Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has spent the majority of the season in apparent crisis, while Pep Guardiola this week spoke of his confidence that Manchester City would win an unprecedented fourth Premier League title in a row.
However, just three points now separate the rivals after United beat Chelsea 2-1 and the defending champions lost 1-0 against Aston Villa on Wednesday to extend their winless run in the league to four games.
“We are on a journey. We keep calm... We are going in the right direction,” Ten Hag said after he put a difficult few days behind him with a morale-boosting win.
The Dutch coach had gone into the game on the back of a 10th defeat of the season against Newcastle United over the weekend and reports of player unrest in the locker room.
We “don’t get distracted from criticism around us, but we are very critical of ourselves,” he said. “We know we are not satisfied and happy. We always want to do things better.”
Two goals from Scott McTominay secured the win and moved Manchester United up to sixth — three points off fourth-placed Manchester City.
Guardiola faces tough questions as he was left to assess a winless run that saw Manchester City overtaken by Aston Villa.
“In these years we have found a way to win games, but we struggled a bit and we have to find a way,” Guardiola said. “It is my job to find a solution. The dynamic changes by winning games.”
Elsewhere, Liverpool won 2-0 against Sheffield United, Fulham routed Nottingham Forest 5-0, AFC Bournemouth beat Crystal Palace 2-0 and Brighton & Hove Albion downed Brentford 2-1.
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