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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola dismissed the suggestion that his team has an advantage over Manchester United before the derby due to their early qualification for the Champions League.
City will travel to Old Trafford to face Premier League rivals United on Saturday, not before the final round of group matches in the Champions League.
Guardiola’s City have already advanced to the round of 16 and have the luxury of remaining players for Wednesday’s Group C game against Marseille, while Solskjaer’s United need at least one point from their trip to RB Leipzig on Tuesday to move from Group H.
But Guardiola, whose City is sixth and one point behind United, insisted that there is no advantage for the Citizens against their neighbors.
“Sometimes we play three days without recovery; sometimes four, ”Guardiola said.
“It is a derby. We will be focused, committed and for these games, the players are not tired. It’s the opposite. “
City defeated visiting Londoners Fulham 2-0 on Saturday when Guardiola celebrated the 700th game of his career in charge, while he was the 250th leading the English team in all competitions.
The best of our win over Fulham
– Manchester City (@ManCity) December 5, 2020
Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne hit the spot in Manchester, where the former scored his 20th Premier League penalty, more than any other player in the competition’s history.
De Bruyne has participated in more shots than any other player in the Premier League this season (62-34 shots, 28 chances created), with the Belgian involved in eight against Fulham (six shots, two chances created).
United, meanwhile, won three of the four derbies last season, including the March showdown at the Theater of Dreams.
But City have kept four consecutive clean sheets in all competitions to be within six points of leader Tottenham, and Guardiola added: “We are in a good moment at the moment, I would say.
“We are better than a month ago but that is normal. Without preparation, without time, what happened is normal.
“The important thing is that we are not far from the top of the league and we already qualify for the next round [of the Champions League]. This is important. Now we want to continue being there ”.