Guardiola: Silva will play against United

Pep Guardiola

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has confirmed David Silva is fit to play against Manchester United in Sunday’s derby.

Earlier this week, Guardiola said the midfielder was in doubt for the top-of-the-table clash, leading United boss Jose Mourinho to suggest the City manager was playing mind games, just like Arsene Wenger did with Alexandre Lacazette prior to Arsenal’s match against United last week.

Silva did not travel with the City squad to Ukraine for their final Champions League group-stage match with Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday, but Guardiola says he has sufficiently recovered and is back in the picture for Sunday.

“He is going to play,” Guardiola said. “The doctor told me at the beginning of the week there was a doubt about him playing that’s why I said what I said but today he arrived and said he is really good so he is going to play.”

City will look to protect their eight-point lead over second-placed United on Sunday, knowing that a victory would see them move 11 points clear and make them very hard to catch in the title race.

Victory for United, however, would see the lead cut down to just five points, and would also see the Red Devils strike a significant psychological blow.

City have yet to lose a league game this season, but did suffer their first loss of the season against Shakhtar in midweek in the Champions League.

“My focus is going there [to Old Trafford], relax and knowing that if we don’t do our best it will be almost impossible to beat them and try to play good football,” said Guardiola.

“It’s an important game because it is against Man United, you can get points and the other can not but it’s the same for them.

“It’s a marathon, the Premier League. We haven’t arrived at the half of the marathon so there are a lot of points to play.”