MX23RW : Monday, April 19 15:59:01| >> :60:3404:3404:

Pep Guardiola: 'Competing with Man United for title is a privilege'

City have a 14-point lead over second-placed United heading into Sunday's derby at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola claims it is a "privilege" for Manchester City to compete with Manchester United for the Premier League title.

Guardiola's City are on course for their third league crown in four seasons, having opened up a 14-point lead over second-placed United heading into Sunday's derby at the Etihad Stadium.

Victory would be another step for City, who have won their last 21 matches in all competitions, towards a potential quadruple but Guardiola is paying 20-time champions United plenty of respect.

He said: "It's Manchester United – all the time United are top, top class. For us it's a privilege to compete with them, being there in the last seasons in front of them."

City may have had the edge over United in terms of league position in recent years but their derby encounters have been more evenly split.

Since taking charge at the Etihad Stadium in 2016, Guardiola has won six of his 13 Manchester derbies, lost five and drawn two.

City won their last derby against United, in the Carabao Cup, in January
City won their last derby against United, in the Carabao Cup, in January (Shaun Botterill/PA)

"I know how difficult United are," Guardiola said. "We have experienced that in the last years and I have the feeling that every year they are a better team than the previous season.

"They are a team with quality and, for more than one year they have not lost away, and they have had good results at the Etihad Stadium.

"But at the same time we know the opportunity we have to increase the distance.

"We spoke in training about what we have to do to beat them on the pitch and the way we want to play."

Overall, City are unbeaten in 28 games and Guardiola has been hugely impressed by the hunger of his players, which he feels compares favourably to what he experienced whilst in charge at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

He said: "I've had incredibly hungry teams like you cannot imagine. To do what we have done in these four years, winning, still winning and, after that, winning and still winning, being there at the end, it's because these guys have something special, like we had in Barcelona and Munich.

"No words can inject that desire for the players. It comes from inside, from trying to win, to compete or collaborate with their mates to do the best they can."

Nathan Ake's availability means Guardiola has a fully-fit squad to choose from
Nathan Ake's availability means Guardiola has a fully-fit squad to choose from (Catherine Ivill/PA)

Guardiola has the rare luxury of a fully-fit squad available this weekend.

Nathan Ake's return after a muscular problem means that for the first time this season, City have none of their squad in the treatment room.

Guardiola said: "Good news for us, Nathan is back. He made part of the training session and felt really good.

"Everyone is fully fit and that is important for the next few weeks ahead of the international break, and hopefully the people will come back well after that."

ID:437980: cacheID:437980:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:restore:7357:
Restore Data
Share this article now:
Did you know...?
Manchester City's Joao Cancelo and teammates remonstrate with referee Chris Kavanagh against Manchester United in the Premier League on December 12, 2020
Read Next:
Combined XI: Man City vs. Man United
>

rhs 2.0
Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City32235467234474
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd32199464352966
3Leicester CityLeicester31175955371856
4West Ham UnitedWest Ham32167953421155
5Chelsea31159750311954
6Liverpool31157953371652
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs321481054371750
8Everton31147104340349
9Arsenal32137124436846
10Leeds UnitedLeeds31143144949045
11Aston Villa301351243331044
12Wolverhampton WanderersWolves32118133241-941
13Crystal Palace31108133352-1938
14Southampton31106153956-1736
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3298153553-1835
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton31712123338-533
17Burnley3289152645-1933
18Fulham33512162543-1827
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom3159172859-3124
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3242261756-3914

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!