Pep Guardiola has called Jose Mourinho a 'top, top manager', and believes the intense criticism of his Manchester United rival is a peril of management.
The Portuguese's position at Old Trafford is uncertain after consecutive Premier League defeats and United head to Burnley in desperate need of three points.
Guardiola sympathises with Mourinho, although admitted talk over his future is merely par for the course.
They remain a great, top team. We're in August. There are a lot of points to play for and the real season starts after the international break, every three games, the travelling and no time to prepare for the games.'
City could be seven points clear of United on Saturday night should they beat Newcastle at the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola claimed opening the game up against the rigid Magpies is their best chance of killing the game off.
'Playing wide is one the keys,' he added. 'If you are not wide then everyone is going to be in the space. You're more open. When you're narrow so will they. It's spaces. Simple as that.'
The City boss confirmed he has no issue with Sergio Aguero after he was pictured smoking a shisha pipe earlier in the week.
He also said his staff are not spending much time bothering about how opponents set up.
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'We can only imagine what our opponents maybe will do but we don't know 100 per cent,' Guardiola said. 'Huddersfield we expected five at the back and they were four. We analyse our games, we spend our times analysing training and games on ourselves to improve.
'The players have to adapt, of course. You have to know what they do and inform the players what they are going to do. But it's more productive to concentrate on ourselves, what we can do. We talk about ourselves, normally about 80 per cent of it.'