Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is expecting to face “the best United” in the Manchester derby on Wednesday after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side lost 4-0 to Everton on Sunday.
With just four games left in the Premier League season, Guardiola believes City need to “win all four games to retain the title.”
City are two points behind leaders Liverpool in the table but have one game in hand over the Merseyside club.
Manchester rivals United are on the hunt for a top-four finish, having slipped to sixth after their recent defeat.
Eriksen produced a moment of quality in the 88th minute to hand Spurs a 1-0 win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, which strengthens their grip on the Champions League places.
The Dane is out of contract at the end of next season and is currently stalling on a new deal, with Real Madrid reported to be interested in signing him.
Pochettino has revealed that Eriksen is open to discussing a new deal, but it will not be until the end of the season.
“I think I was clear a few months ago,” Pochettino said. “It is a situation that is a very special situation, Christian is a special person, I think we are all special, different and we need to understand that.
“The timing for him or for the club to be agreeing something are maybe different to another player.
“I hope and I wish Christian can be with us in the future but I think Christian and us we are so open to talk and we will see what happens.
“I think it is so close to the end of the season, a lot of time to talk after and I think the most important thing now, not only for him, is for all the players to be focused and try to achieve the things we want.
“We have a lot of big things ahead and we need to be focused only to try and recover, train and compete.”
Since 2016/17, no player has scored more Premier League goals from outside the box than Christian Eriksen (10).— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 23, 2019
Making sure Spurs stay perfect at their new home. 🏡 pic.twitter.com/MjwIy0TlNd
Eriksen’s decision whether to stay at the club or not may be influenced by how Spurs end their season, with a Champions League crown still in the offing, and they took a big step towards another season in Europe’s premier club competition with a narrow victory over Brighton.
The Seagulls, fighting for their lives at the other end of the table, defended with 11 men behind the ball and it looked like Spurs were headed towards a first goalless draw in 68 games until Eriksen came to the rescue.
It was vital that Spurs capitalised on Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United all dropping points over the Easter weekend and Pochettino knows his side are in pole position.
“We are in a position now that is in our hands to be in the top four,” he added. “If we are capable of winning the next three games in the Premier League then we will be third.
“I think that is the key, thinking about ourselves and then seeing what’s happening next to us of course.”
Brighton weathered the storm for 88 minutes and looked like holding on for a precious point and their late slip left boss Chris Hughton feeling heartbroken.
“That is very much the feeling at the moment,” he said.
“I genuinely felt that we had a little bit of fortune go our way, they hit the woodwork, and you get a feeling that it is going to come, but the longer it went on I thought we were going to hold out.
“If we managed the game a little bit better at the end we would have got the result we wanted.
“We’re in a pressurised position but it is only us that have put us there.
“We need to take whatever we can from these last two performances and they have been ‘better feel’ performances for us.”
If City can earn victory at Old Trafford, it will put them in the driving seat to retain their Premier League trophy.
The Red Devils, meanwhile, are reeling from their spineless 4-0 thrashing at Everton on the weekend and will be keen to put in a much better performance in order to derail their neighbours’ title bid – even if it might well hand fierce rivals Liverpool the initiative.
Here are some key tactical issues for Pep Guardiola to consider:
Ashley Young and Luke Shaw are likely to be back in on both defensive flanks – which is a good thing for the Red Devils, but also for City.
Young and Shaw bring solidity to United’s defence but Young, 33, certainly has been creaking in recent weeks as he closes in on a 40-game campaign. Shaw, meanwhile, has been United’s best player this season but may be a bit rusty having missed two games with suspension. And City might see both players as weaknesses to pick at.
Benjamin Mendy and Leroy Sane could look to overload Young on the left side while Raheem Sterling, in the form of his life, and Kyle Walker on the other side could combine to ensure Shaw endures a testing evening.
Bernardo Silva has been a revelation this season, so much so that he has forced himself into the Player of the Year reckoning. Namesake David has, along with Sergio Aguero and Vincent Kompany, been the bedrock upon which City’s success over the last decade has been built.
The diminutive dynamo’s deadliness has dimmed of late, but with Kevin De Bruyne ruled out through injury, the Spanish schemer is the perfect replacement, especially in what is a crucial game in terms of the title race, where experience is likely to prove key.
And both will be pivotal in keeping City’s stellar forwards armed against a porous United defence.
With Fernandinho anchoring the midfield and breaking up United attacks, the two Silva’s will be charged with distributing possession quickly to the likes of Sterling and Sane, as well as Aguero – who has nine goals against United.