Kevin De Bruyne has expressed his frustration that Paul Pogba will miss out on the Manchester derby, saying he always wants to face the world’s best players.
The France midfielder will be a notable absentee on Sunday when he serves a suspension after being sent off for a stamp on Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin, a dismissal which United have decided not to appeal.
Some observers have suggested Pogba’s absence will be karma for an ugly challenge which left Bellerin writhing in pain, but the Manchester City star has batted away those claims, saying:
“I don’t believe in that s***. I’m a very straightforward guy. If someone believes it is karma then okay. Everyone has a right to their opinion.
“I don’t care – he can say whatever he wants. I don’t want anyone to get injured. It’s a competition, you want to play against the best teams and the best players.
“He’s a massive player. I know him a little bit. He’s unbelievable. But he took a red card and that’s the way it goes. You have injuries and suspensions. We just have to be focused on whatever we’re doing.”
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Pogba’s absence may force Jose Mourinho into a tactical rethink but De Bruyne says nothing will ever change Pep Guardiola’s ‘total football’ philosophy.