Paul Ince: Even if Lukaku is fit, Jose would be mad to play him in the derby

Paul Ince says the team look like a different side without Lukaku, and says City fans are right not to care about the Football Leaks allegations…


There are questions around whether Romelu Lukaku will be fit for the Manchester derby. But even if he is, Mourinho would be absolutely mad to play him.

The results are plain to see. Alexis Sanchez was much improved against Juventus on Wednesday and it’s no coincidence that there was no Lukaku present.

In general, when he hasn’t played, United look like a much better team.

Without him, rather than booting in a long ball and hoping for the best, the United players are forced to play down the sides and get men in behind.

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No Lukaku has forced United to play a different way. And I’d go as far as to say it’s exciting to watch, they’re playing proper football again! They’re playing what I would call the United way.

You can’t deny his goal scoring record, but there are certain balls which the midfield have been attempting now he’s not in the team, and there’s no way they’d have done that with him there.

Sanchez, Lingard, Martial and even Rashford are all looking for those types of balls.

It’s those kinds of players which will cause Manchester City trouble on Sunday, not Lukaku.

Man City fans won’t care less about the Football Leaks allegations

In terms of the Manchester City Football Leaks allegations, and questions around Financial Fair Play, people are trying to discredit what the team have done. Let’s not smear City, we all know they’re a wealthy club, and irrespective of the money they’ve spent they are incredible.

People are saying they’re buying their way to trophies, that it’s dodgy and underhand and so on, but the simple fact is they’re the best in the league.

City are trying to dominate English and world football for years to come. Their recruitment and the choice of talent they’ve brought in is flawless.

Whether people are taking shots at City and trying to discredit what they’ve done, doesn’t really matter to me. It’s nonsense – the fact is, we’re watching one of the best teams to ever grace the Premier League.

The way they play football, the attacking style, let’s just enjoy it. I’m sure if there’s an issue with FFP that is proven, it will be dealt with by the relevant people.

But for me, that’s nothing to do with Guardiola or the team. Their goal is to win games and trophies – which is what they’re doing.

If you’re a City fan, watching your team play the way they are now, you really couldn’t care less about these leaks.

They won’t be in the stands talking about Financial Fair Play on Sunday afternoon, let’s be honest. They’ll be talking about how to get payback on their biggest rival.

Man United should not be ruled out of Sunday’s game

Man City may have had another great win on Wednesday night – and a totally ridiculous penalty – but United are no Southampton or Shakhtar Donetsk.

Their win over Juventus will have had an impact on City. They’ll have been expecting a loss in Turin, but Pep Guardiola will know Mourinho and his team are going into the game knowing that if they got a win there, what’s to stop them at the Etihad?

People will say there’s no way United can go and win it. But, after the Juventus result, they’ll be silenced. People will have different views.

No team will want to face Anthony Martial right now. He’s playing like the player we all knew he was.

And it’s interesting to see that now Mourinho seems to have found a team and formula that works, the results are coming in.

Martial is Man United’s Eden Hazard.

He’s their world class attacking player, the one that can do something special and make things happen when you most need it.

He’s only 22, and if he carries on in this form, he’ll be as good, if not better than Hazard. has all the latest football punts

What do you think?