Guardiola looking to Manchester derby as key clash in top four race

Guardiola looking to Manchester derby as key clash in top four race

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is already looking ahead to next weeks Manchester derby as a crucial game in the hunt for a Champions League place

Adam Whiteside

Manchester City Manager Pep Guardiola says that his side play their “real final” in ten days as they face Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium.

City head into a huge week, which sees them face Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final before hosting Manchester United in the league, on the back of a 3-0 victory over Southampton.

City in fine form

“I’m so happy, we played good," said Guardiola.

He added: “In 10 days we play the real final against United so that is why it was so important to win.”

Vincent Kompany, Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero were all on the scoresheet for City as they comfortably swept aside Southampton at St Marys.

The victory saw Manchester City climb back above Liverpool and into 3rd place giving them a seven-point cushion between themselves and the chasing pack.

The Derby

Despite opening a seven-point gap between themselves and Manchester United Guardiola still feels that the game against Jose Mourinho’s men is the “real final.”

United have a game in hand over Manchester City however a victory for City would all but confirm their place in next seasons Champions League. Everton also sit on 57 points however the Toffees have played one more game than their Manchester counterparts.

When the sides met earlier in the season City took a 2-0 lead against United with goals from Kevin de Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho before Zlatan Ibrahimovic pulled one back for the hosts. Guardiola will be hoping for a similar performance and scoreline next week.

Huge week for the Citizens

However, Manchester City’s week begins at Wembley as they face Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-finals.

City, who won the competition in 2011, head into the game as favourites following a poor run of form for the Gunners which has seen many calling for an end to Arsene Wenger’s tenure at the Emirates Stadium.

With the Premier League, seemingly, out of reach for Pep Guardiola’s men it is pivotal that City progress to the FA Cup final to keep the hope of silverware alive before all but confirming their place in the Champions League with victory over Manchester United.