London (AFP) – Pep Guardiola says Manchester United are starting to play the way Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants them to as he prepares for a blockbuster League Cup semi-final between the two sides.
City head to Old Trafford for the first leg of the last-four encounter on Tuesday, having won the competition for the past two seasons.
Guardiola’s side are third in the Premier League, 13 points ahead of fifth-placed United, but lost 2-1 to their rivals last month as Solskjaer’s men produced an exhilarating display of counter-attacking football at the Etihad Stadium.
Asked what he had learned from that defeat, the Spaniard added: “How fast they are. How they run on the counter-attack. How solid, how aggressive.
“We conceded a few counter-attacks and in just two or three seconds they were in the box.”
Speaking about Solskjaer, he said: “I think he is starting to see his team like he wants. The last (league) game against Arsenal they lost, but you see clearly what he wants.
“It was not easy to handle a team at a big, big club, always demanding to be champions in all competitions, but I think every manager needs time.
“I have the feeling United have started to play the way he wants.”
With the Premier League title apparently heading to Anfield, Guardiola is forced to focus on the cup competitions after winning a domestic treble last year.
“A third semi-final in a row. It is not the best competition in the world but it is nice to be here again and against our city opponents,” said the City boss.
Guardiola will have Nicolas Otamendi available again after an injury but has not yet settled on a starting XI.
“I have an idea,” he said. “We have played an incredible amount of games and some players need to rest. I have an idea, but I am not 100 percent sure who will play tomorrow.”
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Rangers and Frankfurt roll back the years for retro Europa League final
- Klopp confident Salah, Van Dijk fit for Champions League final
- Newcastle blow up Arsenal’s Champions League dream
- Clint Dempsey joins FOX Sports for World Cup 2022 coverage
- Newcastle blow up Arsenal’s Champions League dreams
- Chiellini says goodbye to Juve fans as last-gasp Lazio make Europa League
- Blackpool’s Daniels ends 32-year wait for gay UK male footballer to come out
- Liverpool assess Salah, Van Dijk ahead of Southampton clash
- African players in Europe: Mane has last laugh on Mendy
- Anti-homophobia group demands PSG explain Gueye absence