Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has taken aim at Manchester United’s playing style.
City and United currently share a lead at the top of the Premier League, both winning five and drawing one of their opening six games.
City are perceived as the free-scoring outfit however, having scored five goals or more in each of their last three league games.
United are framed as the more pragmatic of the pair, and Guardiola hinted at that in an interview with Gary Lineker for The Premier League Show on BBC.
“[A more direct style] doesn’t hold England back,” Guardiola began. “You see the national team, [John] Stones, [Kyle] Walker, [Dele] Alli, [Jordan] Henderson, [Adam] Lallana – these are players who want to play.
“I see Chelsea, I see Tottenham – they like to play [but] at Manchester United you have the second balls…”
Lineker asked: “Is that a little dig at [Manchester] United?” before Guardiola replied instantly: “I have a lot of respect for my neighbours.”
The City manager continued:
“In Spain the value of the ball is so important. In Germany the counter attack is a strong weapon.
“Here the ball doesn’t travel with the team that’s why English football is nice and attacking.
‘”n Barcelona I was not focused on the second ball. It’s boring to train it – all those long balls – I like to train other things I like.”