Pep Guardiola expresses his joy in leading City to become the top football team in Manchester as they prepare for the upcoming derby against United at Old Trafford. Since joining the Etihad Stadium in 2016, Manchester City has achieved five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, four League Cups, and the Champions League, while United has only won two League Cups and the Europa League during the same time frame.
When questioned about his feelings towards reversing the situation in Manchester, Guardiola expressed, “Definitely. What’s most fulfilling is that our success wasn’t just a one-time occurrence.”
During Sir Alex Ferguson’s tenure at Old Trafford, he did not consider City to be their primary rivals. As a result, City lived in the shadow of United. Out of 45 derby matches, Ferguson won 25 and lost 11, showcasing United’s dominant streak. Guardiola agreed with Ferguson’s perspective, stating that City was not a significant contender at the time.
In the absence of Sheikh Mansour and Khaldoon al-Mubarak, who became chairman and invested in the club, we were not in a position to compete with the likes of United and Arsenal, who were the wealthiest clubs at the time. Even Sir Alex Ferguson and I, when I was at Barcelona, could not have predicted what has transpired.
“We are currently facing the reality of not being in the elite, but we intend to remain in this position for as long as we can. It may be uncomfortable for us and for those who were already in the elite, but we are determined to stay and aim for success in the future.”
United have won their past three matches in all competitions by a single goal to give a much-needed confidence boost heading into the derby against a City side that brushed past Young Boys in the Champions League 3-1 on Wednesday.
Erik ten Hag’s side sit six points behind City in the table after nine matches as the Manchester clubs prepare to face one another. During City’s Guardiola tenure, United’s best final league positions have seen them finish a distant second on two occasions and they are on their third permanent manager since the Spaniard was appointed.
“There was one year with Ole [Gunnar Solskjær] that was quite close – but overall it has been Liverpool,” Guardiola said when questioned about City’s main rivals. “When I finish my tenure here, Liverpool have been my rivals and our rivals. They have made us a challenge and helped make us a better team in all departments. They have challenged us like no other team has done in my period here.
“Undoubtedly, Arsenal has returned to form and Newcastle has emerged as a strong contender. Chelsea is currently working on restructuring certain aspects of their team. Although it may take some time, they will likely see success in the next few years due to their talented manager and significant investments. The recent performance of Spurs demonstrates their strength as a team. With the added benefit of not competing in the Carabao Cup, they will have a refreshed squad throughout the season. It is certain that they will be a formidable opponent under their skilled manager. However, in previous years, our main competition has been Liverpool.”
When asked if Ten Hag’s United team could achieve the same level of success as their past, Guardiola responded by saying, “Maybe not in the same manner as Sir Alex Ferguson did back then because there were only a few teams at that time. However, now there are more teams with fantastic managers. So while it may not be exactly the same, if they make smart decisions and have a strong hierarchy with a sports director, manager, and players all on the same page, they can definitely succeed.”
“When an event occurs at Manchester United, it is featured prominently throughout the day. This has solidified their reputation and prestige, which will endure. However, in order to make the right choices, they must find success. If and when this success comes, they will be ready.”