Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reminded Manchester City that they weren’t always in the top flight as they prepare for their local derby.
While Pep Guardiola’s management and Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s huge financial investment have turned City into one of the best sides in the world, they were in the third tier just 20 years ago.
Solskjaer joined United months after their near neighbours dropped out of the Premier League in 1996, with the club only returning to the top table in 2000.
It meant the striker had to wait five years to get his first taste of a Manchester derby in April 2001 – an unglamorous past the Red Devils boss was quick to remind City of ahead of the derby.
“At least we play every year now! It took many years before I played a Manchester derby myself,” the 1999 treble hero said.
“But it’s changed in a way. Of course Man City are a better team now than when I was playing.
“I think football has changed quite a lot. I think it allowed a few more proper tackles – with every little angle, everything being scrutinised now, it’s more of a technical, tactical game than physical and mental one.
“But, still, a derby should be played as a derby. We don’t play basketball, so we’re ready for that if that happens.”