Pep Guardiola responds after Sir Jim Ratcliffe outlines Man Utd plan to knock Man City off their perch | Football

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is not ‘worried’ about Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s comments (Picture: Getty)

Pep Guardiola says he had a strong feeling that Manchester United ‘will be back’ after hearing Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s plans to knock Manchester City and Liverpool off their perch inside the next three years.

Ratcliffe’s £1.3billion partial takeover of United was officially confirmed on Tuesday and the British billionaire, the CEO of INEOS chemicals group, immediately outlined his ambitions to return the Red Devils to their former glory.

The 71-year-old, now in charge of United’s football operations, is expected to oversee sweeping changes to the club’s hierarchy, with Omar Berrada arriving from the blue half of Manchester last month and Dan Ashworth expected to be unveiled in due course.

The Manchester-born businessman has also stated his preference to build a new stadium on the site of Old Trafford after the Glazers allowed the iconic ground to fall into a state of disrepair over recent years.

Perhaps most encouraging of all for United supporters, though, were Ratcliffe’s comments during an interview with the BBC in which their new co-owner deliberately echoed a famous Sir Alex Ferguson battlecry from 2002.

‘When Manchester City played Real Madrid at home and won 4-0 last season [in the Champions League semi-finals], that was the best football I have ever seen. If we can ever get to that point, it would be a great achievement,’ Ratcliffe said.

‘In the north west we have two neighbours who are really impressive football clubs. I want to knock them all off their perch.

‘We are friends in the sense we’re all in the north west but they are our biggest enemies. They are clearly our biggest competitors in the UK.’

Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Sir Alex Ferguson

Ratcliffe echoed Ferguson’s famous battlecry during an interview this week (Picture: Getty)

At his press conference on Friday, an unfazed Guardiola said he was only interested in City’s business and that Ratcliffe’s comments were ‘normal’ given the stature of United.

Asked whether was ‘worried’ about Ratcliffe’s vow to bridge the gap at the top of the Premier League, the City manager replied: ‘It’s not about [being] worried.

‘I’m pretty sure with Sir Jim Ratcliffe and the other people that United is going to make a step forward.

United and City meet in the Premier League on March 3 (Picture: Getty)

‘I had a feeling that they know exactly what they have to do, appointing people that need to be appointed, experienced in the business world and make the project better.

‘That is normal. I don’t want to get out of where we are so all the teams want it and we want to be there.

‘As long as I’m here, we are here, we will try to be there again.’

Ratcliffe is expected to oversee major changes at United (Picture: Getty)

The Spaniard added: ‘What I want is Man City, my team, to be there, otherwise I don’t care. We want to be there.

‘With Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] and Jose Mourinho, it was a period where they were second.

‘I would say not close like Liverpool have been in many years, but I’ve been there and always I expect United being there since I arrived on day one, always I expect United being there for the history, the tradition, many things.

‘It didn’t happen, I don’t know the reason why. They know it, I guess, I don’t know but I guess they know and the same, it’s their own business, it’s not ours, so what we want is to be there for ourselves.’

City trail Premier League leaders Liverpool by four points ahead of their trip to Bournemouth (Picture: Getty)

Guardiola, whose side welcome United to the Etihad on March 3, highlighted how the tabled have turned, with City ‘admiring’ and ‘wanting to learn’ from the Red Devils during the Ferguson era.

Pressed on whether he was proud to hear praise from Ratcliffe, Guardiola replied: ‘As much as teams admit it, they will be closer to us.

‘You don’t want to deny it for things that are not a reality, it’s their problem. It’s not our problem.

‘When we were below and and United were winning, we were watching them. We were admiring them, we wanted to learn from them.

‘In the period of Sir Alex Ferguson with all the generations from Roy Keane, David Beckham, Gary Neville and all the big, big players that were there.

‘Rio Ferdinand and all the players, I’m pretty sure Manchester City were admiring and wanting to be them and now we are there.

‘That’s why, from these types of comments, I had a feeling they will be back.’

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