Pep Guardiola sympathises with Erik ten Hag over Manchester United’s injuries

Manchester City boss Guardiola is looking to win back-to-back domestic doubles with victory over United in the FA Cup final on Saturday.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag (left) and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag (left) and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (Mike Egerton/PA)

Pep Guardiola agrees rival Erik ten Hag has been unfortunate with injuries this season but has warned the Dutchman will still be judged on results.

Manchester United manager Ten Hag is under pressure heading into Saturday’s FA Cup final against Guardiola’s formidable Manchester City side at Wembley after a frustrating campaign at Old Trafford.

In his defence Ten Hag, whose side finished eighth in the Premier League while City claimed their fourth successive title, has been badly hampered by injuries to key players – particularly at the back – throughout the season.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola kisses the Premier League trophy
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola kisses the Premier League trophy (Martin Rickett/PA)

Opposite number Guardiola has sympathy but is well aware of what expectations are.

The City boss said: “So, in big clubs like United and City, when you don’t win you are always in trouble. It is not a secret.

“We have done what we have done but I would be in trouble if we didn’t win.

“I have a huge respect for his jobs in the past and now with United. I completely agree when I listen to him and he says they were not a full squad, they did not have all the squad ready all season. They had a lot of injuries.

“They should think of the reason why. Even in my case I am focused on that. You have to be fit, fit, fit otherwise you cannot use the players.

“They have a lot of problems and when that happens the manager suffers a lot. I think the squad is really good but the problem when they are injured is you cannot use them and this is a big disadvantage.”

After last week’s unprecedented feat of securing a fourth successive English top-flight title, City have the chance to make further history by becoming the first side to win successive domestic doubles.

Guardiola insists he is more focused on finishing the season with a flourish than the record books.

He said: “The fact we can do back-to-back doubles, of course, is important but even if we did not have the chance to do these kind of things, the FA Cup is the FA Cup.

“It’s Wembley, fans going down to London. Players know it is the last game of the season, it’s the last effort.

“I’m impressed how good we’ve trained after a few days off. People are so focused and everyone will be part of it and we will do our best.”

City have a fully-fit squad aside from goalkeeper Ederson, who is sidelined with a fractured eye socket.

It is the first time since 1885 the same two sides have met in a repeat of the previous year’s final.

United will be aiming to avenge last season’s 2-1 loss, in which City opened the scoring after just 13 seconds.

Guardiola said: “We respect United a lot. It has always been like that.

“In the last decade we have been better but, in terms of history, they are the best team in England. So, just for that, you have to respect them massively, of course.”