Hark now hear: Derby Day is upon us. Love it or hate it, it’s happening again!
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This weekend marks the fourth meeting between Pep Guardiola and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men this season. Plus, our women’s team will have also locked horns with the Reds on four occasions by the end of March!)
Encounters with our cross-town rivals are becoming increasingly frequent… but that doesn’t ease the pre-match nerves or contain the excitement!
With City having enjoyed a fine recent record at Old Trafford (not wishing to tempt fate!), Solskjaer asserts facing the Champions will provide ‘a great challenge against the best’, while Bernardo Silva is readying himself to go head-to-head against his friend and compatriot Bruno Fernandes.
Meanwhile, Ellen White remains positive following England’s SheBelieves defeat to the USA and there’s a snippet of transfer gossip…
Match previews: Manchester United v City
Bernardo Silva: “I’m not surprised how well he has started because he’s a great player. He’s a good friend of mine, I’ve played with him since we were in the Under-19s with Portugal.
“His qualities? He has a great work rate, very intelligent and he’s a guy who arrives very well in the box, scores a lot of goals, gets assists. He’s a crucial player and is showing that in the first few weeks.
“I’m happy for him, he’s had a great start. He asked me about Manchester and I said what I thought was right. It’s a great club for him, it’s a great opportunity and he’s doing great.
“I’m happy for him because he’s a friend, but I just don’t want him to win on Sunday. I want to beat him obviously.
“It’s a very special game for the players, and for the fans and we want to give them this win.
“We feel good, we feel we are in a good run. We have won the Carabao Cup, now in the quarter finals of the FA Cup and the Champions League first leg was quite good for us after what happened in Madrid. So hopefully we can now keep it going.
“It’s a really important game against United. We know we can’t get the title anymore, but it’s important to qualify for the Champions League as quickly as possible and to get the second place.
“It’s a good memory last time we went to Old Trafford [in the Carabao Cup], it was one of my best goals. We have played three times there since I came and we have always won so it’s been good for me.
“We know how difficult it is to play there. When you play against a team like Man United with their fans, the history and everything, it’s always special to play them.
“A derby is always a special game, requires pressure and passion from the fans. We are used to playing big games and these are the games we like to play.”
View from the opposition
Manchester United: Ole: We have to control our emotions
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “When you're at home, you have to open up against a team like Man City and they will exploit that if you're not 100 per cent.
“Sometimes, being at home with your fans, you want to show them what you can do and you want to beat your opponent. Sometimes you open up too many spaces and that's what we did for 10, 15 or 20 minutes, whatever we did after they scored a worldie [Bernardo Silva's opening goal].
“Before then, it wasn't a problem before Bernardo scored in the top corner. So that wasn't an issue until our heads went for a little while, so we've got to control our emotions more. And we have learned so that's an experience that we'll bring into this game, definitely.
“I think it helps, because my team is still developing. Our team now is developing and you want to play against the best. We need to learn and they've been the best in the last few seasons and, for us, it's a great challenge.
“They'll feel confident, they've hit form, they're playing well. They've just been at the Bernabeu, winning there [against Real Madrid] as well, and they won the Carabao Cup final [against Aston Villa].
“So, I'm sure they'll come confident, they'll play their own game and we'll play our game and hopefully it will be a good one.
“Let's hope [Sunday] is a 4-3 like we've seen before. There have been many classics and we'll do what we can to make it a classic.”
Ellen White: “In terms of the negativity or criticism from people, we want to be challenging for World Cups, we want to be winning things and with that comes criticism, with that comes negative comments.
“We understand that, we know that; we’re in a football environment where that’s very high and that happens, so I think we’ve just got to take it with a pinch of salt.
“We’ve got to concentrate on what we understand, and we know, play collectively as a team and understand our goals, what we want to strive for because we’ve got some big years coming up in terms of international football.
“For us we know what we want to achieve and the journey we’re taking – I think that’s the most important thing.
“Obviously, there have been some disappointing results, but I think for us, our focus is to get it right when it matters.
“This is a big tournament for us; we want to perform at the SheBelieves. We want to put things right that haven’t quite worked out, we want to perform and hold onto the trophy.
“That’s a big priority for us: we want to go and win things, we’re not there just for the ride. It’s important for England to keep that winning mentality and obviously we need to grow and develop as a team as well post-World Cup; I think that’s important at the same time.”
Matt Law: “Manchester City are reportedly preparing a summer move for Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar.
“The Premier League champions have allegedly recently failed with a €70m (£58.6m) offer for the Slovakia international, who was also linked with Manchester United last summer.
“However, according to Calciomercato, Pep Guardiola's side are now putting a plan in place to submit a new offer ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.
“The report claims that Inter are desperate to keep hold of the 25-year-old, who has made 31 appearances in all competitions during the current season.
“However, the Italian giants would allegedly consider offers in the region of €85m (£74m).”