with the ball at his feet and break that line. Once you break that line you're onto the weakness, you're onto those two centre-backs with Lukaku and Martial.

"City is a big game to not have Pogba. The person who can break the line is gone, but Jose Mourinho will be looking at how he can do it differently.

"I was trying to think myself what Jose will be thinking. Do you play split strikers with Martial and Lukaku? City bring their full-backs in narrow while two centre-backs push up the pitch, [so United could] just leave two strikers stretched wide and you play three central midfielders and five at the back, and say to City that's what we'll do, trust that the front two will get into those areas."

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