Pep Guardiola says he has always enjoyed going to Old Trafford ahead of the first Manchester derby of the season on Sunday.

It will be the first time that the two Clubs have met since the FA Cup final in June when City lifted the trophy to complete the second part of our Treble.

Whilst the trip across the city won’t carry the same huge jeopardy, it remains an important game and a rivalry that the City boss enjoys.

“Old Trafford, when I was in Barcelona or Bayern Munich and I travelled to England it was always special,” Guardiola said in his prematch news conference.

“It is a special place and here it is special for our fans.

“It is a game not like an FA Cup final or last games of the season that defines winning or not the Premier League, still we have only played nine fixtures and there are 87 points to play. We have to be focused.”

Guardiola will be without Manuel Akanji for the game, which kicks off at 15:30 (UK) as he serves a one-match suspension following a late red card in the 2-1 victory over Brighton at the weekend.

And the City boss warned that it’s always a big test to leave with three points and that his players will need to be switched on.

“United always have been - it doesn’t matter the manager - always they are a tough opponent,” he said.

“The qualities of the individuals they have, the stadium, the character they have, the momentum.

“They can score goals, we know the quality they have. Always that has been and always it will be.”

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Second-placed City go into the derby six places and six points above United but Erik Ten Hag’s have won their last two Premier League games as well as a dramatic win over Copenhagen in the Champions League in midweek.

Guardiola says it’s too early to know who the title frontrunners are and says United are always a side that should be considered as contenders.

“It’s too early. All the teams are there and the teams behind can be there,” he added.

“When you play just nine games many things will happen, we have been behind by a few points in February and March and then we were able to win.

“I want to see how is our mentality on Sunday in Old Trafford. We have won a lot, it’s not about if we win now what is going to happen. It’s not about that. I want to see in the right mentality to play for these points.”