Pep Guardiola calls for calm heads in Manchester derby

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Erling Haaland (right) comes into the game on a back of a five-goal haul at Luton

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says his side need to focus on tactics and not emotions in Sunday’s Premier League derby with Manchester United.

City, who won 3-0 at Old Trafford in October, are 15 points above United.

Both sides are in good form, with second-placed City unbeaten in 18 and United only losing once in 2024.

“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.”

This is the first derby since Sir Jim Ratcliffe became co-owner of United and said he wants to knock City “off their perch” within three years.

City have won five of the past six Premier League titles.

“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?”

On Thursday, United boss Erik ten Hag said: “Our form – we are also on a good run. The spirit is very good, we are united. Now we have to make a good game plan.

“We will prepare well but our players are looking forward to it and I can smell it – I’m excited.

“We know we have to give everything and show a team performance.”

There will be full commentary of the game on BBC Radio 5 Live on Sunday, with the build-up starting from Etihad Stadium at 12:00 GMT.

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