MANCHESTER - Manchester United have refused a film crew behind-the-scenes access at Old Trafford in what could be construed as an act of derby-day point-scoring.
Manchester City are four months into a £10million, season-long documentary series produced by Amazon Prime, charting their second campaign with Pep Guardiola in charge.
But in a serious blow, they will be unable to capture intimate moments before or after Sunday’s clash.
Guardiola’s side can go 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League with victory, and exclusive clips of what could be a significant day would have been priceless. United sources last night said the rejection was a logistical decision.
They claim 23 rights-holders, 19 of which are foreign broadcasters, will already be in the tunnel area. It means the Amazon crew will not be allowed into Guardiola’s dressing-room either. They are believed to have a station pitchside to shoot footage.
Guardiola heads across town having led City to wins in all seven of their away matches so far, and 14 out of 15 in all, but United midfielder Paul Pogba believes their lead in the table is surmountable.
The Frenchman will miss the first of three matches after being suspended for stamping on Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin last Saturday. However, Pogba is preparing to act as an extension of Jose Mourinho’s backroom staff in the build-up.
"I will be there to help the team mentally. I need to be there to boost the team. I have complete trust in them. They need to win because they know that we are behind and we are closing," Pogba said.
Pogba added that United, who boast seven home league wins on the spin with a positive goal difference of 19, will go out to attack City.
"We need to," he said. "To win those games you need to give everything. You need to be there offensively, defensively. Kill the game when you have one chance because they have quality as well in front and they can kill the game at any time."
Juan Mata maintained anyone handing the title to City already is kidding themselves.
"If they say that I don’t think they really believe it," he said. "It’s a crazy league and it’s too early to think that it’s finished.
"City will tell you the same. We are doing lots of good things. We need to keep that pace if we want to be in a position to challenge for the title at the end of the season."