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Business as usual for Guardiola ahead of derby

PREVIEW: Pep Guardiola addresses the media ahead of the Manchester derby.

PREVIEW: Pep Guardiola addresses the media ahead of the Manchester derby.

Pep Guardiola has refused to place any extra-significance on Saturday’s Manchester derby, even though victory would see City clinch the Premier League title.

With so much at stake, it is one of the most eagerly anticipated derbies in recent memory, but the Catalan was keen to stress that he will be approaching it like any other game and is not entertaining any ideas of how his side might celebrate.

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Much has been made of the opportunity to wrap the championship up over our rivals.

As has the fact the derby is sandwiched between Champions League ties with Liverpool.

And while Guardiola reiterated his focus is solely on United, he acknowledged the impact of victory ahead of Tuesday’s second leg.

“I won’t make any comment on celebration, we are focused on the game,” he explained at his pre-match press conference.

“It’s another game. United defend differently from Liverpool but we’ll try to play the same way as we have all season.

“We will pick the team to win the game tomorrow, with one eye thinking on Tuesday.

“The result tomorrow will help emotionally to prepare for the game on Tuesday."

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We’ll enjoy the backing of the home crowd at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening, something not lost on Guardiola.

With no midweek action to speak of, United arrive with the benefit of seven days’ rest and the City boss has encouraged fans to provide his players with a lift he feels they are deserving of on such an occasion.

"We'd like to feel that at home, people will fill the stadium and support the guys," said Pep.

"They deserve all the credit. We are so tired. United rest all week and our game in Anfield was so tough.

"That's why it's so important that in the bad moments our supporters are there.

"Sometimes the players, the managers, they don't deserve the supporters, but that's not the case so we need it."

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