Pep Guardiola’s immediate reaction when asked about Manchester United’s start to the season was to let out a chuckle.
It has been a nightmare at Old Trafford so far in 2023/24, with the Red Devils having already lost three of their opening five Premier League matches.
A 3-1 home defeat to Brighton last weekend saw Man United fans vent their fury with boos heard around Old Trafford during and after the match.
Man United are already nine points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League and fans fear they are in for a long and difficult season.
But City boss Guardiola expects Erik ten Hag’s side to find their rhythm, but he laughed when asked about his side’s local rivals.
Asked about his team’s good start to the season, Guardiola told reporters: “Everyone has to find something in themselves to want to improve, every player has to push past their limits and feel that otherwise it’s difficult.
“We will have setbacks in the season…but to start the season this way, some teams are going the distance now.
“But how strong are Arsenal? I saw their victory at Goodison Park, they are exceptional. Liverpool again, their mentality continues there.”
And when asked specifically about Man United, Guardiola let out a chuckle but backed them to get on track.
He said: “Well, they haven’t started the way they hoped, a bit like Chelsea, but they’re still Man United, they’re Chelsea, they’ll get into the rhythm.”
Guardiola was speaking ahead of City’s first Champions League title defense match, which sees them face Red Star Belgrade at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday evening.