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Guardiola expecting ‘best’ Man. Unted in derby

Pep Guardiola says he is expecting the “best” from Manchester United even though Manchester City will start Sunday’s derby as red-hot favourites to extend their dominance over their rivals.

City have won five of their past six matches against United in all competitions and are 15 points ahead of their opponents in the Premier League.

But Guardiola, whose team are chasing a second consecutive trophy treble, said he would not be taking United lightly.

“I expect the best from United, but I don’t talk about what they do, about opponents that I respect too much,” he said on Friday. 

“I don’t want people to misunderstand my words.”

He added: “I know them and have a lot of respect for the institution, United of course, Erik (ten Hag) and the players but when I see what we have to do my players will know it today and tomorrow.”

Guardiola said despite United’s disappointing season, they still carry a threat.

“In one action they create something special in set pieces, in transition, in open play, connection between a few players and they score goals,” he said. 

“Always United have been that way. When they play good they win games, when they are OK they are, no stress, they are able to win games. 

“We are in March already, 2024, they lost just one game, last week at home (against Fulham).” 

Guardiola was asked whether City’s dominance of matches between the two teams illustrated the shift in the balance of power in Manchester over the past decade.

“1980s was Liverpool, 90s was United and now we are this many years, winning seven Premier Leagues in the past decade, 11, 12 years,” he said.

“But it happens. In 50 years or 60 years there’s never, ever in one country one club that dominates and controls everything so we can try… as much as possible to extend for many years what we are trying to do, especially the consistency.” 

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