English Premiership

Guardiola looking forward to Manchester derby

Pep Guardiola (Getty Images)
Pep Guardiola (Getty Images)

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes his charges can go into this weekend's derby with optimism after progressing to the FA Cup quarter-finals.

Sergio Aguero scored the only goal as the holders saw off a spirited but limited Sheffield Wednesday side 1-0 at Hillsborough on Wednesday night.

Coming after last week's stunning Champions League win at Real Madrid and success in the Carabao Cup final, City are now ready to face Manchester United in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Guardiola said: "It's better to go there winning games, being in the FA cup than being out, and tomorrow we're going to watch a little bit of United versus Derby to analyse what they have done the last game, and we're going to go there to try to win."

City, however, may have to face their rivals without key man Kevin De Bruyne, who missed the trip to Sheffield after suffering an injury in the latter stages of the Carabao Cup final.

Guardiola said: "Kevin had a problem here (points to shoulder). He was not fit. In the last game, the last minutes he fell down in a bad position and had a problem in his back. We don't know how long (he will be out). Hopefully not much."

Asked if he would be fit for the derby, Guardiola said: "I don't know."

City controlled possession against Wednesday but found clear-cut chances hard to come by, particularly in the first half.

A firm left-foot finish from Aguero, which squirmed under goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith on 53 minutes, came as City increased the tempo after the break but they could not add to their lead.

But Aguero's effort proved enough as Wednesday failed to seriously test Claudio Bravo.

Guardiola, who made six changes from the side which won at Wembley, said: "This is our fourth game away in a row and we have another one on Sunday at Old Trafford.

"We spent a lot of mental energy in the last games and then came here.

"But the players were absolutely ready, we didn't concede one shot on target and that means a lot for our capacity to read the game. At the end, we scored a goal and could have scored much, much more."

Wednesday boss Garry Monk was proud of his battling side and felt they had a genuine gripe over City's goal. Replays suggested Aguero may have been fractionally offside, but VAR was not being used in the tie.

Monk said: "The players did exactly what I asked and delivered it at a very good level.

"Overall we're disappointed to lose the game to a goal that should have been offside. I would rather have lost it to a goal that was more legitimate," he added.

"What is strange is having VAR in some grounds and not others, but I am not complaining. Credit to them, they are a fantastic team.

"I'm disappointed with the result but very pleased with the level of commitment."

- TEAMtalk media

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