Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola name-dropped Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes as two players in particular his team must be wary of when they take on Manchester United at Old Trafford today. The two neighbours go head-to-head in the Manchester derby at 12.30pm this afternoon and Guardiola insists United “always have quality” in attack.
City are looking to get their title bid back on track after a home defeat to Crystal Palace last time out, though they responded with a comfortable midweek Champions League defeat of Club Brugge.
United meanwhile relied upon Cristiano Ronaldo to nick a point at Atalanta in Europe in another disappointing showing having beaten Tottenham 3-0 at the weekend.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s future has been a popular topic of discussion in recent weeks, particularly following the 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Liverpool at Old Trafford.
City travel to the same ground looking to pile on further misery on United but have only one one of the past five meetings, losing three.
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Guardiola’s defending champions have not beaten their neighbours in the league since April 2019 but know they can ill afford to slip further behind leaders Chelsea, who are already five points ahead of them.
And the Catalan coach has picked out United playmaker Fernandes, and top goalscorer Ronaldo who City showed interest in signing in the summer, as the main two danger men for the hosts.
He said: “They have a lot of physicality, people with the ability to win games up front and good runners in behind, especially when Bruno Fernandes has the ball. They always have quality.
“We’ve had some good games against them, one game when we drew was a bit boring, when the teams were a bit scared.
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“But they’re so good up front and now, with Cristiano Ronaldo, they are even better.”
Guardiola added: “After that defeat to Liverpool, United changed the set-up against Tottenham and it worked.
“We’ve taken the flak and we deserved it, because it was nowhere near good enough on many levels.
“We’ve had a good week, with two good away results, and now we have to play another very good team. It’s up to us to show what we’ve learned.
“There’s no point in me talking about how much we’ve learned, we have to show it here. That’s the game of football. There’s too many that talk a good game. We’ll have to play a good game.
“It’s an important game and, with a win, we still have the possibility to close up to the teams in front of us.
“So we’ve just got to keep on picking up points. The Tottenham game was miles better, but we need to improve in all the aspects of the game.
“It’s only the start of November, so we’re not going to talk about the end position in the table, but every game in this league is massive and, if you can manage to get three points, it’s a job well done.”