Guardiola cool after derby win

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola refused to get too carried away after seeing his side defeat Manchester United 3-1 to preserve their Premier League lead.

Having seen Liverpool see off Fulham earlier on in the day, Guardiola was delighted to see his players respond with a deserved derby victory at the Etihad Stadium, but was not reading too much into a single result.

He told reporters: "It is November so we haven't even finished the first round (of games). A lot can happen in football.

"City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal – they have numbers to be champions. We are just two points ahead, it is nothing.

"When you win (the league) with 100 points, people can think we’ll maintain our level. The key is the depth (of the squad). Everybody knows they have to maintain their level if they want to stay in the team.

"The important thing is that we are consistent and that we play well most of the time, but I see a lot of things we can improve."

The Citizens are currently two points clear at the top of the table, with Liverpool their closest challengers, while Chelsea are now four points off the pace after drawing 0-0 at home to Everton on Sunday.

City are currently priced at 1/4 to retain their Premier League crown, with Liverpool available at 4/1 and Chelsea 20/1.

Guardiola's side return to action after the international break with a trip to West Ham on Saturday 24th November, with City having won their last five meetings with the Londoners – scoring 18 goals in the process.

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Mourinho rues defensive errors

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho warned his side that they must cut out the mistakes, having been beaten 3-1 in the derby clash with City at the Etihad Stadium.

The Red Devils were 2-0 down to the Citizens shortly after half-time, before pulling a goal back through an Anthony Martial penalty, before Ilkay Gundogan put the game to bed four minutes from time.

And Mourinho felt that his team had given a decent performance, but had been punished heavily for their defensive mistakes.

He told Sky Sports: "I think it is not a bad performance at all. It was a performance with mistakes and we paid for it – all three goals are our mistakes. Against a team like City, if you make mistakes you will get punished."

Of his side's Premier League hopes for the rest of the season he added: "We are outside the top four, how can we speak about the title?

"Let's fight to close the gap to jump into the top four. If we jump into the top four, then let's see the difference."

United are currently priced at 7/2 to finish in the top four, with Arsenal 6/4 and Tottenham Hotspur 1/2.

Meanwhile, Mourinho also admitted that his plans had been upset by the absence of midfielder Paul Pogba due to a slight knock.

The Portuguese concluded: "It is not for me after defeat to speak about a player who is not here. Of course we missed him, it did affect our plan because Marouane Fellaini had to start.

"He is not in a condition to play 90 minutes. His effort was magnificent, but he is not in a position to play all 90 minutes."

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City deliver champion performance

Manchester City were too good for rivals United in the derby at the Etihad Stadium, the champions running out deserving 3-1 winners.

David Silva scored early on for the hosts and Sergio Aguero doubled the advantage shortly after half-time.

The Red Devils had come from 0-2 down in April to spoil City's title party and, briefly, the visitors threatened to rally when Anthony Martial scored a penalty before the hour following a rash challenge from goalkeeper Ederson on sub Romelu Lukaku.

Pep Guardiola's side quickly re-established their dominance however and with the clock ticking down Ilkay Gundogan scored the insurance goal and gave City some daylight.

The Etihad Stadium milked the moment as City played keep-ball in stoppage time before referee Anthony Taylor called a halt, leaving the champions 12 points clear of Jose Mourinho's side after 12 games.

The win ensured City regained top stop in the table, having been overtaken earlier on Sunday when Liverpool beat Fulham 2-0 at Anfield.

Mourinho felt his side were made to pay heavily for their mistakes by a ruthless City team.

"I think it is not a bad performance at all. It was a performance with mistakes and we paid for it. All three goals are our mistakes. Against a team like City, if you make mistakes you will get punished," he told Sky Sports.

"We had two matches away [Juventus and then City], it is not the physical effort but the mental pressure. I think some of the boys felt it a little bit."

Man City are now 1/4 to retain the Premier League crown, with Liverpool 4/1 and third placed Chelsea 20/1.

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Martial’s form impresses Jose

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho insists his treatment of Anthony Martial has been good for the France international and contributed to his recent fine form.

The 22-year-old has scored in four consecutive Premier League games and earned a recall to Didier Deschamps' latest France squad.

Martial had not been included in Les Bleus' World Cup 2018 squad after spending much of last season on United's substitutes bench.

However, the former Monaco star has benefited from a prolonged spell in United's starting line-up and, with Romelu Lukaku struggling to recover from a muscle injury, is expected to start Sunday's Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium.

"I never gave up [on Martial]," Mourinho said. "I never gave up my feelings that this was the right way for him, even if he had to go through difficult moments.

"I knew that for him to become a really top player, he needed to overcome some barriers that I put on the road for him. It is up to his talent, because he has phenomenal talent.

"It was just a question of him understanding what a top player is because there is a big difference between a top talent and a top player."

Martial is 10/3 to score at any time against Manchester City while United are 50/1 to repeat the 3-2 victory they managed against Pep Guardiola's team in April.

Sterling sights bright City future

Raheem Sterling is confident that there is plenty more to come from both himself and his Manchester City team, having signed a new three-year contract extension.

The 23-year-old England international forward is now under contract with the Citizens until the summer of 2023 and Sterling is delighted with how things have gone since he joined the club, while also being excited about the prospects for the future.

He told the club's official website: "I'm delighted to sign, my development here has been incredible. I felt from the minute I got here it was the right choice for me. It's paid off and I'm really grateful.

"There's definitely a lot more (to come), there's stuff I'm still working on and there's never a time where I feel this is where it stops.

"I always want to get better and get my numbers up – score more goals and get more assists. If I'm producing and other players are producing, that will only help the team."

Sterling joined the Citizens from Liverpool in the summer of 2015 and has since scored 51 goals in 154 appearances in all competitions for the Manchester outfit, helping them to League Cup success in 2016 and Premier League glory last season.

He is also closing in on 50 appearances for the England national team and recently scored twice in a 3-2 UEFA Nations League victory over Spain in Seville.

Sterling can be backed at 5/4 to score at any time in the Manchester derby against United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, with Sergio Aguero priced at 4/7 and Leroy Sane 6/4.

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Pep prepared for tough derby

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola expects the derby against United at the Etihad Stadium to be complicated, but not crucial in terms of the Premier League title race.

The Citizens head into the weekend programme of games two points clear at the top of the table, while they are nine points ahead of the Red Devils, who have overcome a slight dip in form to win their last three games in all competitions – all by 2-1 scorelines.

And Guardiola is wary of the nature of the threat posed by United, who have not been beaten on their last three league visits to the Etihad.

The Spaniard told reporters: "Of course games against contenders are special because if you win they don't win, but we are in November, so maybe the game at Old Trafford will be more decisive.

"I see a team with a lot of commitment for what they have to do. Now is a good moment for them (and) of course always it is complicated.

"In the whole history of Manchester City, it was never easy to beat United.

"The top teams like United, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool – these kind of teams you cannot imagine and think that for 90 minutes we are going to do amazing and they won't have chances.

"We have to defend deep, well, strong, defend the crosses because they are so strong, avoid set-pieces because they are huge, by far bigger than us.

"We have to try to bring our game the way we can control more, be clinical when we have the chances, that is the game we try to do."

City will be without the injured Kevin De Bruyne for the clash with United, with the visitors hoping to have striker Romelu Lukaku back in contention after a knock.

The Citizens can be backed at 2/5 to win the derby, with a 1-1 draw available at 10/1, while Raheem Sterling is priced at 5/4 to score at any time.

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Lukaku pushing for derby return

Romelu Lukaku looks likely to be available for Manchester United when they make the short trip to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday to face rivals City.

The Belgian striker has been missing for United's last two matches against Bournemouth and Juventus due to an injury but looks set to be back in the squad this weekend and is 11/4 to score anytime.

The former Everton hitman took part in training with the rest of the squad on Friday and boss Jose Mourinho says if he comes through Saturday's session unscathed then he will likely be in the travelling party.

Mourinho took the decision to drop Lukaku for the win over Everton two weeks ago, claiming he was low on confidence, and it remains to be seen if he will come back into the starting line-up at the expense of either Alexis Sanchez or Marcus Rashford.

United have no other fresh injury concerns following Wednesday's dramatic victory over Juventus in the Champions League.

The Red Devils came from behind for the second match in succession to snatch a 2-1 victory in Turin, keeping them firmly in the mix for the last-16.

Mourinho has praised the spirit of his squad but hopes they won't have to come from behind again, as they had to when they won 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium last season.

"We are not a team that gives up. We are a team that always finds a way to fight back, sometimes changing results and other times not," Mourinho said.

We are a team that has that collective spirit to fight back but it is not always possible.

"So if we keep conceding goals before the opponent we will arrive at the day where we cannot come back so we have to make sure that we grow up, not just in our approach, but also in our compactness [in order to] start matches well."

United are 15/2 to come out on top in the Manchester derby, while league leaders City are 2/5 and the draw is 17/4.

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Pep demands complete focus

Pep Guardiola thinks it may be a blessing in disguise that Manchester City have not yet qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League.

Gabriel Jesus scored a hat-trick, including two penalties, as City thrashed Shakhtar Donetsk 6-0 on Wednesday.

However, City's qualification from Group F is not certain as Lyon drew 2-2 with Hoffenheim. Guardiola's team will qualify for the last 16 if they win or draw in Lyon in their next Champions League match on 27th November.

"Unfortunately we haven't qualified, but we are so close and will try to maintain this level. Maybe it will help keep us focused," said Guardiola.

David Silva opened the scoring against Shakhtar before Jesus netted his first spot-kick when the referee awarded a penalty even though Raheem Sterling had contrived to trip himself up inside the area.

Shakhtar boss Paulo Fonseca later described the decision as "ridiculous" while Sterling apologised afterwards.

Sterling scored City's third goal and, after another Jesus penalty, Riyad Mahrez grabbed the fifth before Jesus completed his hat-trick with a deft chip.

Manchester City, 10/3 to win the Champions League this season, can be backed at 2/5 to beat Manchester United on Sunday with Sergio Aguero 4/7 to score at any time in the derby clash.

Last-gasp win thrills Mourinho

Jose Mourinho says his inexperienced Manchester United players are growing after they hit back to beat Juventus 2-1 in the Champions League.

The Old Lady had defeated United at Old Trafford a fortnight ago and appeared to be on track for another three points when Cristiano Ronaldo scored a brilliant 65th-minute volley.

United still trailed with less than five minutes left but Juan Mata's free-kick made it 1-1 before a goalmouth scramble resulted in Alex Sandro scoring an own goal.

Mourinho said afterwards: "They [Juventus] can't hide the fact they want to win the Champions League, they don't even try to. They are designed to do that.

"But we are growing and have lots of players that are inexperienced. They have seven titles and now with Ronaldo they want to win the Champions League.

"They are stronger than us, with great qualities and a golden bench, but they realised the match wasn't easy. In my opinion we played a match which deserved an equaliser, but we went on to win.

"It is a hard group stage and even with a victory in a stadium where it isn't easy to win, we might need more than three points [to advance]."

Manchester United are 33/1 to win the Champions League this season while Juve are 11/2. Meanwhile, Mourinho's team can be backed at 8/1 to beat Manchester City in the Premier League this weekend.

Red Devils Pull Off a Major Champions League Shock!

Juventus 1-2 Manchester United

Manchester United executed the smash and grab of the century in Turin tonight, scoring two goals in the last five minutes to win a game totally dominated by Juventus.

In Champions League terms, Juventus are one of the big guns, but this shock defeat has cast serious doubt on their credentials. We saw a Manchester United team defending for their lives, but the Bianconeri couldn’t add to a Cristiano Ronaldo opener and paid a heavy price.

Juan Mata equalised with a sublime free kick before Alex Sandro put through his own net to put a rare smile on Jose Mourinho’s face.

Champions League 2018 results in Group H had already put the Old Lady firmly in charge, five points clear of United, and Valencia’s 3-1 win over Young Boys had dropped the Red Devils to third place. However, a crazy end to this game has blown the group wide open again.

Highlights of the game

This was a clash us Champions League fans have been looking forward to, and it certainly delivered!

The big team news for United was the absence of Romelu Lukaku who was ruled out with a muscle injury, which could also see him sidelined for the Manchester derby at the weekend. It allowed Alexis Sanchez to make his 50th Champions League appearance and Jesse Lingard to get his first start in eight games.

But we didn’t see much of the Reds’ attackers as their defence came under constant pressure. Rodrigo Bentancur had the first shot in anger, but his shot deflected off Chris Smalling and narrowly wide.

The visitors kept Juve reasonably quiet for the first half hour before the hosts came close twice in quick succession. First, a Juan Cuadrado cross was deflected by Nemanja Matic and David de Gea had to get down to make a smart save. After that, Sami Khedira should have scored when Ronaldo found him in space, but he scuffed his shot against the outside of the post.

Mourinho is a great admirer of Juventus’ defensive capabilities, particularly those of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci. Nonetheless, he could be proud of the shift his own backline put in during the first 45 minutes. And the first effort of the second half gave the Red Devils some hope as the in-form Anthony Martial curled a shot just wide.

But the United woodwork was rattling again when Paulo Dybala turned sharply to fire towards goal, but the ball bounced off the crossbar to the delight of. And then came the first big moment of the match—and it was that man Ronaldo with a stunning strike.

Bonucci lobbed a ball forward and as Ronaldo evaded the defence, the Portuguese let the ball drop and hit a beauty past De Gea at the near post. What a finish!

Cuadrado should have made it two when Ronaldo put him in, but he fired well over from the centre of the box.

Though United hadn’t threatened much throughout the game, they were still in it. And on 86 minutes, they somehow clawed their way back into the match.

With a free-kick on the edge of the box, the Red Devils had a rare chance. Up stepped Mata to hit a beauty which flew into the corner.

Dybala almost restored Juve’s lead, but he dragged his shot wide. The Allianz Arena then fell silent when United unbelievably scored another. Ashley Young curled a free kick into the box and it bounced off Bonucci and then Sandro and into the net.

Incredible. Simply incredible!

Key statistics

Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo ended his Champions League goal drought

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his side’s opening goal during the Champions League match between Juventus and Manchester United

The Champions League 2018 odds pointed to a home win, so a bet on Manchester United was of incredible value!!

It’s only Juve’s second home defeat in 36 group matches and, with 23 shots to nine, they’ll be wondering how they lost it.

The head-to-heads are now at six each, and this amazing win was United’s third consecutive victory in Turin. No other European side has won more games away to Juventus.

It was Ronaldo’s first goal in six Champions League games, but that will be small consolation for Juve’s biggest star.

What’s next?

The Bianconeri will be temporarily stunned while the Red Devils celebrate. Nevertheless, both teams have big games back in their domestic leagues.

Juventus had a good test at the weekend in a 3-1 win over Cagliari, which was anything but an easy game.  And next, there’s a huge match in Serie A as the Old Lady visit Milan to take on Gennaro Gattuso’s Rossoneri who are in superb form—up in fourth after a run of five wins in six league games.

And if you think that one’s a cracker, then the Premier League has the Manchester Derby to offer. Jose takes his Red Devils to the Etihad to take on the league leaders and big favourites to retain their crown.

There’s pride at stake in bucket loads, and I wouldn’t want to be on the losing side. However, with the Sky Blues coasting to a 6-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk tonight, my money has to be on a City win.

Tonight was Manchester United’s night, but I suspect the Sky Blues will be somewhat fresher.

 

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