Guardiola hails special Man City squad as derby challenge looms


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League -Manchester City v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - March 2, 2021 Manchester City players celebrate after the match Pool via REUTERS/Carl Recine

(Reuters) - Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said on Friday his current squad of players is among the hungriest of his managerial career following 21 successive wins in all competitions going into Sunday's Premier League derby with Manchester United.

Spaniard Guardiola spent trophy-laden seasons with Barcelona and Bayern Munich before joining City ahead of the 2016-17 season and has since guided them to two league titles, three League Cups and the FA Cup.

City are on course to add to their collection of silverware under Guardiola with a 14-point lead over second-placed United in the Premier League and the manager was asked how his current squad compares to his previous teams.

"I had incredibly hungry teams in my career, lucky to be together in Barcelona and Bayern. To do what we've done in these four years, still winning ... these guys have something special," Guardiola told reporters.

"It comes from themselves. It comes from inside, trying to win, to collaborate with mates, to do the best we can. Now it's nice because we win. All the theories we do, the nice things they're saying is just for one reason. Because we win.

"The smell when we win is so beautiful. But when we lose, the perspective will be calm."

Guardiola said City cannot take their foot off the gas with 11 games remaining in the league.

"Sport is reality and the reality is tomorrow training and then the game. In the summer, sit down with the club, take the best decisions for all of us and start next season," he added.

"... Football is what we do today, so far we are magnificent but March, no titles are won."

Defender Nathan Ake is available for selection after missing 10 weeks of action due to injury.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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