Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says Manchester United will be “difficult” opponents despite a huge gulf in form between the two sides ahead of Sunday’s derby.
City are on a run of 21 successive wins in all competitions — a record for an English top-flight team.
They are top of the Premier League table, 14 points clear of second-placed United, who have won just one out of their past five league matches and are struggling to score goals.
But the City boss said he was wary of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team, who are unbeaten away from home in the league for more than a year.
“I know how difficult United are,” he said on Friday. “Every year they get better from the previous season. They (have gone) more than one year not losing away and they have good results at the Etihad.
“We have the good opportunity to increase the distance. We spoke in training about what we have to do to beat them.”
Guardiola has been impressed by the hunger of his players, who are red-hot favourites to win a third Premier League title in four seasons.
“It comes from themselves,” said the Catalan. “It comes from inside, try to win. The smell when we win is so beautiful but, when we lose, the perspective will be calm.
“Today we trained incredibly well, tomorrow will be the same.”
“I had incredibly hungry teams in my career in Barcelona and Bayern Munich,” he said.
“To do what we have done in these four years, still winning, to be there at the end, these guys have something special like in Barcelona and Bayern Munich.”