Pep Guardiola conceded Manchester City felt pressure from their previous Champions League failures in a nervy 2-1 quarter-final win over Borussia Dortmund.

Phil Foden struck in the 90th minute to ensure the Premier League leaders will take a slender advantage to Signal Iduna Park for next week's second leg.

Marco Reus had equalised four minutes from time for Dortmund, with City struggling to find their fluent best with any consistency after Kevin De Bruyne's first-half opener.

"We felt the pressure today for this competition at home. We don't know how we are going to play," Guardiola told BT Sport.

Liverpool, Tottenham and Lyon have ended his team's involvement at this stage over the past three seasons.

"Now we know each other better," Guardiola said. "We are going to analyse what we have to do, like we have done for five or six months, playing every game to try to win."

Dortmund were understandably furious to have had an initial equaliser ruled out before half-time, when the impressive Jude Bellingham was harshly adjudged to have fouled City goalkeeper Ederson before rolling the ball into an empty net.

Guardiola suggested City's struggles that led to that let-off were part of a wider issue with their usually smooth build-up from deep failing to click – highlighting a tough outing for holding midfielder Rodri and full-back Joao Cancelo.

"To play good in the areas that we want, we need to make a good build-up and today was not good," Guardiola said.

"Joao and Rodri were not clever to receive the ball in positions to contact for the other ones. But it’s normal, Dortmund are strong. The quality that they have makes it difficult to do what we want to do.

"We are going to watch the game, now we know exactly what they do and now we are going to adjust a few things to go there to Germany and try to win the game."

Foden shone for his boyhood club throughout and was relieved to atone for a pair of missed chances that preceded Reus' leveller.

"Second half he was a threat for them. He played really well one-against-one, arriving in the final third," Guardiola added.

"He had two or three clear chances to score and finally he scored the goal."

Phil Foden gave Manchester City a slender 2-1 Champions League quarter-final advantage over Borussia Dortmund after Marco Reus snatched an away goal in a frantic finish at the Etihad Stadium.

Kevin De Bruyne started and finished a rapid move to put City ahead in the 19th minute, but Dortmund were unfortunate to be behind at half-time after referee Ovidiu Hategan inexplicably penalised Jude Bellingham for a fair challenge on Ederson.

City belatedly hit their stride in the final quarter of the game, although Foden looked like being the villain as he missed two golden opportunities before Bellingham and Erling Haaland combined for Reus to coolly equalise six minutes from time.

Fortunately for the home team, England youngster Foden kept a cool head when Ilkay Gundogan knocked down De Bruyne's majestic cross in the 90th minute.

Pep Guardiola lauded Kevin De Bruyne's masterful midfield display during Manchester City's 2-0 win over Leicester City.

The Premier League leaders took another step towards glory thanks to second-half goals from Benjamin Mendy and Gabriel Jesus that only told part of the story of their dominance at the King Power Stadium.

De Bruyne rattled the crossbar with a free-kick midway through the first half and was named man of the match after a majestic throughball scattered Leicester's defence for Jesus' game-sealing effort 16 minutes from time.

"Quite good, huh? It's not the first time he has done it," Guardiola said reacting to that contribution during his post-match news conference.

"Next game he has to score a goal. Next game he is going to do the passes and score a goal.

"Kevin, in this situation, is extraordinary."

De Bruyne also recovered possession 14 times, more than any other City player and won 10 of his 18 duels.

"This is one of our identities. When the most talented players in the world are able to do this kind of job," Guardiola said of the playmaker's selfless contribution.

"There is no negotiation on this. You can play really badly but in terms of running and pressing for your team-mates until the end, we have to do it.

"Do it for your mates, because in the next action your mates are going to do it for you.

"We cannot deny that in the five years we were together the players we had run and fight every single game. That is one of the things I am proud of the most."

This sense of togetherness was underlined by the celebrations that followed Mendy's opener – a strike that appeared to particularly popular throughout the City squad.

"Benjamin is especially beloved by all of us, especially by his team-mates," Guardiola added.

"He is a special person, the way he lives. He has an incredible heart. When a player is honest like he is, the people love him so much.

"He didn't play much lately, today he played and made an incredible goal. The manager must be so good for him to score a goal with his right foot – oh my God!"

Kevin De Bruyne felt Manchester City deserved even more than a 2-0 victory from their dominant display at Leicester City.

The 18-point gulf between Pep Guardiola's champions-elect and the third-placed Foxes was in evidence for large stretches of the game at the King Power Stadium, where De Bruyne was named man of the match.

The Belgium playmaker struck the crossbar with a first-half free-kick but Pep Guardiola's men had to wait until the 58th minute to find a breakthrough – left-back Benjamin Mendy the unlikely goalscorer.

Gabriel Jesus netted for the fifth time in six outings against Leicester to seal the points, the Brazil forward the beneficiary of Raheem Sterling's unselfishness and a majestic De Bruyne throughball.

"I thought it was really good. The first half we totally dominated," De Bruyne told Sky Sports.

"They had the one chance that was offside with [Jamie] Vardy, but basically there was one team playing.

"Second half, Leicester did a little bit better but, if you look at the 90 minutes, it was 2-0 and I think we deserved even more goals.

"After an international break, that's really well done from the team."

Ex-England striker Vardy rolling into the net when he was flagged offside during first-half stoppage time showed how some profligate finishing might have undermined the Premier League leaders' smooth control of proceedings, but De Bruyne insisted they remained calm.

"We created chances, we should have scored but that happens," he said.

"We knew the way they play against us was going to be really difficult. They play really defensive.

"We had to be patient and that what we did. I was very happy for Mendy then to break the deadlock."

Guardiola's side were thrashed 5-2 by Leicester back in September, with this sharply contrasting performance demonstrating the strides made since.

"That was a bad game from us and they deserved to win but that was such a long time ago," De Bruyne added, with Borussia Dortmund up next in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

"We've picked it up during the season and done well, so I'm really happy.

"In the end I'm here to provide for the team and if I can set my team-mates up and they finish it I'm happy.

"It's one win more and it's good to get in the rhythm because Tuesday is another game."

Another day, another Erling Haaland rumour.

Haaland's future is dominating headlines amid widespread interest in Europe.

Barcelona are reportedly interested in the Borussia Dortmund sensation.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI OUT, HAALAND IN?

Barcelona have identified Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland as a top transfer priority if Lionel Messi leaves at the end of the season, according to Diario AS.

Messi is out of contract at season's end and the superstar Barca captain has been tipped to join either Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City.

Should Messi depart, Haaland is wanted by Barca and head coach Ronald Koeman, though all eyes will be on Lyon forward Memphis Depay if the former remains at Camp Nou.

Haaland has also been linked with Manchester United, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Juventus, PSG, Liverpool and City.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano claims City are convinced Kevin De Bruyne will sign a new contract with the club. Raheem Sterling's contract is also on the agenda, while soon-to-be free agent Sergio Aguero will decide his future in the coming weeks. Aguero has been linked with Inter, Barca and Chelsea.

United are set to challenge Madrid in the chase to sign Villarreal defender Pau Torres, reports The Mirror. United are keen to bolster their defence amid links with Madrid pair Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, Sevilla's Jules Kounde and RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate.

- Calciomercato says Inter will reject any offers for star Romelu Lukaku. It comes as Chelsea and Barca reportedly eye the in-form Belgian.

Barca are monitoring the future of Valencia star Jose Luis Gaya, according to Diario AS. The captain is negotiating a new contract with Valencia.

- Napoli and Spain midfielder Fabian Ruiz is wanted by LaLiga trip Barca, Madrid and Atletico Madrid, claims Diario Sport.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Arsenal are considering a move for Real Betis star Nabil Fekir amid doubts over loanees Martin Odegaard and Dani Ceballos.

Roberto Martinez was impressed by the way Belgium rallied to secure a 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw with a "very good" Czech Republic side.

Lukas Provod put Czech Republic in front five minutes into the second half via a rasping drive from 20 yards out at Sinobo Stadium on Saturday.

Belgium hit back to salvage a point in Prague courtesy of Romelu Lukaku's seventh goal in his last six games for his country.

Czech Republic struck the woodwork twice and Kevin De Bruyne hit the post before Tomas Soucek's last-gasp header was cleared off the line by Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld.

The two nations have four points apiece after two Group E matches early in the battle to qualify for next year's tournament in Qatar, with Czech Republic top on goal difference.

Belgium manager Martinez was pleased with the way his team responded to falling behind, having also fought back to beat Wales 3-1 on Wednesday.

"We were put in difficulty by a very good Czech team and we had to adapt, to change our way of playing and responding," Martinez said.

"We were able to react and that's what I will remember from this match. We did not accept the situation after conceding the goal. We have to do better, of course, but I'm pretty happy with the team's reaction."

Martinez revealed Dries Mertens was withdrawn due to a shoulder injury, but was unsure over the extent of the damage.

The Spaniard refused to be drawn on whether in-form striker Lukaku and key midfielder De Bruyne will be rested when the top-ranked side in international football face Belarus on Tuesday.

"We will look at each case separately. We will first regenerate the bodies, because playing three matches in seven days is not easy." he said.

Belgium got their World Cup qualification campaign up and running as Kevin De Bruyne inspired them to a 3-1 comeback win over Wales.

In the first meeting of the teams since Wales' memorable 3-1 triumph in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals, the world's number one ranked side fell behind to Harry Wilson's 10th-minute opener.

Gareth Bale was central to Wales' opener, though Belgium's star player subsequently stepped up, levelling proceedings with a stunning effort.

Thorgan Hazard completed the turnaround six minutes later and, after a bright second-half performance from Wales, Roberto Martinez's team sealed a strong start to Group E through Romelu Lukaku's penalty.

Wales suffered a blow when Joe Allen hobbled off injured in the eighth minute, yet the visitors were celebrating a wonderfully worked goal moments later.

Bale was the heart of the 17-pass move, threading a perfect first-time throughball into the path of Wilson, who calmly slotted home.

De Bruyne's sensational right-wing cross handed Lukaku a golden chance to restore parity, only for the Inter forward to blaze over.

Wales' luck did not last, though, with De Bruyne taking full advantage of being given space and time 25 yards out – the Manchester City star's strike clipping in off the right-hand upright.

Wearing the number 10 shirt typically taken by his older brother Eden, Hazard got the assist for De Bruyne's equaliser, and the Borussia Dortmund playmaker turned scorer when he steered Thomas Meunier's cross home.

No stranger to magnificent overhead kicks, Bale could have equalised early in the second half, but failed to make full contact with an acrobatic attempt.

Lukaku saw a shot well blocked with 24 minutes remaining and De Bruyne sliced wide on the rebound.

But Wales' lingering hopes were quashed when Chris Mepham flung a boot at Dries Mertens and Lukaku drilled in from 12 yards to make sure of the victory.

Late goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne clinched Manchester City's place in the FA Cup semi-finals after a hard-fought 2-0 victory over Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.

The Toffees packed men behind the ball in an attempt to nullify City's attacking threat and chances were rare for both sides.

The deadlock was eventually broken six minutes from time when Aymeric Laporte's shot rebounded off the crossbar and Gundogan reacted quickest to nod the ball home.

De Bruyne added a second in the 90th minute when he fired into the roof of the net after he was put through by Rodri.

Pep Guardiola does not believe scars of previous Champions League failures will be an issue for his Manchester City team after they sealed a return to the quarter-finals.

Superb first-half goals from Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne gave the Premier League leaders a 2-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach in Budapest, closing out a comprehensive 4-0 aggregate win.

It means City are back at the stage of the competition where they bowed out in each of the past three seasons, but Guardiola does not feel those defeats to Liverpool, Tottenham and Lyon will play on his players' minds.

"In the previous seasons I didn't see a team that didn't want to make a step forward. Every time we want to go through," he told BT Sport.

"The eight best teams in Europe, every time the quality is higher and it is more difficult.

"Hopefully the team can maintain this mood and we can compete, and especially do good games.

"When you go through, I always believe it is because you deserve it. You have to play good games.

"What happened in the past is in the past. In the quarter-finals, one bad game, bad moments, bad minutes can punish you."

An improved defence means City look a far more stable side than the one that came unstuck in those harum-scarum quarter-final affairs.

They became only the third team in Champions League history to keep seven consecutive clean sheets after AC Milan and Arsenal, with Porto's Luis Diaz the last player to breach Guardiola's men on this season's first matchday.

"We conceded just one goal against Porto, that is quite impressive," Guardiola said.

"We cannot deny that Ruben [Dias] and John [Stones] made an incredible step forward for the team. But Ayme [Aymeric Laporte] is back again and especially Kyle [Walker] is back at his best moment.

"We need this, but everyone runs a lot, not just the people from behind – strikers and the people in the middle.

"The most important thing is to understand that we defend with the ball."

An influential element in that stability, both in and out of possession, has been Guardiola's deployment of Joao Cancelo as a hybrid full-back/midfielder.

As in the first game against Gladbach, the Portugal international excelled roving in from left-back – a gambit Guardiola was inspired to come up with by the Bundesliga teams he faced while in charge of Bayern Munich.

"It comes from Germany. When you lose the ball they kill you on the counter-attack when the full-backs are wider," he added.

"In Barcelona we had more control in the game with the incredible players that we had. In Germany it was completely different.

"The main reason is to have four, five, six players in the middle to make short passes and have control, this is the reason why.

"And a lot of players with good quality who don't lose the ball. Three left footers with Phil [Foden], Riyad [Mahrez] and Bernardo [Silva], helped us a lot to give us the continuity of the pass and the extra pass."

Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan scored excellent first-half goals as Manchester City beat Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 to book a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Back at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, which also hosted Gladbach's initial 'home' leg, City repeated the scoreline from the first encounter to seal a 4-0 aggregate triumph.

De Bruyne scored City's 100th goal of the season with a venomous left-footed strike and Ilkay Gundogan followed that forcefulness with some finesse shortly afterwards.

Gladbach, now winless in nine matches under outgoing head coach Marco Rose, continued to be summarily outplayed by a City side showing their best form for a few weeks to stay in the hunt for four major honours

Yann Sommer was alert to keep out Phil Foden's stabbed volley from Joao Cancelo's chipped sixth-minute pass, while opposite number Ederson tipped a deflected drive from Gladbach forward Breel Embolo behind.

That warning seemingly persuaded City to kick up a few gears and put the tie beyond doubt.

First De Bruyne let a 12th-minute pass from Riyad Mahrez run across his body to clatter home a 25-yard shot in via the crossbar.

Then, in the 18th minute, an exquisite turn and driving run from midfield by Foden teed up Gundogan - both the pass and the finish were coolly conceived and executed.

Sommer pushed over a dipping De Bruyne free-kick, although Embolo almost reduced the arrears before the break when he slid a shot wide having been played in by Marcus Thuram.

There was no let-up from City early in the second half, Mahrez clipping wide on the end of Gundogan's pass having become the latest member of a rotating forward line to pop up in the number nine position.

Mahrez twice forced Sommer to beat away a left-footed strike from inside the area – the latter in the 69th-minute coming when a clever short-corner routine with Foden caught a bedraggled Gladbach napping.

It was a game of relentless endeavour but personal disappointment for Mahrez, who curled just wide with the final kick – one of five fruitless attempts on goal for the Algeria winger.

What does it mean? City ease up to problematic hurdle

City have fallen at the quarter-final stage in each of the previous three seasons. It feels impossible to imagine a team in their imperious vein of form not going further, but the same could be said before their Anfield collapse in 2018, a riotous VAR-tinged exit at the hands of Tottenham in 2019 and last year's limp loss to Lyon on the back of dispatching Real Madrid.

However impressive City were over the course of these two legs, Guardiola will know the biggest tests are yet to come.

King Kev reclaims his crown

As City's record-breaking winning run carried on after the turn of the year, despite De Bruyne being an injury absentee, there were some murmurs suggesting they might be a more balanced team without the PFA Players' Player of the Year. Those grew louder after the Belgium playmaker disappointed in a 2-0 defeat to Manchester United earlier this month.

Of course, it is folly to suggest any team could truly be better off without a player of De Bruyne's lavish gifts. His goal here was of the highest order and followed a brace against Southampton last week. De Bruyne's 25 goals from outside the penalty area for City are more than any other Premier League player since he joined the club in August 2015.

Time to go, Marco?

Rose had carved out a reputation as one of Europe's brightest coaching talents before being confirmed as Borussia Dortmund boss from the start of next season. The victory lap he hoped for with his current employers has not transpired. Since Dortmund confirmed the news on February 15, Gladbach have played seven games and lost every one of them.

Borussia are in freefall, 10th in the Bundesliga and with hopes of returning to UEFA competitions next season fading fast. Perhaps it's time to ease Rose towards an earlier exit than planned before any more damage is done.

What's next?

Guardiola's side continue their bid for honours on all fronts with an FA Cup quarter-final at Everton on Saturday, while Gladbach have what looks like the ideal opportunity to end their awful slump with a game against the Bundesliga's bottom club Schalke.

Manchester City scored their 100th goal of 2020-21 on Tuesday – maintaining Pep Guardiola's record of his top-flight teams having reached a century of goals in every season of his coaching career.

Kevin De Bruyne thundered home a venomous left-footed strike via Yann Sommer's crossbar to give City a 1-0 lead in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Borussia Monchengladbach.

Ilkay Gundogan doubled the lead on the night form Phil Foden's pass, easing City into a 4-0 aggregate advantage.

Just as in his four seasons at Barcelona, three campaigns at Bayern Munich and four previous years at the Etihad Stadium, Guardiola has seen his side reach three figures with plenty of the campaign left to run.

City still have some way to go if they are to better their previous best under the Catalan, when the 2018-19 domestic treble-winning campaign yielded 169 goals.

The most prolific campaign of Guardiola's career came in 2011-12, when a Lionel Messi-inspired Barcelona scored an astonishing 190 goals – even though they could only manage a second-place finish behind Real Madrid in LaLiga.

A century is similarly nothing new for City.

The Premier League leaders have now scored 100 goals in each of the past eight seasons, with only Manchester United boasting a longer run of consecutive 100+ seasons among English top-flight teams, having done so in each of the final nine years of Alex Ferguson's reign.

Guardiola's centuries

2008-09 – Barcelona 158
2009-10 – Barcelona 138
2010-11 – Barcelona 152
2011-12 – Barcelona 190

2013-14 – Bayern Munich 150
2014-15 – Bayern Munich 123
2015-16 – Bayern Munich 123

2016-17 – Manchester City 122
2017-18 – Manchester City 143
2018-19 – Manchester City 169
2019-20 – Manchester City 149
2020-21 – Manchester City 101

Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez netted doubles as Manchester City returned to winning ways with a raucous 5-2 victory over Southampton at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola's men saw a 21-match winning run in all competitions ended by Manchester United at the weekend, and some of the defensive problems from that 2-0 defeat remained as James Ward-Prowse scored a first-half equaliser from the penalty spot and Che Adams was on target before the hour.

However, an unexpectedly open contest worked in De Bruyne and Mahrez's favour, while Ilkay Gundogan chipped in with his 14th goal of the season in first-half stoppage time.

City are 14 points clear of United at the Premier League summit having played a game more, with their rivals in Europa League action this midweek.

The leaders started poorly but scored from their first attack of note in the 15th minute– De Bruyne making sure on the goal-line after clattering the crossbar when Alex McCarthy parried Phil Foden's shot into his path.

Southampton were undeterred, with Ederson tipping Nathan Redmond's low strike behind and denying Jannik Vestergaard from the resulting corner.

Unfortunately for the City goalkeeper, Aymeric Laporte pulled back Vestergaard when trying to deal with the loose ball the latter save and Ward-Prowse made no mistake from the spot.

City felt they should have had a penalty of their own when McCarthy was played into trouble by Mohammed Salisu's backpass and hurtled into Foden.

A quickfire double from Guardiola's side undid all of Saints' good work – Mahrez snaffling a shocking pass from Adams to curl in a wonderful finish before Gundogan poached their third after the Algeria winger's shot hit the post.

McCarthy saw enough of a Foden drive through a throng of bodies to save five minutes into the second half but he had no chance when Mahrez shimmied to engineer room and thump home with his trusty left foot.

A pattern of ricochets falling pleasingly for attackers continued as Adams reduced the arrears but, following another McCarthy stop to frustrate Foden, the England midfielder laid off for De Bruyne to storm into the Saints box and rifle into the bottom corner.

In the final half hour, the unlucky Foden and substitute Ferran Torres came closest to adding further gloss to the scoreline.

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.

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.

Pep Guardiola is relishing the competition for places at Manchester City that means "unique" Kevin De Bruyne may no longer be an automatic selection. 

De Bruyne made his return from a month-long hamstring injury lay-off as a late substitute against Everton last week and started the 1-0 win against Arsenal four days later.

However, the reigning PFA Players' Player of the Year was an unused substitute for City's trip Borussia Monchengladbach in midweek, despite Guardiola confirming the playmaker was fully fit.

City won that Champions League last-16 first leg 2-0 through a Bernardo Silva header and Gabriel Jesus' strike, having also won all five-top-flight games De Bruyne missed during his time on the sidelines, scoring 15 times and conceding just once.

And with Bernardo continuing to excel in City's midfield three alongside Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri, Guardiola has reiterated De Bruyne is no longer indispensable.

"They are quite similar but Kevin gives us something Bernardo doesn't give and vice versa," Guardiola said. "Every player has his own skills but they do it for the benefit of the team. That's why they are so stable.

"It's good for us, this competition between themselves. It was the same for [Kyle] Walker in the last game - because he knows Joao [Cancelo] is playing so good. It's the only way to maintain consistency. 

"Every three days there's a game and there's a competition among them. Our transitions with Kevin are much better - he is unique in the world. Without Kevin maybe we are more calm and have more time to pause, but it's not that we want one way or the other, it's the quality of the players we have."

De Bruyne's 10 assists in the Premier League this term are bettered only by Harry Kane's 11, the Tottenham striker having played three games more, while only Mason Mount (62), Bruno Fernandes (71) and Jack Grealish (75) can better his 58 chances created.

Bernardo may lag some way behind De Bruyne in both categories - assisting three goals and laying on 16 opportunities for team-mates - but Guardiola believes the Portuguese brings other qualities to the side.

City dominated possession away to Gladbach with 61 per cent of the ball and the manager said: "Sometimes you need more passes and Bernardo has that quality when he receives the ball.

"With opponents behind him, he can make two or four touches then give it. Kevin is a different player, more of a free mind, more explosion, and we need it.  He sees something that other ones cannot see and he provides passes others can't see. Sometimes I need him to be more behind, Bernardo up front. 

"It depends on the opponent. Sometimes the striker jumps, it depends on our movement, it depends on every game."

City are looking to make it 20 wins in a row in all competitions when they take on West Ham at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, a run that includes 13 successive victories in the top flight. Only on five previous occasions has a side won 14 or more on the spin.

Guardiola jokingly said earlier this week that money was the most important factor behind his side's incredible winning streak, which has them on course for a clean sweep of silverware.

But while the Catalan coach is thankful to have been financially backed by the club's wealthy owners, he insists there is more to his project at City than simply spending big sums of money, with others doing likewise during his time in England.

"I'm proud for the fact that [after] one team wins the Premier League they struggle a lot but we won back-to-back," he said. "Last season we could not fight against Liverpool - it was incredible. We were second but today, this season, again we are there - this is what I'm proud of most. 

"Four Carabao Cup finals, this is what I am proud of the most. And of course, we created this ourselves. But to do this you need top talents, top players and top players cost money. But honestly, I think United spent money too and Chelsea spent money, and Barcelona spent a lot and in Madrid they spend, as do all the clubs in that position."

Guardiola has used Joao Cancelo in a hybrid full-back/midfield position during City's ongoing winning streak but the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss, who has won 29 trophies during his managerial career, does not believe he deserves more credit than his players for their success.

"You are not convincing me," he said. "The difference is the players. "I didn't invent anything. It's just the way I do it. I can play like this but sometimes I'm going to play in a different way. It's not about that. I would tell if I believed the reason why was me. I would tell you. 

"I would be grateful to say that the reason behind this success is because I'm so handsome and that's the reason why. It's not like that. It's the players. The big clubs have incredible success, in South America and Europe, and it's due to the quality of the players, the mentality."

He added: "Still I have the feeling when we finished the game against Gladbach maybe it will not be enough to reach the last stages of the Champions League if we don't improve in some departments. It’s the only way to getting better. 

"If I did not feel we could get better, I would not have extended my contract here. One hundred per cent. If I extend my contract, it's because they convinced me for different issues and still that we can do better. If not, [my time with] the team would be over."

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