London - Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola face off for the
second time this season when Manchester United entertain holders Manchester
City in the English League Cup fourth round on Wednesday.
Guardiola's City took the spoils when he and Mourinho
resumed hostilities in September, winning 2-1 at Old Trafford through goals
from Kevin De Bruyne and Kelechi Iheanacho.
But City have gone off the boil since, Sunday's 1-1 draw
with Southampton leaving them without a win in five games, while United crashed
to a crushing 4-0 defeat at Mourinho's former club Chelsea.
Asked whether the identity of his side's League Cup
opponents would help motivate his hurting players, Mourinho told MUTV: "I
would prefer to play in the Premier League.
"It's a bad feeling in the Premier League. With the
combination of results, the gap to the top is six points. We've had a very
difficult period of matches.
"We are really, really sad, but again this is not for
kids. This is for men and tomorrow (Monday) we have to be men and work for the
City's win at United on September 10 formed part of a
sequence of six consecutive victories, which suggested Guardiola might find
life in England something of a stroll.
Also read: Guardiola won't sacrifice style despite Barca blunders
But since drawing 3-3 in a frenetic Champions League game at
Celtic, the early-season certainty has vanished.
One-sided losses to Tottenham Hotspur and Barcelona
sandwiched a 1-1 draw with Everton before Sunday's stalemate with Southampton,
who went ahead after a blunder by City centre-back John Stones.
"It's important to change our dynamic from the previous
games," Guardiola said.
"Everything influences you. If you can play well or
badly, it affects your mentality, so we are working on it.
"We will see tomorrow, after the players' recovery,
then decide if it's necessary to make rotations or not."
- Police presence -
The round's other stand-out tie occurs on Tuesday when
Liverpool, who lost on penalties to City in last season's final, and Tottenham
Hotspur face off at Anfield.
The teams drew 1-1 in a high-octane Premier League clash at
White Hart Lane in late August.
Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool crept above Tottenham in the league
table at the weekend after they beat West Bromwich Albion 2-1 and Mauricio
Pochettino's men could only draw 0-0 at Bournemouth.
"I'm pleased with the effort because after three games
(in a week) it was difficult, mentally and physically," Pochettino said of
his side's display at the Vitality Stadium.
"The team showed again they are tough and there are
lots of positives to take.
"I feel pleased with another big effort and now we keep
going because we have another big game on Tuesday."
The spotlight will fall on and off the pitch at London
Stadium, where West Ham United host cross-town rivals Chelsea.
Police are expected to be on duty inside the ground, which
will stage its first London derby, after violent skirmishes involving West Ham
fans during recent matches at their new home.
The remaining all-top-flight tie sees Southampton host the
Premier League's bottom club Sunderland, who remain without a league win this
season following Saturday's 1-0 reverse at West Ham.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is expected to make sweeping
changes for the visit of second-tier Reading, who are managed by former
Manchester United and Netherlands centre-back Jaap Stam.
Hull City travel to Bristol City, while Championship leaders
Newcastle United host Preston North End and Leeds United face Norwich City.
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