Pep Guardiola has been impressed with Manchester United’s recent form and believes they are on their way back to being challengers once again.
United had a tough start to the campaign, losing their opening two Premier League games to Brighton and Brentford, while they shipped six goals in a poor defensive showing at the Etihad at the start of the month.
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But, since then, the Red devils have gone on an unbeaten run in their next seven games, out-playing Tottenham before earning a draw against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge last week.
Erik ten Hag’s side then gave another superb display against FC Sheriff in the Europa League on Thursday to keep their hopes of topping the table alive.
Guardiola was keen to praise the Dutchman for his early work at Old Trafford and feels Ten Hag is transforming the team, while he also reflected on this season’s top-four battle and singled out Newcastle as a threat.
‘I have the feeling United are coming back, finally United is coming back,’ said the City boss. ‘I’ve seen it against Chelsea, the first half. I said I like what I see of United right now.
‘There will be a lot of teams like United fighting for [the top four]. That’s why you have to fight to qualify for the Champions League and fight for the title.’
On the top-four race, he added: ‘In the first 10 games you don’t win the Premier League, but you can be behind.
‘Look now Newcastle, another part already there. I saw against Spurs, was magnificent both sides. I saw the physicality that we faced in the third game of the season.
‘Imagine this team with one game a week, no Europe, this team can be a contender to be there.
‘The manager Eddie [Howe], their new players, the way they played. Brave, go to Spurs, the central defenders were man to man vs [Harry] Kane, Son [Heung-min], no problem. A good quality in many things.’
On his Man City team, Guardiola added ‘I saw this season when we were in the States [during pre-season], I said I like what I see.
‘Many details in the team, signals, arrive in time, changing exercises how good they are, how focussed when you talk to them if they look at you or the grass. Many details are there.
‘That’s why I say you are a genius guys, you are still there. You could be thinking okay back-to-back, just focus on the Champions League. Now I’ve won already four Premier Leagues but have to play more. It’s completely the opposite. That’s why we are there.’