LONDON (AFP) – Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said he does not need to give any advice to under-fire Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the pressures of management.
The two clubs clash in a derby on Saturday (Dec 12) with big ramifications for both sides’ hopes of challenging for the Premier League title this season.
However, it is Solskjaer who goes into the game under pressure after an early exit from the Champions League after a 3-2 defeat to RB Leipzig on Tuesday.
“We know it,” said Guardiola on the speed with which managers’ jobs are put at risk. “That’s why we get a lot of salary. The important thing is to know the value of Solskjaer is there. There is no doubt about this.”
Solskjaer’s men got the better of City three times out of four meetings between the clubs last season and for the first time in Guardiola’s time in charge, it is the red half of Manchester who go into a derby ahead of their local rivals in the table.
United are five points off the top with City a point further back in seventh, but both have a game in hand that could claw them right back into the title race.
“I don’t have to give him support because he’s strong enough, he knows how this job works,” added Guardiola.
“When you win you are a genius and when you lose, (you) have to be sacked. It happened in United and all the clubs around the world, it is a reality.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said the Manchester derby was the “best game that you can ask for” as Manchester United seek to bounce back from the disappointment of their Champions League exit.
United had one foot in the knockout stages after opening wins against Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig but Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat away to the German side dumped them out of them out of the competition.
Solskjaer now has to rally the troops for Saturday’s Old Trafford clash with City as United look to win just their second home Premier League match of the season.
The Red Devils are sixth in the league after four straight wins, one point ahead of City, who are showing signs of hitting form after a stuttering start to the season.
Solskjaer said on Friday that his players were disappointed by their Champions League exit but must now “move on”.
“It was a tight group decided by fine margins,” he said. “I think you can see that in most of the games. We had a long travel back, so we had a day of recovery on Wednesday.
“Then after that the focus has been good. The focus has just been on this game and the Manchester derby, which is what you want the players to get onto straightaway.
“That’s probably the best game that you can ask for after such a disappointment because it does stick in your system.”
David de Gea, is one of the players under the spotlight after he was criticised for not doing more to stop Leipzig’s third goal, leading to calls for England international Dean Henderson to be handed a run in the side.
But Solskjaer backed the Spaniard to bounce back.
“I think David’s a top goalkeeper,” Solskjaer said. “Of course I do and rightly so he’s on lists of being the best goalkeeper in Europe.
“For me, he’s handled criticism before, he’s handled setbacks before and he’s a boy, or a man, that we really rely on.”
Solskjaer said Anthony Martial was available after missing the Leipzig game but he had yet to make a decision on fellow forward Edinson Cavani, who was also absent.