Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has aimed a derby day veiled dig by insisting that Liverpool and not Manchester United are Manchester City’s biggest rivals.
Guardiola has made City the most dominant force in Europe, while United have fallen from grace to grass since Sir Alex Ferguson’s exit in 2013.
The legendary Scotsman once insisted that the Blues could never be regarded as a threat when United were the only serial winners in town.
Guardiola admitted that Ferguson’s assessment was right – but suggested that he has never seen United as serious challengers during his eight seasons at the Etihad.
“When I finish my tenure here, Liverpool will have been my rivals and our rivals,” said Guardiola. “They have made us a challenge and helped make us a better team in all departments.
“They have challenged us like no other team has done in my period here.
“There was one year with Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] that was quite close – but overall it has been Liverpool.”
Guardiola added: “Sir Alex was right, City were not challengers. Without the presence of (owner) Sheikh Mansour and (chairman) Khaldoon, who took over and made an investment, it was United and Arsenal who were the richest ones and that’s why they were there.
“In that moment, Sir Alex Ferguson could not expect what has happened – even myself when I was in Barcelona thought the same.”