Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola delivers early verdict on derby meeting with Manchester United – SPORTbible

Pep Guardiola was candid in his response when quizzed about the upcoming Manchester derby after the first international break of the season.

The Premier League champions have begun their title defence in encouraging fashion – five wins and two draws in their opening seven games leaving them in second place behind league leaders Arsenal.

Alongside Antonio Conte’s Tottenham, the Blues remain the only unbeaten team in the division in a bid to win their fifth Premier League title in six seasons.

Jack Grealish celebrates after scoring against Wolves (Alamy)
Jack Grealish celebrates after scoring against Wolves (Alamy)

Despite drawing against Newcastle and Aston Villa, Guardiola’s men have made a highly impressive start to the season fuelled by the sensational start to life in England made by summer signing Erling Haaland.

After starting the previous campaign with consecutive losses to Leicester City and Tottenham in the Community Shield and Premier League, City have well and truly kicked on from their incredible league triumph in May.

Fighting back from precarious positions to beat Crystal Palace and Borussia Dortmund and earning a hard-fought point against Newcastle, the Blues have avoided any early slip-ups heading into the international break.

Goals from Jack Grealish, Erling Haaland and Phil Foden earned City a convincing 3-0 win against Wolves ahead of a mouth-watering derby clash against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium in a few weeks.

Taking a glimpse at both sides over the past decade is enough to suggest that the hosts would make light work of their local rivals.

However, as the form book goes out of the window on derby day, this unfancied United side over the years have displayed a tendency to pull out a plucky win from time to time.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag (Alamy)
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag (Alamy)

In addition, the Reds have already caused upsets against Liverpool and Arsenal in Erik ten Hag’s first season in charge at Old Trafford.

Pep Guardiola will be wary of the threat posed by ten Hag’s troops as he prepares Manchester City for what should be an entertaining 90 minutes of football at the Etihad Stadium on October 2.

The Catalan was quizzed about his thoughts on the derby after City maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign with a comfortable victory at the Molineux Stadium.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola (Alamy)
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola (Alamy)

“I have time to think about that (the derby). I need a good dinner first, good sleep,” Guardiola said in his post-match press conference, as quoted by Jack Gaughan of the Daily Mail.

With the international break set to run for two weeks, the 51-year-old will have plenty of time on his hands to ponder over how to topple United.

Guardiola has enjoyed a favourable record against United in recent years, leading City to three wins and a draw in their last five league meetings with the Reds.

As ten Hag’s men visit the Etihad Stadium, one can be assured Guardiola will have a master plan ready to execute.

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