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Pep Guardiola calls present squad ‘special’

Spaniard Guardiola spent trophy-laden seasons with Barcelona and Bayern Munich before joining City ahead of the 2016-17 season
Pep Guardiola

Reuters   |   Manchester   |   Published 07.03.21, 01:46 AM

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said his current squad of players is among the hungriest of his managerial career following 21 successive wins in all competitions going into Sunday’s Premier League Derby with Manchester United.

Spaniard Guardiola spent trophy-laden seasons with Barcelona and Bayern Munich before joining City ahead of the 2016-17 season and has since guided them to two league titles, three League Cups and the FA Cup.

City are on course to add to their collection of silverware under Guardiola with a 14-point lead over second-placed United in the Premier League and the manager was asked how his current squad compares to his previous teams.

“I had incredibly hungry teams in my career, lucky to be together in Barcelona and Bayern. To do what we’ve done in these four years, still winning... These guys have something special,” Guardiola told reporters.

“It comes from themselves. It comes from inside, trying to win, to collaborate with mates, to do the best we can. Now it’s nice because we win. All the theories we do, the nice things they’re saying is just for one reason. Because we win. The smell when we win is so beautiful. But when we lose, the perspective will be calm.”

Guardiola said City cannot take their foot off the gas with 11 games remaining in the league.

Ole’s backing

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brushed off suggestions that his team’s form had dipped after three goalless draws in all competitions and backed them to regain their spark on Sunday.

United were held to a 0-0 draw by Real Sociedad in their Europa League last-32 second-leg clash last month before drawing blanks in league draws with Chelsea and Crystal Palace.

“We’ve had a week without scoring... it’s not like we had six weeks with no form. We beat Sociedad 4-0 (in the first leg), Southampton 9-0,” Solskjaer told reporters.

“It’s also the opposition. I’m not buying into the narrative that we’ve had a dip in form. Three barren matches are not really us but we have lacked a bit of spark... We’ve not been clinical enough but they’ve been tight games and it’s a chance to put that right.”

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• Sheffield 0 Southampton 2

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• West Brom vs Newcastle

• Liverpool vs Fulham

• Man City vs Man United

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