Soccer

Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s admiration of City ‘a complete honour’ says Pep Guardiola

The new Manchester United co-owner Ratcliffe recently spoke of his ambition to knock the champions ‘off their perch’.

Pep Guardiola has welcomed Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s complimentary comments about Manchester City
Pep Guardiola Pep Guardiola has welcomed Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s complimentary comments about Manchester City (Zac Goodwin/PA)

Pep Guardiola has thanked Sir Jim Ratcliffe for ‘helping him do his job’ by stating his admiration for Manchester City.

New Manchester United co-owner Ratcliffe recently spoke of his ambition to knock neighbours City, and another of their rivals in Liverpool, “off their perch”.

Yet in doing so he conceded United had fallen well behind both of those clubs and admitted much could be learned from their success.

Sir Jim Ratcliffe completed his purchase of a stake in Manchester United last month
Sir Jim Ratcliffe Sir Jim Ratcliffe completed his purchase of a stake in Manchester United last month (Simon Peach/PA)

He even went as far as to say City’s 4-0 demolition of Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League semi-finals was “the best quality of football I’ve ever seen”.

Guardiola says such compliments are a source of pride and feed his continuing desire for success.

The City manager, whose side host United on Sunday, said: “I just say thank you so much.

“Sometimes they are more than the titles, the compliments of the personalities that make this country, like Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s comments. It is a complete honour for us.

“One can produce emotions and feelings for the players and our rivals. That helps to do our job. Thank you so much on behalf of all of us.

“But I am sure tomorrow they will try, one way or another, to inoculate the Man Utd players with the best performance to try to beat us.”

City will hope to maintain their recent superiority over United on Sunday
Phil Foden celebrates scoring against Manchester United City will hope to maintain their recent superiority over United on Sunday (Martin Rickett/PA)

This weekend’s derby could be a key encounter for champions City in their bid to win a fourth successive Premier League title.

Considering their recent superiority over their neighbours, and United’s inconsistency this season, City are expected to come out on top but Guardiola is wary of the pitfalls of the fixture.

He said: “Do you remember when United went to Anfield this season? Last season it was 7-0.

“Remember the comments? How many goal are Liverpool going to score? It would be easy for Liverpool.

“What was the result? Liverpool didn’t win.

“It is United. The past is the past. Tomorrow it is 11 players with pride, with a manager – we cannot deny how good he has done in the past in Amsterdam – trying to do his best.

“In different situations, with City in the position of United, I know my players would behave at Old Trafford with pride and the best character. It is going to happen to United on Sunday.

“It will be a tough game, another final for us. I know how difficult it will be.

“It has been more difficult here than at Old Trafford in our period together. We lost more (derby) games here than Old Trafford. We have to perform really well to do it.”