United now playing like under Ferguson – Guardiola

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Manchester United have started to play in the manner Alex Ferguson’s side did, Pep Guardiola believes.

Guardiola’s Manchester City visit United on Tuesday for the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final.

Solskjaer’s men won the Premier League encounter between the two at the Etihad Stadium last month, a victory that followed a defeat of Tottenham and greatly eased the pressure on the Red Devils boss.

United were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal in the league on New Year’s Day before being held to a 0-0 draw by Wolves in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Despite those results, Guardiola has seen plenty of signs of encouragement for Solskjaer.

He told a pre-match media conference: “He’s starting to see the team he wanted. That is my feeling when he sees his teams, even the last game against Arsenal that they lost, we see clear what he wants.

“It was not easy to take over a team in a big, big club, always demanding to be champion in all competitions, but I think every manager needs time and I have the feeling that United start to play the way he wants or he was for his old manager Alex Ferguson.”

Asked what he learnt from the 2-1 league loss to United, Guardiola replied: “How fast they are, how solid, how aggressive.

“We concede a few counter-attacks in the beginning, and in two or three seconds, they are in the box, so they have incredible pace and talent. In general, the game was good, we create chances and unfortunately we could not win.”

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Since taking over City in 2016, Liverpool have been closer challengers than United and appear poised to dethrone the Premier League champions. Jurgen Klopp’s men hold a 13-point lead at the top, with City third and 14 points off the pace.

Ferguson frequently used to say Liverpool was a bigger fixture for United than meetings with City, but Guardiola claimed not to know enough to say whether the same is now the case for his side.

“I know for the years I was not here we were the noisy neighbours, now I don’t know who we are,” he said.

“The derby in Spain [for Barcelona] was Espanyol and Real Madrid, here of course United is a derby, then here in England there are many top teams, not just one or two like in other countries.

“That’s why the derby is important for our fans, but there are other top teams that are important. I’m not here for one century, maybe it’s hard to feel for our fans what Liverpool means. I know exactly what United means for them.”

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