Pep Guardiola says he expects the “best” from Manchester United, despite Manchester City starting Sunday’s derby as favorites to extend their dominance over their city rivals.

Manchester City have won five of the last six games against Manchester United in all competitions and have a 15-point lead over their opponents in the Premier League.

But Pep Guardiola, whose team is chasing a second consecutive treble of trophies, said he would not take United lightly.

“I expect the best from United, but I don’t talk about what they do, about opponents I respect too much,” he said on Friday.

“I don’t want people to misinterpret my words. I know them and I have a lot of respect for the institution, for United, of course, for Erik (ten Hag) and for the players, but when I see what we have to do, my players will know it today and tomorrow,” added the City coach.

Guardiola said that despite Manchester United’s disappointing season, they are still a threat.

“In one action, they create something special from set pieces, in transition, in open play, connection between some players, and score goals,” he said.

“United has always been like that. When they play well, they win games, when they are fine, without stress, they can win games. We are already in March 2024 and they have only lost one game, last week at home (against Fulham),” recalled the Spanish coach.

Guardiola was asked if Manchester City’s dominance in games between the two teams illustrated the shift in power balance in Manchester over the last decade.

“In the 80s it was Liverpool, in the 90s it was United and now we have been here for so many years, winning seven Premier Leagues in the last decade, 11, 12 years,” he said.

“But that happens. In 50 or 60 years, there has never been a club in a country that has dominated and controlled everything, so we can try… as much as possible to extend for many years what we are trying to do, especially the consistency,” Guardiola added.

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