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Manchester City will be looking to reassert themselves against Manchester United in Wednesday’s EFL Cup semi-final, and their status as the leading team in the rivalry for much of the last decade is a source of pride for Pep Guardiola.
City have not finished below their neighbors in the Premier League since United’s last Premier League triumph in 2012-13, winning three subsequent top-flight crowns.
Two of them were under Guardiola, United finished a distant second in 2017-18 as City racked up a record 100 points.
The teams also met on the same stage of the EFL Cup last season, as City prevailed en route to a third consecutive success at Wembley in the competition, although there have been signs that the home story is starting to turn late. .
“United have always been a great club,” Guardiola said. “When I faced them with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and here, it was always important.
“It is a rivalry in the city and for many decades United was ahead of Manchester City. For us, we are incredibly proud and it’s an honor for the last decade to be there with them and sometimes win, most of the time and sometimes lose.
A 3-1 first leg win in last season’s semi-final is City’s only win in Manchester’s five most recent derbies.
United regained pride and sparked nervousness with a 1-0 win at the Etihad Stadium when Nemanja Matic scored and was sent off in the second leg, while completing a 2019-20 Premier League double on either side of those matches.
AN AMAZING ABSOLUTE @BernardoCSilva!
– Manchester City (@ManCity) January 8, 2020
Both teams have achieved more impressive form since December’s turgid 0-0 draw at Old Trafford in their most recent encounter, although it is United that is tied on points with champions Liverpool at the top and has a chance to go up. if he avoids defeat in his hand game against Burnley next week.
“They have always been contenders,” Guardiola said. “Every year when we start the season, United is a contender.
“If it didn’t happen in the last few seasons, it’s a question for them. It is no different facing United or other contenders. “
City put on a majestic performance when they dispatched Chelsea 3-1 at the weekend, a performance that was even more impressive after a coronavirus outbreak removed six first-team players.
Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus have now completed 10 days of self-isolation after positive tests are confirmed on Christmas Day, but Ederson, Ferran Torres, Eric Garcia and Tommy Doyle will not be available at Old Trafford for a one-off encounter – the EFL has ditched its usual two-legged format to ease device congestion.
“We don’t have many players. Playing one or two games is fine, but if this continues for a long time and I can only use 14 or 15 players it will be more difficult, ”explained Guardiola.
“Like everyone in the world, we adapt, we have to adjust our lives and our professions as much as possible and we have no alternative.
“The most important thing is that the guys who have COVID can recover well and the guys handle it well and try to avoid it as much as possible.”
City will be in action for the first time since the death of great club Colin Bell, who passed away after a brief illness, at age 74.
Colin the King
– Manchester City (@ManCity) January 5, 2021
Players past and present lined up to pay tribute to Bell on Tuesday, and former City captain Vincent Kompany tweeted: “So sad to hear [of] Colin Bell’s death. I heard all about the King!
“A true Manchester City legend. This man was on another level, if only he could have seen him play. Incredibly kind and humble when I met him. “