Pep learns from Monaco maul­ing

Manchester Evening News - - CITY SPECIAL - By JAMES ROB­SON

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

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