Man City: Guardiola previews derby with Man Utd
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has received support from an unlikely source as pressure continues to mount on the Manchester United boss. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said his opposite number is ‘strong enough’ to come through his latest difficult spell.
The Manchester clubs go head-to-head at Old Trafford this weekend with two sides neck and neck in the league table.
United are sixth, one point and one place ahead of City as both sides look to catch uo to joint league leaders Tottenham and Liverpool.
The home side go into the game on the back of a four-game winning run in the league, however, United’s Champions League exit has turned the spotlight back on Solskjaer.
Asked about the increasing pressure on the United boss, Guardiola expressed sympathy for his rival.
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“We know it [the pressure], that’s why we get a lot of salary!,” he joked in his pre-match press conference.
He added: “It is important to know the value of Solskjaer is there, there is no doubt about this.”
“I don’t have to give him support because he is strong enough and knows how this job works.
“When we win we are a genius and when we lose we have to be sacked.
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“It happens at United and all the clubs around the world – this is the reality,”
Solsjaker watched his side go down 3-2 to RB Leipzig in midweek to finish third in the Champions League group and drop down to the Europa League.
The United boss has challenged his side to put their disappointment behind them with a good performance against City.
“Of course, we were disappointed on Tuesday night, it’s natural,” he told reporters ahead of the game.
“We really wanted to go through in that tournament, the reality is we’re not and we’ve just got to move on.
“The focus has just been on this game, the Manchester derby, which is what you want the players to get on to straight away.”
“Probably the best game you can ask for after such a disappointment, because it does stick in your system.”
In contrasting European fortunes, City’s 3-0 victory over Marseille saw them easily progress to the last 16 as group winners.
United had the upper hand over City in both league meetings last season, including a 2-0 victory in the corresponding fixture in March.
Guardiola is expecting another tough game against City’s arch rivals and admits his side need to be fully focused ahead of the game.
“We’re going to face the best version of them,” he added. “[We’re] talking a lot about what we have to do.”
“It’s not a knockout game, it is three more points – important of course because of the quality of the opponent but there are a lot of fixtures to come and we try to win our games.”
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