Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have their final preparations on hand for the first Manchester Derby of the season.
It’s been a busy week for the Manchester United and Man City managers, with big games in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday to contend with before turning all attention to Sunday.
Here’s what both men have said ahead of the Etihad Stadium clash:
On their teams
Pep: “All fit except for Kevin [De Bruyne].”
Jose: “No new injuries. So from Juventus we don’t bring important injuries. We have touches but I don’t think any player that was available for Juventus will be out. We have a chance – it is Friday morning now – that Lukaku could be back. Lukaku is training with the team this morning. If this answer is positive and we have of course one more session tomorrow, if the answer is positive he’s ready but in this moment I can only say he trains with the team, I don’t know his answer.”
On how to approach the match
Pep: “We have to play good. If we play good, we have a chance to win. You cannot imagine we are going to play amazingly for 90 minutes against top teams. I would like to play the same game as last season when we played top for 75 minutes but United showed us that they just need 10 or 15 minutes to create a chance. When they have the ball, they can create something because they have incredible talent.”
Jose: “We are going to try, I cannot say we are going to be successful in our motivations, in our desire, but we played two difficult matches away against two very good teams Chelsea and Juventus and we managed to get good results and even if the good results were not in our pockets the performances were there, the positive attitude was there so we are going to try but Manchester City are a very powerful team.”
“We are a team that has that collective spirit to fight back but it is not always possible. If we keep conceding goals before the opportunity there will be a day where we cannot come back so we have to grow up in our approach, because it is clear the team is growing up, but we have to grow up in our compactness and start matches well. Against Juventus it happened, we concede the goal in the 60th minute or something like that and we had a good start. In the first 15 or 20 minutes we were totally in control.”
How it could affect the Premier League title race
Pep: “They are not out of the title race, no way. It is impossible in November. They have recovered well in tough games like being 2-0 down against Newcastle. They are a big club with a big club mentality. There are five or six strong teams. In March and April, that is another issue but football changes in a few weeks.”
Jose: “If we draw the gap is nine if we lose it is 12, I don’t think this is the way to look at the match. We have to just think about the match. It is difficult enough by an isolated event, if you want to put that match into the context of where we are, where we can be. I want to play it as an isolated match, difficult match against difficult team but they think is a difficult match for them.”
On Der Spiegel’s FFP claims this week
Pep: “If people want to undermine what we have done, no problem. We live our lives. Opinions are opinions. I said I trust the club a lot. If there is something wrong, we will be punished. FIFA or UEFA have to say if we were wrong. If we were wrong, we will accept but I hear what my club said to me and I accept them.”
Jose: “It’s difficult for me to answer because I focus on my job. I focus on the four lines, focus on football. If you want to speak about their football potential we can speak and football potential starts with investment. After that, of course, there is a quality of the work, quality of the organisation, and I think that is untouchable, but what is behind I cannot say. But in this moment I have only to think about football, and to think about football is to just think about Manchester City as a football team they are.”
Help us build a Derby Day map of Manchester:
Where will you be supporting United or City from? You can help us compile a Derby Day map of Manchester.
Simply enter the first part of your postcode, then click on the red or blue button. Your entry will be added to the results – and you’ll get to see an interactive map which shows the results so far for each Greater Manchester area.
The survey will appear immediately below here, please wait a few seconds if it hasn’t loaded yet
When you enter in your own club affiliation, you will see a map showing how the votes have been going so far but the final results could change as more fans take part.
We will publish the verdict after Sunday’s big game.