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Pep Guardiola wary of Cristiano Ronaldo threat ahead of Manchester derby

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has said that he is wary of the threat of Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Sunday’s Premier League derby.

The Red Devils travel to the Etihad Stadium this weekend. The game appears a must-win for the club, having dropped points in the form of three draws last month.

This has seen their top-four rivals make up ground. They are currently fourth with 47 points, but only two points separate them from sixth-placed Arsenal, who have three games in hand.

The form of Cristiano Ronaldo up front has been a cause for concern with just one goal from his last ten appearances, but Guardiola has insisted that City need to control him during the derby.

United were largely second-best during the reverse fixture at Old Trafford, where they lost 2-0. However, Ronaldo forced goalkeeper Ederson into a sharp save when the score was 1-0.

Speaking ahead of Sunday’s derby, Guardiola highlighted the 37-year-old as the main threat for the Red Devils and emphasised that his team needs to nullify the Portuguese’s impact.

He said via M.E.N: “We have to explode our game and strength to avoid him close to the ball.

“The game we played there, we were under control – first time he arrives Ederson made incredible save. This is the quality he has.

“We have to control him. One of the greatest in goalscoring machine – always he is so strong mentally.

“He handles this pressure without a problem, lives with expectation through his career in a positive way.”

Ronaldo is currently going through one of the toughest phases in his career. He started the campaign brightly with 14 goals from 20 outings but has netted just once since the beginning of 2022.

It is unsurprising, given he is no longer in his prime. However, the Portuguese is bound to demand more from himself, and there could be a strong response during the upcoming derby.

The £31.5 million-rated star has taken impressive scoring positions over the past few weeks but has been let down by his poor finishing while also hitting the woodwork on occasions.

He does not need any motivation ahead of the derby. It remains to be seen whether the Portuguese can up his game.

If not, Edinson Cavani is now an option after overcoming a nagging groin issue.

Stats from Transfermarkt.com.

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