Former Manchester City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips believes the pressure is all on Manchester United in this weekend’s derby at Old Trafford. 

The former City player is looking forward to tomorrow’s match, and he believes that the match is more important to the Red Devils given recent results, particularly the 5-0 hammering at the hands of Liverpool at Old Trafford last month.

“It’s definitely more important to him (Solskjaer) to win this one,” said the former City star. “This is the year he’ll be judged as he got all the players he wanted to in pre-season, and he has to start bringing trophies back to the club.

“Liverpool were the first club he’d faced in the top four or five this season and they got absolutely steamrollered, so they can’t let that happen against City. Other games they should’ve lost they managed to draw, but now everybody is judging him on each game and saying that he needs to be winning them as Man United manager. It’s important for the derby, but he needs to show that the team he’s built is capable of winning the Premier League or the Champions League, because they haven’t done that for years.”

Wright-Phillips doesn’t believe the gap between both Manchester clubs is as big as things might suggest, and that it does come down to quality in management.

He said: “I wouldn’t say individually that City are all that far ahead (of United) and it has more to do with the managers. If you look at the managers of the top clubs including Pep (Guardiola), (Jurgen) Klopp, (Thomas) Tuchel, they get teams playing like they want with the players in the positions they want them…Ole hasn’t done that with United. They are known for their counter-attacking football, but if you want to be in the top four and challenging for trophies you need to keep the ball and do lots with it too.”

Like all football fans, Wright-Phillips hopes that Saturday’s match in Manchester provides an entertaining spectacle after admitting to being disappointed with the last few matches between the sides.

“I don’t know if it is one of the best derbies,” said Wright-Phillips. “Over the past few seasons, it feels like a few of them ended 0-0 and I found them very boring! It’s not been what we are used to seeing in all the great world derbies which is lots of goals, yellow and red cards, so I hope it ends up being what it should be and that everyone is glued to their TV screens and on the edge of their seats.

“I can understand that there’s so much build-up and at times these games can flatline, but hopefully it doesn’t. The way Pep (Guardiola) has Manchester City playing, and if Manchester United play on the counter, then we’re in for an interesting game as they could look to pick off City, who we know will possess the ball more than them.”

Wright-Phillips admits that he didn’t always have the best of experiences playing in Manchester derbies, as the Citizens ended up on the losing side on a few occasions during the winger’s time at the club, but that he’s enjoying seeing City challenging on so many fronts in recent years.

He said: “I’ll be honest, it wasn’t always amazing to play in (the Manchester derby)! Lots of games we ended up with nothing, and then as we turned a corner, we began to understand what it meant to keep winning those games.

“To score and win in those games was something that lasted all week and it stays with you forever. My favourite experience of it was beating United 4-1 at the Etihad. It was the first time we gave them a hiding and we seemed to capitalise on everything.”

Wright-Phillips, who also played for Chelsea in between his spells at the Etihad, was asked which players have impressed him so far in City’s campaign, highlighting the strength in character of players including Gabriel Jesus and Jack Grealish.

He said: “(Gabriel) Jesus has impressed me, as it takes a lot to come out and say to Pep he doesn’t want to play number nine and that he’s up for the fight over the right-wing position. He’s come up against Riyad Mahrez, and his work rate is phenomenal. Him and (Phil) Foden have impressed me.

“With Jack (Grealish), we’ve got more to see from him, but he’s learning he won’t always get the ball as much and as quickly as he did with Aston Villa. Now he sees that there’s four or five other players who can do the same thing, and he’s learning to be patient and does well now when he does get the ball. There’s definitely more to come from Jack.”

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