The Dell Boys
The Dell Boys

Anthony Martial was the Premier League's top performer last weekend

Anthony Martial was the Premier League's top performer last weekend

Marouane Fellaini's sending off late in the second half robs Manchester United of another body as the Premier League enters the stretch run.

And while playing cautiously and taking the draw may be seen as a negative in some quarters, Mourinho feels that his side's gap to rivals Liverpool should be remembered; Manchester United are now just two points behind third-placed Liverpool but have a game in hand. City would go third with a win, though that is probably the result Liverpool will be hoping for as it would make it much more hard for Manchester United to crack the top four.

"It's not just about them", said Mourinho.

"This is not about Pep, this is not about City; it is about fighting for objectives".

Manchester United take on Manchester City in their crunch derby clash at The Etihad on Thursday night.

Victory on Thursday would help to shut off City's only path to Europe's top club competition.

"Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: "[Jose Mourinho and I] are neighbors. There is certainly no let-up but a belief is growing that Mourinho's United is already starting to take shape by acquiring the mentality required to pull off positive results in the biggest games.

"Game after game they pick up crucial wins".

Fatigue aside, the only dark cloud on United's horizon is injuries.

The England worldwide started his first game for the Red Devils since March in the 2-0 win over Burnley last weekend, taking him to 10 Premier League starts for the season.

Centre-backs Chris Smalling and Phil Jones remain sidelined, along with Juan Mata, who scored the victory when the teams met at Old Trafford in the League Cup fourth round in October.

"It's going to go until the last game", he added.

Antonio Valencia will return at right-back having sat out Sunday's win at Burnley, while one gets the sense that the manager still doesn't quite trust Luke Shaw so expect Matteo Darmian (or possibly even Ashley Young) to start at left-back. His Real Madrid side were 2-1 winners at Guardiola's Barcelona in April 2012.

"Paul? No", was Mourinho's response when asked about the France midfielder's chances of playing.

"When we see each other, (it's) 'Hi, hi'".

The hosts, Manchester City, will be missing the services of David Silva after the Spanish worldwide was substituted 23 minutes into the FA Cup semi-final following a heavy tackle by Arsenal defender Gabriel Paulista.

"I always believe we have to do much better, as good as possible".

Brazil global Jesus is in line for a return after recovering from a foot injury suffered against Bournemouth in February. United will be the slight underdog in this match - in addition to being away from home and missing top players, they lost the first meeting between these two teams.


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