Pep learns from Monaco mauling
PEP Guardiola saw City’s Champions League hopes extinguished by Monaco’s overwhelming firepower last season – and responded in kind against Feyenoord.
The Catalan claims he caught the Dutch champions by surprise with his three-pronged attack of Sergio Aguero , Gabriel Jesus and Bernardo Silva in what was an ominous statement of intent from his side.
A 4-0 win in no way flattered City, who were three up after 25 minutes.
Guardiola is honest enough to admit that he is still uncertain whether even £200m-worth of summer investment is enough to bridge the gap to Europe’s finest – but the performance in Rotterdam felt like a blueprint for the manner in which he intends to approach the Champions League.
Monaco’s attacking menace took the competition by storm last season – and Guardiola has assembled a squad designed to do likewise.
“Maybe they expected us to play with two strikers,” said Guardiola. “We played with three and we had good quality three against three. They could not handle that.
“I can imagine in this stadium the atmosphere if we’d let them play. We made a lot of passes for 20 to 25 minutes and the crowd was low.
“Last season we were not able to win one game away. That’s why if you want to make a step forward you have to do this.
“We need to be better than last season.”
Feyenoord coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst had already declared City among the Champions League favourites before his side were blown away by their irresistible attacking power. And he believes Guardiola has created a side that has a continental, rather than Premier League, feel about it.
“Before yesterday I thought they were a very good team,” said the former Arsenal and Barcelona player. “We were not ready for them.”
City will face far greater tests than Feyenoord in this season’s competition, but it remained an impressive marker.
It was also evidence that Guardiola’s summer recruitment has added a new dimension to his side – with Bernardo Silva, Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy all impressive.
“We made a huge effort to buy five players, like the big teams in Europe,” he said. “It’s important to see if we can go away and play with that attacking mentality, the high pressing, counter-attacks, and to create as many chances as possible.”
Pep Guardiola with Feyenoord boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst