Derby will not de­fine City’s sea­son: Guardi­ola

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - FRONT PAGE -

Manch­ester City man­ager Pep Guardi­ola does not think Sun­day’s derby against Manch­ester United will de­fine his team’s cam­paign, but is still keen to avoid a re­peat of last sea­son’s de­feat.

City were in con­trol against United in the cor­re­spond­ing fix­ture at the Eti­had Sta­dium last term, lead­ing by two first-half goals, only for United to stage a sec­ond-half rally and win 3-2.

“We have to play good,” Guardi­ola told a news con­fer­ence Fri­day.

“If we play good, we have a chance to win. You can­not imag­ine we are go­ing to play amaz­ingly for 90 min­utes against top teams.

“I would like to play the same game as last sea­son when we were on top for 75 min­utes but United showed us that they just need 10 or 15 min­utes to cre­ate chances.

“When they have the ball, they can cre­ate some­thing be­cause they have in­cred­i­ble ta­lent.”

Both teams are in good form, with sev­enth-placed United on a three-game win­ning streak and league lead­ers City hav­ing gone 11 games un­beaten in all com­pe­ti­tions.

Guardi­ola is look­ing for­ward to the bat­tle but be­lieves the fix­ture has come too soon to have sig­nif­i­cant bear­ing on the ti­tle race.

“We are in No­vem­ber so maybe the game at Old Traf­ford [in March] will be more de­ci­sive,” the Spa­niard said. “Of course we are on a good run, United as well. It’s a good derby. All of them are spe­cial.”

The man­ager also re­it­er­ated his faith in the club in the wake of al­le­ga­tions they had cir­cum­vented fi­nan­cial fair play rules.

“If peo­ple want to un­der­mine what we have done, no prob­lem,” he said. “We live our lives. Opin­ions are opin­ions. I have said I trust the club a lot.

“If there is some­thing wrong, we will be pun­ished. FIFA or UEFA have to say if we were wrong. If we were wrong, we will ac­cept it but I hear what my club said to me and I trust them.”

The al­le­ga­tions against City stem from the re­lease of the “Foot­ball Leaks” doc­u­ments, which in­clude emails, con­tracts and pre­sen­ta­tions.

The doc­u­ments were ob­tained by Ger­man pub­li­ca­tion Der Spiegel and re­viewed by Reuters in part­ner­ship with Euro­pean In­ves­tiga­tive Col­lab­o­ra­tions, an in­ter­na­tional me­dia con­sor­tium.

The City man­ager’s news con­fer­ence ended in up­roar­i­ous laugh­ter af­ter he re­sponded to his for­mer player Brazil­ian Dani Alves’ com­ment that be­ing coached by Guardi­ola at Barcelona was “bet­ter than sex.” Alves made the com­ment in a doc­u­men­tary about Guardi­ola’s all­con­quer­ing spell at Barcelona, where they won three La Liga ti­tles and the Cham­pi­ons League twice.

“I pre­fer the sex,” a grin­ning Guardi­ola said in re­sponse to a ques­tion on Alves’ com­ment. “By far!” –

Guardi­ola re­it­er­ated his faith in the club in the wake of al­le­ga­tions they had cir­cum­vented fi­nan­cial fair play rules.

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