Pep Guardiola on Sir Jim Ratcliffe comments: It's true - teams want to be closer to Man City

February 23, 2024

Pep Guardiola has responded to Sir Jim Ratcliffe's comments earlier this week, saying it is true that teams want to be closer to Manchester City's success.

In his first interview since his partial purchase of Manchester United was confirmed, Ratcliffe claimed that he would like to knock both Manchester City and Liverpool "off their perch" after their dominance of domestic and European competition in recent years.

While doing so, the billionaire was also complimentary of the clubs, saying: "They [Man City] are one of the best teams on the planet.

"We have a lot to learn from the noisy neighbour, and our other neighbour [Liverpool]. They are the enemy at the end of the day and there's nothing I would like better than to knock both of them or one of them off their perch."

Ahead of the Saturday Night Football trip to Bournemouth, Guardiola was asked about the comments for the first time, and said he believes Manchester United can improve under the INEOS CEO.

"It is the truth," the Man City boss said. "Teams admit it, they want to be closer to us and you can't deny the reality.

"When I've been below teams, I've always admired them and said 'what do you have to do to be close and challenge them?'. They are the really competitive people who you want to be.

"When you want to judge just for things that will feel comfortable for one day, they will not arrive where we are right now.

"When we were below and United were winning, we were watching them, admiring and learning from them with the period with Sir Alex Ferguson and all the generations. I'm sure Man City were admiring and wanting to be there and now we are.

"That's why for these types of comments, I had the feeling that they will be back."

When asked if he was worried about any Man Utd improvement under Ratcliffe, Guardiola replied: "It is not about [being] worried. I'm pretty sure with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and the other people, United are going to make a step forward.

"I have a feeling that they know exactly what they have to do, appoint the people they need to. His experience in the business world will make the project better.

"But that is normal, all the teams want it. As long as I am here, we will try to be there again.

"I want my team, Man City, to be there, otherwise I don't care. Only under Jose Mourinho was there a period when they were second, maybe not close like Liverpool over many years.

"But I have always expected since I arrived that United would be there for history, for tradition, for many things. Why it didn't happen, I don't know the reason, but I guess they know it.

"But it's their business, not ours. We want to be there for ourselves."

Guardiola also gave an update on Kevin De Bruyne. The midfielder has only recently returned from injury, but the Man City manager was coy when asked if the Belgian would be further 'protected' this weekend.

"He is good. He is not injured, I don't know if he is 100 per cent, but I think we've taken good decisions, like don't take a risk.

"I know if the result isn't good, people will ask why Kevin de Bruyne didn't play, but I think we took the decision because he didn't feel comfortable.

"Today we will assess and we will decide, but I'm pretty sure he will travel."

He added on other injury absentees Jack Grealish and Josko Gvardiol: "This week, no, but it is closer. I don't know exactly, but they are closer."

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