Saturday’s Manchester derby could have a major impact on this season’s Premier League title race.
The two clubs are set to go head-to-head for Premier League glory this campaign and have both started with three wins from three.
To add more spice to an already fierce rivalry, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola took over their respective clubs this summer and have a pretty tempestuous relationship.
The match is set to be the most expensive in history, with both clubs spending more than £300 million between them this summer. But with United and City boasting a world-class manager and world-class players, how will they be separated at Old Trafford on Saturday lunchtime?
Well, Jose Mourinho has a plan.
According to the Telegraph, the Portuguese boss has ordered his players to ‘bully’ Manchester City in the air during this season’s first Manchester derby.
The report claims that the United stars are under strict instructions to take advantage of their aerial superiority. With the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba, it’s understandable that the Special One want to take the aerial route on Saturday.
While Guardiola insists on playing beautiful football no matter what the situation, Mourinho just likes to win at all costs.
At times in his career, Mourinho’s tactics have been branded as negative but, at United, the supporters may not allow him to 'park the bus'.
Supporters of the Red Devils may have to be satisfied with a few long balls from their side on Saturday but, if they come away with three points, they won’t care how they’ve done it.
If Mourinho does insist on a more direct style of play on Saturday, Ibrahimovic is going to hold the key to the match. The 6ft 5in striker will have a battle with John Stones but, if he can win headers and hold the ball up, United stand a great chance of building attacks.
Zlatan on Merseyside derby
And the Swedish striker realises just how important the Manchester derby is for the clubs and the club.
“It is a long season but we have started well,” the United star said.
“We have the ambition to win the title and it will be important that we try and take points off the teams that will be challenging [us]. These games always mean so much to the fans and we want to win for them but the players must always be focused.
“I have played in many leagues in many countries but the Manchester [United] fans have eclipsed anything I have ever known. Every game this season they have been the 12th man on the field for us, and if we are going to have a successful season, they will play a big part.”
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