Pep Guardiola has praised Manchester City’s ‘consistency’ in recent seasons, but side-stepped questions on Manchester United’s trophy drought.
United were eliminated from the Champions League in midweek after losing 1-0 to Atletico Madrid, a defeat which will extend the Red Devils’ run without silverware to five seasons.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of City’s FA Cup quarter-final with Southampton, Guardiola was asked on the trophy drought of their cross-town rivals but admitted he was not qualified to answer the reason for their failings.
“I would love to give you an opinion on United but I’m not there,” he said. “I don’t know why. The respect I have for United, the tradition, what they did under the previous manager, the players they have. The reason why? I would say because the contenders are good too.
“Last season they were second and fought until the last three or four games. Other contenders made their standards higher. I don’t know, I’m not there.
“I said many times what we have done the last years is remarkable. Being there, right now, of course we want to win and fight every game. We went out on penalties to West Ham. It’s important the consistency to be there. It’s not easy to do it.”
Both Manchester sides have invested heavily in their squads across the past decade, though it is City who have emerged as the Premier League’s dominant force.
Guardiola’s side have won three of the past four Premier League titles, in addition to five domestic cup trophies since his arrival at the Etihad in 2016.
Guardiola refused to compare the two teams, but suggested City’s long-term strategy has been key to the club’s success in recent seasons.
“It’s not about comparing, I’m not there and don’t know why. United under Ferguson winning titles spent more, then Chelsea [spent more]. It’s not an exception. There are exceptions because football is so nice.
“Sometimes teams don’t deserve but are able to do it but football is the best for that.
“Generally, invest more than other clubs because they take better players. Better players but the difference in this club is a strategy for many years in one way. If we don’t win titles this season, the club won’t move differently. The dream word is consistency. Every game we are there. I’m talking about this club, not other ones.”