Pundit questions Pep Guardiola stance as Erik ten Hag told real gap between Man City and Man Utd

Pep Guardiola, Manchester City, April 2022

Tony Cascarino agrees with Pep Guardiola that Manchester United are heading in the right direction but feels Manchester City are still streets ahead.

The Red Devils currently sit sixth in the Premier League table, with 20 points from 11 games played. And that represents a decent return after losing their first two matches of the campaign. The knives were out following August’s 4-0 home loss to Brentford.

But four straight wins eased the pressure on Erik ten Hag as the north-west giants began to climb the table.

The Old Trafford outfit have lost just once in the top flight since the Bees reverse. And they managed to scored three times at the Etihad as City beat them 6-3.

Wins against Everton and Tottenham have been punctuated by draws with Newcastle and Chelsea.

And, having seen them beat Sheriff Tiraspol 3-0 in the Europa League in Thursday, Guardiola heaped praise on City’s neighbours.

“I have the feeling United are coming back, finally United is coming back,” he told reporters. “I’ve seen it on Thursday and against Chelsea in the first half.

“I said I like what I see of United right now. There will be a lot of teams like United fighting.

“That’s why you have to fight to qualify for the Champions League and fight for the title.”

Guardiola motives questioned

United’s revival has not been without its problems. The main one centres around Cristiano Ronaldo and his frustration at being on the bench.

It came to a head during the 1-1 draw with Spurs. Seemingly annoyed as being overlooked once again, the Portugal skipper left the bench and walked down the tunnel before the game had ended.

Ten Hag appears to have dealt with the situation as Ronaldo was back in the line-up for this week’s European outing.

Guardiola was clearly impressed with what he saw at the Theatre of Dreams.

But Cascarino is refusing to read too much into the Spaniard’s words and thinks Manchester United are still a long way behind their rivals.

“He compliments everybody. In every press conference, he compliments every team and every manager,” Cascarino said on talkSPORT. “United have improved, they’re making small footsteps.

“But I think the difference between the two Manchester teams will be at least ten points.”

If Cascarino’s words end up being true, a gap of just 10 points would represent a significant improvement on 2021-2022.

United ended up 35 points behind City as Guardiola’s charges pipped Liverpool to the title.

They began the weekend’s fixtures schedule six points behind their city foes. Ten Hag’s side take on West Ham United on Sunday as they look to keep up the momentum.

United face major top-four battle

City and Arsenal seem certain to finish in the top four this term but the other two spots are up for grabs.

Tottenham are third while Newcastle sat fourth after the latest round of games.

It remains to be seen if the Magpies’ challenge falters but Chelsea will be there or thereabouts come may.

And it would seem folly to suggest Liverpool will not be among the major players once again when the dust settles on 2022-2023.

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