Pep Guardiola plays down Manchester derby significance

Man City boss says he doesn't pay attention to the hype which prefaces the fixture

Pep Guardiola has attempted to play down the significance of the champions' much-anticipated trip to Old Trafford on Saturday.

Much of the attention in the build-up has surrounded Manchester United and the position of their under-pressure manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but Guardiola said he doesn't get carried away by pre-derby hype.

"I don't feel it because when I wake up in the morning and come here, in this bubble, this training centre, I'm here for 10, 12, 14 hours and then have to go home," he told his Friday press conference.

"I'm not going to the restaurants or the pubs to drink a beer and know the atmosphere.

How to watch Manchester derby

"I can imagine how important it is for both sides - this emotion is nice, to try to win the derby and do well - but I have to be cold in my mind, I have to be cold in my head, to know exactly what we have to do to do our best."

Guardiola raised some eyebrows before Wednesday's Champions League clash against Club Brugge - which City went on to win comfortably - by saying the game against the Belgian side was more important than the derby.

He qualified this by saying it was because the Brugge game was the next one, and therefore the most pressing, but he remains keen to play down the significance of the United fixture.

"We try to make every game important," he said.

"Of course derbies are special for the city, for many sentimental issues, but in the end, it is not a final or a semi-final. It is one more game."

Quote
[United) have a lot of physicality, a lot of talent and people up front with the ability to win games by themselves
Pep Guardiola

Despite City having enjoyed greater overall success than United in recent years, it is the red side of Manchester that has had the edge in derbies over the last two seasons.

Guardiola was sanguine over the results, however.

"Congratulations to United for winning these duels against us, or some of them.

"They have a lot of physicality, a lot of talent and people up front with the ability to win games by themselves.

"It's Man United - what should I say? Since the last century, they have always been a good team with the quality. But it is a new season, new games."

City were heavily linked with five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo before he rejoined United in August.

"Normally I don't talk about players for other clubs. I am pretty sure Cristiano Ronaldo is happy at Man United and United are happy to have him. That's all," said Guardiola.

Updated: November 5th 2021, 9:44 PM
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