Pep Guardiola says he will not underestimate a Cristiano Ronaldo-led Manchester United ahead of an ‘important’ Manchester derby clash at Old Trafford this weekend.
Manchester City travel the short distance to face their cross-city rivals this weekend, arriving into the clash as favourites given the indifferent performances of the Red Devils so far this season.
United have won just one of their past five Premier League fixtures and were fortunate to secure a point following a 2-2 draw with Atalanta in midweek, requiring a stoppage-time equaliser from Cristiano Ronaldo against the Italian side.
Guardiola admits he has not yet watched the Red Devils’ draw with the Serie A side, but insists he will prepare for a difficult test against a side containing ‘one of the best players in history’ in Ronaldo.
“I didn’t see the United match [against Atalanta], I’m going to analyse and to see what they are so I know how good they are,” said Guardiola at his post-match press conference.
“We saw it last season. They have one of the best players in history, a guy who can be a scoring machine.”
Guardiola was discussing this weekend’s clash following City’s 4-1 win over Club Brugge in the Champions League, a fixture he declared as ‘more important’ than the upcoming derby ahead of the fixture.
The Spaniard insists that a positive result against the Belgians was more important than the trip to Old Trafford, but says his side’s focus is now on firmly the next game and a huge clash with United.
“People [were upset] for the fact I said today is more important than United, and it was,” said Guardiola. “Now, the most important game ever is United.
“The second half [against Brugge] was really good. A good game, good victory. We need one point to go through, three points to win the group.”
Guardiola resisted the temptation to criticise the Premier League’s fixture list, with City facing United in Saturday’s early kick-off – despite featuring in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
“If they want us to play tomorrow, we will play tomorrow,” he said. “The schedule is the schedule. We will be at Old Trafford at 12:30 on Saturday.”