City beat United 6-3 in October's Manchester derby

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he has a “ridiculous” idea about how to beat Manchester United in Saturday’s derby encounter at Old Trafford.

City go into the game in second place in the Premier League, four points clear of their old rivals in fourth.

Guardiola has won nine out of 17 meetings with United since replacing Manuel Pellegrini in 2016, losing six.

The Spaniard has finished ahead of the Red Devils in all of his six seasons in charge at City.

Erik ten Hag is the fourth different United manager he has faced in that time. Guardiola has beaten them all, most recently the Dutchman, in a 6-3 victory at 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.

It means Guardiola is going to be careful with the City team he picks to play Southampton in the EFL Cup on Wednesday.

“I would like to arrive against United with the average of minutes in the legs of the players quite similar because I have a few ideas, thoughts, ridiculous ones against United,” he said.

The idea of Guardiola coming up with something “ridiculous” conjures up all kinds of ideas, which, if implemented, feeds the narrative that he over-thinks some high-profile games, sometimes to the detriment of his own team.

The most obvious example was the 2020 Champions League quarter-final, when City were overwhelming favourites to beat Lyon in a one-off game, only to lose after Guardiola had switched to a 3-5-2 formation to counter the speed of a side that had beaten the Blues in the group stage of the competition.

Guardiola was asked about it last April, before the first leg of City’s Champions League quarter-final with Atletico Madrid, which they did go on to win.

The response at the time was sarcastic: “I overthink a lot. I love to overthink and create stupid tactics again. Tonight I will create an inspiration and do incredible tactics. We play with 12.”

Guardiola did not elaborate on his thoughts for Saturday’s game against United, although he did notice 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 didn’t watch their last games. I have to see the way they play at home and if they change something.”  — BBC

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