Manchester City are set to face Manchester United in the 182nd Manchester Derby on Saturday. The Blues have won back to back Premier League games for the first time this season and will be looking to make it three in a row this weekend.
Here's all the key quotes from Pep Guardiola's press conference...
Facing City's dearest rivals
Facing Manchester United at Old Trafford is the biggest game of the season for most Manchester City fans. With both teams in some patchy form, here's Guardiola's thoughts ahead of the game:
"Thinking we’re going to face the best version of them, talk 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."
"Being at Old Trafford is much better with fans but the virus is still here. When we open stadiums step by step as has already happened in some areas of England, the #PL and government and scientists will decide when we can make the next step..."
Just as the situation was starting to clear up, Manchester City have another player on the injury table. Eric Garcia will be out for two to three weeks, according to Pep Guardiola.
However, the good news is Ilkay Gundogan has trained after being substituted at half time in midweek and Sergio Agüero is in a good condition but will not start the game.
"Except two players, the others are fit. With this ridiculous rule, everyone cannot be on the bench so that’s why the players have to be ready every week because there are guys waiting to be in the team," Guardiola said.
Mood in the dressing room
Since the Tottenham defeat, the Blues have looked somewhat near back to their best. However, this is the first real test since that time, and Guardiola thinks the mood in the camp is good right now:
"All the mood and the environment of the backroom staff and #ManCity players is exceptional this season, with no preparations and Covid the players have all responded incredibly well. No complaints."
"Of course they are. Our fans always were, and every club in England. The supporters are so loyal and social media today everyone has opinions. The club have to take the decisions they have to take."
Pep on Ole
Since being knocked out of the Champions League in midweek, the pressure has been mounting on the United manager. Guardiola was asked for his thoughts on the Norwegian and the situations he's in:
"We [managers] know. That’s why we get a lot of salary, to keep these situations. It is important to know the value of Solskjaer, there is no doubt about this, I don’t have to give him support - he is strong enough and knows how this job works."
"Like you said at the beginning when we win we are a genius and when we lose you have to be sacked. It happens at United and all around the world, it is a reality."
Progression in the Champions League & Top 6 record
Unlike their cross-town rivals, Manchester City confirmed their spot in the round of 16 with two games to spar. Pep Guardiola was delighted to progress for a eight've season in a row.
"When we win one game in the group I congratulate the players - it is so difficult. The #PL is the same. Every time we are able to do it is a big compliment. Every time we win we think about the next game..."
However, Manchester City's top six record has been less than impressive at the moment in time, but Guardiola recognises that:
"Yeah, and the other 13 teams as well. It isn’t the Carabao Cup like what happened against United or #UCL. This is 38 games and we have played 10 or 11. It is important but next season will be important now."
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