Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has labelled Paul Pogba as a "top player" and advised his Manchester United counterpart Jose Mourinho to find the "right way to manage him" in order to get the best out of the midfielder.
The France international played under the Blues coach while the two were at Juventus in the past. It is with the Turin club that the 24-year-old established himself as one of the best midfielders in Europe.
However, Pogba has failed to live up to that reputation in recent times. The Portuguese tactician took him off the pitch in the Red Devils' last two defeats against Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United.
He came off the bench in United's 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup. He was also left out of the starting XI for the Champions League knockout tie against Sevilla. An injury to Ander Herrera early in the game saw Pogba replace the Spaniard after the first quarter.
Conte claims Chelsea will have an advantage if Mourinho decides to leave his star midfielder out of the starting lineup when the Blues travel to Old Trafford on 25 February.
"We are talking about a top player. Talking about a fantastic player. I'm expecting to see him on the pitch. Then, if he stays out, it will be better [for us]... Every coach has to find the right way to manage him. But I think that Pogba is showing at United that he is a top player," Conte explained, as quoted by the Independent.
The former Italy coach also stressed that the Premier League winners have to put in more than 100 per cent if they have to walk away from United with three points on Sunday.
"United are always dangerous. Always dangerous, because their squad is very strong. There are a lot of players, the squad is big, and fantastic players... this team also is very physical, great physicality," the Chelsea manager said.
"We must pay great attention. When you play against United, you have to know that anything can happen. There is the risk of losing the game because, I repeat, you are playing a really strong team.
"But massive game for us, and we have to do the best we can and put 120 per cent, all our strength, into trying to get three points."