Pep Guardiola has discussed his need to stay ‘cold’ amongst the pressure of a Manchester derby and has refused to discuss City’s rumoured summer interest in Cristiano Ronaldo.
Manchester City travel the short distance to face their neighbours at Old Trafford this weekend, with the Premier League champions seeking a response after last weekend’s defeat to Crystal Palace.
The clash sees Guardiola face off against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer once again, with the Man Utd boss having won four of the eight meetings against the Catalan.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Guardiola was asked for his view on the Norwegian and past clashes with the Red Devils, admitting he is expecting a difficult test once again as his side seek a valuable three points.
“Congratulations for United. They do their results against us, they do quite similar what they have done week by week, incredible physicality, people upfront with abilities to win games by themselves. Good runners in behind especially when Fernandes has the ball,” he said.
“Man United, what should I say? The last century always a good team with the quality, this season they win games, last season wasn’t bad, what we have done finally in the Premier League. Three more points, we prepare well this afternoon.”
Guardiola was also asked whether the Manchester derby represents the biggest game of the season, but whilst insisting the fixture has ‘sentimental issues’ admits he will treat tomorrow’s game the same as any other.
“I don’t think so, maybe for some people,” he said. “We try do every game important. Of course, derbies are special for many sentimental issues but we want the same results.”
The Spaniard spoke on the importance of remaining ‘cold’ during a derby encounter, outlining how he will avoid the emotion of the occasion as City look for success at Old Trafford.
Speaking on the rivalry within the City, he said: “I don’t feel it. I wake up in the morning, and come here to the bubble in this centre and I’m 12 or 14 hours here then go home, I’m not in the restaurants, or the pubs.
“I can imagine how important it is for both sides, I have to be cool in mind and head to know what we have to do, to do our best, no more than that. The emotion, try to win the derby and do well. I have to be cold. To know what we have to do, do our best.”
United switched to a back five system during last week’s win at Tottenham and started the midweek draw with Atalanta in similar shape, the Red Devils having opted for a change of formation following a disappointing run of results.
Guardiola discussed past meetings with the side and United’s change in style, warning tomorrow’s opponents have improved with the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks.
“We did good games against them, last season there was boring after the Champions League, five at the back in Leipzig when they could go to the Europa League,” he said.
“The other one we were so good up front. With Ronaldo they’re even better. We know their quality, and will try to make a good game. We know ourselves, sometimes win, sometimes lose.”
Ronaldo re-signed for United this summer from Juventus, making a romantic return to the Red Devils more than a decade after his departure to Real Madrid.
City were understood to have expressed an interest in signing the five-time Ballon d’Or winner after it became clear he would leave Italy, but Guardiola refused to discuss how close a deal came to fruition.
“Normally I don’t talk about players for other clubs. I’m sure Ronaldo is happy at United.”