Guardiola calls on Man Utd to give Ten Hag time

Pep Guardiola called on Manchester United to give Erik ten Hag time to implement his ideas ahead of his first Manchester derby meeting with the Dutchman.

Ten Hag, who worked with Guardiola when he coached Bayern Munich's second team between 2013 and 2015, will lead United at the Etihad Stadium for the first time on Sunday.

With Manchester City in imperious form, Ten Hag will look to avoid following the example set by United's last five managers (David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick) – all of whom lost their first Premier League clash with City.

United are enduring a five-year trophy drought and have yet to mount a serious Premier League title challenge since Alex Ferguson's retirement in 2013, and Guardiola stressed the importance of allowing Ten Hag time to cement his approach and style of play.

"We know each other a little bit from Munich but he has done an incredible job across Europe, so I can't say anything else," Guardiola said of Ten Hag.

"Everyone knows it depends on results, if you win in the big clubs you have time, if you don't win you are in trouble."

Erik ten Hag on his time working with Pep Guardiola
Erik ten Hag on his time working with Pep Guardiola

Asked whether United's run without silverware made Ten Hag's task more difficult, Guardiola said: "I don't know, imagine if you took over after winning the Premier League and Champions League, maybe it might be tougher. But I don't know, the more you do well the better.

"The result is a part, but the club has to watch training, how they handle problems and whatever, but if they trust [him] then give time.

"In football, like many things in life, it needs time. If you change managers often it is difficult."

Guardiola also revealed he enjoys a friendship with United legend Ferguson, adding: "We went for dinner once or twice, and we send messages, he is always so nice to me.

"Not before a derby! But when we play at Old Trafford he has a box, and he offers me wine and I have loads of respect. He is a legend and I like having that relationship."

Meanwhile, speculation has cantered on whether Guardiola's own spell in Manchester, in which he has delivered four Premier League titles and five domestic cups, could soon be over, with his contract set to expire at the end of the campaign.

Guardiola is yet to agree to fresh terms, but does not expect City to struggle whenever he eventually departs, adding: "The club knows exactly the target for the next step.

"There will not be a problem. They know what they have to do. When the club depends on one person there are problems, but we have solid foundations.

"If the club just depends on Pep, we are not doing well."

City have won their last seven Premier League home games, scoring three or more goals in each of those victories.

The last English team to win eight successive top-flight matches while scoring three or more goals in each was Tottenham, who did so between March and September 1965.

While City will have one eye set on matching that feat, another win over United would be their 18th in the Premier League, the joint-most any team has claimed against the Red Devils in the competition (also Chelsea and Liverpool).