Guardi­ola: City back­ing all-out at­tack

Man­ager’s pledge after De Bruyne goal sinks Chelsea Conte fears for Mo­rata over ham­string in­jury

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Front Page - By Sam Wal­lace

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.”

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