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Pep Guardiola makes admission on Man City gulf over Manchester United

Pep Guardiola makes admission on Man City gulf over Manchester United

Pep Guardiola cannot recall a bigger mismatch against a Premier League rival than Saturday’s derby victory.

During his six years in English football, Manchester City have beaten Liverpool 5-0 and 4-1, put five past Arsenal, and hit Chelsea for six goals.

Despite finishing 17 points ahead of United on average in the table, Guardiola has a poor record against United, having won none of his last four league games against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer since the 2019/20 season.

In addition, none of their five victories in 11 meetings since 2016 have been by more than a two-goal margin.

The most recent of these occurred on Saturday at Old Trafford, when Bernardo Silva added to an Eric Bailly own goal to give City a 2-0 victory, but the scoreline hardly reflected City’s dominance.

The visitors’ 753 passes were more than a woefully passive United have conceded since such stats began being recorded in 2003, while United’s four touches in the penalty box were another all-time low in the league, with David de Gea forced to react when Victor Lindelof turned the ball towards him. United actually had more shots on goal against their own goalkeeper than Ederson did.

After the game, Guardiola was careful not to be too harsh on his beleaguered counterpart Solskjaer, beginning his response to one question about United with ‘let me be gentle.’

He did, however, come to the conclusion that his team had never completely dominated a rival before, a conclusion that is as damning for United as it is for City.

“Maybe this was the game that we dominated for the most time,” he said.

“Except for 10 minutes of the second half, the other 80 minutes were absolutely under control. There were other games, like the game when we could be champions at the Etihad [in 2018] when we were 2-0 up at half-time and after we lost 3-2. In the first half it could have been four or five but we lost 3-2. So, the second half we were not good.

“In some games we are good but not for as long as today, it is a game we controlled more specifically. We know each other better, we know the opponent better.

“We need the ball to play good and desire when we don’t have it, to recover it and play and play and play and play and play and play. “It’s not that you attack quicker and you will score more goals, you have to arrive in the right tempo. I love us arriving to the boxes, not being in the boxes.

“The way we play a lot of passes we are still able for Phil [Foden] to arrive and [Ilkay] Gundogan and Kevin [De Bruyne] and Gaby [Jesus] and Bernardo [Silva]. Arriving from behind is the best way to surprise the opponent and today we did it.”


Pep Guardiola makes admission on Man City gulf over Manchester United

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