Thursday, April 25, 2024

Pep Guardiola urges players not to get caught up in emotion of Manchester derby

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 1 Mar 2024

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Pep Guardiola has stressed the importance of remaining calm ahead of this weekend’s Manchester derby.

The Manchester City manager wants to take the emotion out of Sunday’s crunch Premier League visit of United.

The encounter marks the start of a critical month for champions City in their bid to win a fourth successive title, with games against rivals Liverpool and Arsenal to follow.

City have held the upper hand over United in recent years, and the form of the Old Trafford side this season has been patchy, but Guardiola is well aware of the pitfalls of this fixture.

Guardiola said: “There have been good seasons (for United). With Jose Mourinho for one season and Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer) they finished second, fighting – not until the end – but they were (up) there.

“What I learn from my experience in these types of games is to be more calm, relax, don’t talk about many things, just focus on tactics and what you have to do to beat them, not about emotions – because emotions will be there, without doubt.

“That is why we relax and prepare for the game as best as possible, knowing the quality.

“For United to go to Wolves and beat them and Luton, and have the quality to beat Aston Villa a few weeks ago, so they have incredible quality.

“From one action, they create something special in set-pieces, transitions, and in open play. They have connections with players and they score goals. It always has been that way with United.

“When they play good, they win games. We are in March and they’ve just lost one game this year – last week at home – so the consistency they have is there.”

City are not only chasing another Premier League title but seeking to win unprecedented back-to-back trebles.

Their success has made them the dominant force in English football over the past decade, but Guardiola has warned there is no guarantee it will continue.

He said: “The 80s was Liverpool, 90s United and now we have won seven Premier Leagues in the last 11 or 12 years.

“But in 50 or 60 years, there has never been one country where one team always dominates and controls everything. We will try in this organisation to extend this as much as possible for many years.”

New United co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe has spoken of his ambition to knock City “off their perch” within three years after a prolonged period of relative decline at Old Trafford, under various managers.

“Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his people know the diagnosis of their club,” Guardiola said. “I don’t know anything about that club.

“If they said they need two or three years to be there, who am I to say the opposite? I’m pretty sure they will work to reduce the gap, but I’m not there, I don’t know the diagnosis.

“But I would say at big clubs you have to win and win, not just United.

“It’s not easy for United to come from an incredibly successful period with Sir Alex (Ferguson) and cope with that, that is not easy. Sometimes I can understand it. Today everyone has a lot of pressure.”

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