PAUL Pogba has called on Manchester United to “wake up” after a third straight draw over the Christmas period saw them slip behind Chelsea in the Premier League table.
Draws against Leicester and Burnley either side of Christmas severely undermined United’s status as challengers to Manchester City and Saturday’s 0-0 stalemate at home to Southampton means they are now third in the standings, 15 points adrift of City.
The problems are mounting for manager Jose Mourinho, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s knee problem keeping him out for a month and Romelu Lukaku taken off on a stretcher after a nasty clash of heads with Wesley Hoedt.
‘‘We didn’t lose but we have to wake up, bounce back and get back to winning,’‘ the Frenchman told MUTV.
‘‘We drew again. Three draws, we have to win, something has to change and we have to change to win.
‘‘It’s only one day and then we have to play against Everton — that’s football. Tomorrow’s another day and we have to go out there and win.’
On the injury to topscorer Lukaku, Pogba said: ‘‘When we have Romelu, he makes it difficult for defenders and creates so much space as well. He’s a big miss for us but we have the team to fill the gap of Romelu.’‘ Medical staff took every precaution in treating a potentially concerning head injury, placing the Belgian on a stretcher and fitting an oxygen mask.
By full-time Mourinho was confident the worst-case scenarios had been ruled out and was instead predicting a two-match lay-off for the forward.
Meanwhile, Manchester United’s Ashley Young and Swansea’s Kyle Naughton were both banned for three matches Sunday following incidents of violent conduct during Premier League games.
Young elbowed Dusan Tadic in the chest during United’s 0-0 draw against Southampton at Old Trafford. He accepted a charge from the English Football Association but argued that a ban of three games would be excessive. His appeal was rejected by a disciplinary commission.
Also on Saturday, Naughton trod on the leg of Watford’s Stefano Okaka in Swansea’s 2-1 win at Vicarage Road. He didn’t appeal against the charge. Neither incident was spotted by match officials.
Usually a winger, Young has been playing at full back for United this season and his absence leaves United short of defensive cover for upcoming games against Everton and Stoke in the league and Derby in the FA Cup.
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