City look for buzz out of the Hornets
Dangerous Watford unbeaten in EPL
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