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Man City v Man Utd: Pep Guardiola says Sir Jim Ratcliffe praise is ‘an honour’

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says it is a “complete honour” to receive praise from Manchester United’s new co-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe.Ratcliffe has spoken of wanting to knock City “off their perch” and described their 4-0 win over Real Madrid in last season’s Champions League semi-final as “the best football I’ve seen”.Sunday’s Manchester derby at Etihad Stadium is the first since Ratcliffe completed a deal for a 27.7% stake in United.”I just say thank you so much,” Guardiola said.”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.”Premier League title race run-in: Will Liverpool, Manchester City or Arsenal come out on top?Ratcliffe wants Old Trafford to be ‘national stadium for the north’City have won five titles since United’s most recent in 2013 and last year matched their rivals in winning the Treble. They beat Real Madrid 5-1 on aggregate in the semis.”The 80s was Liverpool, 90s United and now we have won seven Premier Leagues in the last 11 or 12 years,” said Guardiola, whose side have won five of the past six Premier League titles.”But in 50 or 60 years, there has never been one country where one team always dominates and controls everything. We will try in this organisation to extend this as much as possible for many years.”Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his people know the diagnosis of their club. I don’t know anything about that club.”If they said they need two or three years to be there, who am I to say the opposite?”United manager Erik ten Hag said: “You can always learn from opponents who are successful, and you have to do it if you want to go to high levels but, at the same time, we have to do it in a United way.”This is a different club with a different environment, with a different DNA. But you pick up things that can be successful and you integrate it in your own model.”‘City could run away with it’ – what the pundits sayCity, who won 3-0 at Old Trafford in October, are 15 points above United.Second-placed City are unbeaten in 18 games and United have lost only once this year.Former United striker Dion Dublin told BBC Radio 5 Live: “City should win this four or five, on paper, because of the way they score goals.”However, when it comes to the pride of the city and being able to leave your house on Monday morning, knowing that you have given blood, sweat and tears, it kind of changes the narrative of the game.”If Manchester United don’t turn up, they could get done four or five. If they do turn up and every single player does what they can, this could be a close one.”Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton has predicted a 6-1 win for City.”City will win, I’ve got no doubt about that. It’s just a question of how many will they score,” he said.”If it clicks for City – and Kevin de Bruyne has said he feels like he is getting better by the game – then they could run away with it.”There will be full commentary of the game on BBC Radio 5 Live on Sunday, with the build-up starting at 12:00 GMT.Team newsCity winger Jack Grealish has been ruled out after injuring his groin in Tuesday’s FA Cup fifth-round win at Luton.Defender Josko Gvardiol is nearing a return from an ankle problem but this game may come too soon.United midfielder Bruno Fernandes and defender Raphael Varane completed Wednesday’s cup win at Nottingham Forest despite fitness issues and are expected to be available.Head-to-headCity have won five of their past six games in all competitions against United.City are vying for a sixth Premier League double against United, which would be more than any other side.City have scored a combined 10 goals in their past two home games against United and are vying for a third consecutive home league win against them for the first time since a run of four wins between 1952 and 1955.Man CityCity are unbeaten in 35 home matches in all competitions (W30, D5), one shy of their longest run under Pep Guardiola between 2016 and 2018.They are one short of scoring 600 league and cup goals under Guardiola at the Etihad.City are vying to score in a 55th consecutive home match in all competitions, which would equal a club record set between 2012 and 2014.Kevin de Bruyne is two goals away from 100 for City in all competitions.Man UtdUnited have won six of their past seven games in all competitions, with last weekend’s defeat by Fulham their only loss in nine league and cup fixtures this year.United have scored 18 goals in their past eight league matches, as many as they managed in their first 18 games of the season.They have lost 10 league games this term, two short of their highest total in a Premier League season (2013-14 and 2021-22).Bruno Fernandes is set to make his 150th Premier League appearance. He has failed to score in his past 14 league games.

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