Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has said he has a “ridiculous” idea of how to beat Manchester United in Saturday’s derby at Old Trafford.
City enter the match second in the Premier League, four points clear of their former rivals in fourth.
Guardiola has won nine of 17 meetings with United since replacing Manuel Pellegrini in 2016, losing six.
The Spaniard finished ahead of the Red Devils in his six seasons in charge of City.
Erik ten Hag is the fourth different United manager he has faced in this time. Guardiola has beaten them all, most recently the Dutchman, in a 6-3 win at the Etihad Stadium in October.
However, United have dropped just seven points in 10 Premier League games since and have won their last four, their best run since March 2021.
This means Guardiola will be careful which City team he chooses to play Southampton in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.
“I would like to come against United with pretty similar player averages in the legs because I have some ideas, thoughts, ridiculous against United,” he said.
The idea that Guardiola is coming up with something ‘ridiculous’ conjures up all sorts of ideas which, if implemented, fuel the narrative that he thinks too much about certain high-level plays, sometimes to the detriment of his own team.
The most obvious example was the 2020 Champions League quarter-final, when City were overwhelming favorites to beat Lyon in a single game, only to lose after Guardiola switched to a 3-5-2 formation to counter the team speed. who had beaten the Blues in the group stage of the competition.
Guardiola was asked about it last April, ahead of City’s Champions League quarter-final first leg tie with Atletico Madrid, which they won.
The response at the time was sarcastic: “I think a lot. I like to think too much and create stupid tactics again. Tonight I’m going to create inspiration and do amazing tactics. We play 12.”
Guardiola did not elaborate on his thoughts for Saturday’s game against United, although he did note his players were tired in training after last week’s Premier League win at Chelsea.
“I don’t have a clear line-up against United,” he said. “I haven’t watched their last games. I have to see how they play at home and if they change anything.”