Erik ten Hag believes Manchester United are going “in the suitable course” – however Manchester Metropolis counterpart Pep Guardiola considers Liverpool his aspect’s present largest rivals.
United kick-off Sunday’s derby six factors behind Metropolis after dropping 4 of their opening 9 matches.
“I see positives, I see additionally negatives,” stated Ten Hag, including his aspect nonetheless “have a solution to go”.
Guardiola urged it “will take time” for United to problem for the title.
In changing into solely the second ever English group to finish the Treble final season, matching United’s well-known achievement in 1998-99, Metropolis completed 14 factors forward of their rivals within the league and beat United 2-1 within the FA Cup remaining.
However, in relation to the Manchester derby, issues have been extra even, with Metropolis edging the previous 20 league encounters 10-7.
Earlier than the 191st derby (15:30 GMT kick-off), the managers of each golf equipment spoke about progress, status and massive rivalries.
Ten Hag factors to urgent stats as signal of progress
Ten Hag led United to their first silverware in six years in his first season as United supervisor, clinching the Carabao Cup in February, and in addition guided the membership again to the Champions League with a third-place league end.
However the Dutchman’s second season has obtained off to an underwhelming begin and former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher wrote this week that United “resemble a group reaching the tip of a cycle, not one nonetheless rebuilding”, including: “The soccer is stale and the signs of regression are seen.”
Ten Hag disagrees and pointed to sure statistics which he feels display proof of enchancment in his group.
“We’re prime within the Premier League in excessive ball regains, we’re prime within the Premier League in center ball regains,” he stated.
“Our urgent is all the time excellent, so that’s not the reality what he’s telling.”
‘Video games will change into simpler’
As Ten Hag urged, United paved the way within the Premier League for possession gained, averaging 57.4 regains per match – and possession gained within the attacking third, averaging 7.9 per sport.
Solely Everton (25.9) have, on common, gained again possession within the center third greater than United (25.8).
Regardless of that, Ten Hag’s aspect have managed simply 11 targets of their 9 league video games and conceded 13.
“We’re not constantly, in possession, on the extent the place we will be,” Ten Hag stated.
“However [in] urgent, we’re fairly good. There you see, our defensive organisation, our urgent organisation. I stated earlier than the season how we wished to play. That’s us.
“However then, we do not take the profit within the attacking transition moments, and we must be as a result of we now have the skills in our group. This has to progress. Then video games will change into simpler.”
United have ‘status’ however Liverpool are Metropolis’s largest rival – Guardiola
Whereas United proceed to battle to return to former glory, Metropolis have gained the Premier League in 5 of the previous six seasons and emulated their rivals’ well-known 1998-99 treble achievement final season.
Guardiola believes Metropolis’s rise to soccer’s elite since their takeover by Abu Dhabi homeowners in 2008 has confirmed “uncomfortable” for his or her Premier League rivals.
“We weren’t within the elite and now we’re within the elite,” Guardiola stated. “Perhaps it is uncomfortable for a lot of issues. That may be a actuality and we wish to keep so long as attainable.”
The closest United have come to rivalling Metropolis domestically since then was as runners-up underneath Jose Mourinho in 2017-18 and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in 2020-21.
Nevertheless, on these two events, United completed 19 and 12 factors behind Metropolis respectively.
As such, Guardiola believes Liverpool are Metropolis’s present largest rivals, having had a number of shut battles with Jurgen Klopp’s aspect throughout his tenure.
“Manchester United, when one thing occurs, is within the highlights all day. The fame and the status they’ve is all the time there. It simply must click on,” Guardiola stated.
“However Liverpool have been our largest rivals – they made us problem greater and better and helped make us a greater group in all departments.”
On whether or not he feels United can return to difficult on the prime, Guardiola added: “It takes time. United is ready to win 4, 5 six video games in a row. In the event that they try this they are going to be on prime.
“Go away the supervisor to do the job that right here they allowed me to do in my first season after we did not win. Give time to the managers and they’re going to do it.”