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Pep: Focus should be on the players

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City manager Pep Guardiola has played down the derby hype surrounding the managerial battle by declaring: "The players are the stars."

Countless column inches have been given over to Guardiola's tactical tussle with Jose Mourinho, but that will literally be a sideshow to the game, according to the Catalan boss.

"This game belongs to the players, it doesn't belong to Jose or me," Guardiola said. "A lot of importance is given to what we say.

"We speak through our players and our games, not what we're talking about here (in this press conference).

"The players are the stars. The people at Old Trafford don't go there to see Jose and me on the side, they go to see the fantastic players on the field."

Guardiola was keeping his selection cards close to his chest, but was fulsome in his praise of midfielder Ilkay Gundogan as the Germany international nears full fitness.

The boss added: "Ilkay when he's fit, he's quick with the ball he can think, he can pass, he's so intelligent.

"He's very good attacking central defenders and midfield players with the ball, and he arrives in the box at the right time.

"He has a lot of experience, a lot of personality."

Guardiola added: "He had a lot of injuries in the past we have to control things in that sense, but I'm sure he will impress."