Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

City's Guardiola stirs the derby pot with Pogba claim

Edward Snyder | 07 April, 2018, 00:53

City are 16 points clear of Jose Mourinho's second-placed team so it is a matter of when rather than if they wrap up the Premier League title, the first of Guardiola's reign in England.

United are not great away from home against big sides and Mourinho normally likes to set up defensively.

United haven't had a bad season by any stretch of the imagination, and the progress they have made under Jose Mourinho hasn't always been obvious, but it's most definitely there.

The 26-year-old was sold by the Blues to Wolfsburg in 2014 for a small fee of £18m, where he won Bundesliga player of the season before returning to the Premier League with Manchester City for a fee of £55m.

City manager Pep Guardiola wants a response from his players after they were hammered 3-0 by Liverpool in the first leg of their Uefa Champions quarter-final tie on Wednesday.

Guardiola had suggested before the Liverpool defeat that he would rotate his side against United but he was tight-lipped about his intentions on Friday. His team still has more chances to clinch the league, but only 90 minutes to salvage its Champions League dream. "We have training this afternoon and we are going to see his physical condition", he added. It is a question of rotating his squad to ensure City has the best chance in Tuesday's second leg against Liverpool, but the defeat at Anfield will have given the Catalan not so much food for thought as a full-blown banquet. Liverpool have now twice beaten City with performances based on pressing, pace and attacking flair.




Guardiola's rebuke was dripping with sarcasm and he added: 'He (Raiola) has to protect his players and he has to know he can not bring the players to a guy like me, like a dog. "It would be special".

Manchester United have two injury concerns at the moment as defender Daley Blind (ankle) and goalkeeper Sergio Romero (knee) will be watching the derby from the stands. Until that game he had looked a shadow of his former Arsenal self, his sloppiness in possession raising doubts as to how he would have fared in Guardiola's pass-happy team.

"I never spoke to Pep Guardiola".

"Think about the stakes, United have nothing to win and everything to lose".

With a Champions League place all put assured for United and all his players rested, surely Mourinho can afford to take some risks.

United did not immediately respond when asked to comment but it appears unlikely they would have sold the 89 million pounds ($125.34 million) player to their league title and local rivals. "I still have the motivation of finishing top four, mathematically it is not done. We have been second for many, many months, it is our objective to fight for that and for that we need points".

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