Manchester United legend Bryan Robson has admitted the absence of influential midfielder Paul Pogba due to a hamstring injury has been a huge loss in recent weeks, but has explained the way he believes his former team can beat reigning champions Chelsea this weekend anyway.
Pogba limped out of United's Champions League win over Basel in September and manager Jose Mourinho has consistently declared he has 'no idea' when the Frenchman will return.
For Robson, Pogba's injury has seen United lose a creative edge, with the ex-Old Trafford skipper suggesting that Romelu Lukaku has his missed his friend pulling strings behind him.
"Matic is a great signing: he knows the game, he's got great experience, he's got presence about him and he gets in the right areas at the right time. So he's been a great plus to United," Robson commented when speaking to betsafe.com.
"The only thing which is a little bit of a shame for United so far - because I think United might have had even more points on the board - is if Pogba had been fit all the time," he added.
"Pogba was scoring goals, but he was creating goals because he had this really good understanding with Lukaku. So I think we've missed that to a certain degree and that's why we're not scoring as many goals as when we started the season. The sooner Pogba comes back the better for the club."
United narrowly beat Tottenham by a single goal to nil last weekend, but perhaps missed a trick against Liverpool a fortnight earlier, especially given that Spurs tore the Merseysiders to shreds a few days later. Ahead of Sunday's clash with Chelsea, Robson thinks United have to assert themselves early in the game and make the most of opportunities to break at speed.
"Against Liverpool, United had to defend a lot more than what the manager would have wanted. I don't think that was tactically the manager's fault, I just think the players had a poor second half and gave the ball away far too cheaply," Captain Marvel explained.
"Going down to Chelsea, I think if you get a foot in the game where you're nice and solid in the first twenty minutes, put the pressure on Chelsea to try and break them down, but your counter attack football has got to be really good. I can see that's the way Jose will go into the game."
Although United won the last fixture against Chelsea at Old Trafford in April, Mourinho witnessed his team get humiliated by a 4-0 score-line at Stamford Bridge this time last year, as well as crashing out of the FA Cup in west London as well.
Robson believes facing his former team will motivate the Portuguese coach even more.
"I'm sure Jose will say it doesn't make any difference at all going back to a former club - at the end of the day it is only three points, the same as against anybody else," he said.
"But when you've been at a club for a time like he has been at Chelsea and achieved what he's achieved, he'll be desperate to beat them. And the players will be as well, the players know how important it is.
"Manchester City went down there and won so United have got to try and get a similar result."