Guardiola: City backing all-out attack
Manager’s pledge after De Bruyne goal sinks Chelsea Conte fears for Morata over hamstring injury
Pep Guardiola said that his Manchester City team were ready to go to all their biggest title rivals’ grounds and try to win the big games of the Premier League season away from home, after a resounding performance at Stamford Bridge gave them a victory over champions Chelsea.
The City manager said that his players now had the belief in his highpressing system and had set out their stall to try to win every game rather than adapt to a more defensive, coun- ter-attacking style when they visit the likes of Manchester United, Tottenham and Arsenal.
A fine strike in the second half from Kevin De Bruyne gave City a 1-0 win that keeps them at the top of the Premier League on goal difference from United. “We try with Manchester City to feel like a club, not just the teammates, the players, or the staff, to convince the club we’re able to go wherever and play our game,” Guardiola said after the match.
“And not wait for what happens, of course you have to adapt to your opponents because they have the same qualities as you, but to show in the first minute that these guys [City] have come here to win the game. That is what I want to give to that team and we did it today like we did last season at Old Trafford in the first 45 minutes.
“But even last season when we came here – we weren’t able to win, we tried to do that. I’m so satisfied because we won in the way we tried from the be- ginning.” Guardiola said that United, who are only one goal worse off, looked like big rivals for the title and described Tottenham Hotspur as “the Harry Kane team”. “We have United; the Harry Kane team who scores every game two or three goals. Jose with United will always be tough. That is a Jose Mourinho team, aggressive, winning duels and so quick in the counter attack.
“They [the City players] have already convinced they can do it in this way [high pressing]. It will be so tough but it is important in the process to show we can do it. We go to Old Trafford, White Hart Lane, Emirates, we want to try. After that the opponents are good too, but we will try.”
He described De Bruyne as a player who could do “absolutely everything”.
“With the ball, he’s a guy who can play different positions, go to the channels, make assists long or short. After, without the ball, he’s the most humble, the most shy guy. He says, ‘If I have to run 100 kilometres for the team, I will do that.’ It’s not easy to find that with this kind of talented players.”
Conte defended his side’s record of four points from four home league games, pointing out that they had played strong opposition at Stamford Bridge.
He said that Alvaro Morata, substituted in the first half with a hamstring problem, would have to withdraw from international duty.
He also suggested that the proximity of Wednesday’s Champions League game against Atletico Madrid had affected Chelsea’s approach to this league game.
“We could take this as an excuse, but for sure when you have to play another massive game only two days later you must consider the fatigue in the legs of your players. It’s impossible to go to press, box to box, because after thirty minutes you would not have the energy to continue, to play this game.”