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 By PA Sport

Paul Pogba: Manchester United still want to catch Prem leaders City

Paul Pogba says Manchester United still have their sights set on catching Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

Pogba was on fine form as United beat Stoke 3-0 at Old Trafford on Monday, a result which reduced the gap to leaders City to 12 points.

Asked if City's 4-3 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday gave the Red Devils a lift, Pogba told Sky Sports: "Obviously we see Manchester City in front of us and they lost.

"They are first so we always want to catch them, so it was good that they lost, so for us we have to think about ourselves.

"It's good that they lose points but we have to go back to winning because we want to catch them again.''

Manchester United made up ground on their city rivals on Monday.

Antonio Valencia fired Manchester United into an early lead with an unstoppable left-footed shot from just inside the area.

Stoke wasted some good chances as the first half wore on and were punished when Anthony Martial curled home a fine 20-yard strike seven minutes before half-time.

Romelu Lukaku then rounded off the scoring in the 72nd minute with a close-range effort as United made it three successive wins in all competitions.

"We're not looking to the past,'' added Pogba. "We're just looking to the future and the next games.

"We just want to catch City. We just have to focus on ourselves, keep winning and I think we will be OK.''

United boss Jose Mourinho admitted afterwards he had not been happy with the first-half performance despite heading in at half-time 2-0 up.

He said: "I didn't like the first half. I only like two amazing goals.

"But I think we were confident and organised but a bit slow. I think Ed tried to bring a positive team with three football players in midfield to try to play plus [Xherdan] Shaqiri was also coming there.

"They had the ball and it was difficult for us to press them. They had more chances than I would have liked them to have had in the first half.

"We scored two amazing goals and for me that was the good thing of the first half.

"Second half, totally different. We missed lots of chances because we accelerate the game. We recover the ball faster, we didn't let them play. [Phil] Jones and [Chris] Smalling brought the line up so that it was impossible for Peter Crouch to put a foot in the box.

"In the second half, we played confidently and fast and aggressive and I liked the second half.''

Stoke, who axed Mark Hughes earlier this month, had made the surprise appointment of Lambert just hours before the game on Monday and the ex-Norwich and Aston Villa boss was at Old Trafford to witness what he has taken on.

The Potters were unable to move out of the relegation zone and have now conceded 50 goals in 23 Premier League games, more than anyone else in the division.

But having heard Lambert's name chanted by a fanbase who might have been underwhelmed by his appointment, interim boss Niedzwiecki called for an end to the doom and gloom around the bet365 Stadium.

"I thought they showed the new manager some really encouraging signs,'' he said.

"It really needs the club to pull together now. There's been too much negativity, too much.

"As an old manager said to me, if they are all pulling the bell in the same way then the bell will ring. If they are not pulling the bell the same way, it won't ring and then you've got a problem. End of story.''

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