Sergio Aguero can prove he still has a Manchester City future during the "best two or three months" of the season, but Pep Guardiola insists he cannot hand out appearances merely to build the striker's fitness.

It is now 13-and-a-half months since Aguero – fourth on the competition's all-time scorers list – added to his 180 Premier League goals.

A meniscus injury requiring surgery during Project Restart ended his 2019-20 campaign and further knee soreness, a hamstring injury and a bout of coronavirus have restricted him to a bit-part role this time around.

Aguero started last month's 2-1 win over West Ham but has been an unused substitute for the other five league games since he shook the effects of COVID-19, including as his team-mates laboured to a 2-0 home defeat against Manchester United on Sunday.

It seemed reasonable to ask, as City's 21-match winning streak ebbed away, if Aguero was not the man for that situation in the Manchester derby, how frequently is the 32-year-old likely to fit into Guardiola's plans before his contract expires in June?

Pep Guardiola has congratulated Joan Laporta on his election as Barcelona president and believes he will bring the feel-good factor back to Camp Nou.

Laporta was previously Barca president between 2003 and 2010, a spell that included hiring Guardiola to be head coach in 2008, starting an extraordinary run of success.

He has now returned to the role following a landslide election win over rivals Victor Font and Toni Freixa on Sunday.

One of his first points of business will be resolving the future of Lionel Messi, who has been strongly linked with a reunion with Guardiola at Manchester City, as well as Paris Saint-Germain.

Guardiola praised Laporta for his convincing win and believes his impact will be felt promptly.

"All I can say is that it was a lovely journey," said Guardiola when he was asked about Barca's election.

"All three options were there, they did a good job and I congratulate the president to be elected by a big margin. 

"I'm pretty sure his personality will introduce a good mood, a lot of optimism in the club and all the country.

"I wish him all the best for the season and the next seasons."

Guardiola won three LaLiga trophies and two Champions League titles in four seasons in charge of Barcelona, who are presently managed by Ronald Koeman.

Barca, like City, are in the Champions League last 16 but the Catalans face an uphill task to progress as they trail PSG 4-1 on aggregate.

They will play in Paris almost immediately after Guardiola and City - who are looking to bounce back from defeat to Manchester United - have hosted Southampton in the Premier League on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola has warned his Manchester City players that Manchester United remain a live threat in the Premier League title race.

Many observers have already crowned City champions and they remain 11 points clear at the top of the standings despite their shock 2-0 derby defeat on Sunday.

City are now entering their final 10 matches of the top-flight campaign and host Southampton in the first of those on Wednesday.

Southampton have lost eight of their past nine Premier League away games against City, with a draw in the other game, but Guardiola is taking nothing for granted in terms of that match or the title race.

Asked about United having a chance of winning the title, Guardiola – who has every player fit - replied: "Of course. When the option is open, anything can happen in football. 

"Nobody thought we would do 21 games in a row, so anything can happen. United can do it. 

"We have 10 games left and we have to win six or seven to be champions mathematically. On Wednesday we are going to try to win the first one.

"I think everyone has realised how difficult it is to win games - with the Premier League, it's so complicated, so difficult. 

"Sometimes it's good to realise what we have done and what we have to do. 

"We are alive in all competitions and now the important part of the season arrives."

Guardiola is yet to watch back the derby defeat, which saw Bruno Fernandes and Luke Shaw strike for United.

"I didn't watch the game," he explained. "Maybe we play them in the FA Cup but if not it will be next season. 

"We are in the Champions League and them in the Europa League. We have played each other twice in the Premier League. I didn't watch it because we didn't have time [before this game]." 

Southampton are 14th in the table, with Guardiola unimpressed by a question about whether City could win 9-0, which Leicester City and United have done against Saints under Ralph Hasenhuttl.

Guardiola said: "We will score 18 - this will be the result - what a question! They conceded nine when they played 80 minutes 10 against 11!

"Do you think this is a joke and we will score 18 goals? It will be an incredible success for us to win this game - that is all.

"No [winning] run exists for us now. It is one game at a time. Southampton - we try to do a good game against a good side. 

"I admire the way Ralph and his team plays. I don't see the table. Another test to play good and try to win.

"I watched many Southampton games, they won against Liverpool and drew against Chelsea. 

"Their [recent] results were not good because of many injuries. I know how good they are and we have to do a good performance to get the three points."

In an up-and-down season for Southampton, they have won their previous two games against teams who were sitting top of the table.

They defeated Everton 2-0 in October when Carlo Ancelotti's men were setting the pace and Liverpool 1-0 in January before Jurgen Klopp's champions had embarked on their recent collapse. 

For City, the United defeat was their first in 29 matches in all competitions and the first time they have conceded more than once in a match since their 2-0 defeat against Tottenham in November.

Guardiola has never lost back-to-back home league games in his managerial career.

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire paid tribute to the "brilliant" job Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is doing as manager, adamant he has overseen an improvement in their fortunes.

Maguire is in his second season at United, having joined in 2019 in a reported £80million deal, making him the most expensive defender of all time.

Solskjaer guided United back into the Champions League last term, though their third-place finish with 66 points was still seen as somewhat underwhelming given the significant amount of money spent on the team and the fact title-winners Liverpool ended up with 99 points.

Although the Red Devils failed to get out of their Champions League group, with Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig going through instead, United do look likely to improve significantly on their haul of 66 points – after 28 Premier League games, they have 54 following the weekend win over leaders Manchester City.

That 2-0 victory probably came too late in the season to do any real damage to City's march towards the title, with Pep Guardiola's men still 11 clear at the summit, but Maguire believes there are clear signs of progress under the Norwegian.

"We have a great relationship," Maguire told UEFA about Solskjaer ahead of Thursday's Europa League last-16 first leg visit of Milan.

"I feel he's done brilliantly – he's cool, calm, but he's also got the side of him where he can turn when he needs to and when the players need a little telling-off.

"We're close. We speak a lot before training, before games. I give my ideas to him and how I feel the group is and the mentality of the group and what we can improve on and where we can go as a club, and he's exactly the same.

"We've definitely improved. I joined two years ago, and people didn't think we'd get in the top four. We got in the top four, and then you start the next season and people don't think you'll get in the top four [again].

"But then when you find yourself, let's say, sitting second in the table, people then say: 'Well, Manchester United should be second in the table; they should be challenging for the top.' So, everything… it's just the demands, the demands, the demands.

"The mentality has changed. We're more consistent now. Obviously, it was disappointing to get knocked out in the Champions League, but we've found ourselves in a position in the Premier League where now we've got to kick on."

United are in the knockout phase of the Europa League for the second successive season – in 2019-20 they made it to the semi-finals but were beaten by Sevilla.

The omens are not great for United this time around, either – they have been eliminated from four of their five knockout ties with Milan, with no team knocking them out of European competitions more often.

Nevertheless, Milan's recent record in the last 16 of European tournaments is poor, being defeated at this stage in six of seven previous occasions they have gone this far into a continental competition.

Barcelona prospect  Ilaix Moriba could be tempted away from the Catalan giants.

Ilaix, 18, made headlines with a goal in his third LaLiga appearance for the Blaugrana on Saturday.

But Barca have limited wage capacity and Ilaix has received "several offers".

 

TOP STORY – SEVERAL OFFERS FOR BARCA TEENAGER

Teenager Moriba has become instant hot property with "several offers" to tempt him away from Barcelona, according to Marca.

The Guinea-born midfielder's agent, whom he shares with Gareth Bale, is in drawn-out discussions with the club, the publication says.

Marca's report does not identify who the potential suitors are, but if Ilaix continues a breakout season, the interest will inevitably grow, giving the player and his representatives more bargaining power.

Manchester United were earlier this week linked with the youngster in Mundo Deportivo.

All good things must come to an end, and that proved the case for Manchester City on Sunday.

Their remarkable winning run of 21 games in all competitions came to an end with a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United in the derby.

City hold an 11-point lead over their neighbours at the top of the Premier League, however, and the real battle seems set to be for Champions League places.

Tottenham boosted their hopes with a 4-1 thrashing of Crystal Palace, with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min combining for a record-setting goal, while Liverpool's dismal form continued as they suffered a sixth successive home defeat. Fortress Anfield is well and truly a thing of the past.

At the bottom, West Brom and Newcastle United played out a goalless draw. We take a look at the best Opta facts from Sunday's games.

 

Manchester City 0-2 Manchester United: Winning streak grinds to a halt

If there was one team City did not want their incredible run of wins to come to an end against, it would have been United.

It was the first time City have lost since November, when they went down 2-0 at home to Spurs, ending a run of 28 games without a defeat across all competitions. Pep Guardiola's team had won their last 21 in total, including 15 in the league, though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems to have the better of his counterpart.

United have won three consecutive away games in all competitions at City for the first time since a run of four between November 1993 and November 2000, and among the managers Guardiola has faced more than three times across all competitions as a top-flight boss, Solskjaer is the only one to have beaten the Spaniard (four) more often than he has lost to him.

Solskjaer is also the first manager in United's history to win each of his first three away meetings in all competitions with City. Since the start of the 2019-20 season, three of City's five home defeats in all competitions have come against United.

The Norwegian is now the only manager to have won three away games against sides managed by Guardiola.

Bruno Fernandes scored the opener from the penalty spot inside two minutes. Since his Premier League debut in February 2020, he has scored 12 of the 13 penalties he has taken in the competition. 

After just 101 seconds, Fernandes' penalty was the earliest goal that City have ever conceded in a Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, and the first they have conceded within two minutes at home in the competition since Steed Malbranque's strike for Fulham at Maine Road in January 2003.

Liverpool 0-1 Fulham: Reds' Merseyside misery rolls on

It is hard to believe that before their defeat to Burnley on January 21, Liverpool had not lost a league match at Anfield since April 2017. 

Liverpool have now lost six home games in a row, their longest ever such streak, while they are the first side to lose six in a row on home soil in the Premier League since Huddersfield Town in February 2019 (seven).

The Reds' six league defeats at Anfield this season is their most in a single campaign since 1953-54 (also six), when the Reds finished bottom of the top-flight, with Fulham the first promoted team to win away at Liverpool in the top flight since Blackpool Town in October 2010.

Jurgen Klopp's side are winless in their last eight league home matches, only embarking on a longer winless top-flight run at Anfield once before – 10 games between October 1951 and March 1952. They have won just one of their last seven matches in the competition.

Fulham, on the other hand, are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League away games (W2 D6) – their longest run without defeat on the road in their top-flight history – and are now level on 26 points with 17th-placed Brighton and Hove Albion.

Excluding penalties and own goals, Liverpool have failed to score with each of their last 115 shots at Anfield in the Premier League (including 16 against Fulham). This is the longest such scoreless run of shots on home soil by any side.

Tottenham 4-1 Crystal Palace: Bale and Kane rampant as Spurs boost top-four hopes

Only leaders City (35) have earned more points at home in this season's Premier League than Tottenham (24), and Jose Mourinho's men were in fine form against Palace.

Gareth Bale scored either side of Christian Benteke's equaliser – since the 2012-13 season, only Olivier Giroud (32) has more headed goals in the competition than the Belgian – with both of the Welshman's goals teed up by the brilliant Kane.

Bale has scored in each of his last three home appearances in all competitions, the first time he has done so since September 2018 for Real Madrid (four in a row), and first time for Spurs since May 2013.

Kane then curled in a sensational third goal, before he headed home a fourth from Son Heung-min's cushioned cutback.

Son and Kane have now assisted one another for 14 Premier League goals this season, breaking Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton's all-time competition record of 13 set in 1994-95 for Blackburn.

Kane's second goal was also Spurs' 100th strike in all competitions this season, seeing them become the second club in Europe's "top five" leagues to reach that tally in 2020-21, after Bayern Munich (106).

Spurs talisman Kane is the first Tottenham player since Jurgen Klinsmann in May 1998 to score twice and provide two assists in a Premier League match, while he has been directly involved in 40 goals in 36 games in all competitions this season (24 goals and 16 assists), the most of any player for a top-flight club.

West Brom 0-0 Newcastle United: Bore draw does little for survival hopes

There was not so much in the way of entertainment in the day's early kick-off, as strugglers West Brom and Newcastle shared the spoils.

West Brom are unbeaten in three home league games against Newcastle (W1 D2) for the first time since January 2005, while only Southampton (seven) have gained fewer Premier League points in 2021 than the Baggies (10) and Newcastle (nine).

Newcastle have won just one of their last nine Premier League away games (D1 L7), failing to score in six of those matches.

West Brom had 13 shots at goal in the match, their joint-most attempts without scoring in a Premier League game this season (also 13 v Burnley in October).

Matthijs de Ligt was linked with Manchester United before his move to Juventus in 2019.

United have reportedly renewed their interest in the 21-year-old Dutch defender.

Could he end up in Manchester?

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT DE LIGT

Manchester United are set to target Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, according to TodoFichajes.

United were heavily linked with De Ligt before the Netherlands international swapped Ajax for Serie A champions Juve in 2019.

With United reportedly not advancing in their pursuit of Real Madrid pair Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, the Red Devils are eyeing De Ligt.

United have also been linked with RB Leipzig's Ibrahima Konate, Sevilla defender Jules Kounde and Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato reports Paris Saint-Germain are poised to offer David Alaba a €25million-per year deal in an attempt to prise the Bayern Munich star to the French capital. Out of contract at season's end, Alaba has been tipped to join Madrid. Chelsea, Barcelona and Manchester City have also been linked.

United have been left alone in the fight to sign Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, claims TodoFichajes. Unwilling to match Villa's valuation, City have reportedly exited the race for Grealish. The report also says United could sell Marcus Rashford to fund the move.

- Madrid stars Lucas Vazquez and Isco are wanted by Everton, according to Calciomercato. After prising James Rodriguez from the LaLiga champions, Everton are targeting another two players from the Spanish capital, though Milan and Juve are also keen.

- Diario AS reports Madrid are prioritising a move for in-demand Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland. Chelsea, United, City, Juve, PSG, Barca and Bayern have all been linked but Madrid are reportedly shifting their attention from Kylian Mbappe to Haaland.

Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes insisted "people will always complain about everything" after scoring in the derby win away to Premier League leaders Manchester City.

Fernandes was on target in Sunday's 2-0 victory over City, converting a penalty after just 101 seconds at the Etihad Stadium as United snapped the hosts' 21-match winning streak.

The Portugal international was in the spotlight prior to United's success against City – his record against 'top six' clubs criticised following his performance against Chelsea in the goalless draw last time out.

Tottenham were the only club among the established 'top six' that Fernandes had found the back of the net against this season – a penalty in Octobers 6-1 humiliation at home to Spurs – before opening the scoring versus City.

"Every penalty has the same pressure for me," Fernandes, who has 16 goals and 10 assists through 28 games this Premier League season, told MUTV when asked if he felt the weight of expectation. "It's always pressure to take a pen, doesn't matter if it's against City, or another team. It's always pressure to take the pens.

"I like that kind of pressure. It's good pressure. I knew what I had to do. I did it in the right way with the right power and I'm happy to score, of course.

"Honestly for us it's about winning. People will always complain about everything. Today it will still be Bruno never scores in big games.

"They will put open play no goals, it was a penalty [and say] it doesn't count! So for us the most important thing is winning the game.

"It doesn't matter how you score, when the ball touches the net it's a goal. I will be happy and it doesn't matter if it's me or another one scoring."

Luke Shaw was also on target five minutes into the second half as United extended their unbeaten streak away from home in the league to 22 games.

United have won three consecutive away games in all competitions against City for the first time since a run of four between November 1993 and November 2000.

But United remain 11 points adrift of City atop the table with 10 matches remaining.

"I think it was almost perfect," added Fernandes of the performance. "We created a lot of chances where maybe we could finish better, or play a better last pass or last shot.

"When we create chances it's always good because if you create it's a sign you're playing well and trying to do something different.

"I think we played a little bit better in the second half because in the first half they pressed as well. We had more counters but in the second half we are clearer and we take more control of the game at times.

"They have more of the ball than us, they pass more times with the ball. Anyway, [in terms of] opportunities I think we had the best ones and for me the most important in the game is the result. The result for us is on our side, so it's perfect."

United captain Harry Maguire said post-game: "We have brilliant coaches and a brilliant manager and brilliant analysts as well.

"Credit to them because they are the ones who sent us out in that formation and those tweaks when they have the ball. We knew they were going to keep the ball at times and the positions that they find themselves in, they have a lot of possession.

"We've seen that in recent games, so we had to be patient at times, but we had to make sure we kept getting up to the ball, kept getting contact, keep making tackles. I felt that we did that really well. 

"For sure we can improve, we can do better in parts of the game. But it's an important win, an important performance after a disappointing trip to London in midweek. Now we have to dust ourselves down and go again. We've got another big game on Thursday [against Milan in the Europa League last-16 first leg]."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lauded Luke Shaw, labelling the full-back "absolutely incredible" after his performance in the derby win over Manchester City.

Shaw scored as United upstaged runaway Premier League leaders City 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Bruno Fernandes converted a penalty after just 101 seconds before Shaw doubled the lead five minutes into the second half away to City, who had their 21-match winning streak snapped and a run of 28 games unbeaten across all competitions.

Solskjaer hailed Shaw – who joined from Southampton in 2014 – following his impressive display as the England international continues to impress at Old Trafford after his rocky start to life in Manchester.

"Absolutely incredible," Solskjaer said of Shaw. "He was a massive doubt until after the warm-up. He needed to do the warm-up to be cleared to play. So Alex [Telles] was ready but Luke's performance [was] top.

"He's aggressive, he's hard to play one against one. When he goes forward on those on runs he's unstoppable.

"He's just improved so much and he's improving all the time and delighted for him."

United have won three consecutive away games in all competitions against City for the first time since a run of four between November 1993 and November 2000.

The Red Devils are also 22 matches unbeaten away from home in the Premier League, though they remain 11 points adrift of City atop the table.

United star Marcus Rashford limped off with 17 minutes remaining against City and he is set to undergo a scan on his ankle.

Rashford's assist for United's second goal was his 10th across all competitions this season – the first time he has reached double figures for assists in a single season in his club career.

"It's something with his ankle. When he sprinted back about 60-70 yards to save a goal. Just shows the attitude of the boy, and his pace and how he sacrificed himself," said Solskjaer, who became the first manager in United's history to win each of his first three away games against City.

"I think, maybe he went over on his ankle or something, but we need to do a scan. I've not had time to sit down and speak to the doctor yet."

Despite United's success against Pep Guardiola's side, Solskjaer is refusing to look beyond Thursday's Europa League last-16 first leg against Milan.

"All we have to think about is Thursday," he added. "Every game, one game at a time and see where we're at. We want to improve. I want the player to improve. We want to learn from this experience. We want to learn from Wednesday's experience against [Crystal] Palace. We need to improve on so many things to get our consistency better.

"Of course, they're 11 points ahead of us if I'm not wrong, with 10 games to go, so that's a long, long way. So we need to focus on ourselves and just be a better Man United and I feel we're a better Man United now than we were 12, 13, 16 months ago."

Manchester City can learn important lessons from Sunday's 2-0 derby defeat to Manchester United, according to Pep Guardiola.

Bruno Fernandes' second-minute penalty and a fine Luke Shaw effort shortly into the second half gave Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a third consecutive victory at the Etihad Stadium.

It brought City's record-breaking run of 21 consecutive wins in all competitions to a shuddering halt, although their lead over their neighbours at the Premier League summit is still a healthy 11 points.

With ambitions to taste elusive success in Europe this season, Guardiola acknowledged his in-form side might have been handed a timely reality check.

"Today we are going to talk about it because we lost and that is the news," he said. "But the news is 21 victories in a row. This is the news.

"This result is going to help us a lot to know how difficult it is.

"We knew it but sometimes you have to not win one game to realise. The important one is the next one.

"There are still many games to play, 30 points to play for and in the next game we have the opportunity to do it."

City are back in action against Southampton on Wednesday and Guardiola did not feel his players did too much wrong in a game where Gabriel Jesus' clumsy challenge on Anthony Martial inside the first minute left them fighting an uphill battle.

"We played a fantastic game, a lot of shots," he said. "Starting in that way punished us a lot against a team who, for many years, defends sitting back for the counter-attack.

"They made incredible high pressing, but when you break this action they defend far back.

"On the counter-attack they are so fast. Like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said, the history of Man United is about the counter-attack, the pace.

"We played good, apart from the first 10 minutes. Fortunately we could not be clinical up front and congratulations to United."

Rodri rattled the crossbar shortly before Shaw extended United's advantage – something Guardiola conceded was a pivotal passage in the match.

"It's tough. We had a shot against the crossbar from Rodri and after they did the goal. That's football, you have to overcome," he added.

"After the goal there were five minutes where we were not [good] but after we take the game [to United] and we were really good at the normal level that we are playing.

"We played to continue [the run], we played to do it and it will be a good lesson not to concede the goals we conceded.

"When we lost here to Leicester 5-2, we conceded three penalties. Here, another penalty. It was not a dangerous situation [before the foul], always you have the keeper to save it.

"Apart from this, we played really well. Even after 2-0 we played really well. We conceded a few counter-attacks, but it is normal.

"United are really good at this. The moment we start to attack and they defend deep they are a fantastic, incredible team."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was delighted to see Anthony Martial back to his best in Manchester United's derby win, particularly as the forward nearly missed Sunday’s game at the Etihad Stadium.

Martial was an injury doubt right up until kick-off after not featuring in the 0-0 draw away at Crystal Palace in midweek due to a knee problem.

However, the Frenchman produced an outstanding display against Manchester City, including winning the early penalty that allowed Bruno Fernandes to fire the visitors in front after just 101 seconds.

Luke Shaw doubled the lead in the 50th minute having also been doubtful to play himself, with the Red Devils putting an end to their neighbours' 21-game winning streak in impressive fashion.

"I thought Anthony was absolutely superb today, more like the Anthony of old," Solskjaer told Sky Sports.

"And to think he was a doubt this morning. He was until two hours – or after the warm-up, to be fair. I wasn't sure he was going to play or not. It was the same with Luke. 

"Today he [Martial] rediscovered himself, I feel. He was really strong on the ball, positive, and we have to be a positive team.  

"We want to play at a high tempo, of course we do, but we had to defend well. You’ve got to defend so you can attack the spaces that appear."

Martial played in a central role with Edinson Cavani unavailable, completing 95 per cent of his attempted passes as he consistently caused problems to City's previously stingy defence.

The only disappointment was his failure to convert a glorious opportunity to score himself in the second half, a goal his performance richly deserved.

"When you come away with a 2-0 win and another clean sheet, and a performance like this, you're delighted," Solskjaer said of his team's display against the runaway league leaders.

"We knew it was a challenge. Of course, the first goal dictates a lot of what happened out there.

"We could play more on the result, I didn't like us coming into half-time as we played too much on the result, because we were winning.  

"In the second half we got on the ball a bit more and the second goal was fantastic."

Pep Guardiola's side had not lost in their previous 28 games in all competitions, a run that stretched back to a 2-0 reverse away at Tottenham in November 2020. 

However, Solskjaer has developed a welcome habit of winning at the Etihad. The Norwegian is the first manager in United's history to win each of his first three away meetings in all competitions against City, who still remain 11 points clear at the Premier League summit. 

"They are too far ahead to think we can catch them," Solskjaer said. "Last year, we caught up 15 points up to Leicester, but those are different propositions. 

"Even today, they do put you under so much pressure that you can see you’re playing against a very, very good team."

Anyone concerned that famous old fixtures like the Manchester derby are becoming devoid of emotion without supporters need only have looked at Gabriel Jesus' expression as Ederson just failed to keep out Bruno Fernandes' second-minute penalty.

Manchester City's Brazil forward netted a midweek brace in the 4-1 win over Wolves to persuade Pep Guardiola to keep him in the line-up on Sunday.

One of Jesus' big calling cards is his work rate, never one to shirk defensive duties that plenty of attackers dread.

Even so, haring back into his own area to clumsily foul Anthony Martial after mis-controlling a throw-in was taking that trait to unhelpful extremes.

Ederson got a firm hand to Fernandes' strike but could not prevent City from conceding their earliest ever Premier League goal at the Etihad Stadium. Jesus hit his head with his hands and howled in frustration.

At that moment it was easy to remember the eye-opening quotes the 23-year-old supplied during a goal drought last season

"Always I think, 'Wow I have to score' because I'm playing for a big club in big competitions with big players," he said.

"I think it happens with other players. I cannot talk about other players I can only talk about me when I'm not happy with me I want to shoot myself in the head because it's difficult for me."

If City's collective demeanour had been one of swaggering confidence fuelled by inevitable triumph during their 21-match winning run, it was never one Jesus could comfortably tap into.

He now has no goals in 10 derby appearances, but you won't need to tell him that. Sergio Aguero's expiring contract and the likelihood of City bringing in an elite forward replacement probably weighs heavily, too.

Nevertheless, Jesus led from the front as Guardiola's side sought to recover from a shambling start.

He was lurking when Harry Maguire cleared a dangerous Kevin De Bruyne cross – despite a patchy performance, City's midfield talisman created eight opportunities for team-mates – and a running battle before half-time saw the United centre-back booked for a foul on his opponent.

Jesus had two shots blocked and concluded a half he began clattering into Martial by clattering into the post in a vain attempt to convert Riyad Mahrez's cross-cum-shot.

In the opening stages of the second period, it was Jesus' lay-off that saw Rodri hit the crossbar. An equaliser felt close, but then the roof caved in on Guardiola's men.

Joao Cancelo has been a revelation in his hybrid full-back/midfielder role, but Martial and Marcus Rashford's tirelessly penetrative running offered a reminder he can still lack when it comes to purely defensive duties.

The Portugal international veered into no-mans land under Dean Henderson's throw, allowing the excellent Luke Shaw to start and finish a wonderful counter-attack.

For a spell in the middle of the second half, a defence breached only 19 times in the Premier League this season appeared to be wearing an 'all through traffic' sign. Cancelo was spared from himself as Kyle Walker entered the fray to shore up City's right-hand side before a dejected Jesus made way for Phil Foden.

The lead at the top of the Premier League is 11 points and this result – Solskjaer's third win in succession at the Etihad Stadium – should count for little beyond bragging rights. But Europe's elite will have taken note.

As City strained to get back into the match, ghosts of other Guardiola setbacks returned. Raheem Sterling, like Jesus still without a goal in this fixture, spurned glorious chances; players did not get shots away in a crowded penalty area; individual errors piled up and counter-attacking routes were left wide open.

A marque signing like Erling Haaland would solve some of Sunday's problems in the opposition penalty area, but little of what unfolded in other areas of the field.

Speaking at his pre-match news conference, Guardiola rejected any notion of a reality check perhaps being useful for his side. Such questionable logic is unlikely to feature in his forensic analysis of the game.

However, the last time United bloodied a City team bound for the title in April 2018, they did so after Liverpool had ransacked them in the Champions League quarter-finals. This lesson is at least more handily timed.

City's rock-solid look for large parts of this season was entirely absent and that will concern Guardiola, as it is their key point of difference from unsuccessful tilts at European glory.

Their collective loss of heads can only be partially explained by Jesus shooting himself in the foot.

Manchester City saw their 21-match winning streak come to an end as Manchester United secured a 2-0 derby victory over the runaway Premier League leaders on Sunday. 

Bruno Fernandes converted a penalty after 101 seconds following a clumsy foul by Gabriel Jesus, while Luke Shaw was the unlikely scorer as the visitors doubled their lead in the 50th minute.

The result means Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has once again come out on top against Pep Guardiola, in the process becoming the first United boss to win each of his first three away trips in all competitions at the Etihad Stadium. 

City may still hold an 11-point cushion at the summit but missing out on setting a new club record of 29 games unbeaten will sting, particularly considering the opposition. This is their first setback since a 2-0 reverse at Tottenham on November 21, 2020. 

United had not scored in their three previous outings leading into the contest, yet were gifted the chance to end that barren run when Jesus – retained in the Guardiola's starting XI following a brace in the 4-1 win over Wolves – carelessly clipped Anthony Martial. 

The Brazilian was nearly bailed out by compatriot Ederson, yet the goalkeeper was only able to palm Fernandes' low effort from the spot into the net. 

Initially flustered at falling behind for the first time in 20 league games, City eventually recovered from the early setback to assume control of proceedings. 

Oleksandr Zinchenko tested Dean Henderson – again playing with David de Gea away on paternity leave – while Rodri struck the angle joining crossbar and post with a rising drive early in the second half. 

However, it was United who grabbed the pivotal second goal in the game. Shaw carried the ball from deep and then continued his forward run after giving possession to Marcus Rashford, allowing the left-back to take the return pass and drag a low shot through Rodri's legs and into the far corner. 

City huffed and puffed but were unable to find a way to blow the United defence down, not aided by managing to put just five of their 21 attempts on target. While seemingly destined to finish the campaign on top of the table, they were second best to their rivals here.
 

 

Gabriel Jesus got the nod to lead Manchester City's attack in the derby against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium, with Phil Foden having to be content with a place on the bench.

Jesus took his tally in all competitions to 11 goals this season with a midweek brace in the 4-1 win over Wolves, which extended City's winning streak to 21 matches and allowed the Premier League leaders to head into Sunday's fixture with a 14-point lead over third-placed United.

That performance against Wolves persuaded Pep Guardiola to retain Jesus in his XI, despite the fact his team have often operated without a specialist centre-forward during their record-breaking run.

Foden was joined among the substitutes by Sergio Aguero and Bernardo Silva, as Kevin De Bruyne was named as captain in midfield on his 250th City appearance.

Both Jesus and De Bruyne were looking to improve their individual records against United. The Brazil striker has not scored in nine derby appearances, while none of De Bruyne's 77 Premier League assists have come with United as the opponents.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was aiming to become the first United manager in history to win his first three away derbies and selected a front three of Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Daniel James.

Edinson Cavani returned from injury during the midweek 0-0 at Crystal Palace – United's third consecutive goalless draw – but the veteran striker was not part of the derby matchday squad.

Bruno Fernandes is convinced the signing of Alex Telles is the key component behind Luke Shaw's dramatic improvement at Manchester United after the left-back won the club's Player of the Month award.

It was not so long ago that Shaw's United career appeared to be petering out to an underwhelming conclusion, particularly during Jose Mourinho's ill-fated reign.

In two-and-a-half years playing for the Portuguese coach, Shaw only made 33 Premier League appearances. While he did have injury and fitness problems, the manager's attitude seemingly did little to endear himself to the player.

Mourinho criticised Shaw publicly on several occasions, yet the left-back kept his head down and – to the surprise of very few – ultimately outlasted the 'Special One', kicking on brilliantly under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

His five assists this season is already a personal high for a Premier League season, having only managed seven in total in previous campaigns, but that's just the tip of the iceberg – Shaw's chance creation frequency of 2.44 per game is almost double his previous best of 1.3 in 2016-17, and that was from just 11 appearances.

The only defender to lay on goalscoring chances at a better rate than Shaw is Ryan Fredericks (2.45), though his marginally improved record comes from 13 fewer games than Shaw's 23.

Liverpool's Andrew Robertson has previously been held up as something of a standard-bearer for full-backs in the Premier League, yet Shaw's 31 key passes from open play is just one less than his 32 from four fewer outings. Joao Cancelo leads the way (36), though he does count set-piece deliveries as among his strong points – the United man does.

Statistically, this season is an outlier for Shaw in almost every regard and highlights just how much of a step forward he has taken, but Fernandes is convinced there has been one major catalyst for this resurgence.

Speaking to the United website ahead of Sunday's derby clash with Manchester City, Fernandes said: "[Shaw]'s been playing really, really well in the last few months. I think he started a little bit slow like everyone did because at the beginning of the season we didn't start good.

"I think the competition between Alex and Luke has given both of them the chances to be better and to improve. This is really important because you know if you are not performing well you will be out of the team.

"I think Luke started to perform well when he had that pressure from Alex. At the same time, Alex when he plays has played really well because he knows that Luke is on the bench.

"So, the pressure between them is good but the relationship between them is better, I have seen that in the stands. Alex is always pushing to help everyone and I remember when I came off against Real Sociedad it was Luke in the stands and I saw a lot of times Luke pushing to help Alex.

"This is what we're about. You can be fighting for the same place, but you are fighting for the same achievements, you know.

"This has to be like that in every position in the team, we have to understand that whoever is playing it's because the manager thinks he's better for the team in that moment and the most important thing is the team.

"I think everyone is happy for Luke to win this Player of the Month award and I'm happy too because he deserves it, and I hope he can continue this form until the end of the season because he knows Alex is there to take his position."

Sunday's trip to City will see Fernandes go up against some familiar faces in Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva and Cancelo, all of whom are colleagues of his at international level with Portugal.

All three have enjoyed fine campaigns individually and, as a collective, have helped City embark on a club-record winning streak of 21 games across all competitions.

Avoiding defeat again on Sunday will mean City are unbeaten in 29 matches, another new club record, and Fernandes made no secret of wishing his compatriots were not doing so well as a team.

"I speak with them regularly, we have a good relationship, but the relationships stay out of the game. They know me and they know that on the pitch we are not friends anymore," he said with a grin.

"At the same time I enjoy seeing them play and every one of them is doing well individually and I'm happy for them. As a team I was hoping to see them do a little bit worse than they are doing, but individually I am happy for them because they are good people and they deserve to be in the positions they are and playing in the way they are playing."

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