Guardiola endorses Ratcliffe’s view that United must learn from Manchester City

<span>Pep Guardiola says he has ‘always admired’ superior teams in order to improve his own side. </span><span>Photograph: Alex Dodd/CameraSport/Getty Images</span>
Pep Guardiola says he has ‘always admired’ superior teams in order to improve his own side. Photograph: Alex Dodd/CameraSport/Getty Images

Pep Guardiola says Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Manchester United are right to use Manchester City as a benchmark if they are to challenge them for trophies. The new minority owner at Old Trafford said the club had “a lot to learn” from their rivals after having his purchase of 27.7% of shares ratified this week.

City have won the Premier League title on six occasions since United last achieved the feat in 2013, and will be aiming to close the gap at the top to one point by defeating Bournemouth on Saturday.

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“It’s the truth,” Guardiola said of Ratcliffe’s praise for City. “As much as the teams admit it, they will be closer to us. If they want to deny it for things that are not the reality then it’s their problem. It’s not our problem. When I’ve been below teams I’ve always admired them and thought about what we need to do to be close, to challenge them. These are real competitive people. If they want to be judged on things they are comfortable with for one day they will not arrive where we are now.”

Ratcliffe’s eagerness for sixth-placed United to catch City in the long term has prompted him to lure Omar Berrada to Old Trafford from the Etihad to be the chief executive, and United have approached Jason Wilcox, who worked at City for a decade, in an attempt to create a football department capable of making the club competitive at the top again.

One of Ratcliffe’s aims is to knock City “off their perch”, a homage to Sir Alex Ferguson’s comments about Liverpool in the 1980s. “What I want is Man City, my team, being there,” Guardiola said in response. “The rest, I don’t care. We want to be there. With Ole [Gunnar Solskjær] and José Mourinho they were second; I would say not close like Liverpool have been but they were there. Always since I arrived on day one, I always expect United to be there for their history and traditions. I don’t know why it didn’t happen. I guess they know [why]. It is their business not ours. What we want is to be there for ourselves.”