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Guardiola calls for calm heads in Manchester derby

Manager Pep Guardiola says Manchester City must not be distracted by emotions in Sunday’s derby against Manchester United at Etihad Stadium.

City, who won 3-0 at Old Trafford in October, are second in the Premier League, four places above United.

City are unbeaten in 18 games and United have lost only once this year.

“What I learn from my experience in these types of games is to be more calm, relax, don’t talk about many things,” Guardiola said.

“Just focus on tactics and what you have to do to beat them, not about emotions – because emotions will be there, without doubt.”

League leaders Liverpool’s dramatic 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest on Saturday moved them four points clear of City, who travel to Anfield on 10 March.

This is the first Manchester derby since Sir Jim Ratcliffe became co-owner of United.

He has said he wants to knock City “off their perch” within three years and described their 4-0 win over Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League semi-final as “the best football I’ve seen”.

City manager Pep Guardiola said it is a “complete honour” to receive praise from Ratcliffe.

“I just say ‘thank you so much’,” Guardiola said.

“Sometimes they are more than the titles, the compliments of the personalities that make this country, like Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s comments. It is a complete honour for us.

“One can produce emotions and feelings for the players and our rivals. That helps to do our job. Thank you so much on behalf of all of us.”

City have won five of the past six Premier League titles, while United’s most recent came in 2013. Last year City matched their rivals’ feat from 1998-99 by winning the Treble.

“The 80s was Liverpool, 90s United and now we have won seven Premier Leagues in the last 11 or 12 years,” said Guardiola.

“But in 50 or 60 years there has never been one country where one team always dominates and controls everything. We will try in this organisation to extend this as much as possible for many years.

“Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his people know the diagnosis of their club. I don’t know anything about that club.

“If they said they need two or three years to be there, who am I to say the opposite?”

United manager Erik ten Hag said: “You can always learn from opponents who are successful, and you have to do it if you want to go to high levels but, at the same time, we have to do it in a United way.

“This is a different club with a different environment, with a different DNA. But you pick up things that can be successful and you integrate it in your own model.”

Credit: BBC Sport

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