Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola praises 'brilliant' Ralf Rangnick ahead of 'difficult' Manchester derby

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Guardiola was full of praise for City's opponents
Guardiola was full of praise for City's opponents / 90min

Pep Guardiola has praised Ralf Rangnick ahead of the Manchester derby on Sunday, also revealing that he is expecting a 'difficult' game.

Premier League leaders City go into the match 19 points ahead of fourth-placed United with many also pointing to a gulf in class off the pitch, in terms of recruitment, coaching and infrastructure.

Despite this apparent chasm between the two sides Guardiola insisted that his charges were expecting a tough test this weekend.

"We play against teams who are 6 points behind, 25 points behind. It's not a problem. In the Premier League we have been a lot of points ahead, we never expected it," he said.

"I think Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] last season made an incredible campaign but we were exceptional. United upfront and in the middle, incredible energy, speed on the sides. Central defenders experienced. I see this, I don't see 19 points behind.

"I don't care, we can win or lose. We work on the way we have to play, win the situations in every moment. Different manager last season but you start to see and realise what they do. So aggressive upfront, the moments they are intense, deep runners.

"They have qualities. You cannot say upfront they are not good deep runners, maybe the best after Liverpool and Chelsea. We know and have to control it."

Guardiola was also full of praise for United's interim manager, Rangnick.

"Rangnick is a father of the pressing, the transitions, playing inside," he said.

"You see with Liverpool and Southampton and now Jesse Marsch with Leeds, a little bit with Tuchel but he plays more wider. Most top clubs already here, five or six teams are playing this way.

"Important ones like Liverpool, United, Chelsea, Southampton is doing incredibly well, Leeds now. The work he did in Germany is exceptional, a proper school of football, Leipzig, Austria, New York, all the teams play the same. He came here and you start to see some patterns of what he wants to do."

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