Under new manager Erik ten Hag, the Red Devils had a disastrous start to the season, losing heavily to both Brighton and Brentford. They have, however, begun to build under the Dutchman and have impressed in recent weeks. United are unbeaten in eight games in all competitions after losing 6-3 to City at the start of the month.
Ten Hag’s team is sixth in the Premier League table, one point behind the top four with a game in hand, and they have also qualified from their Europa League group after four consecutive wins.
And Guardiola, speaking ahead of City’s game against Leicester on Saturday lunchtime, lauded their Manchester rivals’ progress.
“I have the feeling that United is coming back. Finally! United is coming! I saw signals yesterday (from their 3-0 win over Sheriff Tiraspol) and in the game against Chelsea in the first half. I thought ‘I like it’, what I see from United just now. There will be a lot of teams (competing at the top).”
“That is why you have to fight for the Champions League and fight for the title. In the first 10 games you don’t win the Premier League, but you can be a little bit behind. Newcastle are already there. I saw them against Tottenham and the physicality from both sides,”he told his pre-match press conference.
Manchester United’s recent form has catapulted them into the top-four conversation after a shaky start to the season under the Dutchman. They can catch third-placed Tottenham if they win and other results go their way this weekend.
United have not won the Premier League since 2013, and they finished sixth last season. On the other hand, City has won four of the last five Premier League titles and looks set to add another this season. United are eight points off the top of the table after 11 games this season.
City will play Leicester on Saturday, sitting second behind Arsenal, but Guardiola is pleased with his team’s position ahead of the World Cup break.