‘Set-pieces could be United's route to victory’

Manchester United's height and strength at set-pieces could provide the key to a victory over Premier League leaders Manchester City in Sunday's derby clash, former United assistant manager Mike Phelan believes.
City's outstanding ability to keep possession and rotate the ball mean United are likely to focus on their own highly effective counter-attacking game with set-pieces a potentially fruitful route to goal as well, says Phelan, former right-hand man of Alex Ferguson at Old Trafford.
"This could be potentially a game-winner – set pieces. Tight games sometimes you find a way and that might be through a mistake in the penalty area on a set-piece or good delivery into the penalty area causing mistakes," he told Reuters in an interview.
With Paul Pogba missing as he starts a three-game suspension, United manager Jose Mourinho has the option of bringing in six foot four Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini into his side giving an already taller and more physical United another weapon.
With the former Everton midfielder in their side, United have won 89 percent of their matches compared to just 50 percent without him.

"Fellaini would be an option for Manchester United and I think United this season have definitely got a bit more physicality about them, more presence about them," says Phelan.
"I think that stems from Mourinho's ability, you only have to look back to his history he has had Chelsea who were a big team and he does like that bit of muscle and physicality to his teams. I think that would be a good area the set-pieces and Fellaini would be a good option," he added.
Phelan, a former United player who managed Hull City in the Premier League last season, does not expect Mourinho to be concerned about his team having less possession than their rivals - even at home.
"I think from City it will be business as usual but from United's point of view possession won't be an issue. I think he will be happy to accept that because it is not just United they keep the ball from but everyone else," Phelan said.
"It will be about a slight containment with a counter-attacking effect which I think United have been terrific at this season and exposing, if possible, any weaknesses through lack of possession, through giving the ball away from City's point of view. Then hopefully you take your chances when they come."