Manchester United go into Saturday’s derby with little more on their mind than stopping their bitter rivals Manchester City winning the Premier League there and then.
It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Pep Guardiola’s side but one that will fill United fans with dread. Two men that Reds fans will likely be looking at to conjure up an unlikely result are expensive talismen Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba.
The duo have both struggled in recent weeks, although the international break may well have reinvigorated the pair as Sanchez netted in the 2-0 victory against Swansea last time out.
Pogba also found the net during the international break, a stunning free-kick for France against Russia, but it remains to be seen whether Jose Mourinho trusts his defensive discipline enough to play him at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Sanchez should feature and one man who is sympathetic to the Chilean’s struggles is former United defender Paul Parker.
Paul Parker, speaking exclusively to 888Sport, said:
“With Sanchez, you have to look at the team more than anything. He’s one of those players who you need on the ball as much as possible. Because of how hard he works and how much he wants the ball, of course he’s going to give it away more because he’s on the ball more.
“As good a player as he is he needs a team around him, a good team, who will find him in the final third. He’s getting frustrated and quickly shows his emotions and that is a problem. He’s no longer in a team that passes as much as Arsenal.”
The former Reds right-back was less sympathetic towards Pogba, however, stating that he is in the shadow of Kevin De Bruyne due to his obsession with haircuts.
“Can Pogba become the player he wants to be? He can, but his priority has got to be his football. That should stick out more than his hair. It’s fine to have all the haircuts and emojis and whatever.
“But to earn all that, go and do your talking on the pitch: week in, week out. Everybody knows he can do it. His first priority when he’s asked what he wants to be and replies that he wants to be the best player in this team is to say ‘well forget your hairdresser for a while’.
“Just go out there and become a player first. Then you can do what you want with your hair because they’ll only see the player. De Bruyne won’t do anything with his hair and he doesn’t have an emoji.
“He’s playing football. When you talk about the best five players in the world, you’ll mention Messi, Ronaldo, Salah and De Bruyne.
“When you mention Pogba, people will have a little bit of a laugh. Then talk about his hair and the problems he has with Mourinho. That’s not really what he should be known for when he cost £89m.
“The gap between Pogba and De Bruyne could end up a nineteen point gap. We’re talking about potential up against class. There are good players but to become a great player you have to do it consistently, week in and week out, and that’s what de Bruyne does.”
Read the full 888sport interview with Paul Parker, including his prediction for the Manchester Derby this weekend.