Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says that while Manchester United have strength all over the pitch, Edinson Cavani is one player he has the utmost respect for.
The city rivals meet on Sunday with Guardiola’s men looking to take a step closer to Premier League title glory.
United, meanwhile, need a win and – just as important – a goal after three successive 0-0 draws.
As such, both sides will field strong teams, with Guardiola pointing to the areas in which United can hurt his players.
“They are so strong in all departments,” the City boss told reporters (via the Daily Mirror) at Friday’s pre-match press conference.
“Defensively. Bruno Fernandes, the speed up front with [Daniel] James, [Marcus] Rashford, [Anthony] Martial.
“The experience of Cavani, a player I admire the most for what he’s done with his career.”
Uruguay international Cavani returned from injury to play 75 minutes against Crystal Palace on Wednesday.
The 34-year-old has scored seven goals and assisted two others in all competitions this season and is Paris Saint-Germain’s all-time leading goalscorer.
Guardiola added: “It’s Manchester United. ‘It’s a privilege to compete with them, to be in front of them.
“Tomorrow is no exception. It’s our target to do what we’ve done later.”
Guardiola is no stranger to a meeting with United. Not only has he met the club on numerous occasions since his 2016 arrival to City, but the manager has experience facing the Red Devils with Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
Indeed, Guardiola was in charge when Barca beat United 3-1 in the 2011 Champions League final.
But while the coaches and personnel since that day have drastically changed, Guardiola’s respect for the club has not.
Guardiola has ‘incredible respect’ for Man Utd
“They know for all the times at Barcelona and Bayern when I played United I have an incredible respect,” he said.
“Some of the decisions depends on the circumstances, fitness, Covid, momentum. We take decisions for many reasons.
“The respect was always there from playing as a player at Old Trafford. I respect all the clubs and I respect United.
“Scared is not the right word to explain when I approach one opponent. Respect, but I can lose and win and I prepare the games to beat the opponents.”
The previous meeting between the clubs this season at Old Trafford ended 0-0.
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