Men's Team

Pep: 'We will need to play the perfect game against United'

Pep Guardiola says City will need to play ‘the perfect game’ in Sunday’s eagerly-awaited Manchester derby at home to United.

There is a heightened sense of excitement ahead of the 188th Manchester derby, with City lying second in the table just a point off top spot and United showing signs of renewal under new manager Erik ten Hag.

But, speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of the game, the City boss said the stature of the occasion itself would provide more than enough emotional inspiration for his players.

And he believes retaining a calm approach amidst the frenzied atmosphere of the latest battle for Manchester bragging rights will be key for City.


“We have to play the perfect game on Sunday, they will punish you in small spaces,” Guardiola declared.

“We cannot be lazy. What you need to be expressed is emotions, the games will give it to you.

“Decisions are being made before you act. Be calm and take the right decisions.

“When you are anxious it is difficult to take the right one.

“In these games we don’t have to make extra emotional effort because it is what is.

“The stadium will be full and we will do what we can do.

“This is our opportunity to express the skills they have in front of millions of people The best way is to be yourself.

“Don’t be scared, be upfront, try to play good. If you do it the consequence will be points and victories.”


The City boss has spoken a number of times about the incredible atmosphere at the Etihad – and how much the fans’ contribution has helped the players.

And he said the vibrant backing of the supporters helped bring the best out of his players – especially in such a significant game as the derby.

“(The fans are) Proud of these guys, they have given to them and people who love Man City the players gave them many years, moments and of course titles,” Guardiola added.

“People going to the stadium put us under pressure, but it is important. I want that they are active and show passion and demand the best of ourselves.

“When you are on top you have more rivals. When in the middle you have few rivals. Big rivals make you better.”

Guardiola also says he is more than aware of the threats and dangers posed by the Old Trafford visitors, who inflicted a first defeat of the season on Premier League leaders Arsenal earlier this season.

“They have physicality and quality in the middle, the centre backs so aggressive. Good pace outside. It’s Man Utd it has always been like that,” the boss continued.

“I always expect the best from our opponents. The quality they have is undoubted for many years.

“They come from a very good result against Southampton away which is not easy and Arsenal at home. Good momentum for them.

“It’s a big rivalry in the city and I will try to figure out what they are going to do and what we can do to beat them.

"I'm looking forward to the game."