Manchester City holds no derby advantage over Manchester United – Guardiola speaks ahead of Premier League clash at Old Trafford

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Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola has played down the idea that his side will be better prepared for their local derby clash in the Premier League at Old Trafford billed for Saturday.

This is following their European success. As a result, Guardiola is expected to rest some players ahead of the game against the Red Devils.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men on the other hand will have to fight tooth and nail to get a good result in Germany as they will be looking for at least a draw against Leipzig to progress to the next round of the money-spinning competition.

City will top Group C of Champions League regardless of their result against Marseille on Wednesday. This gives Guardiola the luxury of being able to rest key faces, whole Solskjaer will have to field a full-strength team to ensure progression in Tuesday’s massive Group H clash.

Such midweek exertions usually have a knock-on effect on players, especially the ones that will be playing two full games in three-fours days. Ahead of his team’s visit to Old Trafford on Saturday at Old Trafford, Guardiola dismissed such notions, stressing that the nature of their heated rivalry negates any advantage.

“I’m pretty sure it’s a derby and we will focus and commit and this means the players are not tired, completely the opposite,” Guardiola said.

Guardiola satisfied with his team ahead of Old Trafford clash

Guardiola is also satisfied with his side’s upturn in form following a rough start to the new campaign.

“We are in a good moment right now, I would say. We are better than one month ago but that is normal. Without preparation, without time, it’s normal what happened.

“What’s important is that we are not far away from the top of the league and already qualified for the next round [of the Champions League]. This is important. Now we want to continue being there.”

With City already qualified for the next round, this is another opportunity for Guardiola to break the jinx that has stuck them in the last eight since his arrival. Added to this is the failure to win a single trophy continental silverware – a glaring blemish on their record under the 49-year-old.

Meanwhile, the former Barcelona boss is also happy about the defensive solidity of his team. He was quick to stress the impact of his side’s defensive stability over the coming weeks.

“It is important – a lot. In the last game, Eric Garcia and Ruben Dias were brilliant. It’s so important they don’t make mistakes.

“In the games against Leicester, Liverpool and Tottenham we made mistakes we could have avoided. Central defenders cannot do that.

“In the last few games, we have been so solid. If the other team makes a good action, fine. They play too … but we cannot give it to them.

“[On Saturday], Benjamin Mendy, Joao Cancelo … all the back four didn’t make obvious mistakes and this is the step to be solid as a team.”