Guardiola impressed with United’s form
Pep Guardiola has praised Manchester United’s ‘aggressive’ approach ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby.
City head into the clash on the back of a five-game winning run in all competitions, while United are unbeaten in the last nine matches and hope to complete a league double over the Blues.
For that reason, Guardiola knows his side are in for a real battle on Sunday when they make the short journey across the city.
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“They’re getting better, right now is maybe their best moment of the season,” the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach said during Friday’s pre-match press conference.
“When I saw the last game [against Derby County] they were incredibly aggressive. In some games they are defending against us, but what I saw of the last games it’s a team that is aggressive. At Goodison Park they played a good game.”
Oddly, the away team has won six of the last seven derbies and Guardiola admitted this has surprised him.
“Normally it’s more comfortable for the home team, I don’t know why that is,” he said. “It’s always difficult to win against the big clubs. It doesn’t mean it’s going to happen on Sunday.
“If we believe it’s more important for them than us we will lose the game. I never play a game thinking we have more points or these points.”
The 49-year-old has managed in grudge games in La Liga and the Bundesliga but said there is something special about this particular fixture.
“It’s so nice, I love it, they’re always special. The situation this season is a bit different as we play to improve, not to win the title, for them it’s so important, it will affect the Champions League next season.”
The City boss also provided an update on Kevin De Bruyne, who is a doubt for Sunday’s encounter.
“He’s getting better,” he said. “Tomorrow he’s going to train, he’s not perfect but he feels better.”
Like the Reds, City progressed to the quarter-finals of the Emirates FA Cup during the week, courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday. Prior to that, Guardiola’s men picked up the first silverware of the season after beating Aston Villa in the final of the Carabao Cup, four days after their 2-1 Champions League triumph against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu. Despite City’s good run, their league form has been more varied of late, with the Blues suffering a 2-0 loss to Tottenham Hotspur last month, just a few weeks after drawing 2-2 with Crystal Palace at the Etihad. In fact, our crosstown rivals are bidding to win three consecutive league games, for only the third time this campaign.
We've played our neighbours 45 times in the Premier League, winning 22 of those clashes, compared to City’s 15, with eight draws. Last time we faced City in the league, goals from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial ensured we came away from the Etihad with a 2-1 victory.
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