City look for buzz out of the Hor­nets

Dan­ger­ous Wat­ford un­beaten in EPL

Sport360 - - Football | Premier League - By Andy Hampson @andy­hamp­son ed­i­to­

Pep Guardi­ola feels Manch­ester City must win games like today’s at Wat­ford to prove they can join the Euro­pean elite.

City opened their Cham­pi­ons League cam­paign with an em­phatic 4-0 vic­tory at Feyeno­ord in mid­week, an im­pres­sive dis­play that came just four days after a 5-0 ham­mer­ing of Liver­pool.

But Guardi­ola’s men won just two of the six Premier League games that im­me­di­ately fol­lowed a Cham­pi­ons League group game last sea­son and the City boss feels his team must cope bet­ter.

Guardi­ola said: “It will be a de­mand­ing game, es­pe­cially com­ing just three days later. With the trip back to Manch­ester, now trav­el­ling to London, there’s not too many hours for re­gen­er­a­tion.

“We have to han­dle that if we want to be­come a good team in the next years. We have to han­dle th­ese sit­u­a­tions, when one team have one week to pre­pare and we don’t have the time. In th­ese sit­u­a­tions we have to try to win.

“When that sit­u­a­tion hap­pens we will be on the path to be­ing a good team.”

Wat­ford have made an im­pres­sive start to the sea­son un­der new man­ager Marco Silva, col­lect­ing eight points and re­main­ing un­beaten in their first four games.

Guardi­ola said: “Wat­ford are just two points be­hind us, they made an amaz­ing start. They didn’t lose one game. I was so im­pressed with their per­for­mance against Southamp­ton. They com­pletely dom­i­nated the game.

“They have fast play­ers, new play­ers and a good man­ager. What Silva did last sea­son with Hull City was amaz­ing. He is a fan­tas­tic trainer.

“Wat­ford is al­ways com­pli­cated. They are so phys­i­cal with the throw-ins and set-pieces and have qual­ity up front.”

Cap­tain Vin­cent Kom­pany is un­likely to re­turn but is now back in train­ing after a calf in­jury.

Guardi­ola was also vague on the prospect of vet­eran mid­fielder Yaya Toure be­ing in­volved. Toure has been left out of the squad for the past two games and did not travel to Rot­ter­dam at all this week.

Guardi­ola, how­ever, did go on to add that Toure re­mains an im­por­tant mem­ber of the squad and will have a key role to play this sea­son.

He said: “I need him, the team needs him. He was so im­por­tant last sea­son and he’ll be so im­por­tant this sea­son.

“He is part of the group. I ad­mire him and what he has done in his ca­reer. He is an ex­cep­tional player. In the last games he was not in the squad but of course he is go­ing to help us.”

Silva has put no spe­cial mean­ing into the game against free-scor­ing City – even though Wat­ford would go top, for 24 hours at least, with vic­tory.

“We are happy with ev­ery­thing we did un­til now, we have got im­por­tant points for our fight but noth­ing more,” he said. “Is this our big­gest test? No. It’s one more game, against a great, great team.

“We have started well and got an im­por­tant eight points but we need to know our goal.

“We need to un­der­stand our po­si­tion and not look at dif­fer­ent things be­cause we started very well.”

“What Silva did with Hull last sea­son was amaz­ing. He is fan­tas­tic” – Guardi­ola

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